I like to go fishing with my dad and my brother in the back waters around Naples. We hire a boat and captain named Todd, and he takes us to secret spots where the fish are practically jumping onto our hooks. I realizing fishing is not super fun for the fish, but we throw mostly everything back (except for what gets taken home and cooked for dinner–not MY¬†dinner, but dinner for everyone else), so the fish get a free meal and an exciting story to tell their fishing friends.

On these fishing trips, we see so much wildlife beauty and learn so much from Todd¬†about what we are seeing, smelling, hearing, and catching. I’ve seen a raccoon swimming by with a fish in it’s mouth. We see dolphins swimming leisurely around the boat, osprey flying to their crazy stick nests, giant pelicans soaring like dinosaurs right above the water… I’ve caught snook, trout, catfish, sheepshead, jacks, grouper, mullet, and ladyfish. Todd’s sage advice about the lovely, glittering ladyfish: “Don’t pull them into the boat. They poop everywhere.”

Those fish are no ladies.

My sheepshead

Biggest Sheepshead I’ve ever caught. Captain Todd is holding the fish while I contemplate the grunting noises it’s making.

Least Concern