Groupons are great for getting you out of your comfort zone and into something you know nothing about. Back in April we bought a Groupon for a 7-hour fishing trip out of New Smyrna Beach. With only a few weeks left to use it or lose it, we finally signed up.
The Pastime Princess is 100-feet long and can accommodate 150 passengers. On Saturday though there were only 73 of us, including many last-minute Groupon users like ourselves. We arrived at the dock early and picked out our spots on the back rail.
After a fun, yet cool, cruise out, we lined up like little soldiers all around the boat and waited for the Captain to give the order. When he did, I let my hook down, careful not to cause a backlash in my reel. Then I waited. It wasn’t long before everyone around me started pulling up Sea Bass after Sea Bass. Although they had to throw every one of those back, at least they were catching something.
I have been fishing maybe 2-3 times in my life, all here in Florida, all off of Matt’s boat. If I recall correctly, I caught three pinfish at a mooring buoy on something called a sabeki line. Here, however, I wasn’t having much luck. I resigned myself to admitting that I am indeed my father’s daughter and my brother’s sister. When we were young and visiting Florida, my Dad and brother would go out on a boat like this one with my Uncle Jim and cousin Jimmy. My uncle and cousin always caught fish, but my Dad and brother never seemed to have much luck. I guess it’s in the genes.
At the third fishing site people continued to catch fish right and left of me, starting with a high schooler named Brenda who brought in the first keepable fish of the day– a Trigger fish. Others brought in cobias the size of small children.
Finally I felt the nibble and reeled my line in as fast as I could (which wasn’t very fast but was unbelievably clumsy). My first catch of the day was a small grunt. We threw it back in. After that I caught a few Sea Bass, and another grunt. My only claim to fame on the boat was being the only person to catch a Lizard Fish, which no one wants to catch, much less eat.
By now everyone was catching huge Red Snappers but these too, unfortunately, had to be returned to the sea. Then Matt landed not one, but two, Lane Snappers. Finally fish we could keep.
Once back at the dock, the crew swiftly and expertly cleaned everyone’s catches. We felt lucky to have something to take home for dinner when so many others didn’t.
I think we’ll be doing this again.