I don't know if you have noticed, but I have been in one of the worst prolonged fishing slumps of my life.
I am reduced to showing you pictures of fish that were caught in my boat by others, such as the big snook that Tomoka River Norm caught. (Editor Cecil gave me the business in the photo caption.)
This has gone on for about three months and it has me talking to myself. Oh sure I have taken a few small ones here and there during that stretch, but nothing worth mentioning. My wife, Lana, is starting to ask me what type of fish she should buy at the market. Oh, the horrors! The Smiths don't buy fish; we catch fish.
People often ask me if I practice catch and release, but my answer is always the same: no I practice catch and eat!
A recent outing was a good demonstration of my heart ache. Along with Norm, I dragged my boat the 30 miles north up to Bing's Landing. I had a couple reasons for going there. Number one, in order to break my slump, I had to get where the sea trout season is still open. Up that way you are allowed to keep five trout and two reds.
Number two, there are miles of flats to fish there and it had to be a great place to change my luck.
As I launched my 17-foot Polar skiff, optimism ran high. The recent flood tides would make boating there much easier than usual. The broad salt marsh west of the river there is alive with oysters and it is tough for someone who does not fish there often.
When we turned west into the flats, we immediately discovered the flood tide we had anticipated was gone. Instead we were met with extremely shallow water that was still going out. I knew where the trout holes were, but could not reach them.
After running aground a few times, I gave up and decided to fish the river and on the east side of the little islands that line it. I had forgotten our trip coincided with the annual fall yacht migration. As we tried to fish the river, big southbound yachts laid a wake on us heavy enough to tip us over. Bad plan.
Later we moved south to a narrow stream I had fished in the past, but there was not enough water to navigate there either. That was it for Bing's Landing. As you can see, during my slump I have been able to come up with plenty excuses. Yachts, tide or whatever.
We headed back south to High Bridge to give it one more try. but at the ramp it began to rain. Once more it was just not my day. If I had any consolation, it was that Norm didn't catch anything either.
You know I realize a lot of you get tired of reading of my fishing adventures that usually turn out successful. You must know that just like every other angler, I have a bad day here and there, just not a fiscal quarter of bad luck.
Usually I don't write about the bad days for that makes for poor reading. I just had to let you know that I am mired in a terrible slump. All I can do is wait it out. In the meantime, I will sit at my desk and enoy a can of sardines. Oh good, it's the kind with the hot sauce already in the can.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.