Saturday, April 28, 2007

Coconuts on the Beach's Shootout Tournament

Today we attended one of our local tournament weigh-ins. It was so much fun because the crowd size crew as more fish were being weighed in. When somebody would come around the corner with a big tail hanging out of the "official" garbage can, you'd hear "Oooooh".
Here is a combo photo of the Top Slam winners, who were no strangers to winning tournaments. Look at that boat!
Everytime a fish bumped another for 1st or 2nd, a hollering and whistles would erupt.
1st place fish (34.9 lbs) caught aboard Diversion II.
The 2nd place lady was from Team Reel Ladies. We had 2 *Ladies Only" tourney boats today (out of 180 boats registered).
We had front row standing and plenty of 2nd hand smoke. So, we took the good with the bad.

Here is our fishing club (CFOA) President, Walt Eiseman who was in 1st place for a while, then was bumped to 2nd place mahi.

Ashley is the daughter of one of local fishing club members. Chad won aboard the 4C's with a 29 lb wahoo.

Strike Zone was one of the last boats to come in and they did not disappoint the crowd.
I love the bare feet.
Here was another crowd pleaser. Holt to Hole landed this bull dolphin in over 2200 ft of water, which puts them about 70 miles offshore. That is a bit too far offshore for our family, but still very fun.

I think they said it took them over 40 minutes to land this big guy.

All in all, I think there were less than 20 boats that weighed in fish. I'm so glad we chose to fish yesterday.
Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Whiting Wonderland - April 27, 2007
We needed a much desperate break from life and yet the seas were not cooperating with us. Four foot seas @ 5 sec intervals, makes for a jumbo-sized washing machine on the Atlantic.

Let's meet the crew aboard First Choice : Captain Jack

Shipmates - Big guy (10yo) and Lil' Man (7yo) We use anonymous names because they're such stealthy fishermen, we don't want to give away their identity.

And this is me, Robin. First mate and official fish blogger & homsechool mom.

Before we could even pull out of the inlet, we were greeted by this majestic US Navy ship. We saluted the men. They waved back. Duh.

We did stick our noses out of the inlet only to come back in and anchor up in front of Jetty park. We only had 1 hit, resulting in no fish on board the entire 45 min we stayed there. It's hard to believe but there were still 3-4 ft rollers inside the inlet too.

Here is big guy with his "fish on". Daddy looks on.

After a while, we decided to pull anchor and see if the ocean had calmed down enough to fish the beaches. The wind was from the east, so there was no luck in having a calm beach and yet, we put out the anchor there too. Fortunately for us, the whiting were eating all the shrimp and sand fleas that we could get down to them. Our lil' man was fishing on the hot rod & reel of the day : Shakespeare - Firebird in Cobalt blue, which was set up perfectly. We all had to downsize hooks to catch up with Lil' man's numbers. He probably had a dozen fish in the cooler before we all started to catch anything. Here he is sporting his Firebird & a Whiting.

We moved big brother over to the same side of the boat and then he started gaining in numbers. This wasn't his largest, but he did end up catching the biggest whiting of the day. It actually took his pole to the gunnel (rail).

I'm going to leave this picture a little bit bigger so you can see what I'm talking about. Big guy caught this fish and I knew instantly that it was different. See those 2 sharp fangs? This is a weakmouth or yellow mouth trout (has 2 names). He was illegal size, so he got to go finish growing up.
This is the face you get when you have a 7 yo who's caught so many fish that he is tired. He fished backwards a couple times. It just goes to show you that the *hot* pole is hot no matter what your technique. ha ha. I was playing First Mate (i.e. fish remover & re-baiter) at first, but did get to borrow the hot pole later that afternoon and catch me a couple whiting. It was fun if you closed your eyes and imagined you were fighting a cobia. You can find great sport in any size fish if you have light enough tackle.

We ended up with a total of 25 whiting for dinner and threw back just as many. We only caught the 2 species all day. I did think I saw the back of a young tarpon in the waves, but couldn't prove it to anybody. They joked I was seeing seabirds. Well, there was a lot of joking onboard today. As you can see on my shirt, "What happens on Spring Break, stays on Spring Break", so I can't tell you all the funnies. Captain's rules, not mine.
Take a kid fishing!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I can't take it anymore!! We're going fishing tomorrow!

I'm in serious fishing withdrawls. My great spring tan is fading back to my white, freckly self. I cannot mentally pack another box today. My body hurts. I need some blue water therapy.

Yesterday I packed up the majority of little things in our school/play room. Don't think I'm abusing them by packing up their toys. Trust me, there are 4 big lego/bionicle bins left for them that you can't see.

Our home passed the majority of its inspection requirements. We have to negotiate the parts that didn't meet decent standards. (electrical stuff) So, it is still a go - I hope.

Here are a couple more of those pictures.

The view looking up from the front yard. I love it!

That woodsy lot on the side yard will never be built upon. The man behind us owns it, plus it is too small for a home to be placed there. It was sort of the odd piece, so it was left vacant. That's ok w/ me!

This is the view from the hot tub. You see, there are 2 porches. The screened in one will get glassed in and put under air, eventually.

The other one we call the Jimmy Buffet porch.

Here is the view from the opposite corner. I'm standing behind the workshop and looking towards the pool area. To the right is where I'm going to put my citrus trees that are desperately needing more room to grow.

This is the home of my future garden. It is much larger than it looks because I'm actually standing in the middle, not end, of the complete area. We have to adress some stuff in this area w/ the homeowner because I don't want to be hitting the old pool pump's pipes (if any). There will be a little walkway down the center to get to the gate.
I have a potential 2nd garden spot if this one doesn't work out.
Can't wait to post fish pictures tomorrow. I'm hoping for mahi mahi!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Gift to Myself!

Well, the dolphin, tuna, wahoo and sailfish are all out to play this month. Big brags on a 70# bull dolphin and 100 lb wahoo have all been part of the excitement. In the port south of us, a few guys ran into the perfect debris, holding 35 dolphin & 7 wahoo that went into their fish boxes. I have pictures but it really isn't fair to post them w/o permission.

I have mixed feelings about that though. That is a few hundred pounds worth of meat, maybe divided by 4 people. I don't know about you, but 100 lbs of fish (actual meat) is more than we need for a year's time. It seems like overkill, no pun intended, to take so many fish from the ocean in 1 trip on a reacreation boat. I'm sure I would be boo'd if I put that out there at a CFOA fishing meeting, but I feel comfortable putting my opinions on my blog.

So, we had 2 fishable days this week and why in the world weren't we out there? Simple enough.

We bought a house on Tuesday. Sign a lot of paperwork and again on Wed once the bidding and loan work was done. Plus, our Capt Jack is working on a huge project at work. If anybody is interested, it is a Sigma Six Green-belt project. It's suppose to mean something to the business world, but in big scheme of life & fishing - its one of those things you have to put up with so your regular life can go on. Jack tests Monday and then we're off to inspections Tuesday. Maybe we'll have fishable weather by next Friday. I'm sure we'll be totally in withdrawls by then.

Here are a few small pictures to view. Click if you want to increase size. It has such a beachy-feel to it. We're going to give it a entire new color theme in the house once we close in mid-May. The boys insist the pink bathroom must go!
Happy Fishing!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When Disaster Strikes

We receive a weekly news publication called Florida Fishing Weekly. Last week, there was a whole story on reminding us to be prepared in the event that a catastrophe should happen. It is always good to rethink safety when going offshore.

I also happened to notice that one should be very careful when naming a boat. The boat on fire in the article is named "Lit Up". How ironic that it should be lit up by fire. You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What month are we in??

Not that I'm complaining about a slight chill in the air compared to snow elsewhere around our country, but I feel like I've time-warped back to Feb/March. Wind is high. Lows are in the 40's-60's depending on the night. My orange tree lost all its blooms. We've had some serious wind/rain/t-storms over the past week. It has impossible to get a good day out fishing. (Dad and I in photo)

My parents were visiting Easter week from Georgia. It was gorgeous the day they arrived and we intended to troll the next day for mahi - dolphin. Well, we did do that; however, we hit all 4 seasons in 1 day. The ocean felt like a washing machine and nothing was biting except the small reef fish at Pelican Flats.

(Jack grilling marinated mahi mahi.)

It was nice to have the Seafood Market as Plan B. For 3 days, we ate our fish & their Snow Crab legs, white & rock shrimp.

Tuesday, we hung out around the hotel pool, hot tub and house. My 10 yr old had a competition (public speaking) that night.
Here he is at the podium. He did wonderful while speaking to 100 people about the History of the Boxer (dog).
Wed, the sun came out to play and Dad was game for some inshore fishing. Mom, the kids and I watched them from the beach pulling in whiting and blue fish. We even tried a little kite action but the wind wasn't cooperative. It would go up and then right back down. From there, we hit the pool, hot tub and Seafood Market again. Yum! (Tiny dot in center is our boat.)

Here is mom in the hot tub.

I wish I had a nice one of my parents holding mahi in their hands.
Happy Easter & Spring Break,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fishing story

A young guy from Minnesota moved to Florida and goes to a big "everything under one roof" department store looking for a job.

The Manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?"

The kid says, "Yeah. I was a salesman back in Minnesota."

Well, the boss liked the looks of the kid, so he gave him a job and said, "You start tomorrow, and I'll come down after we close and see how you did. Ok?"

His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it, and after the store was locked up, the boss came down.

"How many customers bought something from you on your first day?"

The kid says, "One."

The boss says, "Just One? You know our sales people average on a slow day 20 to 30 customers, but you had JUST ONE!? And how much was your 'JUST ONE' for?"

The kid says, "$101,237.65."

The boss said, "What? $101,237.65? Well, what the heck did you sell?''

The kid says, "First, I sold him a small fishhook. Then I sold him a medium fishhook. Then I sold him a larger fishhook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Chis Craft."

"Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4X4 Expedition."

The boss said, "A man came in here to buy a fishing hook and you sold him a BOAT and a TRUCK?"

"No," the kid said. "The man came in to buy Tampons for his wife, and I said, 'Dude, your weekend's shot, you should go fishing.'"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

4/4/07 Guys day out!

I'll keep this relatively short. The wind had changed direction and the Gulf stream was much different for the the guys than it was for our family the day before. (pictures of our Tues trip)
The guys had trolled without success for a while, so they headed over to a number to do some bottom fishing. Jack went up a 4 ft wave and crashed down, shaking everything! The cabin door broke loose with hardware falling to the ground, the batteries broke loose from their cables and worst of all, the engine nearly broke off the engine mount. Back out of the Gulf Stream, Jack's coworker ended up taking a dip in the clear water before running back for home. While at the ladder, he notices these cracks!
(Jack holding Tues' 10 lb mahi cow)

They came home in nearly flat seas in a slow & steady fashion. I'm just so thankful that they did not lose the entire engine 30 miles offshore.
My eldest holding the fish at home. Should have used a flash.
Today, we ordered a new part overnight from California. Why overnight? My parents will be here on Easter for the better part of a week and we wanted to treat them to fishing. It looks like tomorrow and Saturday, we will be hanging an engine and changing out the bracket.

Happy Good Friday and have a safe day fishing!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

4/3/07 Mahi Trolling!!

Fishing report facts (for me):
It is still just a tad early in the mahi mahi season but we decided to take advantage of the 2 ft seas yesterday. In the morning, it felt like a washing machine even though the seas were low but they did lay down flat by 3 pm for the ride back in. We didn't see the deep-blue water color change until 125 ft. We set out trolling line in at 137 ft and went out to 150 ft and then back in. Quickly let the kids bottom fish over some natural rocky bottom in 125 ft of water and then reset back up for trolling back west until we were out of time. Water temps went from 74 inshore to 78 deg out in the Gulf stream. We headed out NE of the Port and trolled in a zig-zag in a southbound pattern. Our furthest point out was around the 30 mile mark - and we were not alone - ever!

Fishing stories! (for you):
It was obvious by the parking lot that a lot of fishermen were keeping their game plans a secret on the internet. Nobody asked if anybody was going. Maybe it was a no-brainer. I don't think a single boat-owning man was left in the city to work.

As I mentioned above, we put our first trolling line in 137 ft. I was doing my best to drive in a straight line (don't foul up lines) and Jack was preparing the 2nd pole to hit the water when zzzzzzing! A large phin (mahi) leaps out of the water with the pink lure in it's mouth. We had previously set an order of who gets to pull in fish fish (kids first today) but Jack thought it was a bull - a first for us. He did not want it to get away so he stayed on the pole. Not to mention, it was probably too much fish for the kids. After endless reeling, I can see it. I took some video of it although the clarity & water reflection leave something to be desired. Strain your eyes for the green in the water.

Jack puts a nice 10 lb cow (girl) phin in the ice box. Whew! That was fast work. From there, we trolled with 3 lines for a couple hours with nothing, nada. Jack calls this some sort of kiss of death or curse from getting a fish too fast. I begged to differ.

The weeds were small and scattered. The wind over March had blown everything apart. The kids were bored, so Jack put them some bottom rigs together when we came over some nice stacked fish on the bottom. Upon stopping the trolling lines, something hits one line. Whizzzzzzzzzzz. It was huge and it was charging the boat. Jack reeled as fast as he could and I brought in the other lines. Unfortunately, whatever it was spit out the hook before we could see it. On Little man's first bottom catch - a black sea bass - we had a Green Sea Turtle that same round and round his line. I don't know if he had been rehabed and unafraid of humans or what. He surely thought we were his friends and Jack had to shoo him off like a stray dog. Here is the video of that. This video does no justice to the size. It must have been over 4 ft wide and a couple-few hundred pounds.

Both kids picked up some more black sea bass and Little Man then got his big hit which turned out to be a large lizard fish. Here is that video. Don't you just love the fishing technique?

There may have been some nice fish down there but we were having trouble with a fast current and couldn't stay over the site for long.

We trolled back in and as Jack said, there wouldn't be another fish for the ice box the entire rest of the day. Another man at the dock said he didn't see a fish all day. Another boat had only 2 tripletails to clean. They may have stayed close to shore for those.

I will add photos to this site when Jack gets back home with the camera. He took a bunch of work friends out today for more trolling.