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Monday, December 3, 2018

Sweet Menories

Carol picked up some shrimp at the grocery store and we had them for dinner tonight. Small and probably from China but good none the less, especially dipped in spicy sauce. Brought back a memory from years ago when two fishing friends and myself went shrimping. I was claim manager for Hartford in Gainesville, Fla. and my buddies called me and told me the shrimp were running in the St. John's River and could I drive over and bring my cast net. I had an elderly lady in Atlantic Beach make the cast net as she made the best cast nets in N. Florida. She wove them all by hand and you had to put in your order and wait for your net. I doubt anyone made a better net than that lady did back then.

After work I changed clothes and left for Jacksonville and met up with my buddies there. We put Jim's boat in near Jones College (now closed) on the St. John's River. Mark had the fish meal and flour for bait and we started to put out bait and markers. I cast from the front of the boat and when we filled up our large cooler we then filled up a wash tub and the bait well with very large shrimp probably averaging 5-6" long. I started to empty them in the boat and and many were jumping over the side. The kids from Jones College lay on the beach watching us as we were close to the beach, When as many were jumping out as were staying in the boat we quit and went back to the launch ramp and divided them up.

I probably had well in excess of 20-30 pounds of  cleaned shrimp. I made the long drive home and got a couple hours sleep and went back to work the next day. Those were excellent tasting shrimp as I recall and I don't recall anyone ever believing just off the beach of Jones College three guys could almost sink the boat by catching so many shrimp.

I ended up giving my cast net to a good friend years later when I had no further use of it. Jack retired as VP of our company to an area where he was able to follow his passion for shrimping. I'm sure he caught many as that net was the best professional net made back then. Shrimp are good but none compare to those jumbo's we got in a few hours that night on the St. John's River next to Jones College. I don't think anyone ever considered shrimping at that location before we killed them that night. 

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