The fishing company we chartered was called Anna Maria Charters. I know the name is not very original but the two captains who run this fleet of four fishing boats are the most knowledgeable and nicest people one can meet on a fishing trip.
You met/saw Captain David in my last post. He is the one navigating the boat while on the Tuna Tower.
Captain Johnny on the other hand was our guide, whom as I mentioned earlier did know exactly where to navigate in order to ensure that we would be able to hook some fish.
Did we lure in some fish?
Well here's what happened.
I chose to take photos while the others tried to fish. I really had no intentions of actually fishing. I was going for the ride and the opportunity to click away.
After all...who wants to touch a slimy fish.
Definitely not I.
So I clicked!
And clicked some more.
Until I had to stop clicking at the sky and instead click at......
First catch of the day was a Red Fish.
The Redfish, also known as the Red Drum, is one of the best inshore fighters. They are also one of the best on the table, making this fish the top of the list for many anglers. Redfish display both brute strength and stamina. They are well know for long, strong runs that are followed up only by another run. While they are best tasting at 10 pounds (they can average anywhere between 2-12lbs) it is common for them to grow up to 30 lbs and at times they can reach 90+ pounds.
Next catch was a Sheephead.
The Sheepshead gets its name from its mouth full of teeth that resemble those of its namesake. The large protruding teeth are used for cracking and crushing shellfish of all types. Average Sheepshead range from 1 pound to around 4 pounds. Fairly common up to 7 pounds and maxing out around 20 pounds. It is considered to be a very strong fish with a very soft bite. Sheepshead use their flat shape to their advantage and can pull quite hard. The Sheepshead diet of shellfish gives the meat a similar flavor.
I was really fascinated with the Sheepshead's teeth. I had never seen a fish that possessed human like gnashers. Albeit he did have a need for an orthodontist.
Well you know the saying......
Monkey see, monkey do!
This monkey needed to DO!
Couldn't have them be the only ones telling "fish stories".
Slime or no slime.....monkey did 😆
That particular fish I caught is called a Permit
With eyes of a hawk, unbelievable hearing, and a sense of smell that would make a bloodhound cry, Permit are definitely one of the most difficult fish to catch, fresh or salt water. To top it off, they get moody, sulky, and will sometimes just flat out refuse to cooperate.
Permit are members of the jack family, Carangidae, which includes about 140 species worldwide. Jacks are characterized by their silvery, thin bodies and deeply forked tail fins. Many have elongated dorsal fins.
The body of the permit (Trachinotus falcatus) is silvery, with a dark or iridescent blue back. In dark waters, orange or even golden tints on larger specimens may be visible around the breast. The dorsal fin of the permit has 17 to 21 rays; the anal fin has 16 to 19 rays.
A Permit is essentially a big ol’ Florida pompano and like its little cousin, you are not going to find it at your local fish market (they are a restricted species prohibited from being commercially harvested or sold) – so if you want to eat Permit, you’ll have to catch your own.
There's my fish story........lured the toughest fish!
We caught quite a few more Permit, throughout the afternoon and eventually, after almost 4 hours out and about on the local waters, it was time to return to Anna Maria.
The next best part was yet to come.....cleaning of the fish.
In Florida, regulations dictate that all caught fish remain in whole condition until landed ashore. All anglers with docks have a fish cleaning table where they can clean the catch of the day and chum the water at the same time.
Hanging out at the cleaning stations are various birds waiting for the fish parts to be thrown into the water.
Captain Johnny steered us to their cleaning station. Another benefit of going fishing with a chartered guide is the fact that they will do all the cleaning and gutting of the fish for you. And if we wanted, which we didn't, they would also have it cooked for us.
The cleaning of the fish will continue in part 3.