Man, oh, man… what an amazing trip to the Cat Island House, the last couple of days. We had four youngsters (from ages 6 to 11) and six adults. Grandpa Buddy aka “Popps”, wanted to take a family vacation with his daughters, their husbands, and the grandkids. For three nights and four days we did anything and everything we could on Cat Island. The kids Amos, J.J., Shelby, and Owen kinda ran the show. They enjoyed the heck outta the fishing, but really, they enjoyed everything. We took them fishing for speckled trout, redfish, and sharks. Honestly, I think they enjoyed fishing off the dock for catfish more than anything. It became a competition to see how many they could catch, or how fast they could catch them. Some of the kids didn’t have any problems getting up early, to be on the water when the sun was coming up. If they wanted to sleep in, we had boats on standby, ready for that too. There is just so much to do out there, they thought they might something
They got to paddle around the island, with their parents in the kayaks. We showed them how to use minnow traps, and they had a blast catching all kinds of different species of little fish. Since Capt Matt and I used to work at summer camps all through high school and college, we had all kinds of activities and games for them. We had ring game, ladder ball, and numerous board games if any weather kept us from fishing. Capt Kenny, who is the biggest kid outta all of us, showed them how to rig baits, and clean fish. They wanted to see and do everything we would teach them. Early on in the trip, we showed the kiddos how to use the VHF radios on the boat. Needless to say, the boats were constant contact after that. There was some pretty comical radio banter the entire time. If one of their parents was fishing on another boat, they would check in every time they caught a fish or saw a dolphin. Definitely kept our trips entertaining and never boring. They helped us scoop up the bait, cast the poles, reel in the big fish, and net fish too.
A couple of times, if some of the adults wanted to fish, and the young ones were not interested, we took rest of the crew “treasure hunting” on the beaches. They found all kinds of sea shells, and trinkets to play with. One of the hardest tasks of the entire week was finding and releasing all of the live critters they brought back to the house. The sea shells, buoys, and washed up fish bones were their most prized finds.
We caught a pile of fish, but we got to see and do so much in those 4 days, it really was an awesome time. The little ones ate dinner at the “Captains Table” every meal, and we even taught them how to pick shrimp and crabs. After such long days, it wasn’t a chore getting them to sleep. We would rig up a movie for them, and most nights, the little tikes were knocked out before 8:30 pm. Most of the adults did stay up a little late to watch the classic kids movie, “The Sandlot”. I’m not gonna lie, those kids just about worked us to death, but it was worth every second. They were very well mannered and wanted to learn about everything we did. The adults were able to fish and hang out as much as they wanted. We were doing all the driving, so it wasn’t a problem if the grown-ups wanted a tasty adult beverage either. Truth be told, young Amos (11-years-old), first fish of the trip, wound up being the biggest trout we saw (23 inches and almost 4 POUNDS)!!!
The meals were out of this world good. Of course, we had hot dogs, PB&J, and cereal on standby if anyone wanted one. Pretty funny one night, we had jumbo boiled shrimp and hot dogs! The snack table (junk food mountain) we constructed, was the biggest one we have ever had out on the island. I can say with full confidence, NO ONE ever went hungry.
Quite possibly, it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding trips we have every had out to Cat Island. Being able to share what we do with such a fun loving family is always a treat. Anytime we can include kids with our trips, it is always a plus. Was a little hard saying our goodbyes on that last day, but I have a feeling we will be seeing them all again.
Capt. Sonny Schindler
Shore Thing Fishing Charters
Bay St Louis, MS