Thursday, April 10, 2014

FIRST CHOICE

by Robin


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Our buddy boat stayed behind to make another drift or two over the area.  We opted to begin heading back in.  Our boat only has one engine on it and so we tend to travel between 27-30 knots.  We probably got the first 24 miles down before we noticed we were being trailed.

Well, not so much trailed but being pursued.  LOL.  Sure enough, we were passed and they took some nice pictures of us.

Love them.

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Not long after this picture, they were stopped by FWC and checked for illegal fish.  The big orange boat after us (in the channel) was also checked.  I guess we look like honest folks.  ha ha.

It sure was a gorgeous ride in after such a strange start in the fog.

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This was after we made it through the channels and had a manatee zone. I was setting up for the photo when the shrimp boat passed us. Why, thank you very much!!

I love seeing all the fish pictures of people out there catching right now.  So many kings and wahoo.  A few cobia, too.   (Btw, cobia meat was $17.99/ lb at the market the other day.  Wow.)

Happy Fishing everyone.

Monday, April 07, 2014

REEF FISH

by Robin

The Gulf of Mexico has some very beautiful reef fish.  And they seem to be much bigger than the ones I'm used to in the Atlantic.

Here's the two main reef fish we caught and kept from our trip last weekend.

We were trying to ID this porgy.  The best we could come up with was a Knobbed Head Porgy.  Supposed to be excellent pan fish.  We kept 3 of the bigger ones we caught. Wow, they were brilliant blue coming fresh out of the water.

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These were called a Key West grunt (AKA white grunt, although, not very white).  I'm thinking we had a couple of these nearly 3/4 lb but Jack says most were 1/2 lb.  We kept all of these when we could get 'em.  They make excellent white meat.  Our boys LOVE fried fish, so these will do the trick.

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Ok, I'll give you a couple more pictures. First drop for me, I get bowed over and it is a good fight. I finally win the battle and Jack calls out, "Amberjack!" He nets it for me and I take the picture. (Of course! Standard protocol.)

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They have to be no greater than 22" in the Gulf and mine was 24", so after we took a picture of me holding it, back it went.

This is my first time fighting an Amberjack.  The Greater Amberjacks are called Donkies, with good reason.  They are very stubborn and hard to pull up.  I'm thankful to have been broken in with a Lesser one first.  Not that I would have loved a big ol' fight but I did need my arms for all the Red Grouper we were going to catch after this.
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Happy Fishing,

Robin

Sunday, April 06, 2014

COMING OUT OF THE FOG!!

by Robin

Wow, have I totally neglected my blog.  We're coming out of winter and into the best fishing of the year.  Spring!!

I will start posting up pictures this week of the past couple fishing trips.

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For a teaser, here is one from yesterday.  We were fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with friend. We had the most incredible fog! Seems like it lasted all day.  It had varying degrees but mostly it was just THERE. So glad we had a buddy boat!  I'm actually quite comfortable with not seeing shore when we go fishing.  I fully admit being a bit creeped out by fog roughly 46 miles offshore. The crazy things we do to catch fish.  LOL.

God bless & be looking for updates all week.
Robin

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

HINGES!

by Robin

Our floor boxes are getting repainted and new hinges.  Jack didn't like the original color, so he repainted all the fronts last night.  I don't have a picture of that but let's just call it eggshell or cream.


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But we went from some basic pulls for anything in a house to something made for boats & nautical life.

Here is the backside of the new cut-outs and he sealed them up.  He also put some non-skid on them because the last time we did this, we were figure skating across them when the floor was slimey & wet from fish.

Not exciting update, but it is progress.  I think we paint the floor next and finish some last bits of teak refinishing and we're done.  I want to be fishing in March.   I saw a friend of ours go out yesterday for cobia and they were not in yet.


SPRING BREAK FISHING!!

Countdown Clocks

Monday, February 10, 2014

COSMETIC WORK

by Robin


Above, Jack sanded and painted the insides of the storage boxes. Then, he refinished the teak wood and installed new pole holders in that area.  This allows for holding 4, not 3 poles.  Plus, he made the cut-out at the end of the box bigger to accommodate the rod tips much easier. We were always fighting those little 2 holes it came with from the manufacturer. 


Jack is installing the other set.


As you can see here, the chairs and live well still are out of the boat and are in various processes of being fixed.  But, the teak on the side pocket storage boxes has also been reinstalled.  

Jack says next weekend's steps will be to remove the floor box lids & latches.  Those will get repainted and so will the floor from where we scratched it up over the past 6-7 yrs. 

We'll be fishing hopefully in March.
Blessings,
Robin

Friday, February 07, 2014

FEBRUARY UPDATE

by Robin

Almost nothing is new here.  Jack continues to work a little each weekend with finishing up the teak restoration.  He's putting some new latches in the floor boxes soon.  They came in the big brown truck a couple days ago.  He tells me that we've even going to repaint the floor of our boat!  Wow.  She is going to look super-sharp again.

This week, Jack also received his order in for a new tackle bag.


So happy to be fixing up the boat and can't wait to get fishing soon!! I hear that the cobia are beginning to show up in small numbers.

Blessings!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

BASS PRO SHOP

by Robin


(Pic of BP in Palm Bay)


I went to 2 Bass Pro stores, 2 different cities in 2 days. Gotta be some historic record for a woman. I do think this place is to men the same as Disney is to kids.... a theme park for hunters and fishermen. I'm exhausted. Nearly took my post-Chipotles' nap on a Mako 286 display boat.

But, the amazing thing about the new one in Palm Bay is that they will eventually have a fully operational & stocked gator pond in the front.  (looks like a racing track)  They used repurposed roofing and pipes for decorations.  It looks amazing.  It beat the Orlando store by a mile.  The replicas of offshore fish were in abundance, displaying various habitats and schools of fish.  I learned something new about deer and their antlers/ point system.  

Plus, they had a much bigger selection of offshore items since it is closer to the beaches.  

Well done Bass Pro.  Well done. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION....

by Robin

Is to FISH MORE!!  LOL.  We said that last year in 2013 and we fished less than any other year we ever fished before.

This time, we mean it!  LOL.

During the holiday break, we did do some pier fishing and crabbing with nets but didn't bring in anything for the cooler.  It was fun though to freeze together on the pier.

Jack had a nice Kingfish trip in December and we made dip with that.

Currently, Jack pulled all the teak on the boat.  Most the sanding is done and then he'll varnish it.  It will look nice for the upcoming spring fishing season.  Little projects like this help the winter to go by much quicker.



Here is the link to our former restoration project done in 2008. It is certainly time for a little touch-up.

Before and After pictures!

For me, as I scrolled back, I was thinking how much younger we all looked 7 yrs ago.  Maybe *I* need a little restoration.  LOL.

Happy Fishing!
Robin

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

PIER FISHING

by Robin

This is definitely not a "How To"  blog on pier fishing but just an update. I do still owe the blog an update on my Red Snapper 3-Day fishing trip. Life has been very full and so blogging has been on the back burner.

But, Jack and I are both in fishing withdrawls, so we decided to hit the road after church and make a little day trip down to Sebastian Inlet.  They have some beautiful piers in the area AND it was going to be a full moon.  When the weather gets colder, we naturally gravitate towards Sebastian and it's flounder.  It's the best place to be after the first really cold snap, around Thanksgiving.  We're a little early, but the fish were still biting.  So, we grabbed some poles, bought some bait and a bag of ice.  :)

Here are some pictures of our trip.

Wow, the outgoing tide and the wind were not cooperating.  My heart stopped beating a couple times watching the boats trying to power through this inlet opening.  Yikes.  Not for the faint of heart if you're in the boat. I didn't even show you the worst of the waves! (to the right)

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That was looking south-east.  Now, we're looking north. Lots of surfers enjoying the large waves.  Wish I was a surfer but instead, I'm busy looking for sharks around the surfers,... that or bait fish.  LOL.

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I do have a picture of my black margate somewhere.  It didn't make the file upload with the others.  Use your imagination.

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Here I am with a sheephead (above).  Just a baby, but it is proof we did catch stuff consistently.  Jack caught a lot of catfish with his double rig.  He was going more for pompano, though.  The folks behind me seem to have a blessing of Spanish Mackerel running through, eating up all their finger mullet.  We also saw a lot of blue fish, decent size, run through, pre-sunset.  Oh... and one small mutton snapper.

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This is Jack's baby sheepshead. He did not want to be in the picture.
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Later, we moved into deeper waters further down the pier and saw this freshly-caught permit. I thought it was a pompano, but Jack said permit. Its hard to tell from this angle. They're nearly twin species.  They are both super delicious.

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Right after I took this picture, I went back to my pole, sitting on the north side of the pier.  Jack said the guy just down from me hooked into a huge red fish (26 3/4") and fought it perfectly.  Once they got it on the pier, he gave it away to somebody who helped him with a net.  WOW.

Then, the sun began to set and men left in droves. Sebastian Inlet has NO LIGHT at the north pier. Terrible planning on their part.  I don't know if it is because of the turtles or what.

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Not long after the sun set, this beauty peeked over the horizon on the east.

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Isn't she beautiful?    Here, we are moving back towards the lighted bridge area for the moon-light bite. As we walked, we passed the cleaning tables and there was another big red fish being cleaned there.

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These last two are out of order, but I'll let them stay like they are.

Jack knows how much I love to photograph and so he took me over the bridge and stopped there so I could get a good moon over beach picture.  Gorgeous and it is so hard to capture with a camera.  This was my best of 4 shots.  That little light in the bottom left is somebody's lantern at the north pier.

 This last shot was one I took while fishing the "under bridge" bridge.  Lovely.  I really had hoped that we'd get us some mangrove snapper by moon light, but it just didn't happen and school/work was the next morning.

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While on this bridge, I did catch a nice little Jack - released.  Then, I hooked something but we couldn't see for the longest time what it was.  I started bringing it up the 20 ft of water to bridge landing space and we could see it was a STONE CRAB!!  About 10 ft up, he let go and there went our dreams of eating a big fat crab claw.  Oh well.  I'm not even sure they were in season or not, but it sure was fun dreaming.

Last, Jack hooked a big BIG fish.  He fought it a while and then, between fish weight and super-fast current, the line broke.  Certainly, it was a nice keeper something.  Not long after he lost his fish, a boat drifted by and hooked up too.  They were able to land and keep their fish.  Looked a bit like a red fish but it was dark and a bit far away to be certain.

Well, it wasn't about the cooler but rather the good company and fun together.  Jack and I rarely have time to talk through the week days, especially about complex things.  It is always good to have date time and really...... just time together.  I don't want to grow old and one day realize, I don't even know who I'm married to.  I want memories like this.

Tight lines and bring a loved one with you.

Robin

Thursday, October 03, 2013

LOBSTER NIGHTMARES

by Robin

I just know this guy is saying, "Get me outta here!"



Jack used one of the antenna to push the intestines & elimination through the upper, back tail part.  Then, we wrapped it in plastic wrap, followed by vacuum bags, and frozen.  Can't wait to eat these bad boys!


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

LOBSTA!!

by Robin

Well, the weekend after Snapper season, Jack got an invite to dive on a buddy's boat and borrow his diving equipment.  He already had his license but sold off his equipment a couple years ago. But, when a bunch of  friends are going diving, it's hard not to catch the diving bug too.

Here's Jack's friend, Chuck.  (I did not take any of the pictures, so I'm thankful for these forwards to me.)

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Here's Jack with coworkers and "bugs".

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Down center is Mike and Mabuhay is his boat.

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Overall, they came back with 10 lobster.

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I do have some more pictures of the lobster Jack brought back to me that night (3) but I will have to find them and edit them for the blog. I think they're in massive pixels.

I can share with you two of Jack's stories.

On his first dive, Chuck finds that massive lobster under a ledge but he can't get him out, even with a tickle stick.  So, Jack and Chuck are pulling and prodding this bug.  I wish I had had a camera to watch all of it.

On the last dive, Jack found this wonderful ledge and then dropped down with another buddy to go check it out for bugs.  Well, they passed through a thermocline (cloudy, cold water) and when he finally got the bottom in sight, he was no longer near the ledge.  He spent a lot of time looking around before he finally got back to it.  I think by then, the other guy had cleaned it out and Jack needed to go back up for air.  So, he begins his ascend.  If you know anything about diving, even from watching movies, you know they need to stop every so often to not get the bends (http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/water-sports/question101.htm) .  So, Jack gets to a location about 15 ft below the water and is waiting.  Meanwhile a school of mahi mahi swim up (10-12 lbers) and he wants to take a shot at one.  He stalks, waits, shoots and something fouls in his borrowed equipment.  Misses the fish and then sucks his last breath of air.  Grrrrr.  Time up and he swims to the surface.  Too bad he didn't get a mahi to bring home as well.

The good news is that he did bring mahi home the next weekend.  More on that story later.  Time to school my son.

Happy Fishing,
Robin

Friday, September 20, 2013

OPEN SNAPPER SEASON

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.
Robin

Friday, September 06, 2013

POST-VACATION catch-up

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.

 photo 2013-08-11074001cake.jpg  photo 2013-08-11074142Birthday.jpg

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.
   photo DSCN0433Star.jpg photo DSCN0490starfish.jpg  photo DSCN0452scallop.jpg  photo DSCN0469fuzzyshell.jpg  photo DSCN0474Coral.jpg

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!!
Robin