Monday, March 24, 2014


"Sunshine State"

This was our view as Captain Denny Voyles, my son Raymie, and I headed out into the Gulf and away from the Cedar Key boat harbor.

The view did not change during our entire voyage, a molten lead sea and a low heavy sky followed us everywhere on this day.
The dull monotone view gives no hint of the fantastic day of fishing that was in store for us.
There was nothing dull about that!

Here's the reason why.
Captain Denny Voyles is perhaps, the fishiest person in the Gulf of Mexico.
I have fished with him for about 20 years, even before he became a licensed guide and ... well, it's uncanny folks... the man can find fish on any day of the year under any weather conditions.

I've never seen anything like it.

If this part sounds a little like an advertisement, it's only because I wish you ALL could spend a day on the Gulf with Capt. Denny.
(And you can of course if you contact Voyles Guide Service)
You won't regret it.

Here's the reason for this particular trip.
My boy.
He's a hard working, bartending , about to graduate from UF ...probably with a 4.0 or close to it GPA, about to go to Law School kind of guy that's pretty busy on the average day.

So when he called me last Friday and said, "Hey Dad, you want to go kayak fishing at Shell Mound on Sunday?", I of course said yes.

Just my luck, Captain Denny was in earshot, and he said, "Hey, why don't you guys come with me on a REAL boat."

Well, I wasn't about to turn that offer down, so when Raymie showed up early Sunday morning, we left the kayak and canoe home for another day.

Two lucky guys.

Raymie with a nice keeper spotted seatrout.
He turned out to be the "trout whisperer" on this outing and caught the most trout.
We fished multiple spots, moving when the bite slowed, sometimes only a few hundred yards was all it took to get on them again.

All of the trout we caught were heavily muscled, healthy, and beautifully colored.
They were pretty cooperative and we released many almost legals unharmed to grow up, even while hitting our limit of keepers for supper.

Becky the seadog came along on this buddy trip. She was a little under the weather on this day, but such a sweet dog.

Denny caught this dogfish shark, which amazed me since I always think of dogfish as a deep water, more northerly variety of shark ... we were fishing in about 6 feet of water on the flats at the time.
This girl was fat with pups, so we posed just long enough for a photo and back she went.
I think she was in shallow to birth those shark pups in the safety of the seagrass beds.
(Julie Zickefoose, that shot is for you)

The fish box became more crowded as the day went on. Most of the fish are Spotted Seatrout, but the darker banded fish are Sheephead.

A tiny top secret bit of bottom structure held the s
Sheephead around it and we "worked" hard to trick those 4 keepers into the boat.

The trick with Sheephead is, "Set the hook just BEFORE they bite."

Tricky, no?

When we finally decided that the sea had given us more than enough food and fun for one day, we headed back in to Cedar Key.
At the dock, the pterodactyls  ... pelicans were waiting for us.

Captain Denny made short work of the fish filleting, which left me with nothing to do, but wander around taking pictures like a tourist.
I can do that.

We ate our fish a few hours later at home and they were fantastic!
I blackened some and southern fried the rest.
I didn't hear any complaints from the diners.

The photo above, of Denny, is the one moment in this awesome day that the clouds parted, blue sky appeared, and the sun shone brightly.


Thanks Captain Denny for a great day on the water with my boy.


One last thing ... NEVER get into a staring contest with a pterodactyl pelican ... You'll lose.


Dani said...

Shark!Shark!Shark!Oh my, they are so beautiful!

Pablo said...

What a fantastic day for the two of your (four of you). The kind of thing to be savored for years.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fun day. He's cute, the son, not the dog. It's a good thing I'm married or I'd be in my car driving north right now.

My husband keeps telling me to stop complaining about the rain and clouds, at least it's not snowing here.

amarkonmywall said...

FC, This is a really beautiful post in every way. I'm just sitting down to finish my final online exam in my Marine Megafauna course and procrastinating, came over here. Wonderful, wonderful. Ray, Jr has grown into adulthood since we started following each other on blogs and it's so cool to see where he is headed. Glad you had this splendid day and glad you shared it with us. Thank you!

robin andrea said...

A fine journey in every way. Absolutely love that last photo of the staring pelican. I've never seen their eyes like that. Fantastic!

threecollie said...

Great stuff, FC. Congratulations to your boy on his achievements and to all on the wonderful fish day.

Banjo52 said...

Very enjoyable--the narrative and the photos both--with some educational value too, for this non-fisherman and non-boater.

With young adults, including your son, sometimes I swear I can see intelligence and character in their faces. That can't be right, but . . .

Julie Zickefoose said...

This, an epic post in every way. Ima go share it on Facebook. At first I was disappointed that you were not kissing the shark on its flubbery lips, but as I think about it, where sharks are concerned, even sweet little pregnant lady sharks, forehead kisses are probably best. Thanks for the shoutout. I'm always trying to "tag" people on my blog. And I can't. Need to fix that. :)
Sure are some awesome photos here. Raymie has grown up rather nicely. And that pelican. My gosh.

Anonymous said...

Great blog and your son has grown into a handsome young man. Love the GPA too. Great pics too.

Miz S said...

Law school! Wow! He's a good kid, your boy. But you already know that.

Island Rider said...

Congrats to Raymie. And Mama and Papa, too.

Ryan Gruenholz said...

Wow! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun bonding. It's really nice that you still find time to bond with your son, especially that he’s about to go into another phase of his life. And it looks like you caught a lot of fish too! You must be a very proud father.

Ryan Gruenholz