Food with fins is tough to swallow

By Melanie Yingst

Last weekend, Mr. Obvious treated me to a weekend down in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. I’m not one to turn down a weekend in the sun and the surf after all the snow this winter, so I happily tagged along while he and his cousins spent a weekend fishing in the Gulf and in the bay area.

Getting to our gate was the first hurdle. We totally misjudged the TSA security checkpoint wait. As the time inched towards our departure time, Mr. Obvious was getting a bit nervous as we slowly inched our way towards the plastic bins and X-ray stations.

My TSA agent who patted me down was very nice and had soft hands. I appreciated her sense of humor. That can’t be a fun job.

So as we rushed to gather all of our things, and we sprinted towards the gate “Home Alone” style. We made it with seconds to spare, although the glares from the more punctual passengers, our tardiness certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

We all most definitely broke a sweat hauling luggage up escalators and running through on the moving walkways. Maybe “The Biggest Loser” should do a workout completely inside an airport. The first one to the gate flies first-class to some place tropical. I’d be game.

Luckily, the warm sunshine perked us up when we arrived. Being the news junkie that I am, the major headline down south was the controversial release of 3 billion gallons of flood waters from Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf making it a murky mess.

The timing was less than perfect for the fishermen.

In fact, during our first day out on the water, we watched hundreds of people protest on a huge Matanzas Pass Bridge about the release of the waters. The usually bright blue waters into a murky, muddy, unfishable, unswimmable mess.

This unfortunate news didn’t really bother me much since I’m a land shark and a beef girl through and through. While others ordered sea bass, I ordered filet mignon and barbecue wings.

I did feel bad for the fishermen who make a living taking us Northerners out on the waters for a day of fishing.

One day, all the guys caught were three fish and a bird. Yes, a bird, which caught Mr. Obvious’ line in mid-cast. The water quality has to be bad if a hungry bird was keeping an eye on the bait at the end of the hooks. While the murky waters had dampened the back bay fishing waters, the gulf was full of fresh fish.

On the final day of vacation, the guys had a successful day in the gulf deep sea fishing. The guys even reached their limits on some fish before noon.

As for myself, while I was invited to go along on the deep sea fishing trip, I didn’t want to take a chance as a castaway. I have this thing about not seeing the shore. It’s the farm girl in me.

The only thing I caught was a sunburn as I read a book by the pool. We watched the first captain and his mate clean the fish right out of the cooler from the boat at the docks. That’s about as close to deep sea fishing as I’ll get.

I enjoyed watching the Jack Russell terrier chase the pelicans back into the waters as they lurked on the dock for a taste of the discarded fish carcass. It was impressive to see how fast and smooth they were at cutting up the large amberjack and whatever else they brought on board.

Our last meal was a real treat with the restaurant cooking up the catch. Instead of being a pain and ordering a side of beef, I tried the fresh fish out for a change. I will say, fresh grouper only hours out of the water is tasty — but I prefer my main course have four legs rather than fins.

While I love the sand and the sea, there’s no place like home — especially since my vacation palate is more suitable for the Amish Country.

By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. The weather is here. I wish you were beautiful.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. The weather is here. I wish you were beautiful.