Sunday, October 16, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
70 at wake up; high of 87

For the second Saturday in a row, I launched the boat and went fishing.  Both days saw rough seas and tough fishing.  Last week I got completely shut out.  Yesterday I landed a few catfish and ladyfish.  I brought a new friend, Jon, out with me and he fared better than I.  I have made of couple of new friends/fishing buds through a local online bulletin board about local issues, including fishing.  Last week I went out with Jerrid, who is in his 30's and yesterday I took Big Jon, who is 56.  Both have boats of their own and we will take turns being captain and crew.  They are friends, as well.  My daughter teased me, saying, "so you're going on blind dates with men you've met online?"  Very funny.

In addition to cats and ladyfish, like I, Jon landed several nice bonnethead sharks, a few stingrays, some small mangrove snappers and a nice 25" Cobia, the first Cobia landed on my boat.  All were released.  Cobia is supposed to be good eating but they have to be at least 33" to keep.  We were looking for spotted seatrout or redfish but found neither.

The seas in the afternoon were pretty rough, with winds around 15 knots, seas consistently at 3 feet and a few rogue 4' waves that slammed us pretty hard.  When we got home it took me 2.5 hours to clean the boat and I was absolutely exhausted.  My feet hurt terribly.  I went to bed at 8:00 and slept until 5AM.  This morning, I still sore but rested.

For the first time since I moved here, Southwest Florida is experiencing Red Tide.  It's an algae bloom that kills fish by the thousands and irritates peoples respiratory systems.  The current bloom is 2 to 12 miles off shore but dead fish have washed upon our beaches.  It's not good for tourism.  In my travel yesterday, we didn't see any Red Tide or dead fish in Charlotte Harbor.  We covered about 50 miles worth of water, from 7AM to 330PM.  For a map of this trip, click here:

I had a few minor problems with the boat.  At one point the motor wouldn't crank.  The battery showed 12.4 volts but the outboard wouldn't turn over.  I called my buddy Subaru Jim, who has just returned to Port Charlotte, from PA, this week.  He suggested I pull out one of my house batteries and try it.  Bam!  That did the trick.  So now I have to take the original cranking battery back to Sams to exercise the warranty.

After changing out the batteries, my fish finder/depth sounder had no power.  This makes it really hard to navigate the flats, in 1-2 feet of water.  I got us stuck on a grassy flat in Bull Bay, just after low tide.  We fished there waiting for the tide to come in and after an hour or so, Jon got out and pushed us to deeper water.  Luckily my GPS shows the path I travelled coming in, so we just followed the same path of digital "bread crumbs" to get back out.  I'm hoping the fish finder power is related to my battery change but I will find out.

I'm also having problems with my oil sending unit.  On a 2 stroke outboard there is an oil tank, separate from the engine.  You fill this tank and a sending unit automatically transfers oil to the outboard and mixes it with the fuel to create 2 cycle fuel.  There's a small 1 quart reservoir attached to the outboard unit.  So my problem is the sending unit is not automatically transferring oil from the holding tank to the reservoir, so the engine alerts me every couple of hours that it's low on oil.  I have to shut down, pull off the cowling or engine cover, and manually fill the reservoir.  I'm told the problem is either with a clogged oil filter (which I have yet to find) or the sending pump.  I don't think it's the sending pump though because every once in a while it sends the oil automatically like it should.  (I have a gauge on my dash that shows me the levels and I can tell when it's been filled automatically).

Finally, as if all of this weren't enough, the boat seem to run fine in those rough seas but once I got to my canal system and had the final 35 minutes no wake trip to my dock, the boat was running rough.  It's hard to describe but it seemed like the engine was just rough, as if I needed to blow out the exhaust or something.  It could be time to change the spark plugs.  I've put about 70 hours on her and I'm not sure when the last guy did his last PM service.  I still need to purchase a service manual for the Yamaha 150TXR.

Sunday I will be finishing up our annual replenishment of red mulch in our yard plant beds.
Monday/Tuesday I am attending a "train the trainer" class in Tampa so I can certify others in crane signaling and load rigging.  The second half of the week I will be in the Miami/Homestead area, returning home Friday afternoon.

We have a house guest arriving Thursday for four days.  My wife re-connected with one of her high school friends, through facebook.  Kathy and Kaye haven't seen each other for over 30 years and of course, I've never met her.  This will be interesting.

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