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.