CAREFUL! YOUR GRANDCHILDREN REMEMBER WHAT YOU SAY

Ezra’s First Fish

With the blessings of grand parenting come a few stark realities, not the least of which is that our grandchildren listen to what we say and remember our promises. I was itching to help Ezra catch his first fish about two years ago while visiting Seth, Julie, Ezra, and Ainsley in Asheville, North Carolina. I had packed a tackle box and the family cane pole in the car before hitting the road.

Seth Rowe

Seth With The Family Canepole

An internet search revealed some likely fishing spots where an eager bluegill could be caught. When I explained my plan to Ezra, who was 4 years old at the time, he did not share my excitement. Resorting immediately to bribes, I casually mentioned that family tradition required an ice cream stop after a grandchild caught his first fish. Reluctantly, Ezra allowed that he would be willing to join the adventure. Unfortunately, I had not brought any wax worms with me and the neighborhood bait shop had no bait. Bad omen.

Undaunted, Seth, Ezra, and I grabbed a shovel and dug up a few worms from under a tree next to their home. I worried as I inspected our meager take of four small night crawlers knowing I was ignoring my Grandfather’s admonition of sixty years ago: “A real fisherman never runs out of bait!” I should not have been concerned.

Our fishing day was gorgeous. The lake was stunning in its beauty and shocking in its lack of fish. Seeing Seth and Ezra gazing intently into the water trying to catch a glimpse of a fish caused me to reflect on how many bodies of water I have stared at hoping for just a hint of a reason to fish that water.

Seth and Ezra looking for fish

Seth and Ezra looking for fish

Of course, I was disappointed when we were skunked. But being with family on a beautiful day in a beautiful spot put the lack of action into perspective.

Oompah and Ezra Quality Time

Oompah and Ezra Quality Time

As for Ezra, his spirits were not dampened by the lack of fish. He has such a unique and refreshing way of encountering the world. I remember a day when as a three year old he spontaneously belted out the first verse of “Be Thou My Vision”. Lauri and I were thrilled to listen to this little guy singing as if inspired by our Creator to share this great hymn with the whole world. During every subsequent trip to Asheville, I have begged Ezra for an encore to no avail.

About a year later, Ezra and his parents were in Worthington. I was eager to give Ezra another shot at his first fish. I reminded Ezra of the sweet reward that awaited once he successfully caught his first fish. His interest soared.

Seth, Ezra, his cousin Izzy, Uncle Nate, and I drove to Sharon Woods park where there is a very reliable fish holding bush submerged close to shore. The cane pole was back in action and I had plenty of bait. Seth baited up and I turned on the camera as the bait settled in the water under the bobber. It did not take long.

So grandparents remember, if you promise ice cream be prepared to deliver!

A Year Later With Aunt Ginny

A Year Later With Aunt Ginny

How To Weather Tough Times

Worms and Coffee

This has been a tough week for all of us. And yet life races ahead. For me, our world is a better place when each of us love, embrace a positive passion, and enjoy the simple pleasures our world offers.

For me, MY BRIDE, MY BAIT, MY BREW!!

My Bride, My Bait, My Brew

My Bride, My Bait, My Brew

I beg you to grab someone you love, do something that fires you up, and keep life simple.

Is This Heaven!

Is This Heaven!

Mistah, What Ya Usin For Bait?

Every time I go fishing, the parallels between lessons of real life and the fishing experience are revealed. Late this summer, my son, Nate, and I took my granddaughter, Izzy, to Sharon Woods Park for a late afternoon fishing outing. Our first lesson was learned because we used a good old-fashioned cane pole.

Cane Poles Have Worked For A Very Long Time

Cane Poles Have Worked For A Very Long Time

The cane pole we fish with now is not exactly like the 8 foot one piece bamboo pole my Grandpa Hessey used to teach me to catch crappies and bluegills. I remember vividly how he stuck the butt of the bamboo pole on the floorboard of the front seat of his blue and white 1957 Chevy with those really cool fins. The pole extended past the front seat where I was sitting with the tip running through an open back seat window. “Stevie, don’t let that pole fly out the window in the wind,” Grandpa would warn as he drove the car down the road.

I carried his cane pole tradition forward with my children and now, my grandchildren. However, I upgraded the equipment slightly some 30 years ago by purchasing an 8 foot extending cane pole.

The Old Reliable Cane Pole

The Old Reliable Cane Pole

After my kids “outgrew” the cane pole, I stuck the pole in the corner of the garage. The long neglected pole experienced a Lazarus like resurrection once grandkids old enough to fish were on the scene! The utility of the cane pole when fishing with kids demonstrates one of the life/fishing parallels: simple works!

After parking the car in a crowded parking lot, Nate, Izzy and I shared a long walk to the fishing dock loaded down with fishing gear, water, snacks, and of course, bait. Izzy walked while longingly looking at the playground nearby. We pushed ahead!

For well over 40 years, I have shared one my Grandpa Hessey’s fishing mantras with anyone who offered the opinion that perhaps I did not need quite as much bait as I brought to the shore or boat. Grandpa said: “You can never have too much bait”. Earlier in the day, Oompah (that is me as far as Izzy is concerned) made a run to the R&R bait store and purchased a box of bait containing 100 pieces of fish catching magic – the simplest of baits, wax worms.

You Can Never Have Too Much Bait!

You Can Never Have Too Much Bait!

The fishing dock was crowded with several families who were enjoying the afternoon. As any angler would, I checked out the fishing action as I walked towards the dock. There was no catching going on even though all the families were fishing with rods and reels much fancier than our simple cane pole.

The left side of the dock was open. We set our gear down near the water. Izzy immediately headed towards the edge of the dock and stuck her head across its margin peering intently into the water. I graciously allowed Nate to take care of the safety talk. He repeated the warning a number of times that afternoon.

At the very end of the fishing dock near where we were setting up was a tree which had fallen into the water. It’s now dead branches extended below the surface of the beautiful fishing pond. I took the cane pole which was already rigged with line, put on a small hook, a little split shot about 12 inches above the hook and attached a wax worm. After affixing a small red and white round bobber 2 feet above the bait, I underhanded the cane pole in such a way that the wax worm settled down next to the drowned tree branches barely visibly in the murky green water. “Izzy, come here and stand with me. When the bobber goes down, I want you to pull up on the pole and bring in the fish.”

After a brief wait, the tiny bobber began to bounce, then wiggle, and suddenly it eased steadily below the surface as the rig was pulled towards the underwater branches. “Pull, Izzy!” Pull she did. After the bluegill was bounced against the wooden dock a couple of times, she had the fish flopping on shore. I removed the bluegill from the hook and showed it to Izzy. She gave it a brief kiss, as is her custom, held the slimy wiggling pan fish in her tiny hand and threw it back. People on the dock were watching.

Izzy Kisses her catch!

Izzy Kisses her catch!

The whole scene repeated itself. This time Izzy caught a nice crappie. People on the dock were watching. Izzy, Nate and Oompah were excited.

Nice Crappie, Iz!

Nice Crappie, Iz!

The scene repeated itself a third time. This time a bluegill was landed even bigger than the prior two fish. After Izzy returned the third fish to the water, a young girl left her side of the dock and walked quickly towards us.

Our New Fishing Friend

Our New Fishing Friend

She was not shy. “Mistah, what ya usin for bait?” “Wax worms,” I said. She quickly wheeled around and headed toward her mother. “Mama, do we have any wax worms?”

By now, Izzy was hanging on to the pole waiting for the tiny red and white bobber to disappear under the gentle ripples of the pond surface. It did. Fish number four was on the dock in no time. Here came our new friend to teach us the second fishing/life parallel of the day, namely, it never hurts to ask.

“Mistah, can I borrow some of those wax worms?” “No, but you sure can have some,” I replied. She opened her little hand and I placed five or six wriggling wax worms covered in sawdust in her palm. Her fingers gently closed.

Would You Hold These In Your Hand?

Would You Hold These In Your Hand?

We watched her walk quickly back to her family. In a couple of minutes, a happy raucous ruckus arose at their end of the dock as our tow headed little friend landed a feisty bluegill.

While all of this fishing and sharing was going on, we had noticed a little boy and his father fishing in the middle of the dock. The third life/fishing parallel began to unfold, I want what you have.

With every fish we caught, the little boy would scoot a little closer to our fishing spot By the time we landed our fourth fish and our new friend at the other end of the dock caught her first bluegill, the little boy and his father were standing within a couple of feet of our “honey hole”. The little boy was watching us fish. His father was busy trying to catch a fish with a huge bobber and large night crawler which none of the fish which had been caught could ever pull under the water.

First Fishing Trip

First Fishing Trip

“What’s your name?” I asked the little boy.

“Billy.”

“Billy, have you ever caught a fish?”

“Nope,” he replied softly. I looked at his father and asked him if he minded if I helped Billy. “Sure”, he said as a look of relief and hope crossed his face.

Billy and I settled in to catch his first fish. “Now, Billy, here’s what we’re going to do. See these wax worms? I’m going to put one on this hook and then I’m going to swing this wax worm and hook right next to that tree. You see that bobber?” He nodded. “It that bobber goes that way, you pull this way. If that bobber goes this way, you pull that way.” He nodded. “You ready?” He nodded. The wax worm drifted through the air and gently dropped in the water and sank towards the underwater tree branches. I pulled Billy in front of me and handed him the cane pole which he held stiffly in front of him as he stared at the water. His father was watching.

“Now, Billy, look at the bobber!” We were both excited about the possibilities. Shortly, the bobber began to wiggle. “Billy, watch close!” Slowly, the bobber drifted downward and to the left. Billy instinctively pulled to the right. He yanked the cane pole so hard that I thought the bluegill would fly up and over our heads. The pole bent sharply at the end but no fish surfaced. Billy struggled for a few minutes to get the feel of it and slowly lifted a 12 inch catfish onto the dock.

Billy dropped the pole and ran to the writhing catfish. He took a close look and began to jump up-and-down like he was on a pogo stick. “Daddy, daddy, I caught one, I caught one!” Billy had caught his first fish. Izzy watched while holding her Daddy’s hand. I smiled. Together, we appreciated the final parallel of the day, giving is more fun than getting!

 

 

 

 

Wrong Even When I Thought I Was Right

Sorry Alice Cooper

My blog takes the name of one of my favorite ways to enjoy fishing. Practice casting in my front yard which has no water nor fish. Our home is located at the top of a tee intersection with a three way stop.

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Home of Front Yard Fishing

Trees prevent effective casts in our back yard and so I use the unobstructed portion of the front yard to practice my casting and conduct a long term study of the behavior of my neighbors. I have gathered sufficient data to conclude that 50% of the drivers stopping at our intersection roll down their car window. 75% of those rolling down their windows ask, “Catching anything?” The question is often delivered with a smile and a smirk that delivers the message, who is this curious man or as my daughter just said, Who is this total weirdo?

I have taken pride in this yard over the years but there is another yard in the neighborhood, a ball yard, upon which I have spent a lot of time over the last twenty five years.

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Home of Thomas Worthington Baseball

My sons Nate, Pete, and Seth all played baseball for the Thomas Worthington Cardinals on the field. While they were in high school, I participated in the parent group and did work on the field, spring, summer, and fall.

After the varsity Cardinals went 0-18 during the spring of 1990, the head coach went to Italy for the summer and I was drafted to coach the summer version of the Cardinals upon which son Nate played. I coached legion baseball on the field. I started a summer baseball team for college aged players after son, Pete, went to Baldwin Wallace and returned after his freshman year with no summer team to play on. We called the team the Columbus Bombers.

Following the example of my wife, I felt that if you host a party, the party site needs to be perfect. Bomber games were typically on Sundays and I would arrive at the field at 6 am to mow, weed, edge, drag, sweep dugouts, and paint bases! The field was always spectacular by game time, at least through my eyes.

After my boys graduated, I began to coach Cardinal baseball with Steve Gussler as my leader. We lost heart breakers and won championships. We laughed together and as Coach Gussler fought cancer, we also learned to cry together. We taught a little baseball and a lot of life and I even led yoga in the outfield.

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Coach Stephen Gussler

My connection to the front yard of Cardinal baseball was so strong that I would drive by the field to check to make sure things were in order on the way home for church on Sunday and on the way home from work Monday through Friday. Coach Gussler worked on the field with a relentless passion to make the field a show place. In fact, the field is now known as Gussler Park. Guss made one thing clear! No one was to use the field other than the Cardinals and their invited guests.

Dedication Of Gussler Park

Dedication Of Gussler Park

So you can imagine my shock and intense dismay when I drove by the field on the way home form work one July evening about ten years ago only to see the normally locked gates open and a bunch of scruffy guys in shorts and jeans playing softball on what I considered to be MY baseball diamond.”

As I slowed my car in the roadway which circled the field and rolled down the window, I tried to keep the irritation out of my voice as I hollered, “hey guys, what are you doing?” “What’s it look like we’re doing genius, we are playing softball!”

alice_moose

The Culprit Is On The Left

The retort was delivered by a dude with long hair, skinny, with an intonation that my Grandma Rowe would have concluded belonged to a smart aleck. I was certain Coach Gussler would never have given permission for a pick up softball game to played on our baseball diamond. I had not been so upset since I made my only trip to Fenway Park on a non game day and during our tour discovered that there was a celebrity softball home run derby being conducted in front of the Green Monster! Outrageous!

Green Monster (00073629@xC4F0B)

The Fenway Green Monster

I confronted the scruffy one, “You know you need permission to play on this field!”

“We have permission, Sirrrrr.”

“Well, in twenty years, I have never seen anyone playing softball on our field! Do you mind if I call the head coach who by the way is the only person who can give permission?”

“Call whoever you want, ……” shouted the scruffy one as he completed the sentence by referring to a typically unseen part of my anatomy. Sullenly, I rolled up my window and headed home. The intruders continued hitting that obscene softball all over our beautiful baseball field paying me no mind and giving no respect.

As soon as I arrived home, I grabbed the phone and called Coach Gussler. “Coach, when I drove by the field on the way from work, the gates were unlocked and you are not going to believe what I saw on our ball field!” Coach let me prattle on for minutes about the scruffy, hippy looking dudes who were defiling our diamond in blue jeans and shorts playing softball shirtless. After I vented, he simply said, “Oh, you mean Alice Cooper and his band? They are playing the State Fair tonight and I got a call from the fair manager who asked if we would let them use the outfield for a game of softball. I said yes!”

Seattle Mariners v Cincinnati Reds

CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 6: Rock musician Alice Cooper throws out the first pitch before the interleague game between the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners at Great American Ball Park on July 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Bonefishing In Roatan

 

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The Island of Roatan

 

Several years ago, good friends, Dave and Margy McCarthy joined my wife, Lauri, and I on a cruise on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, Epic. The itinerary included a day long stop at a small island off the coast of Belize named Roatan.

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The Rowes and McCarthys

 

 

As soon as the trip was booked, I began investigating the possibility of a bonefish trip while in port. A Google search of “Roatan bonefish” revealed a website for an eco-lodge known as the Mango Creek Lodge.

Sunset At Mango Creek Lodge

Sunset At Mango Creek Lodge

My phone call to the Lodge went to voice mail but was was returned in a few minutes by the owner, a former resident of Colorado. I learned that when the economy was booming in the early part of the decade, he decided to buy Mango Creek which was built in 2003. His plan to be an absentee owner with an on site manager had failed and as a result he and his wife moved to Roatan to manage the five bungalow mini resort.

mango creek

A couple of years before the cruise, I had begun to teach Dave how to fly cast. My good friends at Mad River Outfitters in Columbus shook their heads in disbelief when they heard I was trying to instruct somebody in the art of fly casting as my own casting skills are modest at best.

Dave is an agreeable friend who would never do anything to disappoint a buddy. Once while we were fishing for smallmouth bass in the Olentangy River, Dave fell and gashed his wrist on a rock in the first 15 minutes of fishing. We had waded in opposite directions, so I knew nothing of his fall until the end of our fishing an hour and a half later. Even then he said nothing. The dried red blood from his wrist to his elbow told the tale of the mishap.

Dave knew me to be a bonefish addict and in a true demonstration of his habit of putting others first, he readily agreed to accompany me on the bonefish trip in Roatan even though he had never fished for bonefish or any other saltwater fish.

The proprietor of Mango Creek Lodge informed me that he would send the most reliable taxi driver on the island to pick us up at the pier where we were to disembark. The driver’s name was Jose.

I was assured that Jose would be holding a sign with the words “Mango Creek Lodge” so we could easily pick him out of the crowd of drivers seeking the easy tourist fare.

Roatan is a narrow island approximately 30 miles long and the owner asked if we were docking at Port Royal Harbour, one of the two Roatan piers, where cruise ships disgorged their passengers. At his suggestion, I called the customer service number for NCL and the hard to understand operator confirmed that indeed our ship would be docking at Port Royal.

roatan-2

The plan was for José to transport us to a little bar called PJ’s at the opposite end of the island where our fishing guide would be waiting with his skiff to transport us to Mango Creek Lodge which was not easily accessible by road.

Knowing that cruise ships wait for no passenger, we needed reassurance that there would be a foolproof plan to return us to the ship on time. The owner said that José would return to PJs at 2 PM to pick us up insuring a timely return. Based on this long distance information from someone I had never met, I confidently promised Dave and our wives that there would be no problem with the return. We would be back no later than 3 PM as the ship was to sail at 4.

Our ship docked early in the morning.

Roatan-Honduras-Mahogany-Beach-p

Dave and I were first in line to disembark and we were loaded with fishing gear and the requisite amount of cash, eager to begin our fishing adventure. After clearing security, we descended the gangway and gazed the length of the very long pier for the most likely exit to start our search for José. Of course, we picked the closest exit.

As we neared the street, we carefully scanned the horde of taxi drivers for someone holding a sign that said “Mango Creek”. There were no signs. I shouted out, “Is there a driver here named José?”. Surprisingly, every single driver waiting was named José. Now we were confused. No sign but 50 Joses’.

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Suddenly, a young local named Michael frantically approached us asking if he could help us arrange transportation, give us a local tour, or serve our needs in any other way. I asked Michael if he knew where a bar named PJ’s was located. Of course, he was certain of its location. Michael and I were approached by a local policeman who told Michael to leave us alone. Obviously, self-appointed tour guides were not popular with the local gendarmes.

Another quick but futile glance for a sign led us to head to the other end of the pier where we approached a security desk and asked if there was any particular place where we could expect to be picked up by a prearranged taxi driver. Security personnel directed us back to the exit where we had encountered Michael. Then I asked Security whether the pier where we had docked was Port Royal Harbour. “No, Mahn, you are at French Harbour, Port Royal is at the other end of the island.” So much for the accuracy of NCL’s customer service operator upon whom I had relied.

By now we had spent the better part of a half-hour attempting to make connections on the first leg of our fishing trip. Great uncertainty clouded over our once optimistic heads. Obviously, our José was at Port Royal Harbour and we were not.

We returned to gate one and suddenly the fear of missing out on a fishing adventure overcame me as I gazed desperately across the street looking for a Mango Creek sign with a José attached.

I noticed Michael. “Michael, got a minute? Can you get us to Port Royal Harbour quickly? We have a driver named Jose’ waiting for us there!” We were now only a half hour away from the time we were to meet our fishing guide at PJ’s bar. “Of course!” Michael responded with great enthusiasm.

Michael approached a taxi driver, spoke in Spanish, and suddenly the driver threw open all three doors and gestured for us to climb in. Dave and I jumped in the back and Michael jumped in the front. Off we went. Only after we were underway did I ask, “How much?’ Michael responded for Pedro, “$30!” “Fine, keep driving, we have to find Jose’ as soon as possible!”, I pleaded. Dave rolled his eyes.

George 034george

Pedro

 

We traveled no more than 200 yards down the crowded street when Michael said “Mahn, while you are here, do you need any drugs or women?” Dave glanced at me with a look that screeched the words, “Rowe, what have you gotten me into?”

touris4

Narrow Streets of Roatan

 

As it turned our taxi driver was not a José. His name was Pedro.

After a 15 minute drive down narrow traffic jammed roads, Pedro pulled to the left and exited at Port Royal Harbour where another 100 drivers were waiting for the passengers of the second ship to dock at Roatan that morning to disembark.

We repeated our desperate scanning of the gathered drivers who were enjoying their morning coffee as they jabbered excitedly in anticipation of naive travelers such as me and generous tippers…such as me. As we watched, Michael approached us. “Hey, Mahn, why not let Pedro and I take you to PJs?” I replied, “Let me make a call.” I quickly called the proprietor of Mango Creek, who sounded relieved to hear from me. “Where are you?”, he asked. “José has been looking for you.” I explained our predicament and the proprietor insisted that José was at Port Royal waiting. I promised to look again.

After a 10 minute search, no José appeared carrying a Mango Creek sign. I approached Michael and asked “Are you sure you know where PJ’s is?” Without saying a word, Michael walked away and approached the gathering of taxi drivers with whom he started talking in an animated fashion. Apparently, Michael was trying to figure out where PJ’s actually was even though he had been certain of its location earlier. In a minute, he returned with the promise that he had talked to someone who had given him explicit directions on how to get to PJ’s. I looked at Dave, we shrugged simultaneously, and crawled back into Pedro’s cab. Michael crawled in the front seat and off we went. This leg of the trip cost $75.

About 300 yards down the road, Michael and Pedro began to speak urgently to one another in Spanish. Suddenly, the conversation stopped, Pedro jammed on the brakes, and Michael jumped out of the front seat. He leaned in the back window and said “Give me $30 and Pedro will do the rest of the round-trip for $40. I need to get back to town and arrange more tours!” Pedro nodded his agreement. After I handed Michael the $30, Pedro sped off toward the end of the island. As we traveled, there were fewer and fewer houses and more jungle. We began to sense a tad of isolation.

After another 10 minutes of driving, Pedro seemed to slow the cab and began looking from side to side. A bad sign, I thought to myself. All of a sudden a native of the island who was dressed in orange exactly like Ricky Fowler, the PGA golfer, on a Sunday, came striding down the road. Pedro eased the cab a stop and rolled down the window. More excited Spanish was exchanged. Now “Ricky Fowler” jumped in the front seat and Pedro somehow communicated to us that Ricky claimed to know how to get to PJ’s.

folwer

The Real Ricky Fowler

 

At Ricky’s bidding, Pedro turned off the paved road and the cab began to navigate a narrow gravel road that headed up a very steep grade to the top of a very, very tall hill. There were no houses anywhere. Dave leaned over and whispered “I think we are going to be killed.” As we crested the hill, Ricky pointed to a ramshackle hut on a small sliver of silver bay with a dock in the rear. “PJs!”, he exclaimed. As Pedro parked the cab, we peeked through the four stool bar and saw our guide waiting patiently in his bonefish skiff which floated gently against the dock. His anglers had arrived.

bar_dock

PJ’s Bar

 

Pedro and Ricky seemed quite proud. Ricky of course had earned a $10 bill. I approached Pedro and gave him half of the remaining fare and reminded him that we needed him to be back at PJs at 2 PM to pick us up and return us to the ship. There would be no other cabs in the very sparsely populated residential area surrounding PJ’s. Without hesitation, he promised to return on time. He jumped in the cab and took off spewing gravel as the rear wheels spun. We walked through the empty bar with no bartender and asked permission to board. Permission was granted and the fishing part of our adventure commenced.

Our guide shook our hands and welcomed us. He was 19 years old and was also named Michael. He had reasonable English which he used to inform us that he was taking us to the lodge to prepare for fishing. After a short boat ride, we saw five gorgeous pastel colored bungalows on stilts in the water next to a sturdy dock attached to what turned out to be the kitchen and dining area for the eco-lodge.

Once we were introduced to the proprietor, everyone seemed to settle in as we were all very relieved that the logistics had somehow worked out. Of course, poor José earned no fare even though he was the “best taxi driver on the island”.

We fished for bonefish through late morning and early afternoon. The flats were spectacular. We waded on bottom which felt like coral popcorn as our feet crunched around our feet which shuffled through crystal clear water.

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The Hunt

The skies were piercing blue and the sun was determined to illuminate everything that swam. There were fish everywhere. Many of them were bonefish. We did manage to catch one after about an hour.

A Small Roatan Bonefish

A Small Roatan Bonefish

At noon, we were returned to the Lodge where we were served a spectacular launch of fresh mahi-mahi, hush puppies, and fruit.

Dave, Steve, and Michael Back For Lunch

Dave, Steve, and Michael Back For Lunch

The Lodge owner insisted on giving us a tour while extolling the merits of our planning a return trip. I was antsy because the clock was ticking and the bonefish were waiting. Or so I thought. We caught no more bonefish after lunch.

All the while, of course, in the back of our minds, we were wondering “would Pedro show up on time?” The words were not expressed but I am confident that Dave and I were sharing the same thought. As our guide eased us back to PJs at 2 PM, we saw Pedro standing next to his cab. He had obviously gone home and showered because he was scrubbed up and in his Sunday finest. We paid and tipped our guide and headed through the still empty PJ’s. Pedro explained that we had enough time to make a slight detour on the way back. He also mentioned having to make a stop. As it turned out, shortly after dropping us off, Pedro was in a taxi wreck and needed to stop at a body shop to make arrangements for the repair. We overheard the animated tone of spirited negotiation as Pedro and the body shop owner hammered out the terms of the estimate. After the deal was struck, Pedro jumped back in the cab and drove us a scenic coastal route on the north side of the island as we enjoyed the spectacular scenery of Roatan.

At five till three, Pedro pulled up at the dock and we hopped out. After settling up, Dave and I looked at each other and laughed in relief. As we began to walk towards the ship, our wives were approaching from the other end of the pier. We met them in the middle and Margy asked “How did it go?”

“No problem, Mahn!”, I replied. “And, we even caught a bonefish.”