Thursday, July 31, 2008

by Robin

Since we are unable to get out fishing for the next week or so, I thought I'd share a story with you, related to my last post on diving. It's not my personal story but rather a happy-ending one that I picked up on a fishing/diving forum.

On June 29th, a local diver lost his spear gun when tangled with a buoy line. It was sad not only expense-wise but because it held memories & sentimental value. There was a reward if anybody could find it at the specified location (I won't post those details here).

Then, on July 27th (last weekend), the same diver was able to catch a ride with crew that was heading out to the same wreck. He dropped everything to take another opportunity to find his speargun. Amazingly, within five minutes, he found his gun with some barnacles on it.

Let me tell you folks, that is a miracle that it would still be sitting in the same location given our Gulf Stream current and pull of tides. I know this man must feel like he's on top of the world to have found his needle in a haystack.

Slipper Lobster(Scllarides squammosus) - pic on right. Commonly found off of East Central, FL waters.

Spiny Lobster - pic on left. Also commonly found in our waters and the main prize on Tues/Wed for mini-season.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

by Robin

The past 2 days in Florida waters were considered mini-season. Mini-season is when the recreational divers are allowed to go out and harvest what spiny lobsters they can legally catch (based on bag # limits, size & without eggs) before the regular season opens up in August. The point being that the average Joe can go out and get something for the dinner plate before the commercial guys get their share. It quite a nice advantage.

Sadly, this two-day event usually brings some bad with the good. Off of one of our favorite fishing spots, Pelican Flats, 2 divers were separated from their boat. Fortunately, those two were found by lunch time & rescued. Another 2 divers in 2 separate FL locations were not so fortunate. My deepest condolances to the families.

If you'd like to read more & see the rescue video of the 2 divers, please follow this link:

By the way, we did not go out and dive for lobster. Jack is a certified diver but we've haven't had the time to really pursue diving for spiny lobster. It always sounds appealing though. That and scallops on the Gulf Coast in late summer. I hear scallop diving in the shallows can be quite the family event. I think that would be a fun thing to do as the boys get older.

Happy Diving & BE SAFE!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

by Robin

There are days I like to be pampered. I like the car door being opened for me. I like being dropped off at the door of a restaurant when it rains. I like it when my hubby gets my pillow & blankie late at night. (Yes, I have a favorite blankie that I crocheted decades ago. "Warmest blanket ever!")
BUT, what I don't like is to be treated like an ignoramous because I'm a woman. I'm sure most of us women feel that way. Before I tell this story, in this man's defense, I'm sure he was just trying to simplify the conversation & he stereotyped me with the other women at church. He's really a nice guy and I like his family too. Too bad he didn't realize that I'm not like other church women......... and I blog! I'll call him "BillyBob" to protect his privacy.

As parents of kids in a church performance, we're having a little downtime. Anytime anybody mentions fishing at this church, I hear "BillyBob" this and "BillyBob" that. He's the church fisherman. Every church has one, if not two. So, I decide to strike up a conversation with him and ask him what type of boat he has. THAT should have been his first clue that I wasn't a typical woman. I didn't say, "So you fish?" or "What fish do you like to catch?". I went straight to the boat because, afterall, I can sense testosterone by hull and engine power. It's the equivalent of one guy going up to another guy and asking what type of engine do you have.

"What type of boat do you have?" I asked. To which, he took a slight pause, quickly evaluated the situation (i.e. estrogen), and then gave me the insulting answer, "It's a big offshore boat" with each word slightly disconnected from the last. He wanted to tell me, but he figured I couldn't handle the info.

Slightly annoyed with that answer, I treated him like a child that's been lying to his momma. I asked him again "I know boats. What type of boat do you have?" This time, I put a bit more emphasis on my manly tone and he certainly responded much better the next time.

"I have a 24 ft Mako." he replied. Ahhhh...... now we're getting somewhere. Deep in the back of my brain, I heard Tim Allen's grunts. Not only did I know about this boat, I know it intimately from tearing ours apart all last year.

I then told him how we have a 25 ft Mako, 1987 model, and his eyes brightened up and brain became engaged. You see, he is also a Classic Mako owner of a 238 model (ours is 248). We have practically the SAME BOAT! When our sons came up, I shared the news with them and my son pops back in a most embarassing way, "Our boat is bigger than your boat. Our boat is bigger than your boat." Ack! In my most humble voice, I told him to stop & reminded him it's the same boat, minus a foot. In the back of my head I was thinking, "It's always about size for men. It doesn't matter what the topic is or how young the man is." Good grief!!

From there, the conversation moved quicker from engine RPMs to trolling to our dislike for the river. Come to find out, they had been over the same path we took on Friday with their Mako. I would just love to have another person to talk fish with at church. Tucked away in my Bible is my latest printout of the 60lb cobia we caught in June. (Some people brag about their grandchildren, I brag about fish.) You can never have enough fishing friends to exchange conversation about the latest catches, fishing holes and skunking woes. Jack has fishing buddies at work. Why shouldn't I have a couple at church?

By the way, I also have some wonderful vet techs who love offshore fishing. We've bumped into each other at the docks in April and talked toy dogs. Last week, I took our Sam in for a well-check, and the ladies and I talked thermocline & trolling for mahi.

I guess the moral to the story is that when you live in a coastal town where nearly every street has an offshore boat sitting in the yard/driveway, don't assume that women don't understand OFFSHORE FISHING!! Who do you think fishes with these men when they can't get a buddy? It's us wives. Yeah, that's right. And we can back a trailer in, too.

Oh,....... and...... we won't be fishing this weekend because Jack and I will be tearing apart our car to do some major repairs. I also happen to know a little bit about cars too.
On another note, I'm so thankful to see gas prices coming down so that fishing with become more affordable again. Our fishing forum has been so quiet over the summer. I think a lot of boats are sitting in the driveways or marina docks.

Barge, crane sink at Titusville Marina
by Robin

Thank God that nobody was injured and that containment booms were set up fast to catch the diesel fuel. We passed this marina on our "Water Dog" outing on Friday.

We had torrential rain over the weekend and I guess it was enough to flood the barge and turn it over.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

REMINDER - Shark Week starts today!! I haven't been this excited about TV since Blue Planet came out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

by Robin

We never were able to head offshore on Friday. We had a family meeting on the couch at 5:30 am with one child coughing like he had the croup. So, that meant he and I were staying home. Then, it went back-n-forth about Jack & my eldest. My eldest tends to get 'green' more easily and mixing that with dieself makes for a stubborn little fisherman. He did not want to go on that boat.

So Jack made the call and then we sent everybody back to bed.

We had a late breakfast, Jack fiberglassed in the gouge on the front of the boat while I ate bon bons on the couch. (NOT! - just seeing who's paying attention) I had put Round-up on all my edging, just in time, before a single cloud storm decided to wash most of it away. Lunch was simple & the skies had cleared, so Jack says he wants to put the boat in the river to put the boat through her paces. Sitting in the driveway is the worst thing for a boat.

So, with full tummies and nobody to infect the croup on (except the other 3 of us which already were exposed), we dunked the boat at 3pm and got back out about 4. It was a nice trip north to Haulover Canal and back. Nothing fancy except this..........

While it was hot, she cooled right down once the boat was up on plane. She makes a wonderful boat dog.

I think we were running about 20 mph here. You can see her ears flapping in the breeze.
We couldn't be more happy that she was comfortable on the boat and had no problems walking up & down the gunnel walkway. Now, we will definitely need to fit her with a life jacket. Part of me thinks, "Well, she's a dog. She should be able to swim." But then the otherside of me felt so irresponsible when we saw a gorgeous doberman on the bow of his boat with a life jacket on. I guess that is next on our list of things to get for Sam.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We're heading offshore tomorrow with our other fishing family-friends. At least it is nice to split the costs of gas. Our Mako is a little jealous that Jack's been twice on the other boat this month.

Pray for some nice fish!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

by Robin

Happy birthday to my soulmate and fishing partner. I love you! I thank God every day for you.
Your Sweetie

Monday, July 21, 2008

taken by Jack
Here is Mike & his childhood buddies that came fishing with them. Mike is in the tan shirt.

First kingfish in the box. Somebody didn't take any other fish pictures until the end of the day.

That wouldn't happen to be you, would it honey? Anyhow, here is my hubby & #1 fisherman. He's sporting his favorite fishing shirt.

My honey knows I like to see the Weather Buoy sitting far offshore. I'm guessing they trolled by it.

The wake of Mike's boat. Look how beautiful blue the water is. This is why people fall in love with offshore fishing. It is a blue that you can not find anywhere else in nature. And usually, it is clear for 20 feet down when hurricanes don't stir it up.

Here is the catch at the end of the day. Notice how big that one Kingfish is. Granted, the phins aren't huge but still..... that was a good size one.

Helicopter Fishing
by Robin

I wish I had a better way of linking to this video that I did not create but I don't. They describe it as Helicopter fishing but it is more like Marlin Wrangling. I don't suggest anybody do this from a helicopter OR a boat without a life insurance policy. Very foolish on the man's part, but interesting to watch (like in a car wreck kinda way).

Warning: there is a bad word over the video screen as a description so you may not want your children to view the video.

Back to fishing pictures after this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

by Robin

It was a day of non-stop action, according to Jack. Nice day to be on the water. No storms at all. Hot sun, flat seas, plenty of humidity and guys catching fish.

I'll post up some pictures later but overall they brought home 2 mahi mahi, 3 kingfish (one huge one), lost another mahi boatside, caught an under-sized cobia and hooked a sailfish for a temporary tail-walking on the water.

Tail-walking is when they swing side-to-side so hard, they come out of the water and end up moving across the top of the surface with their tail. I guess the sail did that a couple of times and before Jack could capture a picture of it, he was off.

Needless-to-say, we had some grilled & fried fish for dinner last night. According to what I saw on the reports, they did better than most. I'm also noticing that there are less and less fishing reports with the increase in fuel prices. In the news, Japanese commercial fishermen were striking over fuel prices, asking their govt to help offset the costs.

Happy Fishing! Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Jack, Mike and some friends are all heading offshore tomorrow to celebrate their birthdays with friends while trying to catch some fish. I really do hope Bertha and the low circulating by the GA coast have mixed up the cold waters out there. We're in the midst of our "Cold Thermocline" season and storms tend to mix in warmer waters to help with the migration of fish. Tuna have been slim this year, as well as big schools of mahi mahi.

The guys are going on Mike's Luhrs. Seas are suppose to be 1-2 ft. They may have to dodge some rain & t-storms but Mike has radar on board to help them with that.

http://mikes' Luhrs

Today, we've had family day which was a much needed restful day. We've had VBS all week. Tonight is the big finale to Outrigger Island VBS 2008. I have really enjoyed the Hawaiian theme this year.

I'm sending the camera along with Jack.

Happy Fishing,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


by Robin

What kind of aquatic lover would I be if I didn't announce that Shark week is on the horizon.

Happy Fishing. Hug a Shark!

Monday, July 14, 2008

by Robin

Well, this is my take at riding Kraken with my almost 12 yo son.

"Oh my gosh!..... (145 ft fall)

Oh my gosh!...... (do I need a reason here?)

Oh...... my gosh!!...... (loop)

Oh my GOSH!!!! (think corkscrew here)

Oh my ...... gosh!....... (another loop going into the ground)

Oh my goodness!" while fighting desperately hard to say something new.

Then, I was purposely forcing myself to stop saying any words. Upon pulling into the unloading station, I sighed in thankfulness, "Oh my gosh!"

I don't know what happened to my vocabulary or my scream. I'm just so glad (er... embarassed) that only my son could hear me and pleased the wind took the rest of it off into the sky, as we were the last seats in the series of cars.

One can only hope that somebody has dumped my digital photo from the automatic 'Ride Cam' by now. I was completely embarassed, yet again, of the look of horror on my face.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

SEA WORLD - altered into art!
by Robin

These are all photos that I took on Friday that were Photoshopped to look like artwork. Hope you enjoy seeing Sea World a little differently. Golden Trevally (right) done in metallic.

Southern Ray (left) done in color pencil

Zebra Shark (right) done in dark Chalk. Yes, it's a Zebra w/ spots.

Dolphin (left) in Watercolor

Dolphin (right) in Postcard

Dolphin (left) in Eggshell. Very cool.

Southern & Cownose Stingrays (right) done in color pencil.

Friday, July 11, 2008

by Robin

Is it wrong to bring a sleeping bag and just live in the underwater viewing area of the Dolphin Cove?

If you look closely in this one, you can see my eldest's head at the end as the dolphin swims by him.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

by Robin

With gas prices being what they are these days, I thought I'd give a little break-down of the costs of offshore fishing. Guides and Charter boats charge what they do because it really does cost some hefty $$ to play in the ocean.

Gas. For near-shore/beach trips, we fill up 20 gallons of fuel. Offshore is a minimum of 40 gallons when we're talking about running at least 80 miles of distance. So, upfront, we know the gas will be anywhere from $80 to $160 minimum in our fuel-efficient Opti-Max. We have a neighbor that runs over $500 of gas on his big offshore trips. There are a lot of variables between types of engines, water choppiness, wind and weight of supplies on board which can affect your gas miledge. In summer, water is flatter so we burn less fuel. Expect more $$ for diesel or boats paying for gas at the Marinas.

Oil. If there is an outboard engine(s) on board that takes in oil, expect $13/gallon per engine for the trip.

Bait. Bait is variable depending on whatever your fishing. On a cheap day, it can run us under $10 for a few dozen of live shrimp, but if you need sardines, cigar minnows, ballyhoo, squid, you need to head to the ATM for more $$. Expect at least $30-50 in bait for a big offshore day.

Ice. Wow, I never realized how much one would have to spend on ice when we got into fishing. Many charters or professional fishermen own their own ice machines. That may be an option for us in the future but for now, we're still buying ice. We use 40 lb bag of ice in the fish cooler and 2-3 bags of 7 lb ice in the food cooler. That's over 60 lbs of ice for nearly every trip fishing whether it be inshore or offshore. Expect another $10 to fly out of the wallet for frozen water.

Poles. Well, that is the biggest variable. Just know that the bigger the fish you plan to catch, the more you will spend on your tackle and rod/reel combos. Oh and one pole will never do the trick. We keep anywhere between 4-6 poles onboard the FIRST CHOICE. We frequently see boats carrying over 10 rod/reels leaving the port. Cheap is nice when you check out of Bass Pro Shop, but it won't hardly bring the big fish up off the bottom. What you want to look for is QUALITY. Quality means that your pole won't break on the first fish that takes you to the gunnel. Your reel's gears won't fall apart either. Consider this an investment. The better your gear, the less $$ you'll spend in the long run. If you're taking a charter, expect either a rental fee or assume the "you break, you bought" policy. It's only fair to somebody who's just lost out on a couple hundred bucks of gear. Poles sometimes come with warranties so check into that.

Tackle. While tackle can be reused many times, it still needs replacing over time. Offshore fish have TEETH. Their mouth plates are like armor and so hooks & jigs need replacing constantly. Many have gills that will damage line if not cut it entirely. All this needs constant replacing and evaluating. Reels should be respool with new line a minimum of once a year. We're talking hundreds of yards of line per pole, approx $25 + up.

Safety. While many people do not even think about this as an expense, they should. How many $$ would you give to drift in the ocean 10 hours less than the last guy? How about drifting in the complete darkness of night? I don't know about you, but I'd give my home away to never experience being lost at sea if that could be guaranteed. Invest in a top-end EPIRB (personal beacon) with fast position-locking satellites. Invest in heavy-duty vests, not just the cheap orange ones. We have vests meant for holding 200 lb+ men on their back for hours in the water. Make sure the amount of floatation fits the size person it will keep afloat. It will do no good for a man to be counting on a pink, child-size Barbie life-vest to keep him alive should he fall asleep drifting at sea. Buy hand-held GPS, batteries, mirrors, flares, flare guns, horns, whistles, matches, water, food, whatever you need. Keep them in a water-tight case or Abandon ship bag. Expect to spend $600-$1000 decking out your emergency bag. If you charter a boat, make sure you know what equipment is available to you in case of an emergency. When Jack fishes with other friends, he brings along his "ditch" bag along with his poles.

KNOWLEDGE. If you've had a wonderful and safe day out on the water, consider it money well-spent. If you catch fish, all the better. If there are deck-hands who are handling your fish or baiting your poles, tip them. They work very hard for their money. If a Captain puts you all over fish, add more money to the charter costs. It's a reward and they've earned it. If you get skunked, don't sulk. It happens to EVERYBODY who fishes on the water. That's why they call it fishing not catching. A lot of time is spent loading the boat, getting to the spots and looking at every nook and cranny. We don't expect our friends or family to tip us; however, we also don't expect people to complain over splitting costs either.

FOOD. Some Captains and charters/ head boats now provide food with their services. Don't expect Giada in the kitchen. It's probably some guy named Lou with tattoos on his forearms and a cig out his mouth. But, they won't let you starve. Sometimes it is just sandwiches and can drinks. Always ask ahead of time. For us, we usually provide for our family and let our guests pick out their own food at the convenience stores. Our baitshop, Sunrise Marina, happens to make a wonderful sub, packed with deli meats & cheeses. We always bring a big bag of salty snacks too. Pringles are #1. Peanuts are another big hit. I don't know why, but we'd rather munch than eat sandwiches most days. Egg salad sandwiches are great too because they're filled with protein which seems to settle the stomach better. Beef jerky also seems to be popular with the men. Watermelon can be rehydrating, but you may want to skip if it upsets your stomach. We can easily spend $20 in offshore foods for a family of 4, even if most of it comes from home.

MISCELLANEOUS. One thing I'm trying to get better about is bringing Ziploc baggies. Jack will clean whatever fish we get at the cleaning tables, rather then bring them home and have them sit in the garbage cans attracting flies & maggots. It's like oceanic recycling. Crabs & little fish get to pick the carcasses clean and we keep it out of landfills.

Of course, there are expenses to processing a lot of meat. See how-to-process-101-lbs-of-fish-meat .

So to recap, if your friend asks you to go fishing, expect to pay some $$ out of pocket. An offshore trip, this side of the Gulf Stream (26 miles away) will cost roughly $200-400. If you go to "the other side", expect a minimum of $600-800. Something in the river or off the beach, $100 or less.

It really is a bargain when you consider all the fun, memories and fresh meat you'll be eating. Oh and don't forget to bring the camera. It keeps fishermen from lying!!

Happy Fishing,

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

by Robin

This......... I did not do. It is a deep gash on the bow that was made last month when Jack went out with a friend. Accidents happen. Wind, waves, current, learning a new trailer....

And then this happened last week when I was loading the boat onto the trailer. I had the wench hook (barely in the picture) in front of the orange bumper when Jack drove it up the trailer. As the boat settled back down, it made scratches up the front. (below the hooking ring - ??name)

Jack had to reverse so I could pull the wench line back out of that area. badly I felt. The only silver lining about the situation was that Jack hadn't fixed the spot right above it. So now, we will be fixing both spots at the same time.

I'm so sorry honey! - Robin

Monday, July 07, 2008

by Robin

One thing I love about going fishing is that we see so many more things we would normally not see. To me, it isn't always about catching. It's about jellyfish, baitfish, sharks, dolphin slapping tails, seeing whales, turtles or manatees. Once in a while, the birds catch my attention. We've tried to help a pelican before become untangled from fishing line but unfortunately he wouldn't let us help him.

Once, on jetty pier in December, we tried to help a small sandpiper who had his legs tied together by fishing line. Again, he would not let us touch him. He could hop and probably manage ok, but I get so frustrated because I am unprepared to capture & help these guys.
Last Thursday, we came across a stork who was fortunate enough to get some medical intervention. I'm guessing he had either strangulation of circulation or possible near-miss attack that caused the loss of two of his toes. Regardless, some group must have captured this bird and given him some substitute toes to keep his balance and live out the remainder of his life as a wild creature. Thank you.

See where the "prosthesis balls" are in place to give him balance? They work just fine. Of course, begging fishermen for leftover bait seems to work well for him too. He got 2 fat sardines from Jack this day.

Happy Fishing & support Wildlife rehab!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

7/3/08 - BEAUTIFUL DAY on the WATER
by Robin

Water like glass, almost metallic-like. Here, it is about 8am, heading down the beach.

We went to a near-shore fishing hole for an hour or so. Marked a lot of fish but they all had lock-jaw.

Went back to the beach and saw many (Crevalle) Jacks, including my hubby. They were about 2 ft in length. I also spotted a few large kingfish swimming about 10 ft below the surface. In the picture above, Jack is pulling in a line that he was trolling for kings with.

Condos on the beach.

We saw about 5 species of jellyfish. Here is one of them. The green water is almost always found on the beach.

Cocoa Beach Pier

South Jetty rocks, the pier and a freighter going out of port in the background.

Advertising airplane. We've seen this plane for the entire 6 years every single time we're on the beach.
No fish, but a beautiful day of seeing so many things on the water. Lots of bait balls of fish on top of the water. Lots of dolphin giving us a show. That was priceless.
Storms by 1:30, so we're glad we were at the docks at 1pm. We were over to the S.P.C.A. by 3pm to adopt our Sam. (see my other blog)
Happy Fishing!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I have no energy to write a post tonight. We spent a half day on the water. Best skunking we've had in a while. Lots of cool things on the water.
Photo courtesy of my son.