Fish, Ribs, and Recycling

by Steve on April 11, 2011

Curious? Follow along, it’ll make sense toward the end. Exact locations and names have been obscured to hide or protect as appropriate.

This is a fish tale and like all good tales there are some facts mixed in with spices to make an already good story irresistible. Somewhere in the vicinity of Boca Grande, Florida, I caught a magnificent 12 pound snook a week or so ago. It was a fun trip with a couple more snook-ups that we couldn’t get to the boat, some speckled trout, snapper, and even a greedy flounder. Suffering somewhat from the night before, we hadn’t seriously loaded the cooler, having sworn off anything fermented for the day. Wind, water, and sun made for a gradual change of attitude. By mid-morning it was downright thirsty out and by lunch-thirty we were starving plus out of beer.

The best guides can get you out of such precarious situations and Randy proved himself worthy for he knew where to find a certain boathouse gang with a taste for slow-cooked ribs and ice cold beer. We bumped into a few of the boys mid-channel on their way back from “fishing” off the beach, they had a few shiny rods rigged with sparkly lures but the binoculars on the console probably got more use. We grabbed rails, survival beers were passed to the empty boat and we hung there for a bit discussing the snook – photographic proof demanded and produced. A pontoon boat passed by loaded down with Mom’n’em – enthusiastic waves were barely acknowledged for in the saltwater culture a pontoon is a vessel of last resort (and then only after dark if the distance in question is too far to swim). The additional strain on the remaining cooler reduced both boats to the empty mark and we were all invited back to the dock for ribs and resupply.

The Seventh Street Boathouse is an eclectic place with a host of characters capable of repairing a motor, painting a boat, or more importantly manipulating a grill with perfection. As I gnawed a few ribs clean I ran my eyes down a hull suspended under a roof with open sides. The paint was flawless and had obviously been shot recently – in an open shed in south Florida.

“How do you keep the bugs out of the paint?” I asked.

“Timing.” Came the response. “Some days we have bugs, some days we don’t.”

As I pondered that nugget I wandered into the middle of another conversation where one of the regular’s boating skills were being questioned. When he realized there would be no mercy he threw up his hands and proclaimed, “Fine, I’ll just get a pontoon boat, they’re not so bad.” Eyes rolled and more barbs were jabbed at which point the victim became defensive with, “I’m serious – I’m going to build my own!” Followed by crushing his empty and tossing it in a drum already overloaded.

I looked around at the drums full of cans and a funny thought struck me, “With all the empties plus your average consumption you’d have enough aluminum in another week or so to build a pontoon boat.”

“Hey, we could get sponsored! It could be the new Miss Budweiser. Maybe even get free beer out of the deal.”

“Plus it’s green, made out of recycled materials – I bet we end up on Oprah.”

“And we could mount a grill on it!”

“Man, could you imagine cruising the beach in Miss Bud with a grill? We wouldn’t even have to fake fishing.”

It went downhill from there. We thanked the guys and left them with a newly intensified desire to free more hops from their aluminum confinement. If you happen to see a crazy looking beer-sponsored pontoon cruising the beaches of Boca Grande this summer, try the ribs!

{ 1 comment }

caroline clark April 12, 2011 at 6:23

Steve , that was one of the funniest days of my life!!! We shall re-visit the 7th street boathouse soon!

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