Sunday, June 13, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
75* at wakeup, going to a high of 94*

I'm spending another full weekend at home.  I could get use to this.  I haven't blogged yet about last weekend but I went fishing on Saturday for the first time since February.  I brought along a colleague, named Christian, from our Venice office.  He had never been on a boat before but sure took to it well.  We launched at 7:30AM and made the short bridge on a rising tide with about 2" to spare.  We needed some live bait so I crossed Charlotte Harbor and headed east to Laishley Marina, in Punta Gorda.  My old Garmin GPS kept losing power from an apparent bad power cable connection.  I'd had this problem last year and thought I'd fixed it when I purchased a new plug connector.  This old monochrome Garmin has about run its course.  It has about a dozen horizontal lines running across the display, which also make it hard to read.  But when a new one costs $600, I'm more patient to try and keep running this one.

We tied up at the courtesy dock at Laishley Marina and I spent about 20 minutes manipulating the Garmin power cable until it seemed to hold power even when I rotated the display.  We bought three dozen live shrimp, which were quite shrimpy.  I usually buy my bait at Fishin' Franks on Highway 41 but when I drove there at 630 AM he hadn't received his morning delivery.  Franks usually has terrific sized live shrimp.

We re-embarked our journey and ran about 22 kph west on the Peace River, south across Charlotte Harbor, then west through Boca Grande Pass.  The winds were 10-15 knots, just as forcast.  We hit a few hard bumps and caught some spray, but for the most part that 20 mile trip was very bearable.  The boat ran great, despite the fact I've had this fuel on board since February.

The pass was full of boats fishing for Tarpon.  We continued out the channel into the Gulf of Mexico.  We headed about 5 miles off shore, then went about 2 miles south and found some structure west of Captiva Island at about 10:30AM.  The seas were a little stronger out here, about 3 to 4 feet.  My new/used fish finder spotted some action and I deployed a couple of markers to spot the spot.  We both baited up and dropped our lines to 35'.  We had numerous hookups that resulted in lines being bite off.  Clearly there are reef sharks here.  The wind picked up over the next hour and we kept drifting away from our marked spot.  I tried to anchor down several times and drift back over the spot but the anchor was dragging every time.  We decided to head back to Boca Grande Pass and drift fish there.

For the ride back I put out a big lure, Bomber CD 30, for trolling.  We trolled it at about 3kts in 35' of water and after about 5 minutes the line started ripping out, with the clicker screaming.  My friend took the wheel while I manned the rod.  I made the mistake of trying to slow down the 65lb test line with my thumb and instantly burned some skin off.  Ooops.  I used the drag to slow the line down after about 100 yards or more had peeled off.  I spent about 7 minutes bringing the line back in, with a lot of energy spent fighting it.  Imagine my dismay when the lure came into view with nothing on the line.  Either the lure hit some structure or I have another notch in my "one that got away" belt.  Nonetheless, it was still an exciting few minutes.  I'm just thankful I can finally tie fishing knots that don't come undone.

We arrived back at Boca Grande Pass around 1:00PM and had a few more breakoffs.  I rigged us with some wire leaders to stop that nonsense.  Christian landed one 14" grouper (have to be 24 to keep) and later was delighted to land a 30" reef shark.  Surely that was the source of our breakoffs.  Due to the windy conditions on the day I spent most of my time piloting the boat.  Christian was pretty new to fishing so I also had to rig his lines for him.  The Captain usually is very busy aboard the boat but for me, that's the fun.  At 3:15 we headed for home, clearing the short bridge at 4:15PM.  We'd run 60 miles on the day and the boat preformed perfectly.  After a couple of cold beverages I washed her down and put her up.  Even though we didn't bring home any fish I'd fulfilled my need to be out.  The night ended with a cookout next door with Larry and Sue (Kathleen's brother and sister in law).

The next day began a what was to be a week of jury duty but by Tuesday mid morning I'd been released by the judge.  Kathy and I decided to grill steak kabobs before I was to depart Wednesday morning to head back to work in Boston.  While grilling the kabobs we spotted a bobcat in Bob's backyard.  Kathy grabbed the camera and captured the images below.  This lynx was much smaller than the one which roamed our backyard on many a night last summer.  Likely we have a family of bobcats living in the vacant, overgrown, lot next to Rolando and Kathleen's house.  These photos created alot of chatter on Kathy's facebook page.

Wednesday was a travel day, leaving the house at 8:30AM to fly at 11:30AM from Tampa to Baltimore to Boston.  I arrived at my hotel at 5PM.   Thursday and Friday were nice breaks from the Florida heat/humidity.  Boston had morning lows in the mid 50's with highs in the 70's.  I returned home Friday night, in time to capture a gorgeous sunset over Tampa Bay (new title photo above).  I hit the door at home at 9:43PM.

Kathy and I celebrated out 10th wedding anniversary when we were in Arizona last month.  We hadn't exchanged any gifts and I wanted to get her something nice.  I thought about jewelry but I also know how much she enjoys her computer time while I'm gone.  Our 3 year old Toshiba laptop had slowed considerably in the past year and I thought about getting her a new one. or electronics?  I could really screw this up if I assume I know what she'd like more at this stage of her life.  I decided to just sit her down and ask her.  She was thrilled at the thought of a new computer.  I researched the Apple i-pad but was surprised to learn from the reviews that it doesn't multi-task.  You can't have an internet window open with your instant messenger running in the backround.  It doesn't support Flash so many web programs don't work right.  It's really just a giant cell phone with lots of entertainment features but not so much of a computer.  We decided on a new traditional laptop.  We went to Sam's Club and priced features and models, then headed to Best Buy to compare.  Best Buy's sale prices were lower than Sam's member prices.  We looked at many different models, Toshiba having the best speaker sound, Sony Vaio having the best picture display but not in the size she wanted, HP having the best price in a 17" screen and a blue ray player, but in the end when we compared everything the best deal seemed to be the Dell Inspiron 1765.  The HD screen resolution is incredible, almost as good as the Sony Vaio (which only comes in a 15.6")  We took it home and she was thrilled with it.  Happy 10th, babe.

Saturday afternoon I went to the Port Charlotte library and got a couple of books for my upcoming travel.  I mowed our lawn as Kathy grilled some baby back ribs.  Saturday night we watched TV and I hit the sack about 10:30.  Sunday morning is quiet as I catch up on this blog.  The rainy season in Southwest Florida has yet to kick off.  The tropics are quiet with no storm activity off the coast of Africa so far.  Many people are asking about the oil in the Gulf.  There's none on our shores at this time, thank goodness.  When I was off-shore last weekend the seas were as blue as could be.  Hopefully that crudy crude stays away from our little paradise.

Enjoy the bobcat pictures below. Click for pics for full screen.

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