What do loving grandparents do when their visiting teenaged grandson loves to fish, especially on Marco Island?
Take him fishing? Well, yes, but the grandparents are neophytes whose experience with fish mostly centers around the Paradise Seafood store on Bald Eagle Drive or the Publix seafood purveyors.
The grandparents had three or four fishing poles with reels attached, hanging on hooks in the garage. They probably had not been usable for a long while.
So these grandparents offered to outfit the boy with appropriate fishing gear for his stay. But the GPs barely know a rod from a reel, a hook from a snook. To the rescue comes Art Mercer, who can walk the walk and talk the talk about fishing around here and the gear that goes with it.
The grandson’s eyes were as wide as a glass-eyed snapper as Art showed him the store full of angling goodies. Art also got the poles in working order in a flash.
Grandparents and grandson were grateful.
“That’s what I’m here for,” Art said. He also shares his local fishing knowledge with visitors.
“A lot of vacationers come in thinking that what works for them up north will work for them here, so you have to kind of reeducate them,” Art says. “For example, People think the fish are all out in the middle of the water (near the island), but pilings and seawalls are where the fish hang out and that’s where you want to put your bait in the water.”
Art notices that newcomers to Marco who have docks at their homes can be confused about who owns the fish in their waterways.
“A lot of people think the snook under their snook lights are their snook. And the people are very protective of the fish around their homes.”
While the grandson sorted through lures of a million shapes, sizes and colors, Art told the grandparents that snook fishing is highly restricted, even if there is a snook season.
“The smaller sized Snook are males. Once they reach a certain size, they actually transform and become females. So, the larger Snook are important for sustaining the fisheries.”
The grandson overheard that discussion and thought it was hilarious.
Equipped to the gills, the grandson spent hours on his grandparents’ dock, catching various kinds of fish, admiring them, taking a photo or two, then tossing them back into the bay. He was loving it and will be back soon. He’ll probably want to stop by Sunshine Ace Hardware and say hi to Art.
Prout’s plumbing springs into action to stem a ‘tide’ of hot water
We have some good plumbing companies on Marco and one of the best came to our aid in a water emergency not long ago.
One afternoon, we noticed that the metal pan under the water heater in our garage was full of warm water. Before long it was a major leak. We turned off the water to the heater but it continued to leak, with water on the floor expanding its path through the garage.
We phoned the national home fixtures insurance company we use for some things.
The soonest they could get one of their way-off-island plumbing contractors to us was four days.
Long story short: We phoned Prout’s Plumbing on Marco, having used them before, knowing they did good work. They were slammed with other calls, but Sales Manager Tim Cullen sent a man to stop the leak and direct the flooding water to the yard.
Prout’s ordered a new water heater and had up and working the next day. Great service, great cleanup, fair pricing, professionals, there when we needed them.
Thanks to Tim, both Cindys, Danny, Cody and the rest of the Prout’s team.
Moral of the stories: Buy local.
Chris Curle and Don Farmer have been writing for the Marco Eagle and other area newspapers for more than 30 years. They have a combined total of 99 years experience in major news media in the U.S. and abroad, including ABC News, NBC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines. Their novel, “Deadly News,” is set partly in Marco Island.