Monday, November 29, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
low of 64, high of 81
very comfortable

After a very non-traditional Thanksgiving holiday in Key West, during which we visited Captain Tony's, Sloppy Joe's, Schooner Wharf and of course, Margaritaville.  Instead of turkey, we enjoyed local caught oysters on the half shell and clam chowder.  Other meals included Cheeseburgers in Paradise, Grouper fish and chips, cajun blackened hot dogs and my daughter couldn't resist having a turkey burger.

We returned home for the weekend and found out the marine forecast was for winds of 15-20 knots.  Knowing my daughter wouldn't enjoy choppy seas we left the boat on the lift and instead she went to visit a friend while I fished the canal behind our house.  I bought two new lures at Fishin' Franks and got some free lessons on throwing my bait castnet.  Both lures caught fish and I enjoyed several brief battles that included acrobatic flips and jumps.  I landed one small ladyfish and released her alive and well.

After practicing throwing the castnet in the yard I took it down for my first real throw.  I actually caught a nice size pin fish, which is one of the best baits you can offer in these waters.  My second throw was a dud but my third throw netted two VERY nice size pins.  I kept them alive in a bucket with an aerator to give them oxygen.  At sundown I live baited a line and fished it until some underwater thief stole it off my hook.   No fight, just a bait burglar.  With the next pin fish I hooked him in the bottom, near his tail.  This one lasted on my line for over an hour.  There was a lot of activity surrounding my bait and I could see several good size fish surveilling him but still, no bites.  It was getting late and I was getting eaten by mosquitoes.  I retrieved my bait and used the last two pins to bait my crab pot.  I left it on an overnight soak and in the morning found it paid off nicely with the two blue crab shown above.  Those boards are 2x6 so you get an idea of the size.

As I close this blog chapter, we are deciding how to steam those crab up.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hampton Inn, Key Largo

It's the week of Thanksgiving and I find myself thankful to be living in paradise.  My 23 year old daughter came to visit us for the 3rd November in a row, from Arizona.  This is becoming quite the tradition for her.  Work brings me to Homestead so my bride and daughter joined me for the drive down.  They will relax in the hotel and on the beach while I go work.  That's also becoming somewhat of a tradition.

After work Wednesday we will venture down for a Key West Thanksgiving.  The weather is perfect, with lows in the 60s and highs in the low 80s.

We put the boat up for sale last week and have already had two lookers.  No offers yet but we're optimistic.  The boat is all cleaned up; looking and running good.  In case you didn't catch it, we're going to downsize to a smaller boat that can fit under the bridge at anytime.

We have my oldest son booked to visit for a weekend in January and some friends coming in February.  We do enjoy having visitors.  I plan on working in Florida for the whole month of December and I won't miss the airports at all.

Hurricane season ends November 30.  For the second year in a row we didn't have to put up the shutters even once.  Once again, I am thankful.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 86

I've done more boating in the past few days than I have all year.  That's not saying much, as I'd only been out three days during the entire 2010 year.  The boat was in the shop for two weeks while I travelled to California one week and Puerto Rico another week.  I finally got it picked up on Saturday morning after "breaking out another" you know what (B.O.A.T.).

The tides allowed me to fish all day.  So, how'd I do?  Have you ever seen a baseball game where the lead off batter hits a single run homer and nine innings later the game ends 1-0?  I dropped two lines into the water, trolling at about 6 knots.  One had a Xrap 8 and the other an Xrap 10 (numbers indicate how deep the lure dives before swimming back to the top).  Within a minute the X10 goes off and I pulled in a very nice 24" Spanish Mackeral.  That was the only fish I would catch all day.  I did have one VERY strong hit that nearly spooled my reel but it got away.  The good news is that the weather, wind and water were all perfect.  So much so that I trolled about two miles off shore of the beaches in the Gulf.  The waves were almost none existent.  The water temperature is still 84 degrees.  I arrived home after dark without incident.  I flushed the motor, did a light rinse down and called it a night.

Sunday morning I went back outside to do a thorough wash job and was shocked to find some damage obviously done by the marine repair shop.  There was a nasty dent in the swim deck from them hitting a dock or piling.  Worse, they put a hole in the toe rail by drilling a wood screw way to from inside the cabin bulkhead.  That screw was sticking a half inch up through the toe rail on the starboard side.  Had I stepped on that, barefoot like I always boat, I may have fallen overboard.  (Another reason why I always wear my vest and personal locator beacon).

The shop was closed all day Sunday so I had to wait until Monday morning to drive up there and show them photos.  They didn't kiss my ass with apologies but they accepted immediate responsibility and said to bring it up and they'd fix it today.  The tides were again on my side and I was able to run the boat up to them right away.  Their visiting fiberglass guy was there today and he dropped everything he was doing to make my boat right.  A few hours later they called to say the job was done.  I ran back up there between office paperwork and brought the old girl home again.  The seas were smooth like glass.  I hit 40 MPH on the way home.  Got to stretch her legs, right?  They did a good job repairing the damage.  There was only 3' of water in the canal when I got home but I managed to not run agound.  My draft is 30".  No harm, no foul.  Between the two trips I logged 121 nautical miles and 10 hours on the boat.

We are definately selling this boat and will look to replace it with a 17 or 18 foot Boston Whaler with an outboard motor.  With that, I will never have to worry about the tides or bridges.  I can fish the flats, the harbor or even the Gulf on nice days.  I have done lots of research on the Whalers and on comparing 2 stroke motors with 4 stroke motors.  The modern 2 strokes are not the loud, smoky demons of even ten years ago.  The Evinrude Etec looks like a very good product.

My latest Puerto Rico trip was good.  My Cardinals football team is bad.

There have been 19 named storms in the Atlantic hurricane season.  The latest, Tomas, was briefly a Cat 2 hurricane but is currently a Tropical Storm.  There are only 2 names left on the list this year; Virginie and Walter.  After that, NOAA would start using the Greek alphabet like Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.  Luckily no storms have come close to us.  We could use some rain though because SW Florida just finished it's driest October ever.

Tomorrow I head for Chicago and next week is Boston.  In between, Kathy and I have a nice weekend planned with a few thousand of our closest Parrot Head friends in Key West.  Stay tuned.