Saturday, September 22, 2012

WEEKEND IN NEW ENGLAND

Home in Port Charlotte
Forecast high of 87°, 50% chance of showers

My wife and I just returned from an eight day working vacation in New England.
We have some wonderful friends who have a winter home in Port Charlotte, FL, a summer home in Seekonk, Mass and their parents have a gorgeous 7 acres with a 3 story beach house on Nantucket Sound, Cape Cod.  They invited us for a long weekend and I followed it with a 4 day business trip.  Here's a photo tour of our weekend in New England:  (Click pictures for full screen image)
There is a brief video I shot while whale watching at the bottom on this page.

Arrival on our friend's private beach

Our accommodations for the first 4 days

View from the huge front porch

7 acres of wetlands provides nice privacy and gorgeous scenery

The swan river divides their property from the neighboring homes, some distance away.

Nantucket Sound

The sun sets on our first night

Gorgeous

Sunrise over Cape Cod

Whale watching out of Provincetown

This shot of the blow hole shows how close they were to us

A whale of a tail

Breaching the surface

40 plus foot whale leaps into the air

The visiting Judges from Florida gave this dive a 10

Sunday morning at Gillette Stadium

Got to represent the Cardinals fans during our tailgate party

QB Kevin Kolb drives the Cardinals to an early lead

The AZ Defense harassed Tom Brady all day; here, Calais Campbell bats a  pass away.

Cardinals WR Andre Roberts dives across the goal line to give the Cardinals the lead for good!


My wife looks on from row 37

When it was over, Arizona had shocked the world and upset all of New England.  It was only the 2nd Patriots defeat in this building in the past 34 games.  My wife and I will never forget the experience of our Weekend in New England.

video

Sunday, September 2, 2012

FRUITS OF MY LABOR DAY

Home in Port Charlotte
76* at wake up, high around 90*

I went out alone yesterday with one goal.  Repeat my luck from last labor day weekend and bring home a slot Redfish.  If the are under 18" or over 27" you must release them.  I read the Fishin Franks weekly report and heard the Reds were hot right now.  I had some boat maintenance to do first so I did not launch the boat until 1 PM.

The wind and the waves were quite a bit higher than what had been forecast .  I went to the Myakka cutoff, on an incoming tide.  Unless you have a pure flats boat, do not ever go in there on a falling tide.  I have a bay boat that draws about 1 foot of water.  I use the "stick it" shallow water anchor pin ($100) instead of a $1500 power pole.  I pinned the boat down in 2' of water, right up against the mangrove trees.

I used a popping cork with a live shrimp rigged beneath it.  The cork also helped me determine the actual flow of the water current.  Inside the cutoff it can be very deceiving.  You can have a 10 to 15 mph wind whipping across the top of the water causing almost wake like conditions and in reality the bait fish are being pulled in the opposite direction beneath the surface.

I used the cork on one rod and left it in the holder, unattended, while I used a tipped jig on a second rod to cover greater ground in my search.  The j.i.g. was catching only catfish and every time I checked the cork I found I'd been robbed of my bait.  I decided to focus my attention solely on the cork. (did you know that city data edits out the word jig.

I re-rigged and cast out as far as I could without the wind carrying me into.....crap.  In the mangroves.
I pulled the anchor pin and drove over to get my hook and float out of the trees. Any fish that were here would be scared off now.    After getting my gear free I returned to my anchor point and pinned down.  I took a break to enjoy a couple of bottles of chilled beverage and wait for the fish to return to their spot.

After  about fifteen minutes I re-rigged and cast out again, this time finding my mark.  The current slowly carried my cork into the shade of the mangroves.  Because of the curve of the shoreline, I was forced to lean out and peer around the trees blocking my view.  I remember thinking I must look pretty silly to anyone who may pass by. . .like I was trying to be sneaky, but this is a good time to mention I never saw another boat in there.

At 3:45, 45 minutes before high tide, I saw my bobber go under for a quick second.  Was that a hit or the waves?  Again, boop...under and back up.  What the ....under...this time it stayed under and I counted to three and BAM!  Set the hook!  Fish on!

He was a nice little fighter too.  Dark in color from the tannin stained water of the cutoff.  Unmistakable white underbelly, false eye on the tail, Red Drum.  I got him close enough to the boat and used one hand to grab my net, thanking myself or staging it close by.   As soon as I brought him aboard, my circle hook came out of his mouth.  I was that close to loosing him.

He measured 23" but was a fatty.  I put him in the live well and thought how nice it was to come out here with one goal in mind and be so fortunate as to have it fulfilled.  You're only allowed one of these per person, per day and I got what I came for.  I pulled the pin and headed for home.

As I crossed Charlotte Harbor, running about 20 knots in a moderate chop, I realized I was at that moment doing exactly what and where I wanted to do in life.  With as hard as I work, all of the crazy travel I do for my job, all of the sacrifices I make sleeping two thirds of the year in hotel rooms while my wife stars in her own version of Home Alone, this day makes it worthwhile.

I'm thankful for a wife who lets me fish and I'm thankful for a job that allows me to live the dream of owning a house with a boat parked on a canal in my backyard.  I'm thankful for the Redfish filets resting comfortably in my freezer.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.  Go do some fishing.
It's hard to photograph fish when you're alone on the boat.

Camera shy?

All dressed up for the filet table

Fish color changes to adapt to their environment.  The Myakka River, near where I caught this fella , has heavily stained water, almost like tea color.  This same fish living closer to the Gulf would be a much lighter shade of red.

Notice the spot on his tail?  This is a trademark of the Red Drum, or Redfish.  It is known as the false eye and is used to fool predators, giving the Redfish an advantage during an attack.  Fortunately, it didn't work against this predator.