Waking up as the sun rises was never my specialty. But, if fishing was involved I always was ready. Last Friday, June 7, 2013 I participated in the LAAIA and IIASF fishing tournament to benefit the Woody Foundation and Shake-A-Leg Miami, which The Woody Foundation has donated to before. The Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies and the Independent Insurance Agents of South Florida hosted a fantastic tournament at Key Biscayne Yacht Club.
Just to our luck Tropical Storm Andrea had just passed Florida. The weather was a big concern going into the day. I even contemplated not going. Yet, I was extremely excited to get out there and catch some fish. Otto was the captain and crew for the day. He is a very good fisherman. More importantly, he has a great understanding of my injury and capabilities. Specifically, I am unable to regulate my temperature because of my spinal cord injury. Therefore, I am more prone to hypothermia or heat exhaustion compared to a typical person. The morning looked dark and overcast. I was still confident it would turn out fantastic because the wind was almost nonexistent in the morning. I frequently checked the weather report, which never hurts either.
My excursion would begin at my house. My father was graciously allowed my cousin Otto Foerster and I to use his boat for the day. After getting dressed and into my chair before 7 AM, I headed over to the boat room to check our equipment for the day. I use a beanbag chair to sit on in the boat plus a sling with a bar attachment to lower me into the boat. All of that gear plus the fishing gear was ready so I parked my chair on the dock right next to the boat. A davit mounted on the dock lifted and swiveled my body over the boat. I was carefully lowered me into the 28 foot Whitewater. I landed safely in the bean bag in the back left corner of the boat. We were off.
We cruised straight to the offshore fishing grounds searching for any seaweed, debris or birds we could find. We couldn’t find anything for the longest time. The boat was probably 10 miles or more offshore. We did some trolling around no seaweed for a while without any luck. Still, we found nothing. This day had an unusually low amount of seaweed in the ocean. Dolphin love to stay by seaweed because bait lives inside or underneath it. We eventually made our way back into shallower water. Finally, a line of seaweed was in sight. Otto put the lines out. The two rods were rigged with ballyhoo with each covered in a skirt. A rainbow colored skirt and a green and yellow skirt covered the heads of the ballyhoo. We slowly trolled down the line of seaweed towards another boat. Suddenly, the line peeled out of there. FISH ON!!! The school of dolphin jumped a few times as Otto reeled it towards the boat. We landed the first fish of the day! We started trolling again in the same area when another fish quickly was on. Otto left that fish in the water when he saw some other dolphin with it. He pulled out a rod with a lure. He casted that several times hooking up almost instantly every time.
We ended up with seven dolphin total before any other fish scattered. Before noon, we started heading back to the house. The wind had picked up, which sprayed salt water into my face for the journey home. I felt great getting the salt on my face and hair. But, I preferred to not be too wet and fishy. It just comes with the territory. We arrived safely back at the dock. I was placed in my chair on the dock completing an extremely successful trip to the deep blue sea.