"I'd have never bought a boat if I'd known there wasn't any fish around here," said Aurora Bill, as he rewound a reel with the help of 'Joe the Mailman.' "I caught a lot of fish on Lake Erie. Walley and Perch feared me. So it can't be me, there just ain't any fish."
"There aren't as many fish as the old days," said 'Cracker Bob,' "but there are fish right under your dock."
"I don't eat garfish. I mean good fish like snook and grouper or snapper. Which one of you has caught a snook lately?" We explained that snook is out of season since the cold snap two years ago killed them by the thousands.
Cracker Bob got up and crossed the street to his boat. He returned with a cast net and dropped it on the dock in front of Bill, "Learn how to use one of these and you'll catch fish."
"You can't catch a redfish in one of those, besides my son-in-law works for a lure company and I get the best lures almost free," said Bill.
"Too much work for you Yankees? There isn't any fake rig that will catch fish like live bait. I told you I'd teach you but you don't want to learn."
"I used to throw one, cast net that is, but I was tired of getting all wet so early in the morning," said Cap'n Crunch. "Now I buy my bait at the bait shop. Live bait does catch more fish."
Aurora Bill opened his tackle box and pulled out a brand new artificial lure still in the package. He ripped off the paperback and pulled it out. The lure was a thing of beauty. Bright, shiny, well formed with two hooks hanging from below. "That catches fish if there are any around," he said flashing the lure around.
"Watch out or you'll hook yourself," said Cracker Bob. "Why don't you and me go head to head behind Shell Point tomorrow morning!
"I fish afternoons. I'm retired so I don't have to get up early," said Aurora Bill. "Another reason why you don't catch fish," said the Mailman. "Let's get the reel finished so we can get to the 'Pukin Pelican!'
These theories have been disputed since the Calusas invented net fishing 1,000 years ago or more. They used the seine method to block off small channels and drive the fish into the nets. It worked very well and the high protein diet of fish and shellfish enabled them to grow to nearly a head taller than the invading Spanish soldiers.
"I'll see you up the street later but you won't catch me dead in any place that has an upchucking bird as a logo. Who would eat in such a place," 'A' observed.
"Why didn't you move to Sanibel, Aurora Bill? You are too good for our local places and you won't blend in," asked Cap'n Crunch. "Fish like a Floridian, and stay out of them pinky finger places."
It was still a little early even for the 'bed by eight' crowd so Cracker Bob tossed his net in a perfect circle onto A's manicured back lawn. He picked it up and separated it, flaked it carefully over his arm and tossed part of it over his shoulder, put the bit in his mouth and let the unknowing admire his expertise. (To view HOW TO cast netting videos go to YouTube and search Cast Net videos. There has to be at least 50.)
"That's the point! I really don't like, putting the thingamajig in the mouth. Maybe when it's dry but after the first toss you and the net are wet and that's gross," said 'Glad Gladys.'
"There is a method where you don't have to bite on the strap. It's good for people with false teeth or squeamish about salt water," said Bob.
During the early bird happy hour the 'bed by eight' crowd continued the discussion. I showed several interested parties the YouTube videos on my smart phones. Most attendees agreed that live bait catches more fish. Aurora Bill wasn't there because he was lifting his pinkies up the street.
"When you get really good at a regular cast net and can catch those little bait fish, I'll teach you to throw a mullet cast net. Nothing better than fried mullet, eggs, grits and biscuits for breakfast," said Cracker Bob.
Let me hear from you my dear readers which of the three methods you prefer.
Boatguy Ed is a past commodore of the Dead End Canal Yacht Club, a manufacturer of marine products especially Super Shipbottom Anti-fouling bottom paint (www.supershipbottom.com) and an avid boater. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't ever try to buy him a drink.