After The Hunt: Cures for the Hunting Offseason
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Article Contributed by Field Staff Writer K. Floerke.
I am sure most outdoorsmen can relate, the post hunt “season” can be a struggle. From the hunting blues, to your mouth watering in the heat of summer, craving your next bite of fresh harvested venison, or finding any excuse to pull your rifle out of the safe and give it a good cleaning (not that it needed it). Here I am,Â dead in the middle of summer in South Texas, 105 degrees, humidity up to 70%, continually trying to find newÂ hobbiesÂ to keep me activeÂ outdoors, and the most important of all…SANE. Exploring the wild has always been a passion of mine,Â getting up close and personal with nature in hopes that I will understand it a little more than I did yesterday.
Fishing for sharkÂ has become a favorite summer hobby of mineÂ this year. I have never really had any luck as anÂ angler and there are a ton of things I need toÂ learn that would help me lean less on the luck and more on the skill.Â As a local surfer I have a deep understanding for the way the water movesÂ and all of the beauty beneath and felt that I would have some kind of advantage with the extra knowledge, boy was I wrong. The beauty about shark fishing for me is I can sleep in until 9am, drink my coffee, load up the kiddo,Â get to the pier at 11am, set up and have the poles in the water by 12pm and the shark will still be there.Â As opposed to fishing for game fish, whereÂ being up at 4am and on theÂ boat by 5am is a requirement.Â Â
My favorite place to fish is Keepers at Caldwell Pier located in Port Aransas (a familiar tourist destination),Â the pier isÂ for any angler from the novice to the most experienced.Â It extends out 1200 feetÂ into the Gulf of Mexico, providing ample space and underwater environments,Â allowing many different speciesÂ of fish to bite the hook. Because of its 24 hourÂ access andÂ availability to anyone’s skill level, not to mention abundance of fish, from Red Drum to Bull Shark,Â it isÂ where I found my love for fishing.
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July 11th seemed like a good day for fishing. There wereÂ lighter winds than usual and I could see the beautiful blue water moving in closer to the pier washing out all of the brown,Â murkyÂ water from the recent upwellings caused by theÂ El NiÃ±o season. It didnâ€™t take much for me to convince my favorite fishing partner, Flint,Â to come join me. I knew before we went that if we didn’tÂ catch anything, sharing a couple of beers together and enjoying the outdoors would be enough for the both of us.Â So there we were in the middle, at the end of the â€œTâ€, with close to 10Â other fishermanÂ of all ages and skill levels, all there for the same thing, that rushÂ of reeling in theÂ big one.
First cast,Â my pole is bent, hook is set, FISH ON!
Â A quick fight and out of the water breached a 30″Â babyÂ Blacktip Shark,Â which have a minimum size of 24″ to keep and no maximum size limit. (All shark I have caught have beenÂ released, alive and well). It didnâ€™t slow down after this fish, we were catching shark after sharkÂ and it seemed like we were the only ones on the pier reeling.
The other Anglers were fascinated and left their poles in the water to run over and get a closer look at our catch. TheyÂ asked what we were using as bait, when I responded with squid, the confused look on their facesÂ let me know that they were using squid also but they weren’t getting any bites. Â Flint and IÂ were in theÂ right spot, with the right equipment, at the right time, and sometimes the perfect combination of those things can prove to be essential.
We caught seven sharks that day,Â Blacktip, Atlantic Sharpnose, and small Hammerhead. Needless to say, I have fished every day since then, eager to learn as much as possible about the techniques and tools needed for different conditions and fish.Â I can personally equate the rush of reeling a fishÂ to the rush of seeing a hog come out of the brush, knowing that it takes skill, patience, and the right tools to have success when harvesting nature.
There is a need inside of me to be a part of the wild. Whether it be hunting for deer in 35 degreeÂ weather with my rifle while sitting quietly in a blind, or jumping for joy laughing loudly in happiness after successfully catching a shark andÂ pullingÂ it onto the pier. Finding a balance in the offseason of hunting has been a success this year. I found a new hobby that has connected me even more with nature that will allow me to develop more skills which will help me continue to provideÂ my daughter the most natural foods taken by my hands, gifted to me from Mother Nature herself.