Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Day With Wish-A-Fish

We've all heard of Make-A-Wish, but have you heard of Wish-A-Fish?  Wish-A-Fish is an organization that provides an annual fishing excursion to families with special needs or critical ill children.  What a great idea!

I first learned about Wish-A-Fish from a coworker at American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America.  He got involved about 5 years ago.  Little did I know that our family would end up being a participating family in the annual event.

The event is local to Maryland and Virginia.  There are two events in Maryland, one at Sandy Point Park and the other in Ocean City.  We're not making it to Ocean City this year (booo!), (did I mention that our Make-A-Wish trip got postponed because of my complications with my daughter's illness?  Hopefully later this year.  But, nonetheless, no summer beach vacation this year), so we were at the Sandy Point Park location.

I have never been to Sandy Point Park.  I've certainly seen it a lot - every time we cross over the Bay Bridge.  It was really nice.  I regret that we haven't been there before.  Mrs. Eludius was hesitant about going today.  It poured down rain all night and there was a 150% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms all afternoon.  My son, on the other hand, was so anxious that he could barely sleep last night.  He was up and down all night and ended up waking at like 5am and took a shower, despite the fact that we weren't leaving until about 8am.  I think he's asleep now.

Despite the rain, we departed and headed to Annapolis.  It rained.  And rained.  And RAINED the whole way there.  This isn't good.  We crossed the Severn River Bridge and another mile or so and STOP.  Oh, is this the Bay Bridge traffic that they talk about?  We jumped off at the next exit to the road that parallels U.S. 50/301.  I think this 1 mile detour knocked 30 minutes off of our time.

We pulled into SPP (that's local lingo for Sandy Point Park) and there weren't too many people there.  Once we arrived, we quickly got through paperwork, life jackets, and a fine selection of snacks to take with us.  We then met our captain and his first mate.  I never caught the name of their boat, but it was a center console fishing boat, probably about 20-some feet long.  Perfect for bay fishing.  We boarded and slowly pulled out of the marina.

It was amazing as we pulled out and paralleled the Bay Bridge.  It (the bridge) doesn't look as big when your on the water looking up.  Honestly.  There are 2 spans, one with 2 lanes and one with 3 lanes.  I thought it would look a lot bigger.  Traffic was heavy in both directions and I think we were moving faster than them.  As we pulled out you could see the change in the water.  Beyond the jetty, it went from moving water to a good choppy water.  Next thing you know the boat is jumping up and down.  I was a little worried since my youngest is sitting in the back in a wheel chair.  She didn't seem to care too much.  Rain falling on our heads, all for fun.

We pulled up to the 9th pylon, so it wasn't too far out into the bay.  The captain said he'd take us out farther into the bay if it stopped raining.  Ha!  Stopped raining.  In hindsight, that's funny.  He dropped anchor between the two spans of the bridge, then backed it under the eastbound span.  It was just like backing up a truck.  We got under the span so that the rain wouldn't be directly on us.  The tide was a heavy southward tide, so there wasn't much tacking to the left or right.

Once we were in position, we baited the hooks and dropped them in the water.  I don't think my son had his line in the water 1 minute when he pulled up a croaker.  It's a pretty fish - sort of a gold and purplish tint to them.  And they croak!  Imagine that.  Next thing you know we were all pulling in croakers.  Add that to my list of fish that I've caught in my life (green sunfish, red ear sunfish, pumpkin-seed fish, yellow perch, dolphin fish, black sea bass, flounder, striped bass, crappy, large mouth bass, and yellow perch.  My son has also caught hog suckers, small mouth bass, blue fish, and white perch.)

My son then caught a spot fish.  Dag, he's another fish ahead of me.  Then I caught a spot.  Then I caught a striped bass (about 9 inches long).  I ended up catching about 13 fish (mostly croaker).  My son caught about 20 fish.  My wife caught 5, my oldest daughter about 5, and my youngest daughter 4.  After about three hours, my youngest was done, so that dictated our fate for the day.

We headed back to the park and it was lunch time.  The lunch was catered compliments of Window's Catering.  The lunch fare was your standard burgers, dogs, vegetarian chili, and salad.  All very good.  But there were two cakes - a chocolate cake and a raspberry yellow cake - and they were awesome!!!  I wanted to eat more, but diet diet diet.

It continued to rain all through lunch.  I think it rained about 25" today.  Drought?  What drought?

All in all it was a great day.  Thank you to our captain and his mate, for donating his time and gas and bait and boat, and to all of the volunteers at Wish-A-Fish and to the Window's Catering Company.  A rainy day fishing is better than a good day not fishing, right?  Well, that's what my son tells me.

(You'll notice that there are no pictures.  I'm not pulling out my Nikon D40 in the rain.  Sorry.)

Oh, and driving home, I think the back-up to the bridge was about 12 miles.  I just remembered why when we go to the beach, we leave at 5am.

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