Friday, July 28, 2006

7/28/06 Sea World, Third time's the charm

We took a rather spontaneous trip back to Sea World this morning. I LOVE having the Fun Card which gets us in for free the rest of the year. Btw, the thermocline is still in our fishing grounds with temps on the bottom at 62 degrees. Fishing is sloooooow right now, so we're doing other things fishy.

Here is the Dolphin Nursery tank. Many babies had been moved to the big tank, but these were the late bloomers.

Here is Little M at the stingray tank, petting them. He did not care to feed them shrimp but he was satisfied with touching and holding onto their wings. I had to remind him to not be so firm.

Sometimes, they would come up to us and give us a direct splash right in the face. It was very intentional and the kids loved it.

I love this one of the stingray eating the shrimp out of Big M's hand.

Dad and son on the Atlantis ride - again. They really love getting splashed. My youngest rode it once two years ago and refuses to ever try again.

The Clyde and Seamus Show is definitely the funniest show at Sea World. Get there early because the Pirate Mime guy starts his act w/ heckling the crowd 10 minutes before the real show. Tonight, Seamus didn't get a few of his 'lines' right and so the show was hysterical. He ran off the 'stage' area before his one line and left the actor/trainer hanging. We practically had tears in our eyes and our cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

7/27/06 Ms. Bettye goes home with Jesus

This is my first non-fishy related post on my blog but I really needed to write and release this. Our pastor's wife, Bettye Grace, left all her worldly possessions and loved ones behind today to go sit at the feet of Jesus. She no longer suffers from kidney failure. She never has to worry about her diabetes any more. Her joyful heart will never have to be restarted and reset to the right rhythm. And her broken hip and bed sores will cease to exist because heaven is a beautiful place where we have no more tears. We have no more pain. We suffer for nothing.

Our Savior has prepared us mansions that never deteriorate or get blown down by hurricanes. The streets are paved with gold with never a pothole. The walls are layered in precious jewels. The gates are cut from giganic pearls. And the most fantastic, digital, hi-definition music will come into my ears at all times.

As I tell my children, there are no fingerprints or layers of dust in heaven. We don't have to worry about allergies or asthma there. It never turns night because of God's glory. We will sing praises to our Lord with all the angels. We will give a shout when another soul chooses to live for Jesus. There is only peace and contentment. And one day, when I head for my mansion, Ms. Bettye will be there to kiss my cheek and give me a hug. No longer from her hospital bed or wheel chair, but face to face.

I will never be able to hear the song, "Precious Memories" without thinking of her bent over weeping for someone or some moment, long ago.

Ms. Bettye Grace, you will be sorely missed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

7/23/06 Sunday cruise with friends

After church and lunch at KFC, we headed out for a short ride up and down the Indian River and through the local canal that connects the Banana and Indian rivers.

We headed north first and came too close to the bridge of 'death'! LOL. Jack says that they had guns drawn because the tip of the nose of our boat came close to drifting under the bridge before our reverse took effect. I'm so glad that I did not see guns. About the time I read the sign on the bridge (way too small), we heard the man on the banks yell at us.

Anyhow, here is the picture of the bridge of "Do NOT Enter!" Kennedy Space Center's property.

We headed back south, saw a few dolphins and then turned west for the canal. We took a slow ride, waving at folks along the way.

It mostly was to have a relaxing cruise, run the engine for a short while, then head back home. Only, we ran into a little shower. The first one wasn't bad and we certainly had a lot of sun otherwise. After we were back in the river, it was telling that serious showers were building. We put up the eisenglass curtains up for rain pelting protection. Another 30 minutes or so later, we were back at the docks and I was dropped off to get the suburban and trailer dunked into the water. Nice job backing between a lot of heavy dock traffic. (patting myself on the back)

So, Jack put the boat perfectly on the trailer as lightening was striking all around us. Not fun! We got the kids (& neighbors) into the 'burb while we took down some equipment and then headed to the bee-line. Unfortunately, so did everybody else that was enjoying the water, beaches and sun that day. It was a big parking lot and appeared that somebody had a fender bender accident delaying us more.

Still, it was a fun and safe day on the water. I saw one manatee at a distance and the dolphin were extremely shy too. We were trying to show off all the waterlife to our neighbors (first time on our boat) and nothing came out to play.

Here are some pictures of our day
Our first light shower. Did not have time to take pictures of the bigger electrical ones that we hit 30 minutes later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

7/19/06 Flat seas and a Birthday Party

I checked the current bouy data and the seas 20 nm offshore are 1.6 ft waves at 8 second period. Wind wave is .7 ft. That equates to flat as a pancake or sometimes referred to as Lake Atlantic. So, why in the world am I here reporting nothing when I could be fishing?

Couple reasons: 1. Slow to nil bite continues 2. Bottom temperature is 61 degrees (thermocline) 3. Jack is getting his yearly physical today. 4. We are going to surprise him with his birthday gift when he gets back in. 5. Gas prices are too high to not count on getting fish in the boat. 6. I have to write up my lessons for Team Kids program tonight. I'm not usually a procrastinator but I've spent the past 2 days reading my material for it but hadn't had a time to begin writing it.

I'll report back later on what we got the Captain for his birthday (which is in a few days but we can't wait....).

Also a special notation: It was 14 yrs ago today that I met my husband.

Monday, July 10, 2006

7/ 9/06 Spontaneous Fishing trip

My hubby is very spontaneous person. Since he rises long before the rest of the family on the weekends, he spent a lot of time studying the weather and fishing reports. I awoke to a 6yo sitting practically on my head telling me to get up for fishing. Lovely. Since we still had uneaten sandwiches and chips in bags from yesterday's cancelled trip, we were loaded and out the door in an hour. I felt really badly for skipping morning service and telling the kids next door that they would have to spend the morning at home.

M drove us out of the inlet while Jack readied the poles. I take this time to sunblock everyone.

Here is a cute picture of my men. We're on the final feet of the no-wake zone of the inlet before hitting the throttle to head offshore.

We barely broke past the jetty rocks when we could see Tarpon rolling on the north side. What a sight. Too bad we weren't set up for that. That is one fish that we have never caught. They are not edible but for sport only.

So, we are heading south along the beach looking for bait pods. Looking, looking, looking and nothing we decided. So, we move out a few miles and see fish breaking the top of the water in a feeding frenzy. We put kingfish spoons out and trolled for a good 30 minutes with nothing to show for it.

About this time, we're 5 miles out and Jack's thinking that with the storm rolling through that it might be safer to stay close to shore and not venture further out for dolphin fish.

I took this spectacular picture of the one and only anvil cloud that poured out over the entrance of the port area. There were buildings to the left but they are pretty much washed out by the pouring rain. Since it was still gorgeous south of this storm, we continued to play around the area of 50 ft, approx 5 miles east of Cocoa Beach.

Again, we kept seeing these fish breaking the water and it was too good not to investigate. Every time we got close to the feeding pod, they would spook. So, we donned our stealthiest tactics and found another feeding group. I stood on the pulpit doing my best to catch a glimpse. They were so fast but I could see a forked tail and I was convinced it was kingfish. Well, I was warm but not hot. Jack put a plug that looks like a bleeding baitfish and let me cast out. I was so nervous. I'm a terrible caster when I'm excited or if I have poles and kids surrounding me. So, papa had everybody back off and put me w/in reach of the next pod. I no sooner put the plug right in the middle and whack!! I saw the fish plow over it and take it under. Line screamed off the reel and it went right, then down, then right again. Meanwhile, I'm looking like a drunk trying to get off the pulpit and down the side of the boat to follow the fish. I could not keep my balance, walk and fight the fish inbetween runs of line peeling off. No sooner did I go right and the fish went left. Then back right. Talk about confusing! I stayed put at the back of the boat and did my best to reel, reel, reel! Finally, what popped up was not silver but blue and silver!

What in the world was it? Something in the tuna family. It took our ID book to give us the exact name - the Little Tunny or as locals lump it w/ other similar types, Bonito. What a gorgeous dressed fish. It had irridescent blues & purples on top with squiggly black lines and then spots on the bottom. I wish I had gotten a close-up of his pattern & color on top. We actually ended up saving this fish because they make great bait for what we do want to catch. This one was about 2 ft, 5-6 lbs but you can't really tell from this picture.

The meat is blood red and the skin is smooth with no scales. While these are not trophy species, I sure did have my fun with bringing it 'home'.

After the storm passed, we headed back to the jetties and lost many sinkers and hooks to the rocks as we let M fish. We saw a nice size manatee round the rocks as if to be on a stroll. We saw some barracudas too today. It is a bit stressful fishing there (jetties) because the other boaters zoom past you and I have to worry about the anchor pulling up by a wave and putting us into the rocks.

So, I convinced the Captain to anchor off the north shore, inside the inlet. Our boat backed up nicely to an inlet marker with nice, big piling legs. Jack and I threw to it a few times and got nibbles. Nice. A couple more casts and Jack has a nice fish on. We see a small flash.......hmmm. We guessed a sheepshead. Pretty soon the fight is over and it is a tripletail. I quickly measured it to make sure it is legal and then put it on ice. The hook was swallowed far down the throat and that's why you see so much blood. Also, anything in the tuna family bleeds like a stuck pig. Kinda gross, huh? We caught a few more baby snappers and grunts before calling it a day at 2:30. Time to get the Captain home for bed & work.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

7/8/06 No-Go on Fishing today

We had gone to bed semi-optimistic about fishing but by 5am, both Capt Jack and Mike (our buddy boat friend) called it off. Infact, most the guys on the fishing forum called off their trips out as well. By 10am, it was a lake out there on the Atlantic, nice partly cloudy day. It almost seemed like we had made a bad call. I must admit, I waivered quite a bit. Jack went about his day with honey-do's. We re-did the yard, pruning trees, fix the lawnmower, look at the problem with the swingset yet again to see if it was salvageable.

As it turned out, it did end up raining off/on all day. No thunder storms but lots of rain.

We had cobia for lunch, off the grill. It was vacuum-packed 3 months ago (my big 22 lb cobia) and was still as fresh as the day we caught it. I decided a few weeks ago to become vegan for my health, but I still will eat fish. I could not go without my delicious fish!

Anyhow, after lunch, Jack picked up a couple more bottles of boat hull cleaner (w/ acid in it) and cleaned the inside of the boat. WOW! What a difference. All those greasy fingerprints that were put on it while working on that old Laser engine are gone! It looks nearly brand new. Well,..... younger than 18 years old. I'll have to get a picture of it tomorrow and add it here later. For now, here is a picture of it dirty from the other week.

Sometimes it amazes me how that boat make the suburban look small.

Monday looks like a possibility for a half day of fishing but we'd have to miss the early morning bite. After that, we are expecting 5-7 ft waves with some front coming through. Maybe it is just as well we don't fish and I can get a full week of schooling in with the boys.

Friday, July 07, 2006

June 30, 2006 Jack, 2 coworkers and a Flounder

I was still pretty busy with VBS finishing up last Friday so I was unable to go fishing. Jack had the option of taking friends to split the gas costs, which is very appealing right now. They headed approximately 20 miles due east of Port Canaveral, in 80 ft of water and began dropping lines in. The short story is that the first line went off before Jack could get a 2nd line in the water. It was a nice fight with a barracuda for Jack which was released. He redrops a line back, starts on a 2nd line back and again, something hits one of those lines. I believe it is John's turn to fight the fish and a few minutes later, a mahi mahi is making jumps out of the water. Jack is busy bringing in the other line to keep it from getting tangled with the fish. When the fish is boatside, it merely chose to swim away, leaving the hook behind. Nothing done wrong, just gone. It wasn't a trophy fish but it was a keeper size and would have tasted delicious.

So, lines back in the water again which produced nothing on a slow troll all the way out to 120 ft. The water had a ton of debris and well-formed weedlines to troll around. Jack said he saw many baby triggers swimming around but not a single tripletail or dolphin. Sigh.

Next is Plan B.... they go to the shallow-water snapper hole and see if you can weed through the juvenile red snappers to bring home *something* for dinner. Jack says that they caught a series of small reef fish and black sea bass, which are delicious eating. They chose not to keep any this day.
On one particular drift, Bill G brought up a small but legal Southern Flounder which went on ice. Divers have been reporting that numerous flounder and lobster beginning to gather around wrecks and ledges. Lobster season is around the corner in August. Goodness, it seems like August will be here before we know it yet supposedly so far away!

Other fishermen are reporting that fishing has been slow for them too. Partly this is because the water temps on top of the water are too high for dolphin's likes. Partly, there was a cold updwelling on the bottom of the water making the bite turn off. We decided to take some of this extra free time to work on the trailer and boat. Jack used special cleaners to remove the scum line and black scuff marks from the hull. Then on Wednesday, we had new tires put on the trailer. A friend from the fishing forum gave us his cost, which was a big blessing.

Tomorrow, we are considering buddy-boating with a new coworker friend of Jack's and his fiance. Mike has a smaller boat than ours and so buddy-boating is a good option for all of us. We made a chum block from bait that would have otherwise been thrown away. I cannot tell you how disgusting this practice is. I do not know the price of a chum block in a store but it must be more worth it rather than making some in your kitchen!

Anyhow, all this depends on the weather and sea conditions. NOAA has given a semi-decent forecast but there looks to be some conflicts so it will be an early morning decision. Usually 5-10 knot winds should produce low waves but they are still calling from 2-3ft south of us and 3-4 ft north of us. Plus, t-storms are always a top priority in our decision-making. One can only tell as the morning bouy reports come in.

I have made sandwiches and have a big bag of chips in preparation but I did not load the boat up. (Not too hopeful, I suppose.) If we do decide to anchor in shallower waters in order to head back in early for storms, we won't burn so much fuel nor need as much food.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July!!!!! Discovery launches!!!! Talk about spectacular fireworks!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fileting a fish - for Lynnette

The first shot is the entry point in the shoulder area where you want to start. The thumb is helpful to pulling back the meat but be very careful not to cut yourself.

The second picture is of that first cut going from the shoulder down towards the tail. As it gets very narrow, Jack actually puts the filet knife point all the way through the whole width of the fish body and finishes out the tail area.

This third picture is the 2nd major cut that you make from the shoulder area down past the guts area. You can actually (I do) make this more angular to bypass the stomach region entirely.

Then you would make that incision that completes the cuts to the lower section of the fish meat.

Lynnette, I do hope this helps give you a visual with my original comments.