Monday, February 26, 2007

Changing Seasons

Winter is just about over, at least as far as the wildlife is concerned. The pelicans that wintered in our bay have been practicing some very interesting maneuvers. They stretch out over the water swimming in pairs, then take to flight in timed sequence and appear as a perfect string of white pearls draped across the horizon. You can imagine that each individual knows its number well, because anything but perfection would be completely intolerable. There is always one bird set apart, like a coach whistling out a cadence so the team doesn't miss a beat.

White Pelicans

The winter cold-fronts swished most of the water out of the bay, leaving behind only partially exposed crab traps, like the few tiny flakes of gold left in a miner's pan. The great blue herons found them to be a convenient spot to rest while they scanned the shallow water for a glimmer of life. Lately, each cold front has been followed by a resurgence of warm, salty air tipping the pan and allowing water to wash back in from the gulf.

Great Blue Heron

Up until recently we haven't caught many fish from our pier, simply because there were no fish to catch. They were waiting out the storm in the deeper holes scarcely found in our bay.

Flounder Imprints

This past Saturday, Andrea and I caught a few hard-head catfish and a small sting-ray. Although not much fun, and not great to eat, I was nonetheless excited that life was returning to our waters. On Sunday, when Saturday's cold front combined with a low tide and pushed the shoreline past the end of our pier, you could see impressions of flounder along the outside edge of the grass beds. They were small, but almost perfect outlines of flounder in the mud. I noticed the imprints were mostly facing toward the shore. It seemed that they were waiting to ambush any small critters that were hiding in the grass, only to be exposed by the out-going tide.


The prospect of catching a flounder put my wife Andrea and I into the fishing mood again, so we spent the greater part of the day on Sunday trying our luck. The water was much cleaner, and definitely salty, so I had a feeling that we would do well. In fact, we did much better than expected. Andrea caught her first redfish, and at 22 1/2 inches, a very nice one at that. I caught one an inch shorter, but also a keeper. We caught several black drums and another small redfish, but no catfish, and no flounder.


I think this is going to be a terrific spring, and I am glad for the changing seasons.