Monday, July 13, 2015


by Robin

We're coming up on our 3rd anniversary of our disaster vacation over at Crystal River.  In short, the plan was to scallop, fish through the night, scallop more and get a room the 2nd night.  Then, springs and leave the 3rd day.   The weather was supposed to be PERFECT.  Ooooh.... nothing turned out right.

This is long but here is the 3 parts.  I just realized I never wrote the 4th part.

Scallop & Checking the skies - Part 1

Storm is approaching - Part 2

Surviving a Night of Seasickness - Part 3

Praying for a SAFE vacation this year.

SCALLOP VACATION!! - time to prep

by Robin

It's that time again.  We bumped our trip up to July for multiple reasons.  One of the biggest was that it was super hard for us to go from vacation mode into school mode the next week.  Secondly, our eldest is changing to the University and he start date is much later after our co-op begins for home schooling.

I can't wait to do this again.  Looks like we have some friends joining us again this year.

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Last year's trip pictures!!

In search of.... these!

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My list, prep stuff to get cooking with peanut oil!!

Underwater picture of tree fallen in the springs.
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Us scalloping.

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Monday, June 08, 2015

INLET - 6.8.15

by Robin

Jack was dying to go back offshore after church since the boat was still hooked up but my body wasn't willing to cooperate.  He tried to get some friends to go.  No go.

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I don't know how he managed to do this, but he talked me into getting some mud minnows and playing in the port.  Wind was whipping hard from the east, so we stayed in the channel, mostly the locks. I have a cool story about the Freedom of the Seas making an emergency stop to the port to drop off an emergent patient but that will have to be done tomorrow or another day.

These photos were taken AFTER it left the docks.  Sun was setting & fish were biting.

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You can't see it here but Jack had a flounder in his hands.

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Basically, I wanted to share my sunset photos.  I didn't catch one fish all evening.  Jack caught a crevalle jack, small mangrove and 2 flounder.  Only the one flounder came home with us.

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My evening shots.  I am learning how to use my advanced settings with my new camera.  These were taken in manual mode.

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First Choice looks magnificent under the amber lights.  My exposure was set for 2 minutes.

Hope you had a peaceful & fun weekend.

OFFSHORE - 6/6/15 - King fish

by Robin

It was a FSFA tourny day but we did not register.  In fact, we went rather late to avoid the morning rush.  We were on the water by 9 am.   It was Jack's plan to troll.  He was first up to reel when the line went screaming.

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Unfortunately, it was only a barracuda.

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Look at the teeth on him!!!  Jack had to be very careful when getting him off the hook.

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This is called a Fire Rainbow.  I learned today that it happens when the sun is higher than 58 degrees in the sky and passing over Cirrus clouds with ice crystals in them.   Cool.

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Ok, so hours and hours of trolling produced 1 barracuda.  The radio was filled with chatter of everyone else experiencing a slow trolling day.  Further out didn't produce anything for them either.

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Wow, the water was sure clear and blue.
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We we decided to pick up and move to 8A reef and troll there.  We joined the 11 other boats there and started making our passes between north and south ends.  There were weed everywhere and as i went to clear one of the lines filled with weeds, a mahi broke the surface and air-bombed my ballyhoo.  Game on.  She was swimming right to the boat and quite 'green'.  Jack gaffed her at least 4x and each time she jumped off the gaff.  At one point, I thought I lost her because my palm hit the free spool but thankfully, she was still there.  Jack had to pull power because we were in heavy traffic area and she swam ahead of me, then under the boat, then right for the engine.  My line was stuck in the steps, then the prop.  Sigh.  We were so upset.   We couldn't do anything but break the line.  What a mess and heart-break.  She was probably 10-12 lbs and full of holes.  There goes my first mahi of the season.  Poop!

But, later, this king hit the line.  Jack reeled him in but I got to pose with it after it fully died.

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After this, we decided to try some bottom fishing.  Pulled in some miscellaneous fish.  1 juvenile snapper, too many black sea bass, lizard fish and this cool looking Stone fish.

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Little black sea bass are sometimes brown.

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I did catch a keeper 15" black sea bass.  Wow, nice fish.

That was basically our Saturday offshore.  Ran over to see Mike at his boat and pick up a tourny t-shirt.  Talked to guys at the cleaning tables.  Fun times.

Happy Fishing,


by Robin

While Jack and I were in the bait & tackle store, we heard there were some flounder in the ramp basin.  Really?

I tried it out on Monday. Everything was rather small.  Mostly, I caught a really good sunburn.

But, my son and I returned on Wednesday.  I was supposed to chaperon him and his girlfriend on their date but she came down with a fever.

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We still enjoyed the morning together.  We were using mud minnows, which are fabulous without an aerator and yet, super slimy. Hard to get them on the hook without getting yourself first.

We found the flounder in the center of the ramp basin. I also came home with a small but legal lane snapper.  Not worthy of a picture.  LOL.

I fileted and fried them up for lunch, but not until I screamed YOLO (you only live once) and put the flounder in the pool with me.  ha ha.

The kids freaked out but honestly, what's the harm?  Somebody tell me.

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Hope you all are having a great start to your summer. I know I am.

Blessings & tight lines,

CFOA Tournament 5.31.15

by Robin

I didn't take a LOT of pictures today but did enjoy watching the pelicans and boats come in with fish.
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Nice cobia.

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It was a good date day with my hubby after church.  Got us some nice oysters &
clams at Rusty's before the tourny too.

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This young boy took Youth Division.  I heard that he fishing hard like this all the time.  I saw pictures of him this past weekend with a 20+ lb red snapper. Wow!

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Here was the board with the results.

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Happy Fishing!

OFFSHORE w/ Mike - vacation day 5.21.15

by Robin

I don't have  alot of information about their trip except to say that trolling produced nothing.  They did end up bottom dropping and caught small reef fish.  Jack gave all of those away to Mike for being such a great friend.

Here are the two pics I have.

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Apparently they were chased in by some storms.
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Happy Fishing,

5.19.15 - Sharks, Snappers and Small Mahi

by Robin

After our son caught his huge gag grouper, I wanted in on the same action.  So, Jack took me out the following weekend.

Well, he certainly put me right in the middle of some action.  I was fighting and fighting this fish.  Biggest snapper I ever caught and about 10 ft under the boat, 1 of the 3 sharks following us takes this huge bite out of it.  From out of nowhere, 2 more sharks join the pack.  I was so exhausted and disappointed, I forgot to keep reeling and Jack brought it up to the boat for this picture.  Then, we had to throw it back over to the sharks.  Goodness, it kills me to see the sharks eating such a fine fish.

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Jack is on a drink break.  It sure is getting hot out there.

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I had a nice grouper on but I couldn't get him out of the rocks, so I gave the pole to Jack.  He loosened the line and he swam out and it was game on.  At some point, I guess the hook pulled out, so we never did see that fish.

We caught too many of these and decided to run around looking at the weed mats instead.

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Saw a lone mahi on one of them.  We tossed everything to it and couldn't get it to eat.

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At another weed mat, saw 2 more and couldn't get them to eat.

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Super disappointing.  Trolled an hour with nothing.  So, we headed back home.

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The flying fish were very close in and it was such a photo opportunity to get pics of them.

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I greyed out the water to make the flying fish stand out.

Have a blessed fishing week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


by Robin

My husband took a day off from work and my son was out of school and had a day off from his job, so.... they went fishing.  They also took a long-time friend, Mike, who had seen some grouper pre-opening season (May 1st) and had to let them go.

Today, was revenge.  Time to scoop them back up and put 'em in the cooler.

I was busy with last day of school things with my youngest so this was the guys' account of things that day.....

Cleared the Port by 8 am and it was a sloppy ride out to the first drop site.  Jack didn't like a couple of the places he was given coordinates to go.  No fish showed on the fish finder.  So, they motored over to our favorite dinner-reef fish area.  First drop, Son hooks up with something huge.  Fights it a few minutes and then loses it.  While getting a new bait to put on the hook, they realize his first hook had no barbs!!  So, they change that out.

Second drop with a live pin fish, he hooks up again.  He's fighting and fighting.  And up comes this gorgeous gag grouper!!  Awesome because you can keep one of those in your grouper aggregate of 3 fish.

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It was by-far over the 24" size limit.   In fact, we measured it at home and it went 35"!!!!

Third drop, Mike gets his bait chewed on but no hook-up.  Seconds later, Son hooks up AGAIN!!  He fights and fights his fish and this is what pops up.  Another quality fish but Red Snapper are out of season and so they vented it quickly and it dropped down.  Oh my goodness, the heart-break of not getting to keep such a beautiful and tasty fish.

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But, time to fish again.  New pin fish.  Drop.  Son hooks up with another fish.  They fight a bit and a small Amberjack comes to the surface.  They release it too.  Not as heart-broken over that and they didn't even bother taking a photo.

By this time, Son is absolutely feeling jello arms and the seas are giving him some nausea.  He's out! Mike drops a few more times and it produces nothing.

So, because they had at least 1 quality fish and 1 sick kid, they decided that was enough and called it at a half-day.

Here are the last shots before they filleted it up amongst the families. Mike's wife knows how to make fish head soup and use every bit of the fish.  We took a nice side, including the ribs to fry up.

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Next week, Jack has some vacation time and we're going to head out and try for more grouper. Praying God blesses us!

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Grouper teeth!!!  That would hurt if you got bit.

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Happy Fishing,


Saturday, May 02, 2015

OFFSHORE - 4/18/15

by Robin

Ok, I could have kicked myself for forgetting the camera on such a beautiful day out on the ocean.  You'll have to settle for a cooler shot.

Missed a nice 12-18 lb mahi that hit the first line in the first 5 minutes of setting it out.   Ballyhoo with some type of skirt in about 130 ft of water.  I remember we were just inside the weather bouy.

We trolled another couple hours without another knock-down.  About the time I asked Jack if he had a Plan B, he said we were .3 miles from our favorite bottom area.

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Knowing we needed to be back in by 3:30 to beat the evening storms (that never came!), we did what we could in about 2-3 hours and headed in.

I would say we were very blessed that the bottom fish were biting!!  Also, much thanks to Jack and his new electronics he put in this winter.  He sure did nail the spot every drift.  We could just about count down to when the nibbles would come.  :)

And for the record, there should have been another vermillion in the box.  Jack accidentally let one get away unhooking him.  LOL

No cobias seen.

Tight Lines,

RED FISHING!! - 4/4/15

by Robin

Jack had to work earlier in the day but was later called by a friend of his for a little evening bite on the red fish.

Well, wow!  They sure did nail the slot reds in record time.

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I cannot give away their secret location, but it was the Indian River.  LOL.

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Thanks to a good friend with a flats boat. :)  Sure was nice to change-up from offshore to inshore fishing.

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A good after church meal was shared by all!!

Happy Fishing!


by Robin

No... not insurance, but tarping!

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Since 2011, we've had a wonderful tarp that lives over the boat until we can build a boat barn.  However, sometimes not everybody is available to help heave it over the boat frame.  The tarp is heavy and the PVC pipes are warping with the Florida heat.

(Below was original design, then redone to make that back line straight and additional support behind the black bimini.  Wish we had stuck with that original design of angling down towards the engine.)
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Since we needed to replace the old gray tarp (20x40)with a new one (blue & lighter 20x 30), it was time to rethink the frame.  They have now included thicker PVC and different supports.  No more blue rope to tie and "hope" the joints stay together.

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What does a mechanic and an engineer student do when the wind blows?  (These two love to work together. )

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Of course, build it better!!

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I'm so glad son took the weekend off from his job to study for finals.... build a boat-tarp frame.   I can't wait to see how much better it works.   This should make it a LOT easier for us short folks to pull that tarp up to the front of the boat.

Btw, we are repurposing the old tarp to cover the garden in the winter freezes.  Yeah!!

Also, I'll go back during the week and see about where I left off with fishing trips.  I'm sure I must have missed a trip.