Capt. Tim Ramsey
I love summer. Well, not like I used to. As a kid it meant hours out surfing, days on the beach, and nights on the boardwalk playing pinball and hanging out with my friends hoping we’d never grow up. That didn’t last long. Fast-forward and there I was, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Somalia, and other such garden spots, waiting for the 30-day leave I would use to reconnect with my family. Well, my son anyway.
Fast forward again and here I am, addicted to the Ten Thousand Islands. I feel possessive. Why are you in my secret spot? Maybe it’s not so secret? Why are you causing so much noise? Why are you kicking that wake against the bank? Who said all these jet skis could ride through here? Why are you keeping my fish? You see, I never keep fish. Never. For me to kill a snook is like asking me to cut off my nose. Blessing of blessings, my second wife (the one I should have married first) is an avid fisherman. When you catch a fish and your wife is so excited she kisses it on the head, do you think you’re going to kill it? Nope. Especially not the reds with the googly eyes.
My wife always jokes about why we go fishing so early in the summer. She knows why, but she likes to mess with me. I know she likes getting out in the calm and cool of early morning, and by the time the heat is unbearable, and the afternoon storms come, we’re back in the a/c so I can keep writing my fifth novel that won’t sell. But I love summer. I love the fact that half the people are around and snook are everywhere. Live-bait, dead-bait, knocker rig, bucktail jig, topwater, floater-diver, rubber tail, every weird Gulp bait, who cares? They all work in summer. There are only a couple of well-known requirements. Pay attention to the standards of moving water, clean water, shade, structure, and sand and you’re golden. Oddly, summer also means be prepared for catfish everywhere you fish. Do all of us a favor; tell everyone how great the saltwater cats are to eat and maybe the tourists will start keeping them. It could work.
Two weeks ago, I was in the 10K, fishing early to avoid the heat. I ran for twenty minutes aiming to fish a lesser-known spot I like, seeing no boats along the way. It was cool, the water was brilliant blue, the mangroves contrasting their bright green. Awesome. Miraculously, or ironically, my spot was occupied by a guy pushing a flats boat I never saw before. Oh well, ‘Merica, all are welcome, so many other spots to hit. A short while later, I had just released a snook while fishing a mangrove island close to the bay when a boat ran by with a big American flag flying from the leaning post. It was great.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.” During summer in the 10K, it’s easy to know what blessings you have. I love summer.