Business Trip

This is the first of a two part story about a business trip that my business partner and I took in February of 1996.

We had opened our computer related, business in early 1994 and by the end of February 1996 it was rolling along very well. One of our suppliers in Florida invited us down to get to know them better and to try some mid winter, off shore, fishing. The last part really interested us and we took them up on their offer!

In the afternoon, we flew into Tampa and early the next morning, met our hosts for breakfast and drove on down to meet our Captain and get loaded up for the day’s trip. First thing on our agenda was catching bait for the day. The Captain had his fish finder on as we cruised along a sandy shore, the finder flashed showing bait fish, we stopped and began chumming and several times the Captain tossed out his cast net and we helped him pick out the bait, he called “whitebait”, but they were really a type of sardine.

We cruised on out under the big bridge that spans Clearwater Channel and headed on a course west/southwest for about an hour and anchored in fifty feet of water. The Captain said we were over scattered rocks and as we cast out he said we could expect to catch different kinds of grouper, kingfish, barracuda and maybe even, an amberjack. We could catch all of these species out of Galveston and Freeport, but the barracuda were an added treat.
Barracuda are pretty rare out of our Texas ports and if we caught one, which wasn’t very often, we would throw it right back into the water because of the chance to acquire ciguatera. This is a disease that is prevalent in the tropic zones, not deadly, but has no cure and causes extreme diarrhea!

Grouper, amberjack, snappers and barracuda feed on reef dwellers that feed on the coral that carries the disease, which is then transferred to the flesh of the predators. Cooking or freezing will not eliminate ciguatera! Fish shorter that twenty-eight inches are supposed to be free of the malady?

We were told that we would keep all the barracuda that we caught and I didn’t want any part of that.

Part two will be posted on February 24.