Monday, April 28, 2008

by Robin

Didn't everybody's family used to say that in the 70's or 80's?
(Hose pretending to be in use - left)

I sure hope that nobody needs to reach me on Thursday because I'm going to be on the river.

(see how it hides away? - right)

Friday, I might even go fishing!

(Hoses in bildge coming from the pick-up tube. T-valve allows water to go to livewell and washdown.)

(Pump hiding in right access door. Or is that left? port? I think Jack said this was 50 gpm.)
Teak wood is all done but 2 pieces waiting for installation on Thursday. I washed all the gold pole-holders down so they can be put back into the pole storage boxes on each side of the cockpit.
I think we're done........ except for those weekend wet-sanding projects on the inside gunnels saved for bad weather days. We're going to fish NOW because mahi mahi are running and we can stock up the freezer on a good day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It's so hard to be a truly sick fisherman. Everybody from work keeps beeping Jack on his Nextel and asking him what he's catching or what's the water like. I have to laugh to myself when I hear him exclaim that he's really sick and on antibiotics. When they listen to him sound like a baritone with a nasty cough, they end the conversation quickly with a "Get Well." LOL

You know you're sick when you get a call on Friday night for a fishing trip on Saturday and you turn it down.

If all this wasn't bad enough, I ended up throwing my back out today. I'll be blessed if I can get out of this chair in less than 30 seconds.

Happy Fishing - - the weather has been beautiful!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Jack had to do some work on the brakes which had rusted the wheels into place. He had to rebuild this after some intense pounding (both sides). Afterwards, bearings were repacked in grease and new cap put on.
Wait......... what's in my mirror? Is that a boat with water in the background?

Yep, it is....
Jack took a few minutes to run the engine and put it into gear. We can run the engine in the driveway but not test the gears & tachometer, check for leaks, etc. Don't forget, we changed the entire foot of our Merc Opti-Max 225. It went from 30" to 25" in length.
It was so tempting to take it for a run but we didn't. Our new registration sticker didn't come in the mail until the next day. Plus, we had no lifejackets, proof of ownership, etc. on board.

However, they're all onboard today. We were hoping to get out in the river for a quick ride and test everything. Unfortunately, Jack is sick as a dog the past few days and so all progess has been halted.

Side note: All our back-order equipment came in the mail this week. New livewell pump and GPS antenna are here! Jack has partially been working on a new washdown station when he isn't fevering or dizzy. He made a fiberglass mold out of some plasticware from the kitchen.

It is now painted black and will have a nozzle in there. This keeps us from banging a knee onto any hardware while fishing. The hose storage is behind that hatch next to the insert in the last picture. Handy yet it doesn't interfere with fishing.
We'll be out there in no time. Pray that Jack gets better soon. He's on antibiotics but it is slow going.
Happy Fishing,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Sunday, April 20, 2008

BOAT Update:

All navigation lights and electronics equipment are ready to go. Swim-step ladder is reattached. VHF radio now tells us up-to-date tidal and NOAA info. (huge life-saver if you need to hail Coast Guard) Anchor (not shown to the left) & rope was added. Fire extinquisher back on board.

We were slightly hindered by not getting 2 parts in (thanks back-order!). We ordered a top-notch livewell & wash-down pump. That will keep our bait happy in their kiddie pool AND serve as a way to wash down any blood or fish slime with salt water. It is soooo much easier to clean it while it is fresh rather than baked-on in the FL sun. Jack came up with this clever location to stow away the wash-down hose. It is on the inside of the new back hatch.

Our other equipment on order is a satellite cable that goes to the new GPS Chartplotter. It's basically like the little antenna you put on your car for satellite radio.

Also, I have the last 2 pieces of teak wood to finish this week. Jack has to do a little maintenance on the trailer since it has been sitting for so many months. Something about the wheels have rusted into place. He has to bang on something. Don't ask me. We'll probably work on those last things on Thursday and dunk her in the river on Friday, Saturday at the latest.
Be sure to check back for those pictures.
Happy Fishing,
PS: It was $1 less per gallon last time we put gas in her. Ouch! I'm really glad we didn't buy a $70K new boat instead. Can you imagine sticker and gas pump shock?

Friday, April 18, 2008

ALMOST DONE! - Chairs in!

Chartplotter mounted and powered up.

I helped Jack run all the wires from the transducers (fish finder) and whatever else to the helm. Then, he does the hard part and hooks them all up while I finished up schooling.

Radio works too now. There are a few final touches today and then we're out of work until the livewell pump gets here. It's on backorder. The wood around the pole boxes needs to be finished and varnished.

I think we're going to the river next week to test drive her. Woo wee! I thought the day would never get here. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit. Jack too. But he kept at it with perseverance. Plus, he has loads of talent. I've never seen somebody so able to fix things of all natures. Washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, pool pumps, lawn mowers, boats, cars, airplanes and the list goes on and on. I just LOVE HIM.

John 15:5 Apart from Him, we can do nothing. This is so true! Even with all of Jack's talent, restoring this boat was very humbling and we did count on God for so much of our needs. Many things we prayed about were answered. We even got free floor paint in the color we wanted inspite of the can saying "Cloud Gray." It was like a miracle when it dried the tan that was in our hearts. Many times money came in at the right time for an expense or product we needed. The chartplotter was a quarter of the original cost. (Too many miracles to mention.) We incurred very little debt during our restoration process. Thank you God.

Happy Fishing,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sorry, I got a little distracted with hatching out chicks.

We head due east from Port Canaveral and stopped once we got to 120' of water. We were aiming for 140' but our first puking started in 120. What are you going to do, eh?
It took a little while for the water to clean up to the dark blue you see in the below picture. It was nice and we hit a lot of scattered weeds as we trolled east to deeper waters.

Mike and daugher w/ the 1st phin of the day. She was the first to pull in a fish. Don't underestimate the ability of a kid to crank in a big fish.

Next up was my eldest with his dolphin. It spit the hook during a jump. I hated that because he sure does love to catch big fish. It was a good size mahi on the line. It made several jumps.

Mike's fish since Helen and his son didn't want to take their turn. Nothing like seasickness to making you immobile.

My escape dolphin - story below
This one charged the boat, got put on ice very green. Then, jumped for his life.

Jack fighting his Mahi. Mike's son looks on.

Here is his catch. Not a very good angle photography-wise. Nothing we caught was in the "hero" category but it all makes for good eating and a day of constant action.
This was "Family Day" on the water.

I think by this point, we were heading south after hitting 240' of water. Next thing you know, we're catching kings instead of phins. Little man fighting his Kingfish. Can you see the determination in his stance. Mike was very patient with teaching the kids. The kids were very long-suffering with throwing up between turns of reeling in fish.

Here is the only picture we have of the Kingfish before it went under the boat and the line was caught in the props and cut off. What a loss for the little guy. Jack is standing by as gaff man.

Here is Mike's son reeling in his fish. We knew it wasn't a mahi or kingfish the way it was fighting. No jumps or major runs. This fish went down and down. It surely didn't want to come up. We were so hoping it was a wahoo or black fin tuna when we saw a slight silver sheen a dozen or more feet down.

It ended up being a Bonita. It was caught and released. They are in the tuna family but considered more as bait and not dinner fare.

I was up next to fight this kingfish since Helen was still so incapacitated on the couch. It was a fairly easy fish to bring in. Here is my Kingfish. Not the biggest but we kept him for smoking and making into dip.

Mike fighting a kingfish. By this time, we had a lot of kids not wanting to move. My eldest had thrown up for the 5th time. I was in the tower.

The line took off as Mike was putting the ballyhoo and skirted lure out. Poor Mike suffered a blistered thumb in the process.

Here it is in the boat. I think this is the point where Jack cut his finger with the gaff (sharp hook). The gaff has a protective cap and while recapping it, a wave push Jack into the point rather than around the point.

We did go to our snapper hole for a little bottom fishing, but the current was pushing us quickly and with so many seasick folks on board (5 of 8), we only got 1 undersized red snapper before heading home. Plus, a black cloud was coming and waves were building.

Little man slept here for over an hour. After he joined me in my lap, his brother fell asleep here and actually hit the deck. What a rude awakening.

Here are the kids, each holding a fish. We had 6 keepers total. Four Mahi mahi and 2 Kingfish. Lost 3 more. Plus, 2 released non-edible fish.
It was such a good day to be on the water. Lots of fish meat for the 2 families.
In the waters below the cleaning tables, the pelicans have learned to wait patiently for scraps. It's an easy meal for them. Jack gave them plenty of fish skin & guts. The carcasses also go overboard after the eyes and stomachs are pierced. This allows it to drop down to the bottom of the sea for crab food.
Many times, we have seen folks hang around the tables asking for fish heads. I guess Fish Head Soup is pretty popular in certain cultures.

I think Helen got some great shots from the 1st deck. If she sends me those, I'll post them up here.
Happy Fishing. This weekend, we'll be finishing up our Mako 248 project.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

by Robin

This is a true story of my day fishing yesterday on Mike and Helen's boat. Sometimes true life is stranger than fiction.
We were having a great day with many hits on all the trolling lures w/ ballyhoo. We were working through the rotation of people on the boat and I was in no hurry since we had 4 kids on board.
I'm snapping photos from the top deck, tower, of flying fish that are scattering in front of the boat. Next thing I hear is the pop of the starboard outrigger and screaming line. Mike yells, "Robin, you're up next. Get down here fast!" Well, ok.....
As I'm carefully coming down the ladder, Mike insists I hurry since the dolphin is charging the boat. I took over the reel and cranked it as fast as I could. There was no fighting this fish. He came right to the boat and I was merely taking in the line. It was only a couple minutes and Jack gaffed him.
He was green. Green from not being worn out but also lit up green. I'm thinking this is the true origination of the word "Green". Mahi skin changes color depending on what is going on. They are usually blue with yellow tails before they take the bait and they brighten up as they are in the fight. Sometimes, the fight wears them out to a light yellow. Of course, there are many variations, including a white & purple spotted mahi. I think that may be some type of albino variation though, lacking the yellow or green. I digress. Anyhow, as you can see, mine is quite green. He was the stereotypical green, green & yellow mahi. Notice my biceps? No? Um... ok. That's right, I don't work out.
He also has a gaff right in his head, but not his organs, and stayed quite still to pose for all these pictures. His dorsal (top) fin was raised up and made for such a beautiful picture. I'm guessing this fish to be in the 12-15 lb range, although I'm sure Jack will correct me. I'm pitiful at guessing weights.
So, here you can see
Jack putting it into the fish cooler and Mike is assisting with the lid. Look at those gorgeous blue pectoral fins!
They were practically purple from the front view when he came out of the water.
Notice, big hole still in head.
Ok, fish in box. From here, I'm not sure what happened. I think Mike said something about putting ice on him. I turn back to the fish box only to see my fish go wild, pop the lid wide open, become airborne and land in the ocean. He took off with such vigor. Meanwhile, we were all left with open mouths that were silenced. What could you do? Nothing. He was gone. In an instant, he was a memory. He wasn't even floating. He was laughing all the way back to his salty home with a hole in his head. (apparently not the brain)
Moral of the story: Next time, sit on the fish lid for several minutes after putting in a big fish that is still very green.
Alternative moral of the story: Buy latches for the fish box. Our cooler has latches and sometimes the box rocks but it will probably never go overboard.
In hindsight, Jack thinks he may have been able to attempt a 2nd mid-air gaffing but it was too risky with Mike also reaching for the escaping fish. As it was, the gaff cut Jack twice and Mike once. I like a sharp gaff but not one that sharp.
So that is my fish story. Embellishments not needed. It was painful enough being a true story.
More pics & stories to come tomorrow.

1st, you need to know that Crew & Characters....

Mike & Helen's 32' Luhrs Sportfishing boat.

Leaving The Marina:

Capt Jack: taking us offshore (don't be fooled, autopilot is on)

Me & my fish (good fish story to come!)

Helen: poor thing suffered from extreme nausea the entire day.

Mike: With his 1st Mahi of the day (& his daughter)

Our boys after getting sprayed in the face.

Mike and Helen's 13 yo son. Great asset when he wasn't nauseated.

Stats: 4 Mahi mahi, 2 Kingfish, 3 Mahi got away, 1 King got away, 1 remora released, 1 bonito released.

Pelicans at the cleaning table, eating scraps

Off to make lunch. More stories & pics later.

Happy Fishing,

Friday, April 11, 2008

We are going Mahi Mahi fishing tomorrow with our friend, Mike, and his family.
Here is Mike and Helen's new boat. Jack is standing in front of it (full view) back when they brought it around the FL peninsula at the end of February.
Secondly, we finished the floors!! Happy Dance!! Oh they look so gorgeous, I could just eat right off of them.

Pic on the left is of me waving as I take a pic of the new floors in the walk-around area. That was done Thursday morning. I did all the taping but Jack did the non-skid painting. I love the color. It was important to break this up into 2 tasks, coat the non-skid heavily and have an exit plan out of the boat. LOL.

Here is a before picture of the cockpit (fishing) area. All hatches were removed and they got a makeover too. Some previous holes from last year's fuel tank repairs were sealed up and sanded. All screws were removed.
Here is another view from the back corner looking up towards the cuddy. Here it is with new white paint. This was also done Thursday but had to sit overnight to dry.
Friday morning, I did a lot of the taping of the floors and cleaning it up with acetone. Jack helped me towards the back end of the boat. The tape covered the new white areas we painted the day before.
Still not so attractive yet.
Here is the new paint applied but blue tape is still down. These photos do it no justice. It truly is a beautiful finish and it has non-skid to keep us from sliding when the floors get wet and bloody.

While that was drying, we turned our attention to the livewell topside & lid.
I just love all the little details. This was my idea.
But wait....... it gets better.

Jack painted the top and then I ever-so-carefully removed the black shark. Cool, eh?

After all the tape was pulled, Jack finished up installing the newly painted back hatches, & put all the screws back into the fuel tank lid (big center square), we threw the livewell up here for looks. It's not installed. It's not even sitting on the teak wood yet, but we just had to see it nearly done for inspiration.
Here is the final look at the cockpit area. It looks so much more formal than before. Those back 3 hatches look so different in color with the flash in this photo; but in real life, the difference is almost so little the eye can't detect it in bright sun.
(Most of that back area gets covered up with coolers when fishing offshore anyhow.) This new 2-color scheme in the boat flooring seems to be the norm now-a-days. Jack's acquaintance, also doing a Mako restoration in LA, had his floors done white and powder blue. It is gorgeous with the dark navy hull (outside) paint.

Here is the final look back at the helm area. My chair attaches to the top of the livewell, which is why we put non-skid there. It serves as a step for me and guests. It can be quite dangerous to get up with wet feet and big rolling seas. I'm also very bad about doing barefeet while fishing, so this keeps me from wiping out. (Bare feet are bad when everything you catch has teeth or serious spiny fins.)
The goal is to attach the livewell, chairs, any remaining electronics and fasten any finished teak back on the boat next weekend. THEN, we will be ready for its maiden voyage as our restored Mako 248!!!
The teak on Jack's storage shelves is done but just not in place yet. Too much other stuff to do and now........ fishing tomorrow. It is a welcomed break.
We hear the cobia & mahi were quite thick out there in the ocean today. Lots of good catches today.
I must run to bed and get my 6 hrs of beauty sleep.
Happy Fishing,