Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Florida Keys - Part Deux ~ Conch Key Adventures

It's impossible to relate my escapades in the Keys in a few short posts, but there are many stories that deserve mentioning. One particular story involves Brother Kirt and I, our friend Ronnie,  and an older family friend named Mr. Ritter.

Mr. Ritter overheard Kirt and I talking about fishing in Conch Key when we were kids and, out of the goodness of his heart, offered to take us fishing in the Keys.

We headed to the Keys one morning in Mr. Ritter's 1958 Chevrolet station wagon, stopping on the way to purchase bait consisting of mullet and shrimp, a few bags of ice and some sodas. Our destination was the Channel Five bridge which is just before Conch Key.

Arriving about midday, we parked the car where the sea wall meets the bridge. Excited about our arrival, we immediately began casting for anything that bites. We caught about 10 decent snapper and grunt. Yep, I eat grunts. Not much meat on 'em but if you catch enough, they make a fine meal. Ever heard of "grits and grunts"?

We iced the fish and Mr. Ritter lied down in the station wagon for a nap. As I was baiting my hook, I happen to look down in the crystal clear 8-10 feet of water and saw the largest jewfish I've ever seen. How big was it?

If I had the cojones, I could have jumped on it and rode it like a horse. It was easily the size of the jewfish pictured below. Apparently, it had discovered the remains of the mullet we had cut for bait.

I yelled for my brother and our pal Ronnie to come. They couldn't believe the size of the jewfish. I happened to have had a very large shark hook and I came up with a plan to catch the jewfish.

I would bait the shark hook with an entire mullet, tie the hook using the rope from the bait bucket and tie same to the bumper of Mr Ritter's station wagon. It was about that time that Mr. Ritter heard the commotion and awoke from his nap.

Bear in mind that we were teenagers and I may have been in the 10th grade. Brother Kirt and Ronnie were younger. Mr. Ritter's eyes lit up when he saw that large jewfish, but when he became aware that our plan to catch it entailed tying the rope to the bumper of his station wagon, he nixed the plan. He actually feared that the fish might pull his car into the water.

That night, we continued fishing and later, using a flashlight, observed the many Florida lobster that were hiding in the crevices of the seawall. All of those antennae poking out of the seawalls and, alas, out of season. I don't know if lobsters have Twitter accounts to apprise them of opening season, but you never see them in the seawalls during the season.

I've had many an adventure on Conch Key and the Channel 5 bridge. I've seen unbelievable schools of 5-6 foot tarpon pass under the bridge. I saw an college aged kid catch a large permit from the catwalk and learned that permit run sideways when hooked and it's like reeling in a bucket of water.

I also saw the same college idiot snag a beautiful manta ray with a wing span of easily 12 feet. Fortunately, the huge manta ray took it with a grain of salt and took every bit of line off the kid's reel. The line broke when the manta triumphantly leaped into the air.

The kid lamented that he had just had fresh line put on his reel  costing him a pretty penny. I told him, "Maybe you shouldn't have snagged the manta."

I will post my final entry on the Florida Keys on Friday.

The News As I See It: Hillary Clinton has a $350 billion plan that she says will make college more affordable. That's better than my parent's plan to make college affordable which was, "Be good at sports."

A PAC supporting Hillary Clinton just received an anonymous donation of $1 million. Which means that if she wins any of us can say that it was us that gave her the million bucks and hit her up for a favor. What’s interesting is that this million-dollar donation came just two weeks after Hillary spoke out against, "the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money" into campaigns.

Liberal Socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders had a rally in Los Angeles last night attended by over 27,000 supporters. The rally set the world record for most Priuses in one parking lot.

A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton is only six points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Today a very confident Hillary said, "Oh, please. Like I'm going to lose the Democratic nomination to a left-wing senator nobody's ever heard of?" Apparently, Hillary has forgotten about Obama in 2008.

A new report claims that William Shakespeare was a marijuana user and may have been high when he wrote some of his plays. Which explains that one line: "To be, or not to be...... What was the question?"

North Korea is creating its own time zone. It's going to push the country's time back a half hour. So it's not bad enough that they don't have food and they're ruled by an insane dictator. Now they have to wait until 8:00 to watch "Wheel of Fortune." 

For the first time American astronauts on the International Space Station ate vegetables grown in space. In other words, even space is getting more rain than California.

Bernie Sanders drew over 20,000 people to his campaign event in Portland this weekend. Sounds impressive, but remember, it’s Portland. You can draw a crowd of 20,000 people with a Frisbee.

Schooling Tarpon

This Date In History: 1624; Cardinal Richelieu was named chief minister of France by king Louis XIII. 1851; Issac Singer patented the sewing machine. 1865; British surgeon Joseph Lister became the first doctor to use an antiseptic during surgery.

1898; Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States. 1898; A peace protocol ending the Spanish-American War was signed. 1972; The last American combat troops left Vietnam. 1985; In the world's worst single-aircraft disaster, a Japan Air Lines 747 crashed into Mount Osutaka, killing 520 of the 524 aboard.

1998; Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion to settle lawsuits brought by Holocaust survivors and their heirs. The banks had kept millions of dollars deposited by Holocaust victims before and during World War II.

2000; The Russian military submarine, Kursk, and its crew were lost in the Barents Sea. 2004; N.J. governor James McGreevey announced his resignation.

2013; Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger was found guilty of 31 of the 32 charges he faced, including murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and possession of weapons.

Picture Of The Day: A great place to lie back and take it all in.

Printable Things I Never Told You: 1) The worst walk of shame is the one back onto the crowded elevator after getting out on the wrong floor. 2) We should really thank our Dads for bringing us into this world since our Moms were probably tired and not in the mood. 3) If a tree falls in the woods, it should break into a light jog so it looks like it did it on purpose. 4) Sometimes I just sit and run my fingers through my girlfriend's hair. Its a nice way to let her know I love her and also that were out of napkins.  5) If I'm in a public bathroom and someone else in that same bathroom is on the phone and states that they are anywhere else, I flush the toilet.....and that's five !

Today's Horoscope: Leo - August 12th: All of your goals are achievable, although some of them would involve bionic implants and a bit of embezzlement. On another subject, If you are cornered by raccoons in the wild, place your thumb and index finger tips together and make a bandit mask. They will accept you.

Birthdays: George IV, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1820–30), eldest son and successor of George III 1762, Katharine Lee Bates, author 1859, Jacinto Benavente, dramatist 1866, Mary Roberts Rinehart, novelist 1876, Christy Mathewson, baseball player 1880, Cecil B. De Mille,  film director 1881, Erwin Schrödinger, theoretical physicist and cat owner 1887, Cantinflas, actor 1911 George Hamilton, actor, producer 1939, Pete Sampras, tennis player 1971.

The AREA 51 Retirement Home Bar And Grill: A 25-year-old Jewish girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period for 2 months. Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a pregnancy kit. The test result shows that the girl is pregnant. Shouting and crying, the mother says, "Who was the pig that did this to you? I want to know!"

Without answering, the girl picks up the phone and makes a call. Half an hour later, a Mercedes stops in front of their house. A mature and distinguished man with gray hair and wearing a yarmulke steps out of the car and enters the house. He sits in the living room with the father, mother, and the girl and tells them, "Your daughter has informed me of the problem. I can't marry her because of my personal family situation, but I'll take charge."

He continues, "I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life. Additionally, if a girl is born, I will bequeath two retail furniture stores, a deli, a condo in Miami and a $1,000,000 bank account. If a boy is born, my legacy will be a chain of jewelry stores and a $25,000,000 bank account. However, if there is a miscarriage, I'm not sure what to do. What do you suggest?"

All silent at this point, the mother placed a hand firmly on the man's shoulder and told him, "So, you'll screw her again!"

While acquainting himself with a new elderly female patient, the doctor asked, "How long have you been bed-ridden?" After a look of complete confusion she answered, "Why, not for about twenty years.....when my husband was alive."
Conch Key circa 1958

The Hits Just Keep On Coming: A business woman, in town for an important meeting, checked into her room at the swank hotel and unpacked her bags. Noticing that her best suit had been badly wrinkled during her flight, she telephoned the desk and asked the hotel's valet service to pick it up for pressing.

Almost immediately after she hung up the phone, a knock sounded at the door, and there stood an elderly Chinese man, waiting. Impressed by the fast service, the career woman exclaimed, "My, you come lickety-split!" The elderly Chinese man replied, "No ma'am, come to get laundry."

An elderly couple were driving across the country. The woman was driving when she got pulled over by the highway patrol. The officer said, "Ma'am did you know you were speeding?" The woman, hard of hearing, turns to her husband and asks, "What did he say?" The old man yells, "He says you were speeding!"

The patrolman says, "May I see your license?" The woman turns to her husband and asks again, "What did he say?" The old man yells, "He wants to see your license!" The woman gave the officer her license.

The patrolman says, "I see you are from Arkansas. I spent some time there once and went on a blind date with the ugliest woman I've ever seen." The woman turned to her husband and asked, "What did he say?" The old man yells, "He said he knows you!"

Ethel and Mabel, two elderly widows, were watching the folks go by from their park bench. Ethel said, "You know, Mabel, I've been reading this 'Sex and Marriage' book and all they talk about is 'mutual orgasm'. Mutual orgasm here and mutual orgasm there. That's all they talk about."

Ethel went on, "Tell me, Mabel, when your husband was alive, did you two ever have mutual orgasm?" Mabel thought for a long while. Finally, she shook her head and said, "No, I think we had State Farm."  

That's it for today, my little puppy dogs. Remember, a woman's "I'll be ready in five minutes" and a man's "I'll be home in five minutes" are exactly the same. I'm heading over to AREA 51 for happy hour.

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More on Friday.

Stay Tuned !

1 comment:

jack69 said...

Loved the tales of the Keys. Sons Mark and Jack ran down to Texas, but will enjoy this one when they come back.. YEP that was some big Jew fish....
We are parked in Lavern, OK