I’m often asked what I do during the off-season when I’m not fishing. One thing, is to play catch-up on the things I put off doing during the season. But there’s more than that. I beef up the writing I do. I try to get ahead on some of my writing by penning some columns and stories I can use in the future. Not all topics are time sensitive.
I also travel. I attended the annual conference of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers in Ashland, Wisconsin. If you don’t know Ashland, it’s about midway along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline. While there, I fished Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior and caught smallmouth and northern pike.
A couple weeks later I was again in Wisconsin, fishing the Mississippi River up and downstream from LaCrosse along Wisconsin’s Great River Road. Great fishing and gorgeous country.
Not one to let the grass grow for long, I found a "natural escape" (the logo of the tourism people in Franklin County, Florida) and spent some November time in Apalachicola. This area escaped the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the fishing was great for amberjack, grouper, snappers and spanish mackeral. I almost overloaded my luggage with frozen filets.
Now is the time of year I pay off the officials that allow me to remain in business. When gangsters shake-down local taverns owners for their weekly "dues" it’s corruption. When the government assigns fees to businesses "just because they can," it’s, well, business as usual.
Were we to get something for our fees, that would be an argument for the payola captains are assessed. We pay taxes and the government hires an army to protect us and yadda, yadda.... You buy a fishing license and it pays for hatcheries and biologists and game wardens. You pay for your charter captain’s license and you get bupkiss except for more paperwork to fill out, and additional fees for mandatory inspections.
So that’s what I’m doing this month. Filling in forms (with much the same information I sent them for the past 10 years–can’t they just save it and ask me for the money?) Writing checks for services I’ll never get and then doing it all over again for each of the states I fish.
I think I need another Natural Escape.