28 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 54

Saturday, 28 February:

Another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0800, 71° and sunny with east to southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop.

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Charles Walsh writing in the Connecticut Post, says, "A Tax By Another Name? -- Among the many fee hikes and increased license charges Gov. M. Jodi "No Tax Increase" Rell is planning in hopes of balancing the state's badly lopsided budget is a doubling of the price for a freshwater fishing license from $20 to $40. And that does not include the proposed saltwater license, which was to cost $20 for a season, but now, if passed, will likely be more.

"Quite soon to be heard at local tackle shop, 'Sorry kid, that's not enough money, why don't you go back home and play some video games?'"

Meanwhile, Bob Sampson, opines in the Norwich [CT] Bulletin:

"Connecticut Legislators and resources managers have three very important issues to deal with this winter, all of which have a significant long-lasting impact on fisheries and wildlife programs in this state.

"The most important is Governor Jodi Rell’s assault on the Natural Resources Division through her proposal to double all licenses and special tag fees then shunt that money into the General Fund, where getting it can be a tricky process that gets bogged down in politics."


SP: Sportsmen are less prone to complain about license fees when they know the dollars will go back into the environment, into increasing fish stocks, and into management of fish and game in general. Taking licensing fees and using them for other purposes, however, is likely to generate a good deal of hostility from the fishing community.

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Have been trying to get some help from the local Visiting Nurse Association. They got approval from the doc, called us, and said someone would be in touch to evaluate the situation and let us know what services were going to be available. This was Tuesday. Wednesday, having heard nothing, we called and were told we were scheduled for the eval on Thursday...which took about 25 minutes of signing HIPAA notices and other releases,** and about 10 minutes of checking the wound site and taking pulse and BP. Friday an individual called around noon, tells us she can come to help only if the person is having a shower...which we'd already taken care of this morning. Then she says there're probably no services available over the weekend, but maybe they can give us three days next week.

WTH?*

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Friday morning at 0730 the construction crew next door was running a payloader up and down, scraping stones off the road into the yard...this went on for about at hour. Good thing I left the .380 at home.

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Two ospreys were perched on the pilings in front of the house Friday morning. The pair has a nest in the top of a Norfolk Island Pine located on the lot of the house next door. Guess they were taking a moment to relax by the water.

"The Osprey, sometimes known as the sea hawk, is a diurnal,*** fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching 60 centimeters (24 in) in length with a 1.8 metre (6 ft) wingspan. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts, with a black eye patch and wings.... As its other common name suggests, the Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish."

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FOOTNOTES:

*WTH? = What the heck?

**Most important thing, apparently, is that the agency covers its butt. However, a certain attorney has told me that such releases aren't worth the paper they're written on. Don't know how they could be. One gets this big, long, small-print document thrust under one's nose. If you're lucky, there's an X to show you where to initial or sign, and then it's taken away. Eventually you're handed a sheaf of copies that no one in his right mind is going to sit down and read. WTH?

***Diurnal: Active during the daytime; rests during the night.

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Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

27 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 53

Friday, 27 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0720: 69° with a small-craft caution posted for northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots...decreasing to 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet... subsiding to 3 to 5 feet in the afternoon. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet...subsiding to 1 to 2 feet in the afternoon. Nearshore waters rough...becoming a light to moderate chop.

Fly Fishing in Salt Waters [magazine] says, "It's official. The country of Belize has formally designated its stocks of tarpon, bonefish and permit under a strict "catch-and-release-only" status. Now the question begs: Could Florida be next?

"Taking a page from the playbook of Belize's grassroots fly-fishing community - which late last year gained protected status for its country's most important game fish after years spent petitioning the government - Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), a Pineland, Florida-based research and conservation organization, issued a similar proposal in early January to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Their message: Enact similar status for the Sunshine State's "Big Three."

The painting above is by Tim Borski, an Islamorada resident [Wayne knows him...I've yet to meet him.] Tim is a renaissance man in the form of a fisherman. He paints, writes articles on fishing, and designs gorgeous fishing flies. This painting of bonefish tailing,* is oil on paper, 22x30", and titled "Out back." It was priced at $1,050 and has been sold.

Photo shows a Coast Guard boat out at the end of our canal...one of several stationed at the Atlantic-end of Snake Creek here in Islmorada. This particular boat is their 41-foot utility boat, the general workhorse for multi-mission U.S. Coast Guard units. It is designed to operate under moderate weather and sea conditions where its speed and maneuverability make it an ideal platform for a variety of missions. There are presently 188 operational 41 foot boats in the U.S. Coast Guard. The maximum range of the boat is 300 miles and the speed is 25+ knots. The boat has a crew of three (coxswain, engineer, crew member).

The Coast Guard is just one of five different agencies that police the waters around Islamorada. At any time you can also see boats from the federal Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Wildlife Commission, the Monroe County Police, and over in Everglades National Park, National Park Rangers. Last year we were stopped and checked by a Ranger and by a Police boat. So far this year nobody's thought we looked hinky** enough to bother with.

FOOTNOTES:
* "Tailing" occurs when the bonefish tip over on their noses to root crabs and other goodies out of the bottom in very shallow water. Their tails will actually stick up out of the water...and if the water's shallow enough, so will their dorsal fins.

**Hinky: slang for "suspect" or guilty-looking


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Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

26 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 52

Thursday, 26 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0735: 68° with a small craft caution posted for northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet...except higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.

Here's an aerial view [from Google Maps] of the area where we're staying. The main feature is Snake Creek, the Y-shaped, river-like body of water that runs from the top of the photo, down and then under US-1 at the bottom. [Double-left-click to enlarge.]

You can see in the photo that there's a series of dead-ended canals running from the Creek to the right; we're in one of those tiny boxes on the side of one of those canals.

In the photo, the dark green is mostly mangroves and other vegetation; the lighter, grayish-green is water that will appear darker the deeper it is.

So to go fishing, we hop in Shoo-fly 2 and motor out to the Creek. Then, it's left under US-1 to the Atlantic Ocean, or right, out through the top of one of the Y-branches, to Florida Bay and the Everglades National Park.

Look closely at the top of the left Y-branch and you'll see a cut through the mangroves running to the left; there's another one on the right branch that you can just about see. We use these "ditches" as shortcuts, depending on where we're going. They're maybe 20 feet wide and 2-3 feet deep.

Snake Creek itself is about 10 feet in depth at it's deepest natural parts...however, there are holes, as deep as 25 feet, in certain areas near the canals where material was probably dredged out to build up the embankments upon which all those houses have been built.

You'd never be able to get away with that sort of dredging and filling these days.

Hard to tell from the photo, but out on the far end of the canal, under those two palm trees, sits a caboose...on a section of railroad tracks. The kind of thing you'd expect to see at the end of a freight train. A real caboose! Don't know why it's there or what it's used for. Maybe an in-law apartment. Cool! They give you any trouble, roll it down the end of the track and into the canal!

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Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

25 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 51

Wednesday, 25 February: 0800:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 68° with a small-craft advisory posted for east winds near 20 knots...subsiding to 15 to 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 7 feet. Seas higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters rough...becoming choppy.

Our Journal staffer who went though emergency surgery over the weekend is doing well...up and enjoying the sunshine. Not ready for any bowling tournaments quite yet, but doing well.

Comet Lulin: In case you're not aware, "There's a weird, double-tailed comet in the sky...the last week in February...and you can spot it with a pair of binoculars—even through moderate light pollution. A few people have even been seeing it dimly with their unaided eyes in very dark, unspoiled, rural skies. You'll have to know exactly where to look.... [THIS CHART] ...shows the starry scene about 9 p.m. this week.

For those readers who don't stay up until 9 p.m., above is a pic we took of Comet Lulin last evening with our trusty Canon Powershot.*

In case you miss seeing Lulin, not to worry, it'll be back again around the year 1002009.**

Interesting fact: No person in Florida is more than about 65 miles away from salt water.

That reminds me of a flight I had into Miami years ago: Plane was flying down the center of Florida...we were up high enough that if you looked out of a porthole to the left, you could see the Atlantic Ocean...while to the right we could see Florida Bay.

That same trip I flew from Miami down the whole length of the Keys to Key West in a small plane. I had asked the pilot which side of the plane to sit on for the best view, and as we were only a few thousand feet up, it was just a fascinating sight: Keys, water, flats, channels, boats, all laid out below in the sunshine.

Another interesting fact: No person in this house is more than 65 feet away from salt water.

This is a northwards view of the canal on which the house sits. There are about a dozen houses on each side down to the dead end of the canal; most houses have at least one boat tied up in front. Those who really like toys will have a large boat, say 40-50 feet, a flats boat 16-20 feet, and a personal water craft or two, plus some kayaks that will be stacked up next to the house.

The large boat on the right side, bow facing us, is probably the biggest one in this complex of canals...somewhere between 80-100 feet in length. It was originally a working boat, perhaps a trawler; what it's used for now, I have no idea...never seen it move out of there.

Maybe it's an in-law apartment. Cool! They give you any trouble, just pull the plug!****

FOOTNOTES:

[*]Just kidding; we stole that off the Internet...same website as for the chart.

[**] About a million years from now. Which reminds me of a story: Student turns in a paper on which he states the earth is four billion and three years old. Prof asks where he got the three years from. Student responds he read in a book that the earth was four billion years old, and the book was written three years ago.***

[***] Latest estimates of the earth's age center on 4.54 billion years.

[****] In boaters' terms, open the seacocks.
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Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

24 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 50

Tuesday, 24 February: 0800:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: Sunny and 65° with a small-craft caution posted for northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.

Last time we went fishing was...last Thursday? Time sure shifts around when you're spending it in doctors' offices, emergency rooms, surgical waiting rooms, and recovery rooms. One day blends into the next and, like that, four days have disappeared into the mists.
The important thing is that our Journal staffer is now back home and doing well...we're optimistic that it'll be a full recovery.

Here's Wayne flinging one of several assorted lures at the cudas last week. Man's a genius with a baitcaster. These reels use a revolving spool that the line peels off just as a hose comes off a hose reel. Using one of these is a real skill that most spin fishermen don't care to try. This is because the fisherman has to control the rate at which the spool revolves or else the spool will keep turning after the lure has stopped pulling line off it. This results in a "backlash" or "bird's nest" which can be very difficult to untangle. With spinning reels, on the other hand, line peels off the end of the spool which does not revolve...thus avoiding the dreaded backlash.

Kindly note that when fishing guides get one of these tangles on a reel, it's properly referred to as a "professional spool overrun."

This is the latest thing in bass boats. It's especially effective when you want to cover a lot of water. Plunk this beauty down on your local pond and you can zip from one end to the other in about 8 seconds.

On last Thursday, I boated two cudas. Showed you one of them yesterday, and, having no other photo to pull out of the livewell, here's the other.

Wayne reports that he took a family fishing yesterday, a dad plus two children aged circa 10-11, and they caught a bunch of fish. At one time they had three bonnethead sharks on at the same time. Also got a bunch of jacks and sea trout.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

23 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 49?

Monday, 23 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: At this point I'm a little confused as to exactly where we are on the calendar and day count...but we'll proceed as though we know what we're doing.

Our Islamorada journal staffer continues to improve and we are hoping for a complete recovery. We thank those of you who offered help, love, and prayers, family of course, but also Wayne, Linda, Hans, Terry, Georgia, and Jim C. Good friends are tough to come by...these are some of the best.

Not exactly a fishing foto, but here are Becky and Robert's children Caroline, Michael, and Zachary with our daughter and fishing buddy and their dear auntie, Deb, wishing Deb a happy birthday. We wish we'd been there to help blow out the candle.

While Wayne and I were fishing the new cuda hole last...what was it? Thursday?...a bunch of "cigarette boats" came along the Intrastate Waterway on the way to Key West. These are great fishing boats...you can stand up on the bow and just reach down to lip your fish and bring them into the boat. [That, of course, is moose turd. These boats are useful for only three things: Going fast, attracting bikinis, and burning gasoline.]

While about two dozen of those "useless-craft" were going past us, Wayne and I continued to harass our newly discovered barracuda population. I actually got one in the boat.

Uh-oh. I'm going to start getting emails from Becky and Caryl about a haircut any day now.



Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

20 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 46

Fria's Day, 20 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0800: 62° with small craft cautions out for north winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.

As said in an earlier blog, Bridget and Shannon went off to Everglades National Park on Wednesday, and Shannon brought back some excellent photographs.

The American Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus, also known as the Black Vulture, is a bird in the New World vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America. Although a common and widespread species, it has a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the Turkey Vulture, which breeds well into Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego.

The Great Blue Heron , Ardea herodias, is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common over most of North and Central America as well as the West Indies and the Galápagos Islands, except for the far north and deserts and high mountains where there is no water for it to feed in. It is an extremely rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores and England.

An Alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The name alligator is an anglicized form of the Spanish el lagarto (the lizard), the name by which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator. There are two living alligator species: the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis).

A butterfly [you tell me!].

The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of North America and South America. The word "anhinga" comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. It is a cormorant-like bird with an average body length of 85 cm (35 in), a wingspan of 117 cm (45 in), and a weight of 1,350 g. It is a dark-plumaged fish-eater with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water. When swimming in this style the name Snakebird is apparent, since only the colored neck appears above water the bird looks like a snake ready to strike.

Jungle stuff.

The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 70–90 cm (28–35 in) in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized.


The eye of the cormorant.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

19 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 45

Thor's Day, 19 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0750: 70v with south winds 10 to 15 knots...then south to southwest and increasing to near 15 knots by afternoon. Winds turning west late. Seas beyond the reef 1 to 3 feet...building to 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet...building to around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop...becoming a moderate chop. Isolated showers.

A fellow brings these birds to the World Wide Sportsman store every so often. They're a colorful bunch. Funny: When I took a flash photo of the birds, the large parrot in the right foreground turned to me and let out a loud squawk of complaint. Guess he's one of those stars that doesn't care for the paparazzi.

On Wednesday, Bridget and Shannon headed north to the mainland so they could drive up the Tamiami Trail and see some of the Everglades National Park.

I dealt with the COBRA requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the $787 billion bailout bill. "Dealt" means reading eight pages of small-print legalese and converting that into something a layperson can understand so Chris and I can tell our subscribers what they need to do about it. That was a lot of fun.

But then Wayne called and we decided to brave the 20-kt. winds and head out to fish. We had to find places out of the winds which were from the southeast; as a result we went into some areas that I hadn't seen before, and we found a new barracuda hole.

Much of the water we covered, as it was in close to the shore, was very shallow...we grounded out while drifting along a couple of times and had to get back afloat with the pushpole once. Lots of very clear water and eel grass...pretty water. You can get an idea of it from the photo; we have no idea what those balloons were doing on that dead tree at the side of the water.

Unfortunately, however, there were not a lot of fish, although we did catch a bunch of smaller barracudas. But eventually we moved to an area away from the shore, still out of the wind, behind a small key...and hit barracuda paradise. Don't know how many of them we saw...dozens...but it was a lot more than we got in the boat. We boated zero, in fact. We had hits. I had two big cudas on, one for about three minutes and another for about five minutes, but they both finally spit the lure back in my face...literally. When you've got the fish under pressure and the lure comes loose, the tautness of the line will spring the lure right back at you. Another good reason to wear sunglasses.

So, no cuda photos. But we'll go back there again and see about getting some of those rascals into the boat.

Bridget and Shannon [the palm photo's hers] came back from their Everglades expedition and reported they'd had a great time. Shannon got some excellent photos which will be in the Blog for day 46.


Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

18 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 44

Woden's Day, 18 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0750: 67° with small craft caution posted for mostly southeast winds 15 to 20 knots...decreasing to near 15 knots in the afternoon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet...subsiding to 3 to 5 feet late. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet...subsiding to around 2 feet. Nearshore waters choppy...becoming a moderate chop.

Mourning Doves: There's a group of marauding mourning doves that comes through here each morning to harass those who wish to sack in. "Hoo-hoo, hoo" is the call they make...and they love to perch on your balcony rail, right outside your open bedroom slider, and repeat their call until you get out of the rack and chase them away.

Doves, Skil saws, nail drivers...ain't nature great?

As reported earlier, Bridget and Shannon went to Key West on Monday to celebrate Shannon's birthday and see the sights. These three shots are Shannon's:

Always a lot to see in Key Weird. Clowns to the left of us...

The gathering at Mallory Square is a people-watcher's paradise. Drummers to the right...

Don't know whether this fellow is tightrope walking or doing the Tarzan thing through the trees...maybe both.

Shannon also took this shot of Bridget [wolf-whistle here] lookin' good!

I promised to explain more about the edge of the beach here at the house. As can be seen [double-click on the pic to enlarge], a bit of the beach is in the lower-left corner, then there's a row of coral chunks, then a shallow pool before the wall that separates the pool from the canal. The right end of the shallow pool is deeper than the left and there's a hole in the wall at that point through which various critters enter the pool at night.

Spider crabs seem particularly to like the deep end of the shallow pool. They must hide out on the outside of the wall during the day...then venture to the shallows in the dark. Various small fish also enter the pool. At one point, apparently there was an octopus who also would visit...but hasn't been seen for a while. May now be calamari.

Can't see the actual sunset from this house, but can get a view of the western sky that will show colors when the sunset is brilliant.

Didn't fish on Tuesday as wind, in terms both of velocity and direction, left little opportunity for good fishing. May get out this afternoon if winds slack off as forecast.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

17 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 43

Tieu's Day, 17 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada: 0810: 63° with a small-craft caution for northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet...except higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy to rough.

I love the sound of Skil saws in the morning.

Interesting article: "Salt water covers 71% of the earth’s surface and provides 97% of its livable habitat. While the tropical rain forests have been called the lungs of the world, the oceans actually absorb far greater amounts of carbon dioxide. Microscopic phytoplankton in the top layer of the sea acts as a biological pump extracting some 2.5 billion tons of organic carbon out of the atmosphere annually, replacing it with 70% of the life-giving oxygen we need to survive. The top two feet of seawater contains as much heat as the entire atmosphere." Click to read the article.

On Monday, spent the morning doing the company eNewsletter, Issue No. 574. At 1 in the afternoon it was 76° with northwest to north winds 10 to 15 knots. From this house we can't see either the Atlantic or Florida Bay, so it's hard to tell what conditions are like out on the water. Coming back in the car from the bone-cracker's office, however, I could see whitecaps out on the Bay side.

Talked to Wayne. Linda was taking Natalie, Matt and the kids to the airport and Wayne wass doing maid chores...up to his 5th tub of laundry...so he wasn't available to fish. W and Matt were out the day before, Sunday afternoon, and saw dozens of permit, most of which were too arrogant to bite; but, he did hook one fish that broke the line.

Promised you pictures of the inside of the house. This one is taken from the living area across the dining area to the kitchen.

Here's the reverse shot...kitchen to living area.

And, if you walk to the slider on the right in the photo above, here's your view out onto Snake Creek.

Here's a view we really didn't want to have. We saw on our look-see visit here Saturday that the neighbor to the south is doing some alterations on the house. It wasn't long after we got up this morning that this cement truck arrived and started pouring...with a great deal of hurrahing and comradery among those present to watch the operation. Readers who've been with us for a while may recall the year, at the other house, when the bulldozer arrived on the lot next door and began a clearing operation that went on for the better part of a week. Don't think the remodeling next door will be as rackety as that was...but we have to see...and hear.

Monday was Shannon's birthday [I don't know, you'll have to ask her]. She and Bridget took off to spend the day in Key West...see the sunset activities at Mallory Square, etc. Great thing to do on one's b'day...am sure they'll have all sorts of interesting stories to relate.

Sometime after 1400 I took Shoo-Fly out onto Snake Creek. Didn't go to the Bay as had seen the whitecaps earlier. Went out on the Ocean side and headed for the barracuda hole. Now am going to tell you about the secret lure; Deb and I discovered that the cudas really like a certain plastic lure with a white body and a red tail. Using that lure I got two cudas before they had chewed up all the white bod/red tail lures in the box. So, thought to use some reverse psychology. Had the same lure in red bod/white tail. Ought to out-psych those cudas, eh?

Reverse psychology is right: They wanted nothing to do with the red bod/white tail item. Took that off and put on all white...which the cudas deemed marginally satisfactory; caught two more cudas. Out of the total of four fish, three were pretty small, but the one in the photo was of a good size. He put up a strong fight...jumped clear out of the water and ran off line on the reel. All four fish released and swimming.

News Flash: On Monday, 16 FEB, this blog exceeded 100 hits for the first time. I realize that's not a lot compared to the number of hits at www.nytimes.com or at www.bikinis.com, but I appreciate that the blog is being read, even if by only 0.0000015% of the world's population. Thank you.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

16 February 2009

Islmorada Journal 2009...Day 42

Moon's Day, 16 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada:

You may remember, several issues back I mentioned the law that had been proposed in the Connecticut Legislature to allow commmerical fishing for striped bass. Apparently the calls you and others made had good effect:

Charles Walsh, writing in the Connecticut Post, says, "Although the effort to legalize commercial striped bass fishing in Connecticut's Long Island Sound waters fizzled -- thanks to Milford Rep. Richard Roy killing his own ill-considered bill before it got out of committee...."

But Charles points out that "...bass are threatened elsewhere. Illegal fishing for stripers is happening all along the Eastern Seaboard." Read his article in which he relates some recent arrests of striper poachers: Connecticut Post

Sunday was moving day. We moved from our first rental house in Islamorada to the second one...a move necessitated because the owner of the first house wants to come down here from Maryland each year at this time...and one can hardly blame him for that. The move went well thanks to Bridget and Shannon who did a great deal of the packing, loading cars, unloading and unpacking.

The morning started out foggy, foggy, foggy...and me facing having to run the boat from the old house to the new house. But the mariner's saying is, "fog before seven, gone by eleven." You can see from the photo that the fog was just at water-level...up above was blue sky...so the sun soon burned off the fog. The run in the boat went very easily.

The new place is bright and cheery with nice views and a good breeze blowing through the house which is quite open.

The lower level opens onto a patio, then the tiki hut, and then the dock; there's a rod rack for the fishing rods and it's all very convenient for getting stuff into the boat.

This view of the front of the house shows that it's three stories high. The main living area is on the second floor which also has two bedrooms. Third floor has two more bedrooms. You can see that there's a deck off each of the bedrooms on both floors.

From the back of the house, a staircase goes from the screened porch to ground level. Access to the lowest floor and the fishing gear is through the slider behind the stairs.

Off to the left of the tiki hut is the house's own, private beach. Not enough room for volleyball, but for those who absolutely have to have sand when they're sunning...there it is.

Hard to see in the pic [will get a better one tomorrow] just beyond the row of coral rocks, is a shallow area before the water falls off into the depths of the canal [can be as much as 30-feet deep]. Apparently all sorts of critters come into this little space at night. We'll report on sightings later.

Also to come, pix of the inside of the house.

Once the major unpacking was done, Bridget and Shannon went for a ride with me in Shoo-Fly: Out into Snake Creek, then out to the Ocean, then down to the Holiday Isle channel where dozens of boats were pulled up on the sandbar...partying. [Photo by Shannon.] But as these sandbar parties go, it was fairly sedate. Sometimes the boats are so thick one can just step from one boat onto the next...onto the next. We saw no obvious drunks...no nudity. Things can get much rowdier our there than today.

We went for a quick look at the sponge boats in Hippie Harbor and then back to the house...food...sleep. Was a very busy day. Somehow or another, we have to figure out how to avoid doing this move from one house to another for next year. Bridget and Shannon are our heroes today.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel

15 February 2009

Islamorada Journal 2009...Day 41

Sun's Day, 15 February:

It's another beautiful day in Islamorada:

We spent the early part of the day Saturday doing preliminary packing for our move to the other house. By early afternoon things were in pretty good shape thanks to Bridget and Shannon lending a hand.

We went over to the new house to see what household items we might need before moving in...the owners had thought of about everything and had left enough paper towels, detergent, and so on so that we'd be able to start off our stay there without problems.

This photo looks sort of funky because it's shot through the screen on the porch on the main floor. The porch looks down on the canal; as you can see, there's a small beach area, a tiki hut, and a fish-cleaning station. The canal is a dead end a dozen or so houses down to the left, but two houses to the right it opens out onto Snake Creek which is one of the waterways that flow between the keys, linking the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay. We'll tie Shoo-Fly to the dock right in front of the house and have easy access to both bodies of water.

Seems that at least one of Iggy's cousins lives at the house. We saw one scoot up a palm tree, and then this guy stuck his head out around a boat stanchion. Handsome rascal, isn't he!

So Saturday was Shoo-Fly's last night in her cozy little boat basin. Today we'll load her full of the fishing gear and other stuff and zip over to the new house.

One difficult aspect of the new place is that boats motor up and down the canal all the time. Although they're supposed to go slowly so as not to throw wakes, their movement still creates wakes which can bash boats up against their docks.

There's all sorts of elaborate gear to protect the boats such as davits, fenders, barge boards, and so on, but there's no easy way to fender-off Shoo-Fly as there's no place to hang a fender [inflated plastic balloon] off her overhanging gunwales. This means the fender has to go on the part of the dock against which the boat rests...in this case, three steel pipes driven vertically into the bottom of the canal [in the photo with the tiki hut, you can see one of these pipes (white) in the background]. So, I've bought a three-foot long strip of protective material that I'll tie to the center pipe and see if that will offer enough protection.

I know this is more than you want to know about this, but it's been on my mind.

Wayne and Matt fished Saturday afternoon...saw permit and tarpon, but no takers.

Saturday' evening's sunset may be the last one we'll photograph as the new house may not have a view of the western sky.

Islamorada, FL; Everglades National Park; Florida Bay; Florida Keys; fishing; charters; vacations; travel