Several weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip to Florida. We wanted to get away before we faced some difficult medical issues. Since Joe loves to fish, he hired a fishing guide with a boat—the highlight of the trip.
For two days in a row, my husband fished on an unnamed lake. Ordinarily I’d mention the name, but this time, I need to protect my husband’s interests. Literally, he could go to jail.
The first day Joe caught twelve huge bass which he decided not to keep. Two reasons, one we stayed in a small condo and hadn’t cooked meals other than breakfast. Two, he said he was only doing sport fishing, and that it’s easier to go to the store to buy them. But when he got back to the condo that first day, he proudly displayed a picture of his catch. “Fine looking bass, right?” he said. Somehow the significance of keeping only a picture escaped me.
But day 2 is the focus of this post. A gentle breeze rocked the 22-foot Tracker about fifteen yards from one of many islands. My husband cast and reeled in. This time the tug was so strong he firmed his feet on the boat’s bottom and gripped the rod as hard as he could. What was on his line—a whale?
The guide’s attention shifted from the fishing bait to Joe’s struggle. “You’ve got a big one there.”
Finally, as Joe reeled in his line, he gasped. “Oh, my goodness. It’s not a fish. It’s an osprey.” He drew the creature nearer to the boat and clipped the line and hook which had become entangled in the bird’s legs. Finally, the osprey realized he’d regained his freedom, and he flew away.
Later, after a long discussion, the guide and Joe figured that the bird spotted the bait they called a shiner, figuring it would make a good lunch. Somehow the creature’s leg got tangled up in the line and hook.
Then the guide stared at Joe wide eyed. “You do know that the Osprey is an endangered animal?”
Joe gulped. “Yeah. At least the creature is free now.”
Unfortunately, when my husband returned to the condo that day, he told me he thought we’d better leave Florida for home right away. Before the game warden showed up.