FISH FLASH: Speckled trout, flounder and MoonPies

The Log's Tina Harbuck goes on the All-American fishing trip

Tina Harbuck

Some may say baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet are part of the American way.

But for some of us in the south, fishing, family and MoonPies are right up there at the top as well.

Last week I took a little time off with intentions of spending time fishing with family — specifically fishing with my brother Jerry on the Apalachicola River.

Some of you may recall reading columns of annual fishing trips in November with my brother in years past. Well in the last few years, some of those trips were postponed due to illness.

But this year we were firing on all cylinders … or at least we thought we were.

Jerry and I headed out toward Apalachicola on Tuesday to our old stomping grounds. We grew up in neighboring Gulf County fishing the river and bay. And last week we were primed and ready with rod and reels, tackle boxes full and drinks in the cooler. We evened stopped at the Winn Dixie and picked up some MoonPies for an afternoon snack.

After a late start we got to the Bay City Lodge in Appalach about 11 a.m. and launched the boat.

We boarded the 17-foot Lowe’s boat with a 115 MPH Evinrude and were ready to head down the river to the flats near the bay. Over the years, we’ve had some good times pulling in speckled trout, flounder and redfish in the area. Jerry and my brother-in-law Ken, as well as others I’m sure have names for all the “little honey holes.” One is called Goat Island, another Pipe Hole, and another is the Tennis Racquet spot. I get the name Pipe Hole, because there’s a white PVC pipe noticeable in the area, and I understand that there might have been goats on Goat Island at some point, but Tennis Racket spot? I have no idea.

Once we were on the river and headed toward the Four Tree Cutoff (another area … that definitely has more than four trees) I noticed that the MoonPies had flown out of the boat. Jerry cut the throttle back and turned around to go back and get them. The paper box had started to sink but the pies were floating along, almost in a row. I got the net out to scoop them up but the boat motor just cut itself off. Jerry tried to start it time and time again, but to no avail. At that point, I couldn’t even reach the MoonPies. All I could do was watch them float away.

After checking battery cables, fuel and everything else we could think of it was time to pull out the trolling motor.

We tried to make the best of a bad situation and fished along the bank before heading back to the landing. Using artificial grubs Jerry caught a couple of specs and I pulled in a flounder. We really didn’t want to venture too much further so we fished a little more along the bank and then headed back to the landing.

Jerry kept apologizing for the boat problems … but you know it wasn’t that bad. We were on the water, we hooked a few fish and we were not at work. Plus we had plans to stop at our favorite steak place on the way home in Callaway called Rodeo’s.

We took the scenic route home along 30A in Franklin and Gulf counties, and finally made it to Rodeo’s about 4 o’clock.

Jerry pulled the boat around well out of the way in the parking lot as to not take up much room.

All was looking good, we got our favorite waitress Renee and put in our order for T-bones, salads and potatoes. Yep that’s a lot of food … but we were plenty hungry. Especially after all we lost our MoonPie snacks.

Once the orders were placed, the cook came around to the table and asked Jerry if he was the one with the “rig” out front. Jerry immediately started apologizing for taking up too much room. The guy told us we were OK where we were parked, but that there was smoke coming out from under the hood.

Jerry went to check things out.

It had something to do with the radiator … a lack of water … and a missing thing-a-ma-jig.

The steaks were great as usual and we were able to fix the vehicle with a couple of jugs of water from the corner convenience store and a trip to the auto store.

We finally made it to Jerry’s place in Panama City.

Again he apologized for the boat and truck problems and said, “I really wanted us to have one of those memorable fishing trips … like we’ve had in the past.”

We looked at one another and agreed that we definitely made a memory.