Monday, March 28, 2011

3.27.11 - OFFSHORE with MIKE & HELEN by Robin

This will be fairly quick, but wanted to make sure that it made it onto the blog.

We were very excited that the weather was going to finally cooperate with Jack's planned 3 day weekend. He's been very busy with working his past 2 weekends and we needed some R & R. Our friends invited us onto their boat. It originally was suppose to be 3 couples, no kids, a little cobia hunting right off the beach. But, life never quite happens as we dream it up.

The other couple never did receive the invitation to fish until our drive back home from the port. Mike received some tips from folks the night before on where some fish were on Saturday. So, instead of keeping with our plans, we ran over fish to go find fish. That pretty much sums it up.

The seas were close to 5 ft rollers offshore. We put lines in at 160 ft and trolled out to 600 ft depth with only 1 knockdown and 1 phin for our efforts. Helen and I stayed green (seasick) all morning. We tried to troll back in but caught so many scattered weeds that we pulled lines and ran back in to another area around 1:30 pm . Mike wanted to try a couple weedlines that were building and we got nothing. Ran back in further to green water to try for Kings. Saw some bait pods getting picked on and put in lines there. Got nothing except for when we went past a buoy and I think that was a short strike from a barracuda. Never pierced the skin for a hook-up. (They have a lot of bone!)

Picked up those lines and headed back over the Hetzel shoals area around 3:30 pm. By this time, I could pick my head back up and was in the tower. I did spot one small manta ray holding cobia. Winds were picking up again and so the boat was hard to hold in position. Jack made a perfect cast in front of the ray, but the boat drifted behind the ray. The lure ended up hooking the ray instead. The ray sounded down and line was broke off with the lure still in the ray. What a shame. That ray had some big cobes on it. I saw the shadow of what I believe was probably a 70-100 lb cobia stalled out behind the manta ray. I kid you not. Looked vaguely like a large nurse shark to make a comparison. I'm glad Mike was in the tower with me at this point (driving the boat) and he saw it too.

Unfortunately, all my pictures from the day were lost. I don't know why or how. I'm heart-broken since I had a nice one of the mahi in the water. I had one of the monster cobia. Shoot. The only thing left on the camera was a terible video (took 4 originally) I took of the bait pod at the one stop and a shrimp boat tied to a dock inside the port.

We stopped by the Wally*Beach*Mart on the ride home and found some crab nets. They don't stock them by our house. We planned on having a big family day in the river catching blue crabs for a low-country boil tonight. As it turned out, the much-needed rain showed up and gave us an all-day soaking. So, here I sit. No pictures. Only a story. A much different start to our Spring Break week than expected. I'll post up the video of the bait fish but don't get your hopes up. Half of the video is of the sky! (I'm a pitiful videographer.)

Offshore bait crash 3.27.11 from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

by Robin

We have a 3-day weekend coming up AND we have cooperative seas!!! Cobia and Mahi are both around our area. So, it looks like we may have a great opportunity to fish & fill the cooler. I'll take lots of pictures with my *new* batteries.

I told Jack not to come home from work until he had 2 new spinners from Bass Pro Shop with him. ha ha. I have no idea why in the world we only have 2 spinners at this point in our lives.

God bless and pray safety for us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Go to the Spanish Fly website (below)

You will see the above picture of the cobia on the front page. Then, from there, go through the slide show until close to the end. You will see the Great White Sharks that have been in our Tropical waters. Who said they only like cold water was wrong.

(Be forewarned, there are a couple of bikini babes in the slide before it.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

- a venting of fishing etiquette when cobia hunting

by Robin

We went out Monday (14th) for just a couple of hours of sunlight to see if we could find some cobia for the freezer. Jack is working the next couple Sat & Sun, so Monday was our only opportunity for fishing fun.

We were greeted by beautiful, nearly flat seas. (1 pm?)



We saw plenty of bait fish and dolphin feeding on them.


Once we got to the south end of Patrick Air Force base, in approx 40 ft of water, we started searching around. Of course, it was obvious we were in the right area because we found the motherload of boats. We did our best to stay away from the crowds once we saw a ray do a backflip and the guys who rushed to it were a bit too intense & aggressive for us. So, we moved a bit closer to the beach in search of our own manta ray. We found one!! It had 3 cobia on it. 1 that appeared short and 2 with meaty shoulders. I know it is very hard to see the ray in the next 2 pictures but you have to trust me on it.


Not that I'm making excuses but I will say that losing these cobe were definitely our mistake. Jack forgot to purchase a new pair of sunglasses and he couldn't see the ray & cobes, so he was blind casting. I did my best to guide him. Anyhow, we he shut off power on the boat, we had too much forward momentum and drifted a bit too far past the fish & ray. Jack cast twice, but it was just too far of a distance before they sounded and dove down. We never did see her resurface.


Next, we came across several sea turtles all clumped together. I'm not sure if they were competing for breeding or what.



We headed north, slowly while looking for fish or rays. We never spotted any free-swimmers. I guess a ray had surfaced temporarily and the guy on the left was there first and the guy on the right came up on him. We watched it unfold and I took pics as we cruised past them.


You can clearly see the guy on the left tower is casting. The boat on the right is coming over to get in on the other boat's action. THIS IS RUDE! If somebody is already on a ray & casting for cobia, BACK OFF.



Well, we enjoyed the good weather, tried not to get worked up about dudes who think they're entitled to every fish and watched this C-130 do touch & go's at the Air Force Base.


Now, before I set up the next picture, let me set the scene. We're slow cruising while looking. The guys from that boat on the right were "running & gunning", which is basically run to the next spot, cast, run again, stop & cast, run again.... So, for the next couple miles, this boat runs past us, casts to something we never ever saw, then we'd motor past them and he'd run up past us again. It was like he was just doing everything he could to beat us to the next bit of fresh ocean. It was idiotic & rude, at best and I won't say the worst.

Jack decided to run a bit faster to the north to get away from him. I spotted a beautiful manta ray holding 2 monster cobes on her back. The bigger one, guessing 50+ was slightly trailing her and broke the water surface a couple times. The smaller one was near 40-50 lbs and slightly ahead. Jack made his first cast and it landed next to the bigger one in the back. No deal. Not interested. He cast again and I think the wind took that one wide. I had no idea that I would end up photographing the sequence on this boat & "the jerks" actions. At first, I was merely doing my best to get a pic of a cobia on the back of a ray.



Here, Jack is on his 3rd cast. I don't recall much on it because I noticed a jig coming from another direction from the other boat. Sigh. Thankfully, he overshot everything.


Jack's fourth cast, he put it right in front of the cobe in the front of the ray. It slightly spooked but then took a glance at the jig. He wasn't aggressive or hungry. The guy from the other boat made another cast and they ray "sounded" and headed for the bottom. That was it for us finding any fish for the cooler.


I had put my camera down but left it on to continue snapping a couple more shots as he rolled by us. I was so proud of Jack keeping cool inspite of this boater's rudeness. The boat's name is "The Other Office". I'd hate to do business with a guy like this even if he's behind a desk. He seems a bit self-serving to me. We've been approached by other boats before but almost every one of them has been kind enough to observe and not encroach on our find. Infact, we've hooked up before and you can hear other boats holler happily on our behalf. We gave celebratory hollers twice yesterday when we saw boats land their cobia.


I must tell you, I was slightly sad to be going home w/ no fish in the cooler but I put myself in time-out on the cuddy because of my frustration with people like this. I didn't want to talk or smile. I kept replaying it over and over again on how in the world could somebody be so boldly rude.

God did give me a little something to cheer me up. Some dolphin came over and swam our bow for a brief second. Here they are on the approach. I always like when that happens. Jack had a positive attitude. He reminded me how well the new engine repair job worked. I am thankful for that. We watched the birds work bait balls, too, as the sun lowered in the sky.


It was a good day inspite of its challenges. The cobes are still south of our port, so we'll have more opportunities to bring one home. Plus, any day you come home from the sea is a good day.

Happy Fishing!

Thursday, March 03, 2011


If you read a recent front page story of the San
Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback
whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and
lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that
caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of
yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a
line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside
the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so
bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like
joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a
time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their
lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were
following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be
surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things
that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and
receiving gratitude.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

by Robin

Whew, it hurts just typing that up. Just to let you know up front that everyone involved is ok. The accident impaction was minimal on us, but our "toys" took some hits and of course, the man we hit was sore but amazingly walked it off. I called him today and he was working in the yard, which blessed me to hear. He was our biggest concern.

So, let me give you a brief run-down on what happened. We decided to go cobia hunting on Sunday (27th) afternoon. We had been sick all week, got some tips on where the fish were, and couldn't resist the temptation to enjoy a sunny afternoon since being around crowds wasn't an option. (Btw, the kids stayed home since we were only going to be gone a couple hrs and stay close to shore. Later, that would prove to be great, not just because of the accident, but because we still had one more kid to start fevering by 3pm.)

We were headed down US 1, merging onto the Beeline, heading east for the Port. This picture give you a general idea. The blue line shows us merging in with the Beeline traffic. Jack was getting clearance as he changed lanes and I remember thinking, "Where did all this traffic come from?" It's bad on a good day, but it seemed worse that day. We were just starting for the little bridge when everybody slammed to a halt when seeing all the emergency vehicles just past the little bridge (crossing a waterway). I screamed, "Stop!" Jack hit the brakes hard.... and we were on that slow slide. The "o"s are where emergency vehicles were. People saw flashing lights and freaked up, hitting their brakes. The "x" is where we pulled over and took the photos.


Since we all had just merged together, there wasn't much spacing yet between the cars and we only had a car length between us and the white Dodge. Still, my mind played out some thoughts in that nano-second. Unfortunately, that thought that we were going to hit, certainly did happen. What I didn't comprehend was that we'd slide into him and then do it again by the shear force of the boat's momentum still taking us forward. There was a 2nd boom. I was so confused. Did we shove him into the car in front of him? Were we hit from behind? What? Later, we'd find out that the nose bar on the trailer had collapsed under force, shoving us back into the same car.

We pulled over to the side of the road, after passing the little bridge, and were greeted by EMT personnel who were already on the original scene (primary accident). They had cleared the Beeline for Life-flight touch down.


I went to the boat, grabbed my camera and immediately began taking pics of the damage for insurance purposes.


Here is where a bolt dug into the V of the hull. Thankfully, there was not a full hole and we did not hit the cross-beam (shown).


Here is the nose beam which toppled over. There was a small scratch on the hull there too.

Here is a bigger picture to show you that the verticle "bar" moved forward a few inches and then collapsed forward, allowing the boat to jump forward about 3-4 ft in its bunks. Again, the after-thoughts of what might have been are more scary than the accident itself. We could have had a 6,000 lbs boat flying into our suburban or worse, airborne.


Here is the front of our suv.

Here is the other car. AMAZING! He and I talked today and agreed that his hitch definitely saved his plastic bumper. God lined up our further-most point with his hitch and saved his car.


From here, we dropped the boat off at a marina and put it on a dry rack for the week. Jack brought the trailer home to have repair work done on it.

This is what we could see the next morning, once the boat was removed.


Metal was torn like paper. In the photo below, there are cracks at points A & C. Point B is curved whereas that is suppose to be a straight piece of metal. I am so thankful that the accident happened with the new trailer vs the old one. New, strong metal & good brakes must have helped us out. Unfortunately, nothing stops the force of being 7x bigger than the car you hit.


Again, here is the same piece from the port side. Ripping at Point A, Slide forward (B).


We bought a brand new nose "bar/beam" for the trailer, plus new u-bar joints. Then, we took to the salvage yards to find a used grill & bumper for our suv. This was quite an adventure. Salvage yards are not pretty places. I would have felt much better had we brought a concealed weapon with us.


It took no time for Jack to begin ripping off the damaged parts and start putting on the used ones. It looks like God has blessed us immensely through this horrific ordeal. I wouldn't wish an accident on anybody.

As for the person who was suppose to be life-flighted, we never saw anybody get into the helicopter that caused all the fuss. The officers check on us and asked if we wanted to call ambulance and none was called. We all drove away and then traffic was allowed back on the road.

I had checked and checked the news websites but can't find anything on the primary accident. We did see crime scene tape put up and detectives walking around an abandoned truck. They were wearing gloves and combing the ground. I wish I knew what happened there. I'm guessing it didn't fare well for the person who almost needed an emergency flight to the hospital.

Be safe when heading out to the fishing grounds!