Thoughts Regarding the Gulf Oil Spill E-mail
Friday, 21 May 2010 06:40
Hopefull reds like this will continue to be available

Today is Friday May 7th, 2010. On a “normal” Friday, I am obsessing and excited about getting off work, heading home and getting my kayak and fishing gear together. The fishing should be “on fire” tomorrow and “normally” I would be dreaming of “Monster” Speckled Trout, “Door Mat” Flounder, and taking the Northern Gulf Coast “Sleigh Ride” behind a bullish Red Fish. This is the time of year I dream about all year long. Spring Time, Inshore Kayak Fishing, along the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

Several months ago a good friend passed away and I was helping his widow move to a smaller house. She told me that Bobby had some fishing magazines that I might like to have. She led me to a medium size box among several others and said that I could have them if I wanted them. She left the room and I opened the box and after getting past the initial “musty” aroma, I found several nice magazines and books from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s regarding fishes and fishing the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

One of the books in particular really stuck out, 100 Best of the Salt Water Angler by, David McKiethen. Mr. McKiethen wrote for the Mobile Press Register and other publications and this was a compilation of his 100 best articles on fishing the Northern Gulf of Mexico. I still pick this book up almost every day and read an article even if I have read it several times before already. Most of the articles were written in the late 70’s and the book was published in 1982.

This book is a window to the past. I can tell by the his suggested rigging techniques and tips that the Inshore and Offshore fishing in our area was much better than it is today. Rigging for one species, in particular, is a prime example as he recommends using 30lb test line and an 80lb leader. If I rigged that way today for the same species I would never get a bite. For that species today, I use 12lb test line and 15lb fluorocarbon leader and sometimes the fish are still to skittish to bite. Over the past several months since having this book in my possession, I have learned a few things and I enjoy opening that “window to the past” on a regular basis. Sometimes wish I was there fishing with Mr. McKiethen and experiencing the “Hay Day” of fishing our area.

Back to Friday May 7th, 2010. I am 42 years old and have 3 children. My daughter, Sarah Grace, is 8 going on 18 and is all “girl”. She has gone fishing with me several times but really has no interest in fishing, “It’s gross and boring, Dad!” she says. However, I have twin boys that are 3 years old, Brady and Zack that are always getting into my stuff and are showing an interest in fishing. They are still a bit of a handle to take to the Gulf, so I mainly take them freshwater fishing in some of the ponds and lakes nearby to fish for Bream. I’ve had high hopes of starting the “Mize Kayak Fishing Team” when they get older and passing along the knowledge I have gained along to them and hopefully we would get to enjoy making lifelong memories that they could someday share with their children.

Sadly, I may not be able to share those memories with them. As most of you are aware, there has been a catastrophic oil spill that still has not been contained. Today they are dropping a 4 story containment vessel that they say may or may not reduce the flow of the oil. I was listening to a spokesperson from British Petroleum last night on the news and you could tell that he didn’t really have much confidence that this would work and that it was an unproven, untested, attempt. I also, heard a couple days ago from Dr. Bob Shipp. (Dr. Bob Shipp has taught at the University of South Alabama since 1972, where he is presently chairman of the Department of Marine Sciences, director of the Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies, and heads the Alabama Oyster Restoration program. He was associate director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for 10 years and edited the marine journal Northeast Gulf Science, now Gulf of Mexico Science, for 20 years. He was appointed to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 1991, served as its chairman during 1996-97 and again from 1999-2000. He was reappointed to the Council in 2005, elected vice-chairman in 2007, and chairman in 2009.) In his assessment of the situation at hand “a man in his 40’s may never see fishing in the Northern Gulf, as it is today, in his lifetime.” I have met Dr. Shipp many times and he is not one to exaggerate or speak “out of context”.

As my Friday comes to a close and I make my way home to start preparing for tomorrow’s wonderful day of Spring Time fishing in the Northern Gulf of Mexico my feelings and emotions are running wild. Will this be my last good day of Inshore Kayak Fishing along the Northern Gulf of Mexico? Will my boys get to enjoy fishing the Northern Gulf of Mexico as I have? Will we get to share wonderful days of fishing the Northern Gulf together? Or, will the only memories they have of saltwater fishing locally, come from an old box, with a musty aroma, full of kayak fishing magazines, old pictures of their dad in a kayak, smiling from ear to ear, posing with a nice fish, wishing they too could have experienced the “Hay Day“ of fishing the Northern Gulf of Mexico?

As of Friday, May 7th 2010, nobody knows.
Mark Mize
Malabu Pro Staff member
 

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