Tuesday, August 29, 2006
HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT
Here is our 'girl', covered to prevent horizontal rain from entering the cabin & damaging wiring. The engine is also covered to prevent scratching on cowling from debris.
Tuesday: SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS BECOMING SOUTHEAST ANDINCREASING TO 10 TO 15 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET.INTRACOASTAL WATERS A MODERATE CHOP. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.
Tonight: SOUTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS INCREASING TO 15 TO20 KNOTS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERSCHOPPY. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.
Wednesday: TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS EXPECTED WITH HURRICANECONDITIONS ALSO POSSIBLE. EAST WINDS 35 TO 40 KNOTS INCREASING TO40 TO 50 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SEAS 10 TO 13FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERS EXTREMELY ROUGH. RAIN AND ISOLATEDTHUNDERSTORMS.
Wednesday Night: TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS EXPECTED WITH
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ALSO POSSIBLE. SOUTHEAST WINDS 45 TO 55 KNOTS WITH HIGHER GUSTS SHIFTING TO THE SOUTHWEST AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 11 TO 15 FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERS EXTREMELY ROUGH. RAIN WITH
Thursday: TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. SOUTHWEST WINDS35 TO 40 KNOTS DECREASING TO 25 TO 30 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON.SEAS 7 TO 10 FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERS EXTREMELY ROUGH. SHOWERSLIKELY AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS.
Thursday night: SOUTHWEST WINDS 15 TO 20 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 4FEET. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.
Friday: SOUTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS DECREASING TO 5 TO 10KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET. SCATTERED SHOWERS ANDTHUNDERSTORMS.
Friday Night: SOUTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 2 to 3 FEET. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.
Saturday: SOUTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS SHIFTING TO THE SOUTH IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 FEET. SCATTERED SHOWERS ANDTHUNDERSTORMS.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
We have looked at the forecast and radar the past 2 days and decided to cancel Friday's trip. NOAA calls for numerous thunderstorms and showers. We've had power surges the past 2 days with other storms.
Saturday looks much better but even still, we may simply hold off until the next nicest day. OR Jack has been given an opportunity to catch a ride on a tuna trip. We can simply save money for that trip. The boat would be heading about 80 miles out, to the otherside of the Gulf Stream. Last time they went out, they came back with 6 tunas. Of course, there is no guarantee with fishing. That's why it's not called catching.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
What do you get when you have a bloody & salty boat, 93 deg heat, too much sun, a waterhose and a whole afternoon to kill? You have a boat washing party!
After church and a nice lunch of smoked chicken & veggies, we all got on our old clothes & bathing suits and headed outside. Jack brought plenty of Soft Soap, Dish Soap and Clorox. I brought a bucket, hose, few sponges, rags and boat brushes. After we all get past the shock of getting sprayed down, we get to work. About an hour later, the inside is done and sparkling white. Another hour later, the outside is done. We're all soaked rats but have managed to keep cool while working.
Here is a picture of the kids squirting each other while fishing the other day. It reminds me a bit of today's fun, only I didn't dare take the camera outside.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday morning, Jack left out with coworkers aboard the FIRST CHOICE. They stopped at the buoys for bait, which was hard to come by. From there, they went to Pelican Flats and realized they forgot to start the baitwell's pump. All but 4 baits were dead. Thankfully, they came across a HUGE line of weeds and sabiki'd more live baits. Unfortunately, there were no delicious mahi mahi or other big game fish hanging out. The sun never came fully out and so it made for a difficult day of fishing, although the ocean was flat & no t-storms.
Bill caught a 8-9 lb barracuda. Fun catch & release. John caught a 7 lb kingfish. Jack never had his opportunity to reel something in. That happens sometimes on a slow day when you're the captain.
Here is picture of my son holding John's fish.
Jack and I are smoking the fish today to make dip for him to bring into work. We did that last week with the other fish and the guys all loved it.
First the fish is fileted, washed and seasoned. Here is the meat from this 7 lb fish. As you can see, there is plenty to feed a medium-sized family.
We also take this opportunity to smoke a cut chicken. All this meat may last us most of a week.
Here it is on the smoker.
Jack is adding the wet mesquite wood to the smoker to add the flavoring. Before long, the smoke is pumping out of the top pipe. The smoking of meat is done slowly and with indirect heat. The flames should never touch the meat.
Friday, August 18, 2006
8/17/06 COOL(er) SHOTS
Jack and his favorite fishing, coworker buddies are offshore as I type this today. However, I wanted to quickly log into the blog that yesterday we did a bit of maintenance to FIRST CHOICE (our boat). Jack received some reissued rebates from West Marine ($30) and so we bought some stainless steel hardware and a fuel filter. Part of owning a boat is the continuous upkeep on it. Anyone mechanically challenged should probably just hitch a ride with other boaters and bring plenty of cash. LOL. Between jarring waves, salt & sun, oceanic boats need TLC often. The Captain usually takes the day before any journey to repair anything that has become faulty the previous trip.
The boys and I are staying home and schooling as quickly as possible. I love getting the call from hubby saying that he's at the Port. I almost always ask what he's caught. Sometimes he tells me the truth and sometimes he tells me only half-truths and I am surprised by extra fish in the cooler. In some ways, it's like Christmas presents under the tree. I can't wait to see what's there.
Happy Fishing! The Cobia are coming back through!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
8/11/06 Kingfish and Mahi mahi for the family
Beautiful day on the water. One of the best ways to homeschool! The teacher and student throw on bathing suits & sunblock. The principal puts on his ball cap. We sink the classroom into the water by 9am, catch bait on buoy #4 and cruise over to our field trip area - Pelican Flats. PF is about 20 mi. SE of Port Canaveral. It is a plateau of grass and reefs in the middle of nowhere, so that's why the fish love it.
As you can see, the teacher is getting very relaxed while trolling South. Captain, um... I mean, the principal is putting out the live bait on the steel leaders. We probably aren't even cruising for 15 minutes and both poles start screaming line off one by one. The bad news is that it was probably the same kingfish and he took his share of the back ends of both baits and left the hooks and heads behind. A few minutes later, Jack has both lines back out on the water. We're goofing off a little bit. Bam! Two more back to back hits. Jack retrieves the first line, left with only a head attached. For me, I wait for the line to stop rolling off the reel and no sooner get to reeling him in and pop - he is happily fed with my bait. I have an empty hook.
OK.....now we've got to fix this problem. Jack puts on a stinger hook that freely trails about the length of the bait. When the kingfish eats, he's got no choice but to have a hook in his mouth. Another 30 minutes go by and everything is back on and the line is screaming again. (My job is to put the boat into neutral and the boys get to watch and see what comes to the boat.) A few minutes later, they see a very large kingfish - about 25 lbs. I'm too busy getting the gaff on the otherside. The big guy sees the "classroom" and says, "No way!" He does this big headshake and breaks our powerpro line at the top eyelet. Absolutely heart-breaking to see him leave back into the blue.
Well, now we know the stinger rig works. We get cruising again and another whack with line screaming. Jack brings in this decent kingfish. The boys *have* to go to the front of the boat for the gaffing and putting the fish in the box. The gaff is very sharp, added with 7 lbs worth of angry fish and teeth, and well, hooks too. He goes in for the ice bath. We're all high-fiving each other.
Next is my turn. Nice size fish is coming to the boat and as Jack is holding the gaff for a shot, this kingfish shakes his head and breaks my line at the eyelet. Another short heartbreak until the next time we're set up. I'm mad now because I want my fish in a box. Line is just smokin' off for seconds that seem like eternity. I was really afraid we were going to see him take all the line to Africa. At some point, I'm reeling and reeling and reeling and reeling. I have what's called the jelly arms. I've only had 10 minutes between fish! Jack works his gift with the gaff and puts #2 in the box. He's a bit bigger so we let him calmed down over 10 minutes before removing his hooks.
Next is M's turn. Twice we had the sounding of line coming off only to be fooled that it was golden sargassum weighing down the line. We get all set up a 3rd time only to spot a board. Yipee, we love floating debris. A minute later, I spot 4 mahi about 40 ft off the board. The excitement level goes sky high for all of us. While Jack is turning the boat around, I'm keeping my eye on the board. We get back there, he grabs a pole, I run to the back to pitch a couple live baits out to hold their interest.
Jack throws his livie overboard and immediately hooked up with a large cow in the group. Everything is going smoothly (NOT!) except for the fact that she's tangled around the trolling line and almost tangled in the outdrive (engine). I hold the pole while Jack sinked the gaff in and puts her on ice.
Now here's where it gets trickier. Jack gets a new pole with a live bait and picks up a small dolphin. I'm untangling the other rod from the endless trolling line that is either floating around or wrapped around the outdrive. Not good. I'm in barefeet. The gaff is around and I'm not certain if it was recapped for safety. Everything feels like a rush but keeping ever-aware that sharp things loom around me. I manage to free the first pole again, hand that to Jack. He hands off his 'peanut' fin to M. Jack gets another hook-up with a 3rd cow. While he's fighting her, I'm stowing hooks, gaff, watching M measure the peanut (not closely, mind you), then helping Jack get the 3rd one into the boat. Whew! It was a most exciting 10 minutes. The 4th dolphin (mahi mahi) was probably the bull (male) and has figured out that we're not his friend. He's gone. We do a quick clean-up and assessment of the damage. More high-5's go around the boat. We now have 5 fish in the box.
We did our best to search around another hour to find that board while trolling for kingfish for M. By this time, we're feeling blessed and like going home to the house at 3:30pm for rest. Jack has been up since 10pm the night before. He puts the boat in neutral and we watch something look and then inhale the bait right behind the boat.
Oh no! We're off again. He reappears about 60 ft away and skyrockets full-body out of the water. That is typical kingfish behavior. He ended up breaking water over 3x. I managed to catch this one shot.
We get him boatside and .......... what? He's got spots on him? It's a barracuda! We don't want anything to do with barracuda so I give Jack the metal cutters and he clips the steel leader.
Overall, still a fabulous day on the water. We haven't had a good day like this since spring. We're hoping that this is a sign that the summer slump is over and the pelagics are coming back to Port Canaveral.
Several people have posted that the cobia are within 12 miles north of us. I hope that over the next month, we'll be able to post some cobia reports. I'll post the family pictures of the overall fish now.
Stats: Mahi - 6.5 lbs, 28"; 5 lbs, 24"; 20"
Kingfish - 8.6 lbs, 32" (Robin's); 6.6lbs, 28.5" (Jack's)
Saturday, August 05, 2006
For education purposes, we do our best to I.D. animals to understand who they are, where they live, what part of the food chain they live in and where do they stand conservation-wise. Most fishermen would lump the names of these fish as "livies". We caught 4 main types of bait today. I have 3 of them with pictures. We only had 1 blue runner which went on the first hook for the flounder.
This is a sardine. It has a emerald-colored green back and yellow tail. They die REALLY quickly with mishandling. This was the bait of choice for us today.
This is a baby Jack, likely Crevelle. There were literally thousands of these in the water. Our port has a large population of these fish that love to live around the rocks and lockes. A blue runner is similar but with an electric blue topside.
This fish we can't seem to ID in our books, yet. It is certainly a larger species of baitfish. Fishermen say this is the choice bait for Kingfish. We put this one out under the balloon first and it seemed to also be choice for baby sharks too.
This is an extra - no charge. :o) My son was watching a nibble being taken.
8/5/06 - It was a fluke. No flounder today. Bait & Sharks only
Sorry for the bad pun. I guess yesterday's catch was not to be duplicated. We found plenty of bait around Buoy #3 and 6. That was the easy part. The hard part was trying to stay close to the buoy and then still pick up a fish off the bottom. Regardless, nobody was home to eat the livies. Here is a picture of Port Canaveral buoy #3.
Again, the ocean was like a lake. The water was smooth as glass and it made for a beautiful ride wherever we went. The haze was pretty heavy today but not as bad as yesterday. Towards the eastern horizon, it was hard to tell where water ended and sky began.
Here I have two pictures of how to catch bait with a sabiki. There are 6 teeny, tiny hooks on this pole with a small sinker at the bottom. It really hurts to have one prick you.
You simply jig the pole up and down through the bait pod and then bring them up. Mostly, a good shake or two of the pole will land a lot of them on the floor of the boat. To the left is Jack performing the shake method. He has 2 small fish on. The boys thought bait-catching was the best part of the day. They love grabbing them up and putting them into the live well.
Last month, our pump for the livewell died and by a small miracle of God, we already had a brand new one in our supplies. Somebody gave it to Jack a year or two ago and we simply stowed it for such a time as this.
Here are some happy little campers. I will let you know that we released our remaining bait (which was a lot) after we were done fishing.
So, back to the fish story..... no flounder and so we headed to the 20 ft reef for some easy fun action for the boys. Lots of baby sharks. We put a livie (bait) on the hook either via the eye hook or the tail hooking. The purpose is to keep the fish alive and swimming to attract fish that would otherwise lose interest with dead bait.
In short, we had 2 sharks for big M, 2 sharks for Mom, 1 shark for lil M.
I'm not certain yet but we're thinking these are baby spinner sharks or a type of reef shark. Normally we see a lot of baby hammerheads but that wasn't the case today.
Captain Jack had his own ideas of how to attract a kingfish, barracuda or shark. He put a balloon at the top of a 5 ft wire leader that would suspend his baitfish off the bottom. We watched that balloon once move to the left. (resulting in skunking) It moved to the right slowly (half eaten bait). It even did it's best to head down to the bottom (another half eaten bait). Jack is pretty convinced it was the baby sharks finding their way to the top of the water column.
Can you see the yellow balloon?
See part 2 for bait identification.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Jack called at 6am that he was 15 minutes from home. I have to admit it felt like a rude awakening after being awoken a couple times last night by rowdy neighbors. I told Jack that I'd still be in the bed when he got home, afterall, he already had the boat hooked up to the suburban. We hung up and I laid there in bed trying to fall back asleep. My body was not going to have any of that as my mind raced about having a guest in the house at 6:15! I did pick up the living room and more importantly, the boys' bathroom. Still, in less than 5 minutes, I was up and for whatever reason, putting on a little bit of make-up. Then, I was dressed and about to start making sandwiches when our dog started using his warning bark. I opened the door for the Captain and his First Mate of the Day, Bill. Our boxer does all the entertaining and Jack runs to change clothes and I hit the kitchen to put together food, snacks, drinks and plenty of water. Soon, the boat is loaded and the guys are gone and I'm sitting alone on the couch at 6:50, waiting for the boys' alarm clock to buzz.
They picked up bait on Bouy #4 with No. 4 & 6 sabikis. Plenty of sardines and other bait there. After filling the livewell, they headed to 40 ft of water and trolled live baits for kingfish. Kingfish have been very elusive for us. Can't seem to pick up one even when that's the only thing biting on top of the water. Anyhow, 20 minutes later, the line starts screaming and Bill starts reeling in line. It was a nice long fight, but no sky-rocketing jumps, which means no kingfish or mahi mahi. Bill brings in a very intimidating 4 ft barracuda (1 ft of razor teeth) which is quickly released boatside.
Trolling continues all the way out to 120 ft of water with nothing to show for it. Back in to the bouys for a couple last ditch attempts for a tripletail. Jack sends down a livie (bait) and bam! Flounder! Bill takes control of the boat while Jack sends down another livie. Bam! Another Flounder! Next, Jack takes the helm and Bill sends down 2 more livies and 2 more flounder come up. Overall, they caught 7 flounder, releasing the smaller 3 to grow up for another day.
I put in a fork for reference on the size of these guys. Not doormats but they were certainly respectable table fare for our home. After a long summer of updwelling of 62 deg cold water and no activity of fish on top of the water, it was nice to not get skunked. We will be heading back tomorrow morning to fill up the freezer with the rest of the flounder on the bottom. Flounder make wonderful sandwiches.
EDUCATION ON FLOUNDER:
Flounder, halibut and the like can be left-eyed or right-eyed. All 4 of Jack's were lefties, meaning the right eye migrated shortly after birth to the left side of the fish. Flounders are born like any other fish with eyes on both side.
Because of their strange anatomy, on the smaller flounder, only the dark side has substantial meat for filets. The white side is trashed with the bones. Also, you can see fairly clearly on the white side that the lateral line starts with a hump over the pectoral fin before making a straight line down to the tail. The lateral line helps the fish to be sensitive to movement around him. Flounder have some sharp teeth and a tongue. You want to be careful to not get bit with most oceanic species.
Happy fishing and hope to have another flounder report tomorrow.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
8/1-4/06 SHARK WEEK on Discovery channel
Here's a few of our pictures of catching sharks. Btw, Jack is going fishing tomorrow with co-workers and I hope that he will have a few pictures and fish stories to share with me. Saturday, we will probably venture out as a family and see what we can catch.
Jack and a Bonnet hammerhead
M with a baby hammerhead off the 20 ft reef of Port Canaveral
Here is another better view of the hammer. He is using the proper holding technique by keeping the tail still with one hand and holding the neck region to keep the 'business' end from curling up and biting him in the arm or hand.
His cousin from Atlanta is looking on. I wish we could have stayed longer for him to get a shark.
Here I am holding a spinner shark. They don't grow much bigger than this. They look very similar to the young blk tip shark, which gets much bigger as an adult. This is the 2nd and last shark that we took to eat.
I have found shark to taste nice but I can't get the yucky smell out of my nose from the cleaning process. Definitely not worth the meat for me. Plus, knowing that sharks are being fished into extinction has given way to our decision to release all sharks caught. They make wonderful sport if they are smaller. We have seen some over 5 ft sharks swimming but thankfully haven't caught anything larger than the first hammerhead pictured above. They are really grumpy at boatside when trying to release them.