Hellloooo America (May 2009)
Hey Everyone.. hellllllooooo from America! My first blog being back home, and it feels so goooood!!!
My team ended up taking third place in the Russian Super league, and by the party we threw you would’ve thought we were world champions. So we tooted our horns and raised our paper cups to “we are the 3rd place champions of the world!” The owners had brought in the biggest bottle of Asti (I think that’s the name) and took us out for a great dinner after the game. We had a great time, as usual, and all of us were heading out the next morning to our various countries, so it was a short night, but a fun one! Thank goodness everyone had already been packed up for about a week, because we didn’t waste anytime catching flights back across the Atlantic. And thank goodness I had someone to help me pack, omg! I don’t know how I accumulate soooo much crap! Geez, I ended up giving away as much as I could, and still left bags over there in Moscow, and brought 4 bags back with me to NJ! So once I got unpacked, I repacked and headed to the Florida Keys for a quick couple days of sun and fishing with my parents and grandparents! I had a great time, and decided that I wouldn’t be going on any major vacations, but would rather lay low and be at home! No airports, no luggage, no hotels!
BUT, I’ve got to tell you about my short vacation to the Keys! My parents have a time share down there, and so my mom is always talking about what they’ve been doing in Florida, who’s been down visiting, etc, etc… while I’m in the cold, gloomy weather working, they’re living it up down in the sun! So this was my first time down there to see where they’ve been camping out the last few years avoiding the cold South Dakota winters.. and as usual, they didn’t disappoint in the FUN category!!
I flew down there in the morning and by later that evening I was wrestling with the BIG BOYS!!! I love it, such a blast! We took my dads boat and headed out just a short distance off shore, under some bridges to catch some tarpon or amber jacks… or at least that’s what my dad wanted to catch, but not me, I wanted to catch a shark!
My cousin had recently caught about a 10ft bull shark, probably just shy of 400lbs, soooo I wanted to catch a shark too! Although, it usually takes a couple of guys to reel in the fish, a good boat driver, and one guy helping handle the line (making sure you don’t get caught off on a motor, or debris, other fishing lines, etc) in fact when you get a big fish on the line, the first thing you do is reel in all the other lines… big game fishing is actually a team sport! It takes at least 2 and preferably 3 people to get in a big fish.
So anyways, we’re fishing, the lines are out, and we’re just enjoying the weather, there were dolphins that cruised by, a few sea turtles, blah blah blah, and finally we hook up on a small jack, so I real him in no problem. I’ve posted a picture of the jack and me. (Notice the small fishing rod in the pic, not really small, but not a heavy duty pole that you’ll see me handling a little later!!)
So the best thing about catching this jack, is that a jack is like a shark candy! Shark bait ohhh haaaa!! Apparently every time my dad has hooked up with a big shark, he’s used a jack for bait. So we threw a big piece of sushi on the BIG girl rod and sent it down to the bottom. It was just about sun down, and the swimmers were just heading back to the beach from the water. I could see a popular beach from the boat. (No fishing lie here!!) and BAM one of the lines start singing… ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg… that jack wasn’t in the water more than ten minutes before a 8ft bull shark decided he was hungry!! He was probably around 250-270 lbs or so. My dad had told me he’d be shocked if we didn’t have a big shark on in less than 15 minutes in that area with that bait on.. he was right!
So I grabbed the rod and held on for dear life, and I do mean that literally. In the first 10 minutes it was all I could do to just hang on, really, it was ridiculously strong, and was twice my size, and who knows how many times stronger than me! But that’s why I love it, such a challenge!! I have the end of the rod settled in a battle belt for fishing, and my legs braced against the edge of the boat, with my mother getting on my last nerve yelling in the background “Mart, watch her, she’s going over”, “Mart grab her”, and on and on.. “MOM, STOP!!” She was full of wise advice “Beck reel”, yeah no crap mom!!!! lol.. There’s actually some technique you have to know when reeling in a monster!! But when that shark decides he’s gonna make a run, I just hang on.. When I feel like I’ve got a little advantage that’s when I lean back and then reel like heck on the way down. Pull back, reel like heck on the way down, over and over again! I’m fighting and hanging on, but mom, please know that your daughter is smart enough to let go of the pole before I let myself be drug into the ocean with a big, angry shark 20 yards away.
Of course we didn’t know how big the shark was till we got him close enough to the boat, to take a peak at him, which was about 70 minutes later. And I can’t tell a lie, after about 30 minutes I had to hand the pole to my dad, because I needed a 15 minute break or so to recover a little, my forearms and back were KILLIN me!!! Bull sharks are aggressive and unpredictable, which makes them very dangerous. They’re known for being “bullishly” strong, and having great endurance, plus the pure bulk size of this shark, made him more than a challenge for me. Bull sharks are actually probably more dangerous than great white sharks for a few reasons.
Like I listed before they’re aggressive and unpredictable, but also the pure number of them make them more dangerous, and they tend to be in more human populated areas, i.e the beach that was 400 yards away. And I didn’t look this up, but I think Bull sharks are probably the most dangerous, and white sharks after them. Bull sharks probably have more bite incidents, and great whites more fatalities. Either way, there’s no way in hell I’m going over board with that thing in the water!! So I demanded the pole back to finish off the job, all three of us were exhausted (me, my dad, and the shark) and we fought for about an hour and 20 minutes or so… But don’t worry, I handed the pole back to my dad so I could do a photo op with the shark! haha.. In one picture you just see my finger because I was grabbing its tail, of course watching where its head is, and trying to take a picture at the same time was difficult.. so I didn’t get a picture of me grabbing the tail, but I did!! ;-) .. After that battle, we were too tired to fish anymore, so we headed home that night, even though the tarpon were biting, we were completely consumed with getting this shark to the boat where I could grab it, take a few photos, then cut the line and let him swim off back towards the beach ;-) )
The next day we went fishing again. We didn’t catch anything big, but we did catch a few fish that were fun to reel in. There’s one picture of a bonnet head shark I caught, he was a cute little guy, but he did try to bite me! Don’t worry, he missed, and I clamped down my grip a little bit. A bonnet head is in the hammerhead shark family, but don’t grow to be as big as the Great Hammerhead sharks which can reach Goliath type sizes. There’s also a picture of a puffer fish.. this little guy has a little thorny skin, and tried to puff himself up, to make himself appear bigger than he actually is.. this is obviously a defense mechanism to ward off would be predators.. come to think of it, I may know a few people who have the same defense.. haha.. gotta love nature!
So when we got back to the dock, we cleaned the fish we kept to eat (most fish were sent back to the sea, its a rule, only kill what you’ll eat). In a matter of minutes there were more than 10 sharks waiting for the fish scraps.. So I decided to hand feed these little guys. I have to say, my point guard vision was in full effect!! I was looking everywhere with that fish dangling from my hand over the edge of the dock with over a dozen hungry sharks right there. I didn’t want any surprises! Turns out they were pretty shy, they could see me too, but eventually their hunger won out, and they finally came and took it out of my hand. I also posted a picture of a Florida local, a manatee… this one was a baby that was suckling up to our docked boat drinking the fresh water coming out the side.. I pet him too, he was sweet and enjoyed the little rub down on his big melon!
The next day before I headed back to NJ, me, my parents, and grandparents were able to catch up with Ms. Riley for dinner in Miami!! And of course, Ruth is a past fishing partner of mine, so we were able to catch up and exchange a few stories!
That’s about it for now, but I do want to throw in that I do try to check out everyone’s comments on my website, and appreciate your kind words.. poka
So that’s what my “down time” has consisted of! haha! I can’t sit still I’ve learned, but I’m really enjoying my down time!
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