Saturday, September 30, 2006

9/28-29/06 Tales of our No-Fish Trip (part 2)

The day started slow for all of us. I did dishes, started laundry, generally picking up around the house. Once the men were up and fed, Capt Jack got on the NOAA website and checked out Weather Buoy 41009. Hmmm..... it appeared to be better than yesterday. The 30 minute warning bell was rung and we were off flying. Here's a tip if you get seasickness: take Gingeroot before you leave the house!! Big M and myself both get queasy in anything over 2 ft seas. Friday was the true test on how well this homeopathic remedy works. We both gave it an A+. By the 8th hour, we could feel ourselves getting a little nauseated but overall, everything stayed down and there were no sleepy side-effects.

Ok..... so we are in the water by 11am, sun is rising and it's still around 2- 2.5ft but doable because the wave period was longer (time between waves). Around 60 ft (9-ish miles), we saw some nice weed mats, cast a couple times to a tripletail that was not hungry. We also saw a young hammerhead toying around the weeds which may have made the fish too skittish to eat. We keep moving on. Our goal is to start trolling at Pelican Flats (90 ft - 18 mi SE of the port), which we did. About 45 min into that, we stop the boat for Jack to test a bottom rig. Little did we know that he'd be hammered in seconds. After some time, up comes a reef shark (3 ft). Nope, don't need that. Released after I make a careless mistake of raising it up by it's tail. My idea was to hold tail with left hand and secure shoulders with right hand. Nope. He didn't agree. He swung back and forth a couple times to close for comfort. I dropped him back to the water. Next, I drop down my line w/ sardine & double-hook rig. Whack! I fight it but win the battle and can see another shark on the line. Now that wouldn't be bad except for the fact that I see another line caught in the mess. Oh no! It was our trolling line that we had carelessly left out while bottom fishing. It had gotten wrapped several times around the engine propeller. Jack is working with that while I'm taking my time with an angry shark. Eventually, he yanks his ownself off the hooks and I'm free to help Jack. Mostly, all we could do is raise the engine, thankfully most the line unreeled itself from the prop shaft and Jack cut the line. Unfortunately, his brand new trolling lure drifted down to the abyss. We looked at each other with an 'oh well' because losing a $7 lure is a lot cheaper than anything wrong on an engine. We were blessed to have learned that lesson fairly cheaply.

Jack put in new coordinates and I slow troll with my feet for another 7 mi east while he rerigs all the bottom poles. We came across what looked to be empty milk jugs floating inside a garbage bag. ??? Below it was a nice tripletail. Jack cast to it but before we could convince him it was delicious shrimp, he was high-tailing it. Tripletails are very smart fish. Back to business....We're suppose to be heading for some underwater rubble. What happened was we went to nothing, as Jack had punched in some wrong numbers. Strike 2. At that point, we shared the area with 3 shrimp boats, approx 34 miles offshore. The seas were laying down nicely especially for the Gulf Stream and the water was blue, clean and 82 deg. Ok, so we head back in some to 21F(athom) ridge where some rubble is also suppose to be close to the natural ridge.

We begin dropping lines again and getting major slams to the gunnel (side). I did catch this one silly Offshore Lizardfish. Their mouths really do look like lizards. I'm holding onto him rather securely because he had a mouth full of teeth! Our lines keep breaking (we use PowerPro braid - 50 lbs). We would get the big somethings (hindsight says sharks) up to the near surface and they'd head-shake until the line broke. We lost some kingfish due to that same scenario. Clearly, we need to get rid of the Powerpro braid. My pole is retired eventually. Jack raises a shark next. I'm goofing off with big M's pole (meant for small stuff) and I drop down a shrimp. I finally get a hit and start reeling. I'm taking it really easy because I only have 30 lb line on that lighter action pole. The thing headshakes twice and we know its going to be shark but we finally get it up. Jack lets me snap this picture before releasing it.

Well, we've had our share of mishaps and blessings. I think somewhere along the way I forgot to mention that we kept smelling this awful gagging smell. We've smelt it before but thought it was something at the port. So, Capt Jack starts sniffing and pulling hatches in the floor area. Upon opening the batteries hatch, our #2 battery is smoking and it is coming close to oozing battery acid everywhere! All is not lost because we have the ability to switch off to only battery #1 which did solve the problem. However, this could have been a bad situation for which we feel very thankful never did come to pass. We never travel without tools, extra supplies and a membership card to Sea Tow. Most of all, we never leave the port without a prayer for safety. One can never be in full control of every situation.

After raising the anchor for the last time, my left contact comes out leaving my eye in severe pain. Strike 3 or maybe closer to 4. Big M and I take to the comfort of the beanbags while Little M and Daddy drive the 24 miles back to Port Canaveral (from 6:10 to 6:45pm). I catch some awesome sunset pictures right before we hit the set of buoys. Jack takes a last ditch effort to cast his yellow jig to the buoys while I take photos of my baby and myself.

Just as we are into the inlet, the big casino boats are pulling out for the night. It's great to see all the lights on the boats. The sky is fading from pink to a dim purple. Once we are at the docks, I went ahead and got the trailer and did my job. Jack did offer but I was up to the challenge even without the contact. I have monovision, so as long as I have my right contact, I'm good. Everything goes smoothly which is wonderful, given I have the Friday night heckling crowd at the overlooking restaurant. It smells good and the music is fun, but the people sure do make me nervous. After the boat is hooked up and ready to pull out, some folks are cracking jokes. Most people mean well and compliment my ability as a lady angler working a big boat; however, this threesome was more like a thorn in the side. After I jumped in the suburban, they yelled to Jack that he was in trouble now, which made no sense to me. He was not in trouble for anything. I was so happy to be heading home.

We made a couple jokes that next time one of Jack's coworkers has trouble backing down the ramps, he can say, "My wife does that better half-blinded and in the dark."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Making fun of women anglers?? They just don't know you or your mama!