Friday, September 20, 2013


by Robin

 photo 2013-08-18204851FirstDay.jpg I realize I'm like a month behind on posting this but it was a busy month. We had just come in from scalloping vacation and headed right into school on Monday. Big boy went to dual-enrollment classes.  He's a Senior now!

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My youngest is in various co-ops. Here are their first day of school pictures.

It was a fast week that flew by and my head was still spinning. But, we jumped back on the boat on Saturday and headed offshore to red snapper.

On the way out to the grounds, we saw numerous large pods of bait fish.  I love this because it usually means we'll have a good day of fishing.  Below, you can see something crashing through the bait, making them scatter in a line.

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The camera does not like photographing things deep in the water but I tried.  You see the lighter color below is a school of bait.  We never did see what was attacking them.  We heard on the radio other folks say it was bonito.

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We went to our first 2-3 spots we had in mind. They were loaded up with boats, boats and more boats.
Below is our "secret" vermillion snapper & porgy hole.  Not so secret, eh?
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We were discouraged.  No lines in the water.  Storm clouds building.  No fish in the box except a porgy and a black sea bass.

We were so blessed when Jack's friend & coworker heard us when we hailed his boat's name.  We met him at a mid-point and he lead us to a wreck, which shall remain nameless here.  We had never heard of it before nor did we find it on the map.  Obviously, some of the good captains knew about it because we were not alone.  But, we were very thankful for the tip and then they left us.  They already had their limit and were continuing to look for Grouper now.

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Like I said, we weren't alone.  Several of us were making the drift past broken up wreckage below.  I don't even know if we were on the wreck or slightly off, but my pole bowed over and nearly came out of my hands.  It was game-on.  Normally when this happens to me, the big fish rock up and I'm done, but not today.  I kept reeling.  At one point, my arms were so tired that I was afraid of losing everything.  I tried my son's trick from when he was a little guy pulling up these big fish.  I sat on the pole.  Now, it can be dangerous, so we use it as a last measure, but yeah, I put it there so my one hand could hold the pole (sometimes both) and the other could reel.  I'm just not strong enough to keep it tucked in under the arm like most men.

I reeled and reeled.  It kept taking line and Jack was coaching me with the drag setting.  Tighten it.  Now loosen it.  Don't lose the fish.  Do you want me to take the pole.  "NO!!"  Finally, I guess s/he could no longer fight the pressure changes and settled down long enough for me to get it to the boat.  I was so happy I could not contain my big mouth.  Hooting.  Hollering.  Once I had it in my hands, I raised it up over my head and all the boats around me who had been watching the battle shouted with me.  Victory.

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In the end, SAFMC said she was only about 13 lbs but it sure did fight more like 20!  Total length was 28" and we donated the ear bones to research.

So, continuing on, now all the boats were over where we were and so fishing became more tricky.  Plus, storm clouds were connecting into huge fronts and heading right for us with lightening to boot.  Jack managed to pull in a small but legal red grouper.  Awesome.  Now we had 4 species in the ice box.  (I did take a picture but my camera only recorded part of the pic and so the fish part is missing. Boo.)  

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We put another porgy and blk sea bass in the boat.  Sharks found us.  One after another.  Then had to start running in.

The line at the docks was crazy.  People cutting past me.  A wife abandoned her hubby's truck when she could not back it down the ramp straight.  Abandoned.  I wanted to jump over and fix it but another man beat me to it.  In the end, we were all loaded and done with the research part when we got in the truck and the storm finally caught up with us.  Perfect timing.  Freshwater rinse for the drive home.

I'm really sad my guys didn't get to share in the experience with their own red snappers but I was thrilled that I finally had my big fish for the year.  I don't get many opportunities for it.

Happy Fishing & hope everyone had a productive Red Snapper Season.

Friday, September 06, 2013


by Robin

Oh boy!! Am I far behind in blogging!   We took a week of vacation, then jumped immediately into school two days later.  From there, we went into our 3-day open Red Snapper Season and then back-to-school colds, lobster diving and so on.....

So, here it goes.  Trying to put it into some order, although slightly imperfect order.... with little commentary between pics.

We arrived 8/11/13 to Crystal River, staying at the Plantation Inn.  Our first destination after settling in our rooms was to head for Three Sister Springs.

M & E
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E's parents, who joined us the first 3 days of vacation.

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Underwater view of a fallen tree in the springs.

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Lil' M warming up on the side of the Springs.  Thankfully, we didn't see a water moccasin until we were on the other side of the springs.
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Next, we had a birthday party for my son. His sweetie homemade this delicious strawberry cake for him.

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This was the first sunset, Sunday night. So peaceful. I did get up at 3 am to look for the meteor shower that was suppose to happen. Somebody lied.
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Next day, we scalloped! Jack... in one of the more grassier areas.  I think we didn't like this stop.

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We hit our limit of 10 gallons of scallops for our boat.

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Then, exhaustion set in and we needed a pool day.

 photo Elizabeth19.jpeg photo Elizabeth11.jpeg We also needed to address the ever-growing smell issue we had in our room. Somebody must have cleaned scallops right on the carpet floors, so we were kindly moved into a golfing villa.  photo 2013-08-15081015Captain.jpg

The dogs really appreciated the upgrade. It's their vacation too. Who wouldn't want 18 holes of greenery to pee & poop on.
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That night, we went out to eat. Last night with our friends, so we ate at Crackers. Jack had blackened shrimp on a taco salad.  I had the same but with scallops.

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We took some pictures hoping to make Senior Pictures out of them.  Not bad.

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 We had a beautiful sunset both evenings and bonus rainbows.
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The 4th morning, we had breakfast with them, said our good-byes and then headed back offshore to make quick

work of scalloping.

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 Top bag of the day.  photo 2013-08-14033209Scallops84.jpg

Got our limit, again.
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Another beautiful night.

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Thursday morning, Jack and I woke up early and followed all the tour boats out, hoping to find manatees. We did find them but then other tour boats would cut in front of us. The one big opportunity I had to jump in and swim over to a mom and calf, I found myself paralyzed by fear. I jumped in. Looked twice under the water. I had 3 ft visibility, green surrounding me, didn't know my depth, didn't know what all predators would be around (i.e. gators). I swam right back onto the swim platform. But, I do have this lovely photo to prove that I tried.

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We went back to the room, had breakfast, grabbed the boys and went back out for scalloping the final day because weather was moving in Friday & Saturday.
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Family success!! Got our limit again!
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So, that was the bulk of the pictures that were already downsized. Here are 3 videos in no particular order. I took the first one of the young mangrove snapper. My eldest took the other 2 videos of himself.

Mangrove Snapper on Rock from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

Big M Scalloping from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

DSCN0499BigMSuccessScallop from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

Short Clip of grabbing a scallop from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

God bless and Happy Fishing!!