“Fellas, it’s gonna be a rough day,” Capt. Dwayne said. He held his hands up on either side of his head, palms facing us, and moved them toward us on the words “rough” and “day.” It was Halloween morning. Early. Dark. The wind was zipping out of the northwest at 15 mph. We were standing on the uneven wooden dock at Allen's Bay Charters in Apalachicola, Fla. The brisk and steady breeze bent the nearby spartina grass and blew the sweet-and-briny smell of the marsh out through the creek mouth and into the unseen bay.
“Well, is it worth going?”
Capt. Dwayne rubbed the back of his neck, “I know we can catch fish, but … “
It was 7:30 a.m. ET, the sun had not yet come up and the wind made a cool morning colder. We were layered up, in sweatshirts and pullovers. Our captain was in shorts and wore a short-sleeved fishing shirt. Fred, Joe and I stared at each other, contemplating the ominous greeting we received from our guide.
“Would tomorrow be better?” Fred asked Capt. Dwayne.
“Maybe. It’s up to ya’ll.”
|Yeah, I don't know.|
“If you think tomorrow would be better, we could come back Friday. Guys, what do you think?” Fred looked at Joe.
Joe weighed options quickly, and answered as I had thought (and hoped) he would.
“We got up early and we’re here. I say we fish. I’m not getting up and doing this again tomorrow.”
Bring it on.
|Keep your rod tip down, Dan.|
We boarded a 24-foot, center-console bay boat and Capt. Dwayne fired up the outboard. We cruised a short distance to the creek mouth and throttled down into the expanse of Apalachicola Bay. In front of us, an agitated chop danced across an immense lake of gray water as darker gray skies loomed above and spit rain that bounced off our faces and caused us to grab rain jackets. After a short run, we anchored up on a nondescript spot in the middle of the bay. Capt. Dwayne baited medium-heavy spinning rods with pieces of shrimp and offered precise instruction.
|Joe's black drum.|
The fight was a tug-o-war, and after a few minutes (including a harrowing segment as the fish burrowed under the boat, and forced me to bury the top section of the rod in the bay and carefully navigate around the outboard), a giant black drum rolled on the surface and revealed its mottled gray flank and enormous noggin. A short time later, Capt. Dwayne scooped up the fish — which barely fit in his net — and flopped it into the bottom of the boat. Photo ops ensued, and eventually, the big ugly was safely returned to the bay.
|Fred has a delicate complexion. The black drum does not.|
It was a great day of fishing ... but it wasn't over yet.
I highly recommend fishing with Capt. Dwayne Allen. He's fun to fish with, easy-going, highly informative and, best of all, very patient. It's low pressure, high fun fishing. Please reach out to him via the Book Me a Charter website.