Short but sweet: The Year In Review.
2019 had some good times. It had some bad times. Fishing around Tampa Bay completely crashed. A governor who doesn’t care, 52 email went unanswered. Red Tide the reason pointed at for having all the major inshore species closed. Trout, redfish, snook. Of course, anyone who ever keeps a snook again has something wrong with their head. Pretty much the same now goes for redfish. Two species literally in peril.
Markedly, slower business than I’ve had in the last 15 years. People just didn’t book like they had in years passed. The longest “slow season” easily. You expect it in August and September but October and November were flat. December, barely better. January looks slow, not unusual. February looks better. Really strange.
John Veil made his visits. From Maryland, he lives to fish. I’ve taken him 150 times in the seven years he has been coming here. Fighting tougher conditions, he caught fish. He enjoys visiting our area. I could get statistics. He tracks everything. Finished up with mackerel for him this year. Made great fish spread.
I turned 50 in early December. A party for it. Christmas day makes 26 years living in Florida. Longer than I have lived anywhere else.
Weird year. Sponsor lost. Sponsor gained. Old sponsor comes back. Strange the way some companies do business. The industry has changed. What I do for a product line isn’t appreciated anymore. They are caught up in their own thing and they ignore the obvious. It’s sad. The industry has changed and not for the better. Impersonal.
Pompano. Great for two years. We averaged 30 per trip for two years. The most we caught on any one day this year? 15. Other people found them in other places. In my places it just never really happened. What will happen in 2020?? Flounder: Just not great for four years now. Redfish, bad for the sixth year but slightly better than before. Snook. Snook remain in a recovery state. Different decisions and this fishery would be back. The stupidity of government.
They closed trout, redfish and snook and they will remain closed for another five months, at least. The reason? Red Tide. So, we didn’t have Red Tide. I’m fine with the closure but I laugh at their reasoning. Vast areas not touched by the algae, determined to have been hit. Whatever. Can this create a better fishery? It could if people were going by the rules. Lots of people ignore the closure and are keeping them anyway. Inadequate enforcement, this goes on unchecked. Not good. The benefit of the closure will be unrealized.
Along those lines: Nine years, no help from Google. They owe me a ton of money but there is no way to get it when there is no way to talk to them. A pathetic company. PATHETIC. New developments, Mike has been working on Capmel.com. He might figure out how to bring things back to how they should be. It’s the best fishing web site in the world. It should earn. It continues to grow. Content gets at an all time high daily.
The issues that exist: It is up to us as individuals. The power that be aren’t going to help, that is obvious. Release fish. Every fish released is still out there to live and breed. Take them home dead: Our future is in jeopardy. Do you want to be part of that or do you want to be part of a solution?? We just quite simply continue to fail. It is painful to look at history: How things used to be. It is not the same. The departure from normal is because of human activity. So, we are also the solution. Keep the species that aren’t in peril. Release the ones that need the help.
Communication inadequacies didn’t help. The sharing of the revised rules wasn’t done so thoroughly. I see the misunderstanding of what was done daily. The other issues are funny. I’ve had people make arguments with me that logically, don’t make any sense. Strange. Again: We continue to fail. The future may include me leaving Florida. I’m growing tired of how things are done.
The argument: Our oceans are unlimited. It doesn’t hold up. We are seeing our limitations. It’s humans and it is changing things. Things are not what they used to be and it is going to be difficult to get it back. Especially in a busted system.
But, enough with Negative Neil.
Remembrances: My brother. Published days ago. I did it for his kids. They wanted to hear my stories about their father. So I wrote it up for them. Published it so others could see it. He meant so much to so many people. His kids: All grown. The last one finished up college: An architect. The oldest: Had a baby. The two middle girls, doing their thing.
Eric Cooper: Died too soon. A major league umpire I worked with and spent time with, had he not had knee surgery to continue umpiring, he’s still alive. Chuck Meriweather, older but still a death kind of early. They were both nice guys.
I become a bar owner. Inevitable. I take a losing business and turn it into a winner. A fisherman’s bar: An umpire’s bar, this place will be top notch. It has dragged on a while but nearing completion. Future home of The Captain Mel Classic and Terrific Trout, Tampa Bay. Might even open up some more tournaments that will be hosted here. Also on a personal level: I lost 51 pounds. Hard to believe I was up to 247 pounds. Dropped under 200 for the first time in 15 years. The goal is to keep with the diet and drop another ten to fifteen. Not be a fat slob anymore.
Fourteen years as a guide. Fourteen years writing for the major newspaper. The writing has slowed as I have covered most subjects. I turned to books. Published four in ten months. Kayak Fishing. Fishing Tampa Bay. I Thought It Was Funny. And, The Professional Baseball Umpire. Two fishing books, one humor book and the synopsis of my career in pro baseball. That one was my pet project. Kayak Fishing, very instructional and went over well with the people who got it. The Professional Baseball Umpire, particularly popular with other umpires who did the job, some alongside me, some at other times.
The house, nearly two years now: I have it how I want it. Green: I got stuff growing all over the property. My birds and squirrels, getting friendlier by the day. For my fiftieth birthday in early December, a party at the house. People seemed to enjoy it. A new refrigerator. A full bar. It was a good party. Grill going full tilt. Fire in the fire pit, great food for the attendees. The house situation, big financial issue: A new air conditioner. That set me back.
My mother, adjusted to assisted living, dealing with the aging process. All is well. It isn’t easy anymore but she is still doing it.
I skipped a year for YIR. Probably go back to making it annual again. The people like to read the highlights. 2019 wasn’t a bad year. It had challenges but there were some good things that happened. 2020 should be excellent.