Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fish Adventures

There's a fish quote that says "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day." You probably heard the quote a little differently but this version provides a visual of the stereotypical fisherman.

Growing up in Baldwin County with hundreds of miles of coastline along rivers, bays, streams, lakes, intracoastal waterway and of course the gulf waters has spoiled me. I'm spoiled to the ease and abundance of water adventures, some of which are fishing.

As a young child some of my happiest memories involve early morning fishing trips with my father. Family members swear I ate the raw shrimp we were using for bait, so I guess that was my own form of sushi. I remember the thrill of catching the first fish of the day almost every time. But most of all I remember the time with my family on the water. I also loved the end result of eating fresh fish the same day I caught it.

Later in life I was given an opportunity to experience deep-sea fishing in Orange Beach on board, Summer Breeze, one of the 100+ charter fishing boats famous in our area. That was an exhilarating experience and quite different from my youthful fishing trips. One of my favorite parts of the deep-sea fishing experience was the boat ride through the Perdido Pass under the bridge and out to deeper waters. The view of the waterfront properties from the water view side of the beach is unique. I'm so accustomed to seeing these structures from the road side that it's fun to try to identify the buildings from the gulf side.

Last year a fishing tournament was organized in Orange Beach with fabulous grand prizes. The month-long event, Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship, will begin April 21 and end May 22 this year. The event is easy to enter with only a $5 per day entry fee plus the cost of the charter boat. A boat can be entered in the tournament for the month for $500. Although I don't plan to fish in the tournament, I look forward to attending the weigh-in sessions as the boats return to shore with their treasures. There is something fascinating about seeing the catch hauled onto shore in anticipation of a new world record Red Snapper. Eating Red Snapper is also a favorite activity of mine at one of the many local seafood restaurants that feature this treat.

I also admit to loving pan-grilled mullet at Mikee's Seafood which is one of my favorite local restaurants. They also prepare mullet the traditional way, fried plus broiled and even blackened if you like spice. It was only in recent years that I learned from some of our northern vacationers that mullet is considered bait in their area. Many a brave northerner has tried and learned to appreciate mullet as a great meal if served very fresh.

The mullet fish is also celebrated at an annual charitable event at Flora Bama called the Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party. This event is a huge celebration as celebrities, locals and visitors toss mullets from Alabama across the Florida line for a chance to set a new record. Proceeds from the event, April 22-24, are donated to The Alabama Sheriffs Boys & Girls Ranch & The Boys & Girls Club of Escambia Florida. Tons of people have inquired about the state of Flora Bama because of the severe damage from Hurricane Ivan. The famous roadhouse will officially open in late spring or early summer but they have creatively found ways to host the Mullet Toss by using tents and the venue, Silver Moon Cafe, across the street.

I also love to cook fresh fish which can be purchased at many, many seafood retail stores. Some of these stores sell other gourmet foods and drink such as Blaylock Seafood in Orange Beach and others are located right on the water such as Billy's Seafood in Bon Secour (near my home).

So whether it's eating, catching, cooking, tossing or watching fish get weighed, I'm living in a special part of the world that allows me to experience a variety of fish adventures.


Mimi said...

Very nice reading. Our family considers Gulf Shores our home away from home. We will be there June 1 and have been very interesting in hearing about all the business reopenings. We are looking forward to seeing some updated pictures, also! How was Spring Break?
P.S.Thank you for sharing your coastal life with us so that we can dream of being there, too!

Sarah Kuzma said...

It's so rewarding to hear your expressions of fondness for our beach communities. We understand the connection your family feels for our area and we are thankful for customers with these sentiments.

We've taken some photos in the last couple of weeks which should be uploaded to the web site soon.

Spring Break has been exhilarating. It's been similar to the feeling you have when you prepare diligently for a party and sit back worried that no one will come. As soon as the visitors began to return in significant numbers it was evident that, despite all our challenges, our past guests were returning and new customers were finding our wonderful coast. We are now in the third week of Spring Break and we've had 50/50 weather. During each of the weeks there were some days that were beautiful with sunny weather. However, we've also had heavy rains and flooding one or two days during the past two weeks.

Our renewal progress is accelerating now, so you will see many, many familiar businesses reopen when you visit in June.

Thank you for your comments.