Tuesday, May 30, 2006

5/30/06 Vacation Time

Where else would a homeschooling, fishing family like to vacation???

Sea World, of course! This will be our 3rd annual trek over to Sea World with various family members. I captured this photo last year at the feeding tank. My eldest on the left and my youngest on the right. I entered this photo in the local Fair and it won 3rd place for human interest.

I got smart and this year bought the Fun Cards so we can visit any time this whole year. I'm excited to know we can return back in the Fall when other kids are in school and the crowds will be down.

When we get back from Sea World, the rest of our week with my sister's family will be spent doing some inshore trolling for Kingfish, Spanish Mackeraels, Barracuda and Shark. I'm really excited since we've never trolled inshore but a lot of people are successful at it. Kingfish are known to love combing the beaches for food. Tarpon are also passing through, so that is a remote possibility too. Last year, the 3rd week of May, we landed in the middle of a school of feeding tarpon which was amazing to have 50-100 lb fish popping up all around your boat. We didn't know how to fish for them at that time. They are strictly a catch/release type of fish. If we come home w/ Kingfish, we can smoke it and make dip out of it.

My sister, myself and our kids posing with a patient Clydesdale.

A most unhappy Shamu Splashzone kid.

This one was thrilled to be soaked in 50 deg saltwater. This portrait won me 1st place at the Space Coast Fair last Fall (adult division). Maybe I should enter his brother this Fall.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

5/21/06 A dream come true

Some kids dream of ponies or being firemen or driving monster trucks. My son, he dreams of catching his first mahi and today was HIS day!! We set out this morning after church to have a daywhere nothing else was on the agenda but teaching "M" to reel in big game. We head about 15 miles east of the Port. We started to see a few flying fish in 70 ft of water. We set out 2 lures (pink/white w/ ballyhoo and one naked 'hoo). Jack didn't even have the 3rd line in the water when the first one goes off! I was navigating on the due East setting so I just stayed in the Capt's seat. Jack hands the pole to M, who is reeling and reeling and reeling and reeling. Finally, I had to go neutral because the extra resistance it put on pulling the fish in and dragging him at the same time. First, we could see pink, then we could see slightly brownish/long bodied forked tail. A couple cranks more and we could have really seen it and gaffed it, but........ it scream, "BOAT" and spit out the hook and took a right turn away from us. It was so disappointing because we're sure this was a heavy 3-4 ft fish. This first picture is him fighting the fish at 1:45pm.

By 2:20, another line was screaming off a pole. Same drill. I slow the boat down, Jack hands the pole to M and M is reeling and reeling. Again, this one is not a jumper (nor was the first). Our hopes of mahi were dashed as they love to jump. In this picture, you can't see it, but in the original, we see our first glimpse of green/yellow - a mahi!!! "Pull M, reeeeeeel, pull up, reeeeel" Eventually, we can see it isn't huge but definitely the right size for M and the poor fish is as tired as our son.

M has done a fantastic job of getting it boatside and stepping out of the way for daddy to pull in - not a gaffer in the case. This blogspot does no justice to the actual pictures we took at high resolution.

This is one happy kid. Pure satisfaction from having done it all by himself.

I can't tell you how proud we are of him as well. Didn't weigh it but it was 22 inches to the fork in the tail, probably a few pounds, caught in 105 ft of water.

Friday, May 19, 2006

5/19/06 4 Guys & a Mahi

The short story is that seas were 4-6 ft heading out of the Port. I have never been so glad to get bumped for a later date. I do not *do* 4-6 ft seas. NOAA forecasters were still calling for 2 ft seas all day, but Jack said it was for only a brief time when the wind had changed directions.

They tried some bottom fishing. One guy was very seasick. By lunchtime, they went back to the original plan of trolling. First knockdown produced a nice 10+ lb mahi/dorado. The guys played a lot of tricks on each other as somebody would fall asleep. (They are all night-shifters.) I'm so glad I wasn't there. An hour later, another line popped off the rigger. This time, Brad got to fight a nicer 20 lb mahi bull. Jack says the fish made about 10 nice leaps out of the water. Then, the next sentence was that he got off. Ugh. This is how it is with mahi because of their aerobatics.

It wasn't a total skunking but because the seas were awful, we have decided to cancel tomorrow's trip as well. Good luck to the guys fishing in the tourny tomorrow.

Above is Jose with the mahi. To the right, Bill with mahi.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

5/18/06 A way to a fisherman's heart

Friends of ours from church are also into making dreams of homes come true. She is a mortgage broker. He is a realtor & business owner. They both love to fish and boat. They both love Jesus and the church. It is a friendship we hope to grow. Today, we took the next step. We had 'her' get us pre-approved for a home. 'He' will help us find a home (we hope). We were so busy between my dr's visit and Jack's finishing the installation of the radio & antenna, we missed her call. A few hours later, his Dad shows up on our doorstep with a gift bag. It was most thoughtful. My 6yo was too excited to wait for Daddy to wake up, so he opened it. It was an Ilander blue & white trolling lure - the BIG one. On the card inside, it read, "Enjoy your day of fishing tomorrow and relax while we take care of everything." I must say, it was a great gift. We should have been the ones giving her a gift for working on our pre-approval loan papers. Anyhow, it is the sign of a true fishing friend and a way to win Jack's business.

Be sure to check back on Friday and Saturday nights for fishing pictures. I was bumped from Friday's trip so that Capt Jack could take friends out for 'one last trip' before one of them moves away. It turned out to be great for us since my eldest is limping from a pulled leg muscle (duck, duck, goose) and I've got plenty of catching up to do around the house.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

5/17/06 New Marine Radio

Part of having an older boat in the process of restoration is that when you have down time from fishing & schooling you have to work on it. The marine radio & speakers we were going to purchase a couple/few weeks ago went on clearance to make way for new electronics equipment. What a blessing! We snatched that baby up and finally got to start the installation today. We ran into a few snags, as all project have. We hope to finish it up by tomorrow in order to go fishing on Friday.

Tomorrow is my yearly physical & also time to see why my fishing elbow isn't healing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

5/16/06 Cobia & Prepping for Friday

Today, we had beautiful Cobia filets for lunch. We vacuum-pack all our excess fish and store it in the freezer for later use. When they are thawed, they are as fresh as the day they are packed and still have the salt-water smell.

Jack makes a thin filet about 4-5 inches long, then dips them in milk & batter, back-n-forth a few times to make a thick crust. Then it is frying time. We only fry one side at a time, not deep-frying. A little fish & corn on the cobb make for a delicious lunch.

Yesterday, Jack bought a marine radio/CD player & speakers for the boat. He could not install it today because of all the much needed rain falling down. So, he played in the utility room with rigging lures with stainless steel wires and 7-8/O hooks. I would say that we're better prepared for this trip, as far as what to troll with. It looks like Friday will have 2 ft seas which will make a perfect fishing opportunity.

Last Friday, a man was trolling out of our Port Canaveral and caught a 200 lb blue marlin!! The fight took over an hour and it was on 30 lb test line. WOW! I don't have permission to post the pictures but it was spectacular. It was a rarity for these parts. This billfish was released unharmed.

Be sure to check back by Friday night for pictures.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

5/13/06 Bye-bye Swingset

A piece of history is nearly gone. Our boys have had their swingset for 5 years and I'm afraid the joints are stressed & beginning to breakdown. Some of the wood is starting to split from the swinging motion. It will be so hard to say good-bye to our swingset. We already had to say good-bye to our above-ground pool last summer. Between the sun, rain and hurricane winds, it is hard to keep the yard 'toys' in good shape.

Here is a picture, taken today, of the boys with our neighbor (R).

On a fishy note, we bought some trolling lures today at WalMart. One had feathers on it, the other looked like a baby Mahi. We nearly took the boat out on the river for a family ride. With gas being high, my health not happy, and Capt needing to catch up on sleep, it seemed like a better choice to get Chinese food and movies. I also took the time to fertilize & water my citrus trees while the boys played some softball.

Also, somebody entered the picture of my oldest son holding the Mahi in the same "Picture of the Week" contest that I was in last month. He has stiff competition with a man holding a 29 lb red snapper. That is quite a big fish.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

5/10/06 Summer break

All the testing is done. We've accomplished so much in our home this year. We have had a wonderful school year. I somehow managed the skill of schooling 2 kids on different levels all in the same day. (My hat is off to those moms who school numerous kids at multiple levels.) We are definitely on summer break all month long! Next month, we kick off the school year with a trip to Sea World with family. We should have our test results by then as well, plus a whole case of new books. Yeah!

Below is a picture of the boys watching their Giant Swallowtail come out of the crysallis.

The boys at Marine Science camp w/ the sein net. Also, both boys schooling.

Monday, May 08, 2006

5/8/06 Forgot to say the final tally....

I was so preoccupied with the little bird story that I forgot to mention that after trolling for Mahi produced nothing, they stopped back in at high bar to bottom fish. Jack had one nice hit and then lost 'em and Terry caught 1 mangrove snapper, 1 big lane snapper, 1 grey trigger and some black sea bass.

While I was grocery shopping this morning, Jack had all the fish cleaned and ready for me to cook them. We used Nana and Papa's famous Ritz cracker crust, sauted in butter. Delicious!! While all the fish were good and fresh, I have to say that Mangrove snapper was my favorite. I had to laugh because it sort of felt like we were doing some sort of taste-test survey with such a variety.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

5/7/06 Golden Finch

Today, Jack took a fishing friend, Terry, out to search for more Mahi. The seas turned from 1-2 ft to 4-5ft in a couple hours and the fish seemed to have all disappeared. It was a blessing just to have come back safely as the water was splashing over the bow (front) and the following seas were pushing them deep into the water. Jack was very glad the boys and I were not with them.

Anyhow, it still turned out to be an interesting day - it ALWAYS is. The past few times we have been out, we see these small finches circling our boat. They do not fit in the water bird category and we figured they were migrating - or lost in the migration. So, today, these little bird were so exhausted that they decided to take refuge on the boat. For wild birds, they were very tame (or too exhausted to care). One sat on Jack's shoulder like a parrot. This little guy was on the boat dashboard and Terry put a finger out. He jumped right onto it. Also, he spent quite a while on Terry's hat. For Terry, it was a special moment because he believes that birds are angels.

Friday, May 05, 2006

5/5/06 Cinco de Mayo on the Atlantic Ocean

Actually I totally forgot until we were on the drive home, but here is how we celebrated our holiday. (I will edit in more story tomorrow, but for now, pictures.)

Not far from where Mr. John was sitting (off the corner) is bait balled up by some dolphins & something else (not determined yet) that were crashing it. The dolphins left, but whatever the 3 other fish were, they were not interested in us but only their glass minnows. Picture on the right shows our boat drifting right over them.

Here is Mr. John with his first mahi mahi ever caught. It was barely legal size so he went back in the water to grow up.

M had a most unfortunate day. Jack handed a pole over to M with something (?) on and we all hoped it was a mahi mahi. In the end, it turned out to be one of the remoras that were following the male/female mahi mahi. Right after releasing this, M caught the bull mahi on a shrimp and he bit the line in two. Then, M happened to catch the cow (both were acrobatic fish). I am the blame for his losing her because my knot didn't stay tied and she swam off w/ the hook. About the time we were all ready to leave, the cow came back for more chunks of cut bait.

I don't know how this happened but Jack landed the hook in the fish on Mr. John's pole. After several spectacular runs, I almost netted the fish, almost made us lose it, then Jack gaffed it as John held the pole. In the end, it turned out to be the cow mahi that M had just lost and the other hook was still in her mouth. So, you could say it was a collaborative catch for our boat.

A little side story:
On the way back in, we stopped at some floating debris, which turned out to be a child's toy and found a tripletail & mini-trigger fish hiding under it. The tripletail was too small to keep, plus, 'she' wasn't hungry today. Here are a couple pictures from that.

See the blk trigger under the pink bike?

The tripletail is the brown spot left of the golden seaweed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

5/4/06 Rigged and Ready!!

Today is the first day of our summer break for the boys and myself. We finished with testing on Wednesday and it was great to sleep in this morning. Today was also big prep day for Jack and me as we look forward to tomorrow's day of trolling for mahi mahi. We have a friend fishing with us, Mr. John. We like Mr. John because he tolerates kids well and he is at the same place on the learning curve with us. He also 'chums' the water with seasickness, so he gets brownie points just for perseverance. Sometimes it is a relief to me to have another man on the boat who can do the physically demanding chores that I don't like. For example, Mr. John will pull up the anchor for me. I hate pulling up the anchor after the first time because it can get really, really heavy and leave my hands blood red and shoulders in pain [bursitis].

Jack came in from work and had a dozen ballyhoo and all the wire & hooks to boot. He spent over an hour rigging them up for tomorrow. Now, they are sitting in brine solution in the frig. I'm afraid I wasn't much help other than moral support. I did make sure homemade pizza was on time, which is a very important factor. I went to the grocery store and picked up all the fixin's for subs, chips, sodas, and a box of doughnuts for breakfast. It is our tradition to have doughnuts on fishing day. Usually I will try to abstain but it is a deal I worked out w/ my youngest in order to get him willing to wake up at the crack of dawn, get on a boat and spend all day drugged with Bonine. Now, he is gaining his sea legs, plus the seas will be minimal, so I think he won't need any motion sickness pills. I'm hoping that Mr. John will have a better day too.

We are looking at 5-10 knot winds, SW, 2 ft seas @ 9 sec wave intervals. Swell ht is 1.6 ft @ 10 sec. It will be mostly sunny, 91 deg, UV 100,000 . It should be a marvelous day for trolling. We have pink/wh, purple/wh skirts w/ ballyhoo, naked ones (no skirts) and some weighted w/ sinkers to swim them about 1 ft below the surface. Last time we were out, the plain (naked) ballyhoos were the ones that attacked. You just never know until you get out there. We are heading directly to Pelican Flats and then trolling out deeper. The Gulf Stream is currently 32 miles offshore, so we shouldn't be running into it this time either.

Now, if we could only get the gas prices to go back down and this wouldn't be such an expensive family hobby.