Wednesday, December 31, 2008

by Robin

It seems as though it is not our week to go fishing. Trust me, it was not from the lack of want and willing on my part. Sometimes God blocks things that we really want.

Our Monday trip was cancelled because our fishing partner & friends' daughter suffered 3rd degree burns on her leg from a dirt bike fall- accident. We couldn't fish together since she had to be at a Burn Unit for medical care. We stayed home. It turns out that is was a beautiful fishing day and we had stayed home to clean the back porch. Wednesday looked like the next opportunity to fish.

I did my best to prepare almost all day yesterday since I didn't have to homeschool the boys. I added a gallon of oil, washed the suburban (had to do that regardless), sorted fishing gear & loaded it on the boat, replaced rusty hooks and added new, sharp ones on the poles, shopped for fishing food, including pringles, doughnuts and beef jerky and made 6 hoagies. Oh, I made blocks of ice with old jugs and had them ready in our new deep freeze and bought what bait I could find available. I cleaned off the camera and charged the batteries in hopes of taking photos for the blog and for our own memories. We were in prayer for safety. Our eldest prayed for a keeper snapper and I selfishly prayed for my first mutton snapper. I'm sure Jack prayed for catching a limit of Red Snapper. We all went to bed early with hopes of fish filling the cooler.

BUT, the wind would not cooperate. The front arrived here quicker than predicted originally. Seas have gone from 2.6 ft to almost 4 ft with a short period between waves. It's a washing machine out there this moment and expected to rise to 6 ft waves by nighttime. It is a blessing that Jack had the wisdom to call off the trip. None of want to risk injury and safety for a fish.

We have learned to cut our losses while eating ham & cheese (or tomato & lettuce for me) subs for lunch. The boys even made their own breakfast of white powdered doughnuts while Jack and I slept in a little. Later, Jack decided to pull some overtime at work and I crept back into bed to watch fishing videos with chihuahuas on my side. Yep, it is one of those lazy days, which is perfect for ending a year and anticipating marathon tv watching until we hit 2009. I might even go finish reading my book.

We will ring in the new year with chiming glasses full of sparkling cidar & cheese from a can on crackers, as we hope for better fishing days ahead. There is always Monday, right? We fishermen live by the forecast. Right? LOL

May God bless you and yours in the New Year. Remember, the best peace comes from God.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More "Economic Downturn" News

Two quotes from the article linked above:
Tracker Marine is closing its Mako Marine International boatbuilding plant in Forest City, North Carolina by the end the year. According to local news sources, the closure will result in 125 job cut.

Tracker will keep its plant operational until January 1, so its workers could keep making money through the holidays.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

IRON CHEF secret ingredient- Cobia!
by Robin

"The farm-raised Cobia, developed through a joint venture of MariCal of Portland, Maine and Blue Ridge Aquaculture of Martinsville, Virginia, was selected by Food Network to be the “secret ingredient” on the Iron Chef America episode where British chef Jamie Oliver competed against series regular Iron Chef Mario Batali in Kitchen Stadium."

Cobia have only been "farm-raised" since May 2007.

It is a good thing those were farm-raised fish because I was highly mad when I saw them take undersized cobia from those tanks. In the Atlantic Ocean, our cobia have to be over 33" at the fork to be harvest. Those fish ranged between 18-24".

Oh and as for the one chef's big stink about the I've caught, cleaned, cooked and eaten cobia for the past 6 years. They have SKIN. I have never seen a single scale come off a cobia. I guarantee you, the very next cobia I get my hands on, I will be going over its skin to search for any area that would have scales. I will report it back here ASAP.

(Btw, this cobia was 60+ lbs and wouldn't have fit in that Iron Chef tank.)

PS: Fishing trip has been moved from Mon to Wed. Pray for "S",10 yo fishing girl, 3rd degree burns to her leg from a dirt bike's exhaust pipe falling on her. This is our fishing buddy Mike's daugher, so we may fish out of our own boat, depending on what's going on for their family, hospital, doctors, etc.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

by Robin

As long as I'm on a cooking posting spree for both my blogs, I might as well post up the pictures I took about 2 wks ago. This was the snapper we caught from our last outing the day after Thanksgiving

Our basic way of marinating involves an olive oil rub, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sometimes Old Bay and I believe this time Jack threw on some Montreal Seasonings, which accounts for those chunky spices. Treat your fish like you would a great steak. At $14.99/ lb (at our local markets), treat it better than steak, treat it like GOLD! Let it sit for 30 min if possible (in a frig). Look at this beautiful filet. It nearly fills the entire plate. All 4 of us ate from this one side of a fish.

Take it out to the grill. Our secret for keeping the fish from sticking to the grill grates is to lightly & carefully put a little cooking spray across the top. Also, don't leave the fish unattended for too long because of flare-ups. Now, most our fish is not fatty, so the flare-up isn't from grease drippings. What it usually is a result of is the butter that Jack puts on top. When that rolls off, YIKES! Be careful. The butter (or Smart Balance) enhances the flavor but increases the odds of a flame.

Here's the butter..... yum. Also, I like to spritz the fish with lime. I make my love for lime no secret. It is to me what butter is to Paula Deen. Enuf said! LOL.

Now, go eat a healthy piece of fish and soak in all those Omega-3- fatty somethings, acids?..... whatever. I only know that it is much better than tryptophan from turkey.

(let me google......) Did you know that Omega-3-fatty acids reduce ADHD symptoms in children? It also slows the buildup of plaque in the heart, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, strokes and may benefit brain, joint and digestive health.

We try to have fish weekly, but not much more than that because of the mercury levels in certain fish. Mahi mahi - I'm sure you could eat daily with no harm, but slower growing fish like the cobia, have higher levels.

Happy Fishing! Sunday, we'll be in God's house and Monday, we'll probably be offshore.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

by Robin

Every family has their own traditions for what they like to eat for the holidays. The past few years, our tradition has been to skip the ham & turkey and head right for the seafood. We have a favorite seafood market, Seafood Atlantic, which carries the freshest fish, clams, claws and tails. Yum!

We picked up all the ingredients & seafood on Christmas Eve. Oh and fresh citus fruit is falling from the trees. I love our local oranges & tangerines. I never did use the eggplant. Maybe Friday, I'll fry some thinly breaded eggplant slices.

On the way home, we decided we could make the 5 lbs of snow crabs & almost 3 lbs of shrimp, 8 crab cakes, etc. last over 2 days. We sure did buy a lot of food.

So, we decided to make Shrimp Pasta & Shrimp Cocktail on Christmas Eve. Don't forget to ice your boiled shrimp right away if you want to save some for shrimp cocktail appetizers.

Years ago, Jack had a fastastic recipe he created for the shrimp sauce to go over the pasta. I can't recall the exact ingredients in it, but I know that he put in a lot of Smart Balance (fake butter) and cooking Sherry (or white wine). I prefer the sherry for the sweetness. He adds some spices and in years past, before my joints hated dairy, a lot of parmesian cheese was in the mixture too. Ahhhh.......we're still working on the healthy version of it. (Those were the days back when we could eat unlimited butter, wine & parmesian cheese. I'm popping ant-acids every hour tonight. )


Anyhow, you can see we kept it simple. Use Angel hair because it cooks fast and well.......we like it. Basic Greek salad & garlic bread for a side. The guys had shrimp cocktail as well.

We also like to buy fresh limes even though I keep jugs of the juice in the frig at ALL TIMES! I don't think I used them much this holiday but the kids like to suck on them and I like to put them in my drink.

For Christmas Day, Jack makes a wonderful crab boil broth in the steamer. Again, I don't know what all he does while I'm making the salad & setting the table. I think there is a lot of Old Bay involved. Yesterday's leftover pasta is rewarmed in a sauce pan and more liquid is added. Don't skimp with hitting some microwave buttons. Use real heat!

Speaking of setting the table, we've accrued quite the crab-killing arsenal. Those red things are the bomb and keep your forks from getting destroyed (you know,that one prong that goes out to the side?). We discovered them at a Crab Shack in Green Cove but I think we bought these at Target or something like that.

Jack steams the snow crab legs for a "while". When they are steaming, he makes a buttery/lemon dipping sauce. (My mouth is salvating just typing about it.)

I made another batch of garlic bread........... which we totally forgot to eat after breaking all those crab legs.

Here are the guys digging into the food after grace. That blue bowl in the middle is set up for exoskeletons -LOL. Quick clean-up,too.

Here is a closeup of Christmas Dinner. I also have another salad, fresh avacados in lime juice, and a Pico de gallo for sides.

Traditionally, all seafood meals at this house should be followed by a healthy slice of KeyLime pie. I'm not going to tell you that I make that from scratch. Buy Edwards.......its just as good. Anyhow, we never did get it thawed in time, plus we were stuffed.......again.

And, as if this weren't enough to blog about tonight.......I want to add that we're probably trolling for tuna on Monday with our friends Mike and Helen. Yeah!!

Praying for smooth seas, plenty of tuna steaks (or sushi) and a very Happy Birthday to my Lord & Savior-Jesus,
Robin & family

Monday, December 22, 2008

by Robin

They're here!!! I'm starting to see the first fishing reports come in with blackfin tuna in the pics. While nowhere near the size or as popular as their yellowfin cousins, they still eat just fine in our books. Some mahi are showing back up as they travel back down the coast to warmer waters for the winter. This is all reverse of what happens in the spring.

The N.Right whales have also passed through the area, followed by the cobia. Now, the mahi and blkfin tuna are here. Yipee.

As weather & holidays permit, we'd like to make our next trip primarily a trolling one and try to land some tuna.

Here is a link to some stats on the Blackfin Tuna which are generally in the under 20 lb class.

I have never caught one of these before, but it is time to check them off my list of things to catch. The 2 pictured below were caught in mid-Nov of 2006 by Jack & some friends. They're rather small but still a legal catch in our waters.

Tuesday, we'll be adjusting the new trailer to the Mako's specifics measurements at the river docks. I hope the weather will warm up a bit more in the afternoon. It's getting cold tonight. (Florida cold, that is)

Florida pompano have also been showing up on the beaches all month long. The reason why I haven't gotten any for Christmas dinner is because you have to be fishing as the sun rises, on the cold, windy beach, with a bag full of clams. Between the eye issues, winter cold air and cold symptoms going around each family member, we've not had time to take advantage of this awesome dinner fare.
(Pic from 2004 - Christmas pompano)

Maybe I can talk Jack into it on Christmas Eve. On the way home, we can stop off at Atlantic Seafood Market and pick up the rest of our Christmas feast of snow crab legs, clams & shrimp.

Happy Fishing and most of all, Merry Christmas!!
by Robin

Thank you God, Loadmaster, East Coast Trailers, Steve and Lisa.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

403 LBS!!! (older news but still remarkable)

We have caught Warsaw grouper before from the 25-40 lbs range. I think I even blogged that they were pretty small, relatively speaking. Well, here's why I called ours small. Here's a big one caught by a spear fisherman. WOW!! I'll let him tell it in his own words. (And to think that Goliath- Jew fish can be double this size!)
Happy Fishing - Robin

Story from Dan McMahon "Head Hunter" on "Do I shoot or do I run?" Pg 9. 6/21/05. You may want to skip the first 8 pages of colorful remarks if you follow the link. That is why I cut/paste for you.

Heres the story on the big warsaw first. Last year, SpearTen, Steve Simkins and I did a dive in 415' on a pinnacle in the 72 Fathom Peaks area. The mission was to finally get the big Warsaw I've wanted all my life. The dive basically sucked, 4 feet of viz and darker than midnight.I spent the last year plotting and planning. New and better equipment, lots of designing and testing of everything. Finally got it all done, planned the trip out and we loaded down HeadHunter with 60 tanks, 10 stage bottles, 4 O2 bottles, 400 gallons of diesel, 3000 lbs of ice and about 5 million pounds of misc equipment. Hell, Kmoose's food and drinks weighed 100 LBS!Along on the trip were myself, Spearten, SimplyScuba, Jazzien, BucketOne and the Moose. We left port Wednesday evening and SpearTen and I did the 425' dive around 11:00 Friday morning. It was a neap tide and I prayed for fish, viz and low current. We got to the wreck, a huge freighter that stood 50 feet high in 425 feet. It had a great fish show on it and we all just kinda stared at the color screen. Kevin Bruington had made me one of his custom buoys (thanks Kev) and we pitched it to the wreck with 32 Lbs of lead. Direct hit! Great! SpearTen and I geared up, 5 tanks, 5 regs and all the other tech gear the dive required. We rolled and began the 3 minute descent. On a deep ocean dive like this, you never know what water conditions are until you descend as they can change every few feet. Perfect conditions!!! Perfect! The wreck came into view around 250 feet and we touched down at 375' on the deck. With no BS, I've never dove in any clearer water anywhere at anytime. You could see 150 feet plus in any direction and it was light and blue, no lights needed.There were a half dozen Warsaws in the 40-100 Lb range close to us when I spotted the monster facing me about 100 feet away. I got my bouyancy trimmed out and he came charging down the wreck towards me. Time began to slow down as many years of effort and dreams all came down to a few seconds. He went into an aggressive mode, changed colors and threw up his dorsal fin. Awesome. Just frigging awesome.I had made a couple of barbless shafts up, sharpened to a 2 inch long needle point. I pointed my 52 inch SS Hornet and slammed a free shaft into the sweet spot. OMG, I almost rolled him. He started shaking back and forth and I slammed shaft number two into his head. I swam over and grabbed him and was thinking OK now WTF. We crashed into the wreck at 397' and I had my hands full. He was still moving around a little and I decided that I didn't want my 46 year old ass tied to this fish at this depth. I put a PH on my kill spike and slammed into his head. I'm not sure now whether it was neccessary or not, but at the time it seemed like the prudent thing to do.

I had been planning on lift bagging him up, but decided to pump air into his mouth and swim him up a few feet. 20 feet up and 10 seconds of pumped air later, he took off and I watched him blast towards the surface. Awesome.I turned and watched SpearTen slam a spear into a 73 Lb Warsaws head and stone it. Great shot! We were a minute under our planned bottom time and decided to head on up. We met Jazzien(our first support diver) at 170 feet and I said "Did you get him?" and he answered that he had watched it blast by him and it should be on the surface. Bucket came free diving down to a hundred feet (thats insane) and wrote out 400 LBS on my slate. We finished up our lenghtly deco as we watched large Wahoo swimming around us in the 84 degree water. Unreal.It took all four of the guys and a block and tackle to get the fish on the boat. We took some pics and headed toward some shallower water. Awesome. What an awesome dive. Theres just too few moments like this in ones life.

I'd like to thank all the guys for their support and efforts to make this happen. A special thanks to Zeagle and Spearfishing Specialities for making the gear that made this possible.A final and very special thanks to my brother-in-law SpearTen, for all his help and work towards making this happen. It takes a lot of guts to roll off a perfectly good boat in 425' with 200 Lbs of steel strapped to your back. I owe you bro.

Monday, December 15, 2008

by Robin

Well, actually, God & the banks approved. East Coast Trailers (here) is building us a trailer to meet our boat specs and we'll get to pick it up next Monday in St. Petersburg. This picture below is essentially what we're getting.


We are very excited about the prospects of trailering the boat around Florida to new locations. It is a dream that might come true to fish the Keys in our own boat.

Coincidentally, Jack found our exact same boat for sale and it happens to be sitting on the same exact trailer that we're purchasing. So, you'll get to see pretty much what we'll see live in another week.


Btw, this boat would be an excellent purchase for anyone looking to buy our exact set-up and start offshore fishing. I'm going to link you to the owner & pictures here .

There were many reasons for getting a new trailer. Our old one is 21 yrs old. It is falling apart piece by piece.


We had to remove the fenders, which in turn, the tires now send dirt & rocks up into the sides of the boat. Not good... especially after doing the makeover.

God knew that we needed all 4 wheels to have those special brakes in case of emergency braking. This will help save the transmission on our new suburban as well. I'm sure that is what hurt our former transmission, or at least contributed to its downfall.

God also knew that I was beginning to lose faith in our winch. Last time we were out fishing, I had a near-accident happen at the ramp where the boat & winch didn't work right and through a blessing of God, my arm was not in the way of a free-flowing winch crank that could have broke my hand or arm. And as if by miracle of an angel, the winch locked itself at one point during the incident. I cannot explain it away so I won't even try. It's just a miracle how it all happened. I'm happy to be having new equipment.

Last, but not least, we were blessed with a dealer price because fishermen help out one another, especially when they have to move inventory. Thank you Steve, "FishOn", for your fantastic offer. (If you ever happen to see this blog.)

The seas are still high so you'll have to suffer through trailer instead of fishing pictures this week. Now, when our seas are high, we can head south or over to the Gulf and still be able to fish.

Happy Fishing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

by Robin

Just to let you know that seas have been building all week. By first of next week, we're looking at 6-9 ft seas!!!

In the meanwhile, I thought that I would mention an article on the deaths of Loggerhead sea turtles.

Here are some clips of that article to pique your interest.

"The numbers are pretty alarming," said Tom Wheatley of the Marine Fish Conservation Network. "This is definitely an issue that will require action."Most of the grouper landed in Florida are caught by boats that lay miles of monofilament fishing line, baited with thousands of hooks, across the sea bottom. This fishing method is effective but controversial.

During the study, which lasted a year and a half, federal observers went along on 34 fishing trips and documented 18 hooked sea turtles.

About 90 percent of the world's loggerhead sea turtles nest on Florida's beaches. But in recent years, the number of documented sea turtle nests has steadily declined.

Isn't this awful??!!!

"Longlines are adding to the problem," Witherington added. "The number of loggerhead sea turtles killed in fisheries is significant enough to affect population trends, and lo and behold, we are seeing declining numbers of sea turtle nests. It is a smoking gun, and we have a dead body."

I can tell you from my own experience with fishing off the Atlantic coast that we sometimes come across dead, floating sea turtles. It is a very sombering thing to witness because we know many of these are old veterans who have survived decades, only to be killed by commercial nets or long lines. We are no fans of longlining, so we are happy to see the new findings causing some changes. FYI - Many times, longliners off the Atlantic coasts aren't even American boats. If you've ever watched Whale Wars, you'll read between the lines and figure out who's doing it. Why don't they go to their own waters and rape their side of the ocean. We're doing what we can to save our oceans and then people like this come along and kill indescriminately. It makes me mad and sick at the same time.

Getting off my soapbox.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

by Robin

I'm not sure if we were naughty or nice, but Santa is checking his list. TWICE!!

It has something round on it.

It's long.

It's shiney.
We will just have to see if Santa puts it under the the boat for Christmas or not.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

by Robin

I haven't had time to sit down and write this out before today but it is big news. Fishermen up & down the S,E. Atlantic coast have been doing battle over the holidays to keep the American Red Snapper fisheries open all year-round. The SAFMC (S. Atlantic Fisheries Mgmt Council, I think) had decided to propose closing Snapper fishing January 1st for 4 months, in the Atlantic ocean. If they had gotten this control, then they'd be able to close the entire fishery for 180 days. There are protected species like the Goliath and Nassau groupers but many of us feel like the Snapper stock numbers are not down. This is not necessary. We're already regulated to take only fish over 20" and only 2 per person. That's not many compared to what we throw back each trip.

We are members of a private fishing forum which asked us to please write to the SAFMC about our opinions on their proposal. Between the forum, CFOA and FSFA fishing clubs, we were able to make a big difference. Infact, we have a temporary VICTORY!!!!

The council has decided to let things lie the way they are and revisit the topic again in March. We need your comments!!

Ø What can you do? Go to and tell the SAFMC and your elected officials what you think. It will take less than 5 minutes.

Ø Does it really matter? Public comments regarding this closure were key to the SAFMC tabling this closure at the last meeting. If access to this fishery is important to you, then it really does matter.

Ø Is this really going to happen? Below is the text directly from the SAFMC web site, you read and decide. You can find more information on Red Snapper and the SAFMC at

The Council’s intent is to have the interim rule effective by January 1, 2009”.

Even though these links are older, we still need support for the upcoming March meeting.

Btw, my opinion is also that the Goliath fishery closing should be revisited. I do believe that those numbers are up again and could use some thinning out, possibily seasonally.

Please take a moment to fill out the form.
Happy Fishing!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

CEDAR KEY - Part 2
by Robin

I thought that maybe now I had a minute to continue pictures from our Cedar Key trip.

Here is Jack that first night. I love the silhouette.

Day 2 (our only full day), it was very cold. We did have to burn off some boy energy though. We walked half the town and let the boys ride their scooters and play at the playground.

We ended up watching a lot of History Channel's Modern Marvels that afternoon and took naps. We did a little fishing but no fish wanted to move or eat in the cold weather. Here is the view from our window. This is the Brand Spankin' New Cedar Key Pier

So, we got ready to hit the Rusty Rim for dinner and get the best seat IN the building to view the sunset. Given these horrid economic times, it wasn't like there was a fight for the best table in town.

Some people chose to sit outside and watch the sunset.

After dinner, I captured this picture from the back deck. I love the star at the top. Something about it reminds me of Bethlehem & a manger.

Here is a picture of the Rusty Rim & bar below, taken from our walk back to our room. Oh, did I mention that we had to walk a full 50 ft to get from restaurant to motel? Sheesh..... how lazy can you be, right? Notice the little dolphin Christmas light on the post? Some places do candles & angels. Cedar Key does dolphins & clams.

On the way back out of town the next morning, I had Jack pull over so I could show why this town was/is such a properous fishing & shellfish town. Here are some oyster beds. Very cool. My Mom bought clams in Atlanta that came from Cedar Key, FL. It's what they do and trust me, they're very sweet tasting.