I caught a fish and ate it for dinner!
My only fishing experience to date had been surf casting off the Ocean City shoreline as a young teen, until last Sunday, when my friends and I embarked on a half-day charter boat out of Fisherman’s Wharf in Lewes.
Capt. Carey Evans owns and operates the Grizzly, a 37-foot Stapleton with a 14-foot beam providing plenty of fishing room and social distancing for my party of five. He knew where to find the fish, while his son Josh had the relentless task of keeping our hooks baited with fresh squid and clams.
The crew was aware that I was inexperienced, but they were ready to teach me how to fish. I loved releasing the line out. I even loved the waiting. While I wanted to catch fish, I can honestly say I enjoyed the process of feeling that tug and wondering what was on the other end of the line.
When I caught something, there was pride in reeling it in by myself. And I now understand why my nephew John loves fishing. Because staring at the water set my mind afloat too, and I didn’t worry about anything. Nor did I think about time passing.
Between the five of us, we caught sea trout, sea bass and croakers. Some of the fish were too small to keep, and we didn’t mind returning them to the water. It was thrilling when I caught my first sea trout! Capt. Carey had assured me I was going to bring home dinner. And he aimed to please.
Our group caught many ugly fish called oyster crackers which we happily tossed back in. And we did catch a large, angry eel that got tangled in the line. Sometimes our hooks got snagged on a concrete piling. Who knew?
Maybe more experienced fishermen know how to lure them in without losing their bait, but thank goodness the crew was prepared with plenty. We were happy to be on the sparkling water on a sunny, 80-degree day. Even the boat ride out and back was relaxing as we watched the spray and saw dolphins.
I had no idea how to clean a fish. My father would put them in the sink and my mother knew how to do it so we seldom found a bone. So I was relieved that Capt. Carey and his son provided this service right there on the dock and handed us our bounty.
Well, at least we thought it was a bounty until saw the small plastic bag. Still, it was enough to provide dinner. I found a simple recipe that called for butter and lemon, and that fish tasted like heaven.
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