Tuesday, January 31, 2012


On the road
Courtyard by Marriott, Orlando, FL

The below photographs were taken from Subaru Jim's boat, our neighbor and friend, Jerry.
They show me on my boat, with my 2 guests last Saturday, fishing a few miles off shore from Gasparilla Pass in the Gulf of Mexico.  You can click each picture for a full screen image.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 77*

I fished all day Saturday with two guests aboard. Below are the locations where we fished, as recorded by my SPOT locator. (Satellite POsitioning Transmitter, also known as personal locator beacon).

By using my boat trailer and Charlotte County boat ramps, we fished all of these locations by running just 26 miles on the water. 

I used Google Earth to trace out the same path departing from my backyard canal and going south in Charlotte Harbor, around the Cape Haze peninsula, up the intercoastal waterway from Boca Grande, to get to the same starting point at Placida Harbor.  Of course, if I launched the boat from my home port I have to follow the same path back.  Adding the bonus location we fished in the Myakka River at the El Jobean bridge, and having to back track home from there, the approximate nautical mileage of all water travel would have been over 81 miles! 

The bottom line is: not only did the trailer enable me to cover more fishing grounds in less than one third the miles traveled; not only did it save me about 25 gallons of marine fuel (priced today at $4.15), but the time I would have wasted in driving the boat was better spent fishing for those 3 extra hours.

The bottom line here is...I've learned a valuable lesson.  Just because you own a home with a boat lift on a Gulf access canal doesn't mean you don't want to purchase a trailer with your fishing boat.

In looking at the attached photograph, of my SPOT alerts, to the right of point #5 I have indicated a line pointing to the approximate location of my home port on the Auburn Waterway.  Point #4 is close to the Placida boat ramp.  This was where the day began at approximately 930AM.  We then fished between spots 1-4 and pulled the boat out back at spot #4 at 4PM.  We had the boat back in the water 20 minutes later at spot #5 and were catching fish again at 4:30PM at the El Jobean bridge on the Myakka River until 6PM.

I've attached is a wide shot so those unfamiliar with our waters can see the peninsula's separating all of the fishing grounds I covered in one day.  It's amazing, don't you agree?

So why buy on a canal?  #1 - Gulf access, waterfront homes will always have better resale value than their land locked comparable counterparts.  #2 - when I want to fish the upper harbor or make those long cruises with out of town guest, it's still nice to launch from your backyard.

Oh, the fishing report?  We caught keeper sheepshead and keeper sugar trout.  We caught and released big ladyfish and small mangrove snapper, plus some white grunts and squirrel fish.  I lost track of how many fish total but we brought home 10.  I took some pictures of Subaru Jim running his boat out there along mine.  I hope he got some of me too.  If he did, I will post later.

Click pictures for full screen image
These reflect where my SPOT marked my status as all okay.

This is the route I would have to take without using my trailer; 81 miles instead of 26.

Subaru Jim's flats boat braves the Gulf water

One of my guests today, visiting from Ohio, caught and released this ladyfish.

Subaru Jim runs off my starboard side, about 5 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico

Subaru Jim waves from his boat

The aqua-blue waters of Lemon Bay

The boating community of Cape Haze

Sunday, January 22, 2012

30 IN 3

Home in PC
High of 81, very light winds

Couldn't resist going out with Subaru Jim again on Sunday.  We spent most of the day in 10' of water and landed over 30 fish in 3 hours.  Most of what we landed were Whiting, with a few Silver Trout mixed in.  Weather was apparently sponsored by the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce...high of 81, very light winds.

The new cover picture was taken during our launch out the El Jobean canal.  I laid down on the bow of the boat to get as close to the water as I could.  In the distance, the open water is the Myakka River, leading to Charlotte Harbor.

Monday morning I'm on a plane to DC for the week.  I have a feeling I'll be getting lost in that photo all week long until I return home.  Taking Jim and 2 others out next Saturday.

Click on photos for full screen...especially the mullet shots

Finding the fish in four feet of water

Tons of mullet in my backyard this afternoon

Got Mullet?

After launching from the El Jobean ramp

El Jobean canals

The River leads to the Bay; the Bay to Gulf; the Gulf to the World

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 78, low of 51

Subaru Jim and I fished the upper harbor all day today.  We caught and released dozens of trout, red fish, lady fish, a few junk catfish, and even a stingray.  It was a picture perfect day on the water, with a high of 78 and light winds.  There were quite a few other boaters on the water today, enjoying paradise like us.

The sun shined brightly all day until 4PM when we headed in and a layer of gray clouds filled the skies.  It doesn't look like rain but should help us continue our mild winter.  I escaped New England just in time yesterday, as they were pelted with heavy snow today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hampton Inn, Westport, MA

Awoke to light snow on the ground and freezing rain that followed.
Teaching OSHA classes here in the Boston metro area.
At home, Subaru Jim keeps catching fish.  I'm hoping to get out with him this weekend.
I'm flying home Friday and plan to fish all day Saturday.  Next week I'm flying to our Nation's Capitol for more training classes, with me as the presenter.  I've been dieting since the first of the year.  I can't run, due to a nagging injury to my right ankle, but I can watch what I eat more.  Since the new year, I have lost 10 pounds and pulled in two notches on my belt.  Not bad.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 76

On Saturday I went fishing with my buddy Subaru Jim.  The weather was beautiful and the fishing was even better.  Although his home in Port Charlotte is down the canal from me, he prefers to launch his boat from a trailer so that he can cover more fishing spots by driving from ramp to ramp.  After fishing with him a few times, it's really starting to make good sense to me.  So much of our inshore waters have peninsulas we'd have to run around on the water, I have always burned expensive gas and precious time doing so.  Now while I enjoy all the time on the water I can get, if fishing is the goal, let's face it...if you're driving the boat, you're not fishing.

Jim picked me up just before 9 AM at my house.  15 minutes later we launched his boat from the El Jobean ramp.  The tide was ultra low, negative .04'.  We wouldn't be able to get into the mangroves just yet so we picked a spot in the Myakka River and drifted the incoming tide.  We had 100 live shrimp on board and immediately put them to good use.  Spotted sea trout were biting on nearly every cast.  In 2 hours Jim landed 20 and I landed 11, including one small red fish as a bonus.  31 fish on the boat in 2 hours?  None were above the 15" minimum length for keeping; most were in the 12-13" size, so all were released alive and well, but what a great time!  Saltwater Spotted Sea Trout are beautiful looking fish.  I'm sorry I didn't stop for pictures but when you're catching that many fish, you don't want to stop for anything!  They have big soft mouths so you have to work them with skill to keep them on the hook.  (forgot to mention that on the previous afternoon, Jim picked me up from my canal and we landed 24 trout and redfish in 2 hours from the harbor just outside of our canal channel).

(back to Saturday) At 11 AM, Jim's canal neighbor, Jerry, called and wanted to join us.  We boated over the ramp, reloaded the boat on the trailer and met Jerry at TNT Bait shop.  Jerry added 50 live shrimp to replace what we'd lost to the trout and the 3 of us set out again.  We launched boat 15 minutes later at the Placida Boat ramp.  (Jim pays $50 a year for an annual parking sticker, valid at any Charlotte County boat ramp.

We headed up the intercoastal waterway towards Don Pedro State Park.  Since this area was much closer to the Gulf of Mexico, the incoming tide was well ahead of our previous spot.  There was plenty of water to get into the mangroves and I hooked up to a nice 15" flounder, my first.  This one became the first fish we put in the live well and would be my dinner later that night.  Jim and Jerry hooked up with some smaller mangrove snapper and others but all were released.  I landed a ladyfish we kept alive in the well in case we needed cut bait later.  (at the end of the day, she was released alive)

By 1PM we found out way into the blue waters of Gasparilla Pass.  Look at the below photo taken from Google Earth to see how gorgeous the water is here.  To the west is the darker waters of the Gulf and to the east the water almost disappears among the mangrove trees and flats, but in Placida Harbor, Gasparilla Sound and the Pass it is like Bahamian water.

All throughout these waters we hit the mother load.  Gag grouper, red grouper, mangrove snapper, grunts, sheepshead, one after another, after another and still more.  Between the 3 of us we caught and released more than 60 fish here.  We also caught some lesser desirable varieties like snakefish, toadfish, and blowfish but Jerry caught several nice keeper size mangrove snappers and a big sheepshead.  Jim became the champ of the day when he landed a 23" Gag Grouper that would have been a meal for us all except Gag season is closed!  We snapped a photo and said goodbye to this prized possession.  This was the biggest Grouper I have seen in person since moving here in 2007.  I have spend a lot of fuel and money to find that fish and wouldn't you know it...he came with a Governor's pardon and was spared.

At 3PM we headed into the back waters of the mangroves in search of keeper trout/reds.  We tossed shrimp and lures among the seagrasses and sandy flats in 1-2 feet of water but found nothing over the course of an hour.  We ended the day near the old railroad bridge and Placida Trestle but landed just one snakefish before deciding we should join the sun and call it a day.  At 550PM we headed for the trailer.

I'm pretty sure we went over 100 fish on the day but we broke our old record of 11 species in a day and landed 12 different ones today.  12 species of saltwater fish in one day?  You gotta love living/fishing in Southwest Florida.

Jim and Jerry graciously allowed me to have all of the keepers, since I hadn't tasted flounder, sheepshead or mangrove snapper yet.  Jerry even did all of the cleaning for me!  I got home about 7 and broiled the flounder fillets.  I coupled them with a nice garden salad, topped with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It was a meal well earned.  My body was quite tired from the day and after a shower I was in bed by 9PM.

The snapper and sheepys went into the freezer for another day.  I set out to find keeper trout but with results like we had, I can't hardly complain.  Enjoy a few photos from the day, below.  Click on pics for full screen.

Satellite image of our blue water adventure
The in-shore waters were smooth and calm all day

Subaru Jim pilots the boat
Subaru Jim shows off the catch of the day, a 23" Gag Grouper, released  because of seasonal rules
Behind these mangroves we fished in 1-2 feet of water

Your author on his home waters

The old Placida railroad bridge dates back to the early 1900s

Sun sets through bridge pilings twice my age

As the sun sets to west, the moon rises in the east over Gasparilla Sound

A lone heron watches sunset over Placida Harbor

I'll never get enough of these

Subaru Jim's 17' Key West Stealth floats in 6" of water

My flounder before cleaning; in the back are the sheepshead fillets
My first flounder became my dinner after a well fought day of angling.  I added some Mrs. Dash, course ground pepper and lemon juice before broiling them 6 minutes per side at 350 degrees.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 72

Happy New Year, bloggers!  I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year with my wife, kids and grandkids.
This past week it was back on the road for work.  I found myself in Virginia Beach and Fredericksburg, VA.  I awoke Wednesday morning to 19 degrees.  At home, my wife was experiencing a cold front in South Florida of 26 degrees.  Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days and today we got back up into paradise weather.

After finishing my work reports I joined by buddy and neighbor Subaru Jim on his boat for a couple of hours of fishing Charlotte Harbor.  It was non-stop action for two hours.  We landed more than two dozen trout, redfish and ladyfish, just outside of my canal channel.  Although non of the trout/reds were keeper size, we had a blast catching and releasing.

Saturday we are going to spend all day searching for keeper.  We're forecast for a high of 75 degrees.