I love fishing off the City Pier on Anna Maria Island. Love it. I’ve been fishing here for over a decade. Time flies!
I see a new and fascinating event in nature here every year. It’s exciting to be on the watch. I have been so fortunate to see a school of hundreds of stingray swim by, the school stretching 50+ feet wide and twice as long, rays of all sizes gliding along.
I have seen a fisherman work for over an hour reeling and coddling a drum, his mate helping him haul it in with a net. Then, in an amazing display I will never forget, the school of heavy sea fish, minus one, all coming up to skim the surface and swim thru.
I have seen a stellar tarpon run. They ran for several days, just before daybreak. Huge thrashing fish, so heavy that as one hit a pylon under where I was standing, it jolted us, buckling my knees.
I was fortunate last year to fish a mackerel run. Mack fatties fed us for days, and we had plenty to share. I measured with a dollar bill (20 inches) and snapped pics of our good fortune.
The Jacks were running as well, and it was a magical moment as I caught a Jack, a dolphin toyed with it, more playing with it as I reeled it in than chasing it. I took the Jack off the hook and tossed it in, all of us wondering why we thought he would actually get it, and then he surfaced, flipped the Jack up, caught it and swam away. He played around the pier all day and I was able to get a video. What a cheeky dolphin! What a fantastic family memory to share!
Yesterday was another new adventure by the sea. I was up before dawn, rod and reel ready. In spite of the fact that the fish had not been biting for a couple of days, I was optimistic. I slid into a pier spot and dropped my line in, right into a mackerel’s mouth. Success! Dinner!
After a couple of great catches, the big boys on the left and right of me noticed the same thing. Dolphins! Not the usual six or seven, but an aggressive pod that was actively catching our fish. Yes, our fish. In the possessive, as they were on our lines being reeled in.
The whole line of us will have another fish tale adventure to tell. It is hard to catch mackerel for your dinner when Jacks and Ladyfish are also running through. Seeing the spotted side of a Spanish Mackerel is always fantastic, seeing a dolphin grab it is fantastic, too, until it happens several times across the pier length. I snapped a photo of one of the dolphins as it jetted by, just under the surface of the water, right under us by the edge of the pier.
I am thankful for the sea life adventure, the great weather and beautiful view and doubly thankful for the fish I caught before the dolphins came. And, of course, thankful for another fish tale to tell.