It’s OK To Stay Home

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Photo by Justin Pickett

Photo by Justin Pickett

By Justin Pickett

Some days, it’s not happening.

Up at the wee hours of the morning, Tim Harden, of the Venturing Angler, and I, hit the road en route to meet up with our guide, Capt. David Accursio, for another day of fishing in the Everglades. Excited to hit the water, we hadn’t even considered to check the weather. After all, it’s Florida and it’s summer time, so there is always a chance of rain and we were prepared for that.

We arrived to the meetup spot early with David arrive a few minutes later. Soon after our morning’s greetings, David brought up the weather and how things had been looking on the radar. Not Good. A string of storms were building just southeast of the keys, and while they seemed to be tracking west of where we would be fishing, things could certainly change. With that knowledge on board, we decided to make the drive out to Flamingo and give it our best shot. After all, you don’t know unless you try. Right?

And we did just that. On the drive out we constantly checked the weather. Keeping tabs on every single storm cell and how it was building. As David backed the boat down the ramp and prepared the boat for launch, a huge bolt of lightning split the sky over the bay. Without a word said, I think we all made the decision in that moment to get back in the truck and abort our fishing plans. This was the right decision to make. Not three minutes later, the rain was so heavy that you could barely see out into the bay and the lightning was striking all around us. We certainly avoided what could have been a dangerous situation.

We sat in the truck for about an hour going over scenarios concerning what the weather could do, or might do, but we all know Mother Nature has her own plans and there isn’t one damn thing you can do about it. She definitely laughed at our optimism that morning as we sat there hoping for just a window of opportunity to get the boat wet. After realizing there was no hope for hitting the water, and about fed up with being eaten by voracious pterodactyls (David called them mosquitos), we decided to bug out and take it to the house.

It’s never easy admitting defeat.

Even when it’s something you have zero control over, like the weather. When you travel so far to fish a place as awesome as the Everglades, you want nothing but to be on the water enjoying every possible opportunity to fish amongst the creeks, flats, and mangroves that dominate this waterscape. When it comes to your own personal safety though, there is nothing more important! Yes, we were disappointed, but not getting fried by lightning allows me the opportunity to return in the future and give it another shot. It just wasn’t in the cards for us that day. You just have to take a step back from your hardcore-fisherman-self and realize that sometimes it’s okay to stay home.

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “It’s OK To Stay Home

  1. I’ve fished the Flamingo area many times, very remote not many options. Sometimes better up in the Keys, weather is unpredictable in the summer.

  2. I fly, and the go/no-go decision is a big part of training. Planning, flexibility, and knowing when to walk away is what keeps you alive. We have to make decisions with the info we have. I’ve scrubbed many a flight because of the forecast, only to have the weather clear hours later. You just have to realize you made the right choice at the time.

    “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”
    -Captain A. G. Lamplugh

  3. I remember a spring day on the Bighorn that started out with an early-morning float in freezing sleeting rain so cold I stopped fishing because my hands simply couldn’t take it. We gave up, headed back to the lodge, and started consoling ourselves with adult beverages on the porch. By early afternoon, the sun had come out, and temperatures approached 90 degrees! It was the most dramatic single-day weather change I have ever experienced in my life. Of course, when discussions got around to trying an afternoon float, I was too “distracted” to even bother. Gotta love Mother Nature. She can throw a wicked curveball!

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