Sunday, November 18, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
63* at wake up

I finally found the time to post a new blog. My travels across the country continue to wear me down but, as I say, it beats staying home and looking for work.  I've continued monthly trips to the New England area, as well as NY, NJ, the east coast of FL, all the way out to CA and countless other trips I can't even recall.

What I really want to write about is yesterday's fishing trip.  I had received an invitation to guide a guy off shore in his 21' Key West boat.  He'd never been off shore since moving here about a year ago and he wanted my help navigating to some good fishing reefs.  We'd planned on going about 20 miles out until I looked at the wind and wave forecasts the night before.  15-20 MPH winds and 3-4' seas.  Not good conditions for traveling out of sight of land.  I called the guy back and cancelled, postponing for better conditions.

I stayed home to change out a troubled kitchen faucet when Subaru Jim called about 10 AM to say that the winds had laid down a bit and he and neighbor Jerry were planning on taking Jerry's 19' bay boat out for the first time this season.  They were each finishing up their own home projects but would be ready to depart about 12:30 PM.  After completing the faucet I grabbed a couple of rods and headed out.

After buying live shrimp we launched the boat from the Gasparilla Park boat ramp. The winds were more like 5-10, much to our delight so we boated out to the Tremblay Reef, just a couple of miles off shore from the Gasparilla Pass.  Here we caught keeper flounder and sheepshead.  About an hour after we anchored, the wind and waves picked up and soon we were surrounded by white caps.   I was seated on the bow, with Jim and Jerry at the stern.  At one point, while my attention was focused on baiting my hook, I looked up just in time to see a huge wave about to strike.  I shouted, "Roller!" just as a four footer came over the gunwale and soaked me from the waist down.  We were lucky that Jim's tackle bags, placed forward on the bow, weren't washed overboard.   Deciding one of those was enough, we pulled up anchor headed for the protection of the intercostal waterway.

We took refuge behind the Boca Grande bridge and dropped anchor again. Although we were protected by the lee side of the peninsula, the wind out of the north was still ripping pretty hard through the bridge pass, creating a tunnel effect that amplified the incoming tide and made a rushing white water current we used to our advantage. We cast our baits in the current and jigged them every few seconds.  The fish went into a frenzy and were striking on almost every cast.

We caught huge Spanish Mackerel, Permit (which I haven't landed since 2008 with Buffalo Pete) Jack Cravelle, and over 50 lady fish.   A pod of 6 or more bottle nose dolphin moved in on our action and really made things fun.  We had to keep them from stealing our catch but the fish on the lines would freak out when Flipper moved in to terrorize them. It was more fun than we've had in a long time.   At 5:20 the tide quit and as if someone threw a switch...the bite shut off.

With the sun setting we knew the noseeums would start their biting on us soon so we made a quick path back to the boat ramp.  It was a win-win day for all. We each made our wives happy with the projects we'd completed in the morning and got to enjoy a great afternoon of guilt free fishing fun.  Remember...happy wife, happy life!