Wednesday, July 22, 2015

weekend recap: paddle board fishing

It's true. I wrote an article on the subject, but had not actually participated in said activity. Before you shake your head, wait! Paddle board fishing is exactly what I did over the weekend, and I am a convert. It. Is. Awesome. Wobbly, but awesome.
We headed to the beach with some pals for the weekend with the anticipation of fishing from the dock and in the creeks behind the house,, paddle boarding, and just your general fun in the sun activities. Why not combine them all? Bam. Instant way to entertain me for hours on end.
While I didn't have all of the gear, I made-do with what was around the house. No anchor? No problem. A spare brick and some dock line, and I was in business. I tried the first time to fish from the board without an anchor (or anything else), and let's just say it didn't go well. I didn't fall in, but I came extra close at least 10 times. Me trying to paddle/keep the board in place while also holding a fishing rod must have been a hilarious sight. Lesson learned, I set out on my next fishing trip equipped with my homemade anchor, a small cooler filled with bait, a net, my Bubba Blade (more on that in a minute), and a dry box for my phone / to use as a cutting board. Yes, all of that, plus myself and a paddle on a 9'8" board.
I used a combination of cut mullet and mud minnows, and (like I mentioned) used my handy new Bubba Blade fillet knife [c/o - doing a review of it for Wide Open Spaces. I will ink to here when it is published!]. It was great for cutting bait, and accident-prone me didn't feel like I was about to lose a finger. Whew. So, a-fishing I went.
I had plenty of nibbles in the first hour or so, but no big bites. Crabs stole my bait a time or two, but it was pretty uneventful otherwise. I moved to a new spot, a my second cast produced a red fish. Woohoo! He fought hard for a minute or two, and I almost had him to the paddle board, when he spit the hook abut 10 feet away from me. Probably angler-error, since I was trying to fight/not lose the fish, sit down so I didn't fall in, and get my net ready for when the fish was close enough. So close! A few more casts, and I had another fish on the line. This one definitely felt bigger and fought than the first one, but never broke the surface so I could see it. Unfortunately, after a good few minutes of fighting, the fish made a run over one of the many oyster beds around me (see why I didn't want to fall in?) and the line was cut. Aaggghhhh. I know. I wanted to stay longer, but I only had the one rig with me. Rookie mistake to not bring at least an extra hook, but at least I went out on a great note, right?

Needless to say, I have ordered some gear to make fishing from my paddle board a little easier / be more prepared, and I can't wait to get back on the water to do it again!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

weekend recap: stolen sheepshead

Hellooo short work week! Anyone else getting excited about the 4th festivities coming up? I know I am... 'Merica, right?
Over the weekend, we headed to Georgetown to do a little fishing, some paddle boarding, and just take it easy in general. It has cooled down some since our crazy heat wave a couple of weeks go, and the weather was glorious - just enough cloud cover and perfect for getting out on the water and wetting a line or two.
Honestly, the fishing was pretty slow on Saturday. I ended up laid back in a beach chair before too long while my dad and John gave it their best efforts. I know I know... Rough life.
Sunday, we decided to try North Inlet for the fish, catching a handful of small sharks from one of the sandbars. And that's about it. But1! At the suggestion of Parker (John's daddio), sheepshead would become our next target. Dad and Parker went to the spot first and had success, catching 10 or so in an hour. Before calling it quits, I wanted to give it one last shot before heading in, so I popped a fiddler crab on my hook, and tossed my line into the water. [Ok, fine. John did that part. I just couldn't make myself stick my hand into a bait bucket full of fiddler crabs, even though their one good claw isn't even big... No idea why, but I just couldn't get past it haha].
It didn't take long for me to get a bite. A nice sheepshead had taken my bait, and I started to reel him towards the boat. Just as he neared the surface, he took off again, this time out towards the middle of the creek. I let him do his thing for a few seconds so I wouldn't pull the hook, but then his speed suddenly tripled. At least tripled. Just when it hit me that I might have a bigger problem on my hands, and I announced that "I don't think my fish is doing this. I think something else has my fish," a 5 ft spinner shark came twisting out of the water about 30 yards from us. With my sheepshead in his mouth. He must have breached 4 or 5 times, spinning constantly. He wasn't actually hooked, but no matter what I did, he wouldn't let go of that fish. That shark was running so fast that I worried I might run out of line, so everyone frantically reeled their lines in and we took off across the creek after him. I climbed to the bow of the boat, and we ran the shark down like we were after a tarpon or something. That sounds dramatic, I know, but that's what it felt like! After a few minutes of fighting, I got the leader close enough to the boat to spook the shark, and he finally let go of my sheepshead. Well... What was left of it, anyway.
I mean, come on... Couldn't the shark have let go a liiiiitle sooner? I honestly have no idea how the sheepshead didn't just rip in half to begin with, rather than have a big chunk of it's middle stolen.

Hey, at least it was a fun fight and I came away with a good story, if not a fish! 

What fishing adventures have you had this summer? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

cinnamon sugar donut mini muffins with lavender

I know that's a mouthful. Bear with me.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I am about to introduce to you. They're cinnamon sugar donuts. And also mini muffins. Just trust me. When you've eaten 37 of these and you. can't. stop... Please remember that I warned you. THESE ARE AMAZING. And you can feel less guilty eating several of these than the cupcakes muffins from last week. I made them two days in a row. One batch went to the Rascal, naturally. John and I didn't crush 2 pans of these by ourselves... Even though (sugar high aside) we could have without batting an eye.
See? They're tiny. It's like, two bites. You can definitely eat, well, more than a few. They're perfect to grab on your way out early in the morning, whether you're heading to the stand or off shore. Stick a few in your blind bag for those long, chilly duck hunts. I found them here.
The lavender is barely there, but just enough to perfume (perfume?) the muffins (donuts?) and make them extra delicious and special.
Right click on the recipe card image to save, or click here to download the .pdf
Try to eat just one. And let me know how that works out for you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

lemon muffins with blueberry cream cheese icing

Disclaimer: This is basically a cupcake.
You can eat a cupcake for breakfast, but call it a muffin to make it healthier. Right? I KNOW. These things are super easy to whip up, and the homemade blueberry icing is well worth the extra effort. [You just may want to have a spare napkin or 10 close by.]

I made these for the Rascal crew during the Bohicket Tournament last weekend, and they were a hit. The hint of lemon helps cut through the extra sweet icing, and the tart blueberries burst in your mouth. You'll want to eat the icing with a spoon. Straight. From. The. Bowl. No judgement.
Not that I would do such a thing... Surely. I found the recipe for it here - check out their photos for how good it actually looks in real life. The pictures don't do it justice at all. It is de-lightful.
Really, this just doesn't even do it. I'm sorry, guys. I've let you down. I guess you'll just have to make it yourself and see...? Yep, definitely.
Right-click to save the recipe card image, or click here for the .pdf

Like I said - you're going to need a napkin. Or just lick the cutting board. Whatever works.