Home in Port Charlotte
high of 91, turned AC on for the first time this year
(Above, the new blog title picture was taken by my son, Ryan, during his January visit)
On Saturday, my new fishing buddy and neighbor Jim and I launched my boat at 7AM and headed off shore in search of Grouper. We had almost no wind in the morning and found Charlotte Harbor to be like glass as we headed to Boca Grande Pass. Off shore, the winds were about 5 knots, very light and favorable for taking my bay boat a few miles out.
I had some coordinates to plug into my GPS but it turns out I have some more to learn about chart plotting.
All start with degree of latitude or longitude, for example, 26* north and 82* west.
But after that, I get confused because some GPS devices use latitude, hours, minutes and seconds, like:
And other devices use a reading like 26.87333
I need an education in GPS language.
Anyway, we didn't find the locations I wanted but we did find fish. We caught dozens of White Grunts, called grunts because of a sound they make, and we caught the below pictured, posed with Jim. We saw it in the clear blue water about 10' below the boat. We thought it was a shark and he tossed a jig lure to it and the fish went right after it. When we boated him and found he had no dorsal fin and no teeth, we didn't know what it was. He had the strangest flat head, almost looking like the sole of a shoe. We photographed and released him alive and well. Notice how beautiful the blue water is?
Later I used a fish identification book given to me by my next door neighbor, Bob, to determine what we had there was a Cobia. I knew them to be brown, so the color had thrown me off until I read the description:
"Long, slim fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail; when young, has conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripes." They are common to 30 pounds but this one only weighed 5 pounds.
We saw several King Mackeral hanging atop the water in 45' of depth. We should have target them but we wanted Grouper. We left the Kings, only to return an hour later to find them gone. We finally went back into the Boca Grande Pass and caught over a dozen Grouper. The largest one, a Gag Grouper, was only 19" long. They have a 22" minimum, so he was released. My first keeper Grouper continues to elude me. What was so cool was using my trolling motor throughout the day to gain a strategic advantage over the fish and the other fishermen. We saw people tie their boats down or anchor down in one spot and catch nothing. All the while, we would keep moving around, locating fish on my fishfinder and dropping live bait to them. BAM! Fish after fun pulling fish. The looks on the faces of the others were like, "what are doing that we aren't doing?"
So we caught a whole bunch of fish and didn't have to clean any. It was a lot of fun and I continue to learn so much. Jim came to Florida three years ago, like me. And like me, he is still learning. But he fishes so much, he is way ahead of me on the learning curve. Here, he lives just down the canal from me and he owns a Key West flats boat. He still has a home and business in Pennsylvania. He says his ideal week is to fish 5 days and work 2. That's what I'm talking about! Unfortunately, reality bites and I will head out tomorrow, on a plane instead of a boat, and work 5 days throughout Virginia from Richmond to Virginia Beach.
click on pictures for full screen image