Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Ramp, A Mechanic, and Fish Tales

We awoke Tuesday still in Cape May, NJ. It was a pretty day, and we were waiting for the mechanic from RANSOM CAT to come back at 1pm to finish fixing the starboard motor. We still had the rental car, so Louis went to Lowes and spent the rest of the morning building a ramp for "Buddy" to get on/off the boat. He did a really great job of making it, and now all three of us are using the new, white ramp. I'm sure it will come in handy on many occasions as we make our way through varied marinas.

We had met earlier in the morning an old friend of Louis' from his hunting days in Maryland--Jim Wallace. By wonderful coincidence, Jim's Bait and Tackle Shop is right across the street from this marina! So after breakfast, we walked over to Jim's shop, he was there, and the two guys had a good time catching up with each other after so many years. Jim asked Louis if he wanted to go fishing later on in the afternoon, but Louis declined citing the mechanic's finishing up his work as being paramount to us both. Louis needed to "supervise"--imagine that! So we were on the back of our boat @ 2:30pm as we watched Jim"s boat pull away from the dock.

The mechanic, who was supposed to come at 1pm, actually came a little after 3pm. A very nice guy, he had called to say he'd be later than expected--such is the life of boating. Louis and I were both so glad to see his truck drive into the marina, reminding us of our 3-day experience with this boat last October in McClellandsville, SC. UGH. We have been living now for 2 days with the big floor panels in the saloon taken up so they can get in the engine room to work, and I'm getting anxious to see this job over and done with. Our cabin is a wreck--our stuff is everywhere. The mechanic finally finished a little after 8pm, and now Louis feels good/confident about the motor. TYJ!

Just before dark--around 7:30pm, we see Jim's boat coming back to the marina--I yell to ask him if they've caught anything, and he motions--yes. I can't get off our boat fast enough! We hurry to his boat and watch as they unload 5 of the biggest, ugliest, bottom fish I've ever seen--Black Drum. He said they had caught about 15 or so, but only kept 5. I asked how far they went out to catch them and was told 6-8 miles. Considering they were only gone from the marina for at-most 5 hours, not a bad day's work! More boats kept coming in, and they all had these monster fish on board as well.

The fish cleaning station was out on this short dock, but on the inlet part of this marina. Hungry Sea Gulls were everywhere, and I'm thinking sharks must be nearby too--just too many carcases being thrown into the water. With loud thumps, we watched as they hauled these heavy fish (weighing between 45-75+ pounds each) up onto the table to begin cleaning them. Amazing! The scales are huge--the locals call them guitar picks--and the skin is like a coat of armor. With the scales still on, you have to carefully peel away the skin from the meat, it's just too hard to cut through. I've never touched an armadillo, but I suspect it must feel almost the same--just not as slimy.

Black Drum are spawning now and this will continue for about a month. (Are you reading this Bob?) The fishermen use light tackle and clams as bait, and if I were to catch one, the sheer upper body exertion it would take to land one would wipe me out for two days! I met this really great local guy as he was cleaning his fish--and as I clean most all of the fish we catch, I admired his handiwork--and told him so. After a lot of conversation about the local fishing (color me happy!), he wound up giving me a piece of his beautiful fillets which we will cook for dinner tonight--I promised him some bar-b-que if he ever came to North Carolina! What a treat for me to see all of this. I suspect that we will stay over another night here in this marina, and I'll get Louis to go with me tonight to the docks so he can see it--maybe we'll get some more fish to eat!

4 comments: said...

Hey Louis & Diane, I am having so much fun reading your blog. I have to visualize everything cuz there are "no pix"?!?!?! What a wonderful adventure! Diane, you are quite the writer and this should become a book or even a movie when the trip is over. Stay safe and keep writing - look forward to reading! Love to you both, Kim Tynes

The Fishin Optishin said...

Yes, Diane, I'm reading, salivating and so wish I was there. If Buddy is lonely I'm pretty sure I could learn how to bark if that would get me on board.

If I were you, I'd drop that hand-line on the way out of the marina.



Jay Stockard said...

You get the fish, I'll cook the BBQ! I did 165 pounds Saturday, and sold it all on Sunday night for a fundraiser for our Mission Trip to Mexico. Glad you are back under full power and ready to continue the Grand Adventure!
F.W.& F.S

J said...

Hey Diane and Louis,

Sounds like you are having a blast on your trip! Sister Kim & I leave for our road trip on Tuesday - still hope we can rendezvous with y'all somewhere along the way! Our blog is - can't wait to compare notes!