Marsh Hens & Flounder....old story.
A post about Marsh Hen hunting on a local Fl. forum brought back a old memory, a memory of my second, and last, Marsh Hen hunt. And yes it's true. To bad it happened so long ago, 35 years, that pictures are not available. Even sadder that one of the guys has now passed on.......
And I say "second, and last" Marsh Hen hunt because we went on this one only to be sure that the first miserable experience, hot, sweaty, muddy, rusty guns, few birds......, was not a anomaly.
We'd done everything right. Timed the high tide and made sure of the moon phase so that we got as much water as we could. Hit the marsh a couple of hours before the high and start working the grass.
Actually saw, and shot, a couple of birds. As it was a really nice day, not hot like last time, and as the waders had not failed unlike last time, we kept at it as the tide started to drop.
What we discovered, as the tide dropped, was that the hens would start venturing out of the grass onto the little mud points along the creeks. We ended up slipping down some of the small creeks with the trolling motor, one guy on the bow ready at every turn should there be a Hen around the corner.
Of course we also discovered quickly that as soon as the Hen saw us he would run back into the grass. Needless to say the natural solution, especially as we were teenagers, was to not let him run. You can figure out how on your own as I'm a bit embarrassed to say it now.
So we keep at this for a long time. And as the tide goes lower the hunting just gets better and better. Only problem is that John, who owns the boat and is in the bow, is the only one who is doing any shooting.
This doesn't bother me to much but it's really eating at his little brother, Thomas, who is in the middle of the boat. Thomas wants to fire his gun!
Now we, 3 of us, were in a little Jon Boat with a 5 HP air cooled Sears outboard and a tiny trolling motor. And it was a SMALL Jon, probably overloaded. Of course it floated in little or no water.
Late in the tide we're pushing along in a little creek, maybe 5 or 6 inches under the boat, when John points out a flounder just to one side and right in front of the boat. Out of curiosity, and fully expecting the flounder to bolt as we get abreast of him, I killed the trolling motor which is mounted on the transom and let the boat glide up.
Much to our amazement it does not move. What does move though, and quickly I might add, is Thomas. He's up in a instant, his shotgun pointed at the flounder, a flounder now not a foot away from the side of the boat and slightly forward of Thomasa's position.
And you guessed it, just as his brother is yelling NOOOOOOO!, Thomas cuts lose at the flounder, and this is with only about 6 inches of water and a foot of air separating the flounder from the barrel of his gun.
Now have you ever seen a 12 ga shot into 6 inches of water and a foot of mud from that close? The saving grace, from my point of view and position in the boat was that he was facing forward a few degrees when the trigger was pulled.
But what was my good fortune was not John's, as he was immediately covered in mud.
The ensuing melee at the front of the boat distracted us long enough that we never did find out if Thomas got the flounder. Just as well sense it wasn't a "legal"harvest method.