If the Keys Won’t Have Me, Maybe Venice Will

the-gondolier-copy Last week the Professor and I fished two days in the MS marsh looking for redfish. As you know we had success on the first day, but the very next morning fish were scarce and skittish.

Which gave me more time to try my hand at poling the skiff. I can’t believe how hard it is! the first day was rough as I basically spun the boat around the pole in circles – if I’d had some ribbons it would have looked like an old fashioned Maypole ceremony.

But Day Two it really clicked. Once I stopped trying to point the bow and started driving with the stern, I gained control. It’s so cool because you apply pressure in your feet, bend your knees and  ease your hip into it and suddenly you are steering. It’s pretty groovy actually, all hips legs and core. Very little arms and shoulders.

I am now obsessed with push poling. I can safely say am getting better on the sticks in a drift boat. And while I’m no canoe/kayak expert, no one can dispute the fact I’ve completed the Berlitz course on single blade paddling. So now I am going to conquer push poling.

I announced from my throne atop the Yeti cooler/poling platform that I was moving to the Keys to become a flats guide. The fact that I didn’t put the Professor on one fish is a net-zero factoid because I really felt like I had him in the game. There just weren’t many fish and none that wanted to mess with us. And I think I’ve got enough BS to carry a fishless day with clients, no?

The Professor was skeptical whether the competitive guide scene of the Keys would let me muscle my way in. Hmm…Gauntlet?

Nonetheless I was undeterred in my unadulterated joy. Despite the fishless day and the reality I probably will not become a saltwater flats guide, it was a beautiful sunny morning on the water and my inner gondolier could not be repressed. I decided if I couldn’t be a flats guide (which I haven’t wholly conceded yet) I could become a Venetian-style gondolier. Maybe give some tourists a ride around Mobile Bay or Town Lake once in awhile for pocket cash? As I push-poled the Professor around the grassy bays of the Gulf Coast I found myself belting out, “O Sole Mio!”

gondolier What would yall do if I bought a gondolier and push poled it around the flats of Texas and the marshes of MS looking for redfish?

This could actually work. I “studied” in Italy for three summers in college. Pasta loves me. I think I would be quite fetching in the striped shirts, although the hat is questionable. Most importantly I need a few more songs to sing for my new career as a flats-guide-gondolier. Here’s what I have so far:

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Trivia question: anyone know who was a big fan of Enrico Caruso? This happened to come up in conversation at the recent Meet-The-Parents dinner when my parents met the Professor’s for the first time. Hint: If you’ve been watching ‘Boardwalk Empire’ on HBO you might know the answer…

Cheers for now kids. Sorry it’s quiet lately. This blushing bride has to put down the push pole and the fly rod to plan the nuptials…Tick Tock!


7 Responses to “If the Keys Won’t Have Me, Maybe Venice Will”
  1. John Arnold says:

    FFC- Move to Islamorada, Get YETI to sponsor your boat, Mark and I will chip in for a knife and a 9mm (standard issue for all new Keys guides).

  2. Rick & Mic says:

    I thought you were going to tell us the honeymoon was Venice. You could make it as a guide anywhere, but then fishing would be work. That’s what kept me from it years ago. Counting the days ’til MT, Mic

  3. Bob Bowden says:

    Don’t let the previous comments scare you. Only take clients you actually like. That’s the secret. It could be a great life. But remember, people come to fish , not watch you pole magnificently.

  4. Mike Herron says:

    Push polling is fun and yet work. I tried it in the Keys a lifetime ago. I got the poll stuck in the sand and somehow managed to pole vault off the boat into about two feet of water. My fishing buddy laughed for the next 8 hours and told the story for the next week.
    Good luck with working on your up coming plans do we have a date yet? Mike

  5. Casey says:

    Once you’ve got the poling down you should give an Au Sable riverboat a try up here in Northern Michigan! I quickly discovered there’s a lot more to it than just understanding the concept. We love fishing our smaller Michigan waters in them. I’m hoping someday I’ll be able to manage one without spooking every single fish in the river! I’ve certainly benefited from their super stealthiness while a more experienced pilot sat in the back! There’s a picture of one on this link… http://www.hook.tv/player.php?key=dd989c885a38e923c7a75b19f4483783

  6. Troutdawg says:

    Spent a few days poling the Au Sable and I have to say I enjoy poling down in the Keys a little better. Booked a trip with a guide last year and found out “day of” he just had surgery and couldn’t pole me onto Tarpon, guess who had to pole since he couldn’t?

  7. Fish360 says:

    “What would yall do if I bought a gondolier and push poled it around the flats of Texas and the marshes of MS looking for redfish?”

    Why not? Go for it! ;-)

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