Sunday, March 11, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
morning low of 65, high of 85

Jerry, Al and I fished off shore all day yesterday, working locations between 3 and 19 miles west of Gasparilla Pass, in depths ranging from 25 to 72 feet.  We used 100 shrimp and caught many blue runners, too many "spotfish", (which is a little bait fish similar to a pinfish but it has a black spot near its tail), some Key West Grunts, a Remora and several keeper size sheepshead and flounder.  At 19 miles we saw a school of 5 Cobia cruise past, about 15' below the surface in 72' of water.  We all cast out ahead of them but no takers.

Winds weren't too bad, 10-12, but there were solid 3' rollers.  Because I carry the most "ballast" I was seated up front in Jerry's 19' Sailfish bay boat.  OMG...I got beat to hell when we were underway.  As most of you know, I am usually at the helm of my own boat.  I'm not sure if my boat rides easier or I'm just not accustomed to being forward and don't know what my guests go through when in a moderate chop but it was not a pleasant ride.

Jerry's bilge pump stopped working and he to bail water out of there manually, using pint size water bottles with the bottoms cut out.  We were never in any danger but it is one more reason why I have my SPOT satellite locator strapped to my body the whole time we are at sea.  I am able to send "I'm Okay" messages to my family, which also give my current Lat/Long position at sea.  I usually send messages every hour.  If we had mechanical problems, I push the "Help" button and up to ten members of my family/friends list receive pre-programmed messages say that I need mechanical help, giving my position and clarifying that it is "Not a Life Threatening Emergency."  If I did have a real problem out there, I can hit the 911 button and the alert goes to a monitoring center in Houston.  They will try to contact my wife or one of my contacts to confirm I'm on the boat, then they will send the Coast Guard.  If I wind up in the water, the SPOT is strapped to my inflatable life vest, which I always wear.  Of course it's waterproof.  Even if the boat sinks, I will be found.  SPOTs slogan is "Live to Tell About It."

Subaru Jim and Al also own SPOTs.  Jerry's wife just bought him a similar product, a satellite link to his smartphone that allows him to send and receive text messages.  It also gives real time tracking of his position and movements that she can monitor online.  It's nice to have friends who are well prepared.

When we were anchored down, yesterday, it was picture perfect weather and gorgeous blue water.  We had several sightings of giant loggerhead turtles, saw a pod of a dozen or more bottle nose dolphin at 14 miles out, and enjoyed the day.  The ride back in at 5PM had the winds drop off and it was much more comfortable cruise back into Gasparilla Park, arriving right at sundown, at 6:30.

This morning my abdominal muscles are crying out in pain.  It must have been all of the bouncing and my cringing my gut for each of the hundreds of body slams my butt and back endured during the day.  I feel like I completed an ultimate ab workout and am paying the price for it.

Subaru Jim returns to Southwest Florida on Monday, as I fly out to Boston for the week.  Jim will be here for  another 8 weeks before he heads back to PA for the summer.  Jerry also leaves FL in the summer.  I tell my wife about wishing I had friends who live here full time and she reminds me that I don't live here full time either.  Ouch!  I met Al through Jim and he is a full time resident/retiree from MI.  He is another really nice guy whom I hope will be my summer time fishing buddy.  He has a boat of his own, that he trailers, and he knows a lot about fishing/boating.  He has been here for 8 years.  So between Jim, Jerry, Al and I we have 4 boats.  That makes a nice group of anglers and prevents one guy from always having to be the Captain and the boat cleaner.

Below is a picture of the locations of where we fished, as logged by my SPOT locator.

Today my wife and I will head over to Laishley Park for the Peace River Seafood Festival.

Friday, March 9, 2012


At the home Port
high of 85

I finished another week on the road and arrived home last night at about 10PM.  I spend the day today completing my work reports from the past few days travels and I had 3 conference calls that took almost 3 hours combined.

Subaru Jim is still in PA but his neighbor Jerry has invited me to go fishing with him tomorrow.  We plan on going off shore in his boat, which is a 19' Sailfish bay boat.  We will be joined by Al, another fishing buddy of Jim and Jerry, who I have met once.

I will have my SPOT locator for safety and will report back on our results.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte, heading for Tampa airport
Cold front passed yesterday, morning low of 48, high of 70

Last night I had my speckled trout for dinner and it was excellent.  I trailered the boat to get gas before the price goes any higher.  I took on 37 gallons of 90 octane non-ethanol (known locally as Rec 90) at $4.19 per gallon.  Another station had it at $4.30.  Marina on the water price is $4.99 and up.  I figure I better get fuel now before it goes up another dollar.

This morning I'm headed for the Baltimore, MD.  Upon arrival I will drive 2 hours to Rehoboth Beach, DE, where I will teach an excavation safety class tomorrow.  After that class I will drive 3 hours to Clarksburg, MD to work Wednesday.  That night I'll drive about 90 minutes, depending on traffic on the Capitol could take 3 hours just as well, and Thursday will be a day of work in the Lorton/Alexandria area.  Thursday night I fly home for the weekend.  Next week:  Boston

I spent the entire last weekend working on cleaning/organizing my home office and garage, as well as catching up on a lot of filing.  The next few weekends I will be installing a yard irrigation system at home.  The boat will have to stay parked while I get this done.  Subaru Jim is back in PA for a few weeks, catching up on his home based business, doing taxes, etc.  He is scheduled to return here on March 12 to stay another month or so.

Speaking of PA, I will be there two weeks from now; as well as NY & NJ.  The week after that?  AZ & CA.

Okay, I'm sufficiently exhausted from looking ahead. Red Grouper season re-opens April 1.