Thursday, February 17, 2011


Home in Port Charlottes
55 at 5AM wakeup, High of 81 for the rest of the week

I've been on vacation since last Friday.  Our close friends, Mike and Jaci, are visiting from Phoenix.  We spent three night and four days in the Florida Keys.  In Islamorada,, Mike and I did a little fishing from the seawall of the hotel.  I hooked a small Barracuda; my first.  After landing it, I realized I'd forgotten my pliers and had nothing to remove the hooks from his razor teeth filled mouth.  I enlisted the help of Mike to control the fish while I tried to remove the lure hook but it was buried into the fish's jaw.  Several times I returned the fish to the water to keep him oxygenated and alive but we just couldn't get that hook out  (admittedly, I was a little gun shy after having had a lure stuck in my thumb in November 09).  I'm not one to practice "kill and release" but we had few options.  I had a knife with me so we decided we'd have to cut the hook out of his mouth.  It took us over 5 minutes to get the hook out, all the while having the little fella out of the water.  By the time we were done, so was he.  I figured the many sea gulls in the area would get him so at least there'd be some creature who benefited from the Barracuda's misfortune.  I tossed him into the Atlantic and he floated motionless in the crystal clear water.  He didn't turn belly up but I thought nothing of it.

Ten minutes later I commented to Mike that the fish was in a different spot in the water.  Mike passed it off as water current movements and said, "That fish sleeps with the fishes."  About five minutes later I saw the unmistakable signs of life as the Barracuda wagged his tail and breathed through his gills.  Mike and I shared a big high five as the minor miracle swam away on his own power!

The rest of our Keys weekend included seeing Scott Kirby perform at the Pier House and enjoying an 80s cover band, called the Juliani Brothers, play at Sloppy Joes bar.  We watched a gorgeous sunset at Mallory Square and followed it up 13 hours later with the sunrise over the Atlantic.  Mike and Jaci absolutely loved their first trip to Key West, as they celebrated 22 years of marriage on February 11.

Monday we arrived back in Port Charlotte, only to depart again Tuesday.  Mike and I drove to Deland, FL to pickup my new Key West fishing boat and bring it back home.  Wednesday, found a terrific trolling motor on the craigslist classifieds.  Mike and I drove to Naples to pick it up.  The seller, a 71 year old man, bought a top of the line, 101 pound thrust, saltwater trolling motor with auto pilot and remote control for $1,600.  He installed it on his boat and used it twice.  He also found great difficulty in manually pulling his anchor up from the water and decided to install an anchor windlass (electric winch).  When he learned the windlass would not fit on the bow with the huge trolling motor there, he was forced to chose.  He sold the 36 volt trolling motor to me for $700.  This thing could turn my new boat into an electric hybrid!  I felt really confident about buying from the man, as he lived in a high dollar development and seemed like an honest guy.  He also had his purchase receipt and all of the packaging/manuals for the unit.

Wednesday afternoon, the four of us joined two other couples (lifelong friends of Jaci's family from Michigan who now live in FL) for lunch at Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda.  After lunch, Mike and I took our wives on the maiden voyage of the new fishing vessel, Messing About.  The weather and the wind were perfect and the boat performed flawlessly.  We trailered it back home because the old boat still sits on our lift.  The buyer is picking it up on Thursday.  Also Thursday, Mike and I will install the trolling motor and it there's enough time we will take the girls out for another cruise.  Friday should be all business, as Mike and I plan on fishing from sun up to sun down.

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