I know my wife loves me, probably understands
me more than anyone else on this entire planet.
We were best friends before we decided to "set
the hook" permanently in the jaws of Holy
Matrimony. She puts up with me and my many
eccentricities; but here lately, I must have
become quite the challenge for her. I'm beginning
to worry myself and scare her, so I have decided
to write all of this down, just in case she decides
to put me away.
Here, I will mention instances that have recently
occurred, and conversations, as short as they may
be, that have lend me to believe Linda may be
laying plans for my future that could include
my demise. I'm worried.
As recently as the other night, for instance, I
returned home from that big, retail chain store we refer
to as "Wally World" with a bag full of Accardo Spooks.
I was extremely excited because they are hard to
get here, and, since the tackle salesmen at "Wally
World" haven't a clue what an Accardo Spook is,
they only stock one at a time. So, okay, I became
very emotional to get a half dozen and figured
they had finally listened to my incessant whining.
Probably the first "red flag" Linda paid attention
to. Maybe not.
We got home from the store and I went directly to
my room. Let me explain. My room is where all of
my fishing stuff is, "The Captain's Quarters,"
as I have chosen to call the fourth bedroom in
the new house; my own little clubhouse (another
red flag). I eagerly opened one of the plastic
homes where the Spook had lived until he was
purchased and brought to "The Captain's Quarters"
where he would be treated with the respect he
deserved. I pulled out my pocket knife and dug
out the chartreuse paint that that filled the
eye of the hook. My door was firmly closed; I
made doubly sure of that.
I held my little friend by the bend of its hook,
looked into its large, fixed eyes and imagined
it to be a warrior. He was a warrior and would
pick many a good fight with the bluegills and
bass the next day.
"I am Spook, the Warrior," as I gave him my voice.
"I will grip you with my deadly talon as the great
osprey does, for I am made from the same feathers
as he, The Fish Eagle." My door flings open, and
Linda notices my "deer in the headlight" look and
asks, "Who the hell are you talking to?" She notices
the little cork bug pinched between my thumb and
forefinger. "You're crazy and I'm worried, and
I'm calling the hospital."
When I first bought my skiff, it was the last
week of February of 1996. Not good weather for
fishing the flats, and surely not conducive to
teach my new wife to sight-fish. I was extremely
proud of the boat. It fit almost perfectly in
the double garage of the other home. Well, I did
have to kick the car and truck out to make room,
and it did sit kind of caty-wompus, taking up
the entire garage. And, I'm sure she became lonely,
all cooped up in the garage and not out ripping
through the flats, doing what she was made to do.
I could sit for hours and just look at her. I even
climbed aboard one stormy and dreary afternoon,
while Linda was at work. I sat behind her wheel
and steered her through beautiful, open and
shallow flats. I was unconsciously making engine
noises as we searched for tailing reds. The garage
access door swings open, and the blonde is shaking
her head. "You're crazy and I'm worried, and I'm
calling the hospital."
Over the years, I've fished with some very respectable,
professional fishermen. At least they said they were
respectable. I find myself in harms way, even by
these trusted friends. They often make mention of
how they don't understand why a smart woman, such
as my Linda, puts up with me. I don't understand
why they would say such things. Case in point...I
show up at a dinner party in a brightly-colored,
long-sleeved flats shirt. I believe it was referred
to as, "watermelon." It was very expensive, even
though I only paid five bucks for it on sale. They
all looked at me, put on their sunglasses and then
turned to Linda, did their "tisk-tisk" thing and
said, "He's crazy and we're worried about you."
Linda looks at them, shakes her head, looks at me
and says, "Yeah, I'm worried, and I'm calling the
Get this. The last six times I've gathered my fly
rod and started down to the lake behind the house,
the wind immediately begins to blow, torrents of
rain falls, lightning crashes all about. I now
refer to the six-weight as my "weather maker."
Okay, I can turn this into a positive thing. I
mentioned to my neighbor, the one that still
smiles and talks to me, that I had been considering
selling the rod on the Internet for a million bucks
to a farmer in the Midwest to make rain. As soon as
I notice the yards in the neighborhood begin to
wither and die, I run down the street, fly rod
in hand, screaming, "Do you want me to make it
rain?" Linda embarrassingly chases me down, loads
me in the car, shakes her head and mutters, "Your
crazy and I'm worried, and I'm calling the hospital,
providing the neighbors haven't called the cops
Just the other evening, I was sitting on the back
porch thinking of another article I wanted to write.
I had a nice, cold glass of iced tea. I was staring
out into the darkness listening to the frogs that
were saying different things to each other. One
particular frog had caught my attention. Linda
walks out onto the lanai and immediately notices
I'm staring blankly into the night, and assumes
I've gone to other places other than the porch.
"What are you thinking about?"
"Oh, nothing." I smile at her with that innocent
as hell look I've cleverly designed to prevent
her from callin' the cops.
"No, seriously, is everything okay?"
Damn, she seems genuinely concerned about my appearing
melancholy. "No, I'm fine...Okay, listen to that
Her lip begins to turn up on the side, as she cocks
her head like my bulldog. "How do you spell what
that frog is saying?"
It was an innocent and perplexing question I had asked.
You guessed it!
"You're crazy and I'm worried,
and I'm calling the hospital."
"No, wait, I'm serious about this. Do you think
it would be B-R-E-E-P", or "B-R-U-U-P?"
She runs into the house, slamming the sliding
glass door behind her, leaving me to figure it
out on my own.
Hopefully, I'll see y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.