31 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...31 JAN

Sorry for the lack of commentary the past day or so. After fishing two days straight my wagon's been draggin'...plus I had to get the eNewsletter done for the business this morning.

Have added brief comments on Sunday's blog now...in case you want to look back...or in case you were wondering what was going on in those photos.

This, possibly, is a red-bellied woodpecker. Thought at first it was a downy woodpecker as we're used to seeing them up north...but it's definitely not a downy.

Didn't fish today.

Shoo-Fly sat in her lift while she and I both recharged our batteries.

The house we're renting is "up on stilts," which is a very logical way to build a house right on the water in the Keys.

So we can drive the car right in under the house...and here's the view from the car looking out on Florida Bay.

Caryl and I went to the Lor-e-lei for grilled-fish sandwiches.

There were three doggies at tables while we were there. Guess no French fries went to waste this evening.

Caryl inspected the wares of the local purveyor of fine jeweled adornments.

Monday's sunset was blocked by a cloud coming in from the western horizon.

But this cloud too had a silver lining.

Meanwhile, in other news...

• Connecticut DEP Gets Underwater Camera

To see if we’re using lead sinkers and jigs?

“The DEP plans to use the underwater camera for a variety of purpose including: Assessing the natural habitat in the Long Island Sound and inland waters; Assisting with submerged aquatic vegetation sampling in Connecticut's lakes and ponds; Analyzing use of manmade structures by fish and other marine life and Educating the public, particularly schoolchildren, on the underwater habitat of Connecticut's waters.”


30 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...30 JAN

Wayne and I went back-country on Sunday.

Water was going to be too cold to expect much, but we thought we'd give it a try.

National Park Rangers came over and inspected Shoo-Fly for proper safety equipment and possible illegal fish on board.

They were highly professional and efficient. Interesting that they asked whether or not we had any weapons on board...and they directed us to take our hands out of our pockets as well.

Guess they have to be really careful these days.

We found some large ladyfish.

I got a couple on flies.

Saw one shark...on the small side.

Charley came over in his flats boat, but took off for home before we could inspect his catch...or lack thereof.

Sunday's sunset.

More of the same.

• Open Letter to Connecticut Legislators re Lead Ban in Fishing

“On behalf of the more than 500,000 members of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) nationwide, who, in addition to being avid anglers, remain focused on issues related to aquatic resource conservation, I am writing to urge you to oppose S.B. 59, which would ban the sale and use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs throughout your state.

“This legislation places unnecessary, unwarranted and severe regulations on recreational fishing tackle, which will have a significant negative impact on Connecticut's anglers.

“On November 4, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected a petition to ban all lead fishing tackle on all U.S. waters, stating that the petitioners did not demonstrate that such a ban is ‘necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment’….”

29 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...29 JAN

On the way to Smugglers for gas and bait Saturday, we went past the Coast Guard station where they had two boats in the water.

This first one is a 24-foot, all-aluminum job. "

The wheels are yeller, the upholstery's brown,
The dashboard's genuine leather,
With isinglass curtains y' can roll right down,
In case there's a change in the weather.

OK, so where'd that lyric come from? No fair Googling...y' gotta know raht offa the top of yer head!

And this is a 33-foot, semi-rigid inflatable hull boat.

Odd that the 24 has Honda outboards; the 33 has Mercurys.

Yes folk, we finally got a day where we could get the boat down off the lift and go fishing without endangering life and limb...and Shoo-Fly.

This fish is a white grunt.

Interestingly enough, it was a white grunt in Snake Creek that was the first fish to be caught by that intrepid fisherman, Jack Drought.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

S'funny how you can get some interesting photographs if you get away from the dock for a change.

Note the brownish look of the water right around this sportsfisherman? Sure enough, he's grounded in shallow water.

This pic was taken at dead low tide. The operator saw us going by and gave us the shoulder-shrug...a sort of "oh well, I messed up" gesture.

More on this later.

Here's a yellowtail snapper.

Obvious where this fish gets its name.

Oh, and the grunt, 2 pix above, is named for the grunting sounds the fish makes when it's out of the water.

Out on the Atlantic, we did some trolling, hoping to get into mackerel, kingfish, cudas, and the like.

Wayne had a big hit on one of his trolling lines.

And after a 5-minute fight brought the fish alongside the boat.

Very nice grouper, but it had to go back in the water as it's illegal to take grouper right now.

Don't know what kind of fish this is.

Sort of looks like the porgies we catch in Long Island Sound

Anyone with a clue, please let me know.

Click on this pic to see the blue eye-liner makeup this fish employs.

On our way back into Snake Creek we saw Sea-Tow trying to pull that grounded boat off the sandbar and back to deep water.

As the boat was now being lifted by the incoming tide, they got it moving again.

This fish is called a schoolmaster. Don't know why.

Very good-eating fish...but we put him back.

Pelicans doing their thing.


Saturday night's sunset.

And in other news...

• Lest We Forget – Twenty Three Shipmates Died on the Cutter Blackthorn

"There is a memorial service being held in St. Petersburg, Florida this morning for the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn. Thirty years ago tonight, having just completed a 3 month overhaul, the Blackthorn was outward bound from Tampa Bay. Meanwhile the tanker Capricorn was standing into the bay. LCDR George Sepel, the captain of the Blackthorn, was on the bridge, but ENS John Ryan had the conn...."

28 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...28 JAN


The forecast for Friday morning was: Northwest to north winds 15 to 20 knots early...decreasing to 10 to 15 knots.

What actually happened was: Wind Speed (WSPD): 25 kts; Wind Gust (GST): 28 kts.

The highlight of today was getting four of Caryl's grandkids on Skype all at the same time.

Meanwhile, Shoo-Fly sits patiently in her cradle hoping...

...that some day the *wind will lie down to a reasonable level.

I took photos of Friday night's sunset...

...until the cold and wind...

...finally drove me inside from the dock.

Meanwhile, in other news:

• Miami Man Arrested Breaking Into Fishermen’s Cars

“Vehicle burglaries in the parking lots at the many bridges in the Keys are a yearly problem in the Florida Keys. Keys visitors frequently park near bridges to go fishing, or just to look at the beautiful views of the water. They frequently leave purses, cameras and other valuables visible in their cars and criminals are sometimes just waiting for the opportunity to steal those valuables.”

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

27 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...27 JAN


Picture speaks for itself.

How flowers manage to stay in bloom in this weather is beyond me.

Freak storm hit just down the street from us.

This dude looks like another Darwin Award candidate.

Peacock flock was out on the road harassing motorists again today.

Meanwhile, in other news:

• Ex-Connecticut Resident Has Coolest Job in FL Keys

"Six days a week, most every week, Jason Navarrete rises early and makes a two block commute to work at the Key Largo Fisheries.

“When he gets there, the 37-year-old Connecticut native does something that would generally be viewed as wildly eccentric in this overheated corner of North America.

“He dons gloves, a ski cap, a neck warmer, a winter coat -- in fact, nearly a full ensemble of winter clothes.”


• How to Launch A Drug Business

“HERMOSILLO, Mexico (AP) - Drug smugglers trying to get marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border apparently are trying a new approach - a catapult.

“National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.”


26 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...26 JAN

We had thunder, lightening, and rain Tuesday night.

Wednesday there was rain early, clearing in the middle of the day for a few hours, and then back to cloudy with *wind at evening.

There's nothing wrong with the camera; it was just that gray out there.

No fishing again today.

Gulls may represent an unintended consequence of having put Shoo-Fly up on the lift.

Click on any pic to enlarge.

As were the gulls, Ibis were hugging the shoreline.

Didn't see a single fishing boat out on the water today.

Weather may[?] be improving?

Thursday: Northwest to north winds near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy...becoming a moderate chop.

Friday: Northwest to north winds near 15 knots...decreasing to 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the Gulf Stream. Seas inside the reef subsiding to 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop.

Meanwhile, in other news...

• How Atlantic Weather Affects Striper Decline

“Wood suspects it's switching into a "bad for stripers" phase, and he thinks it was also a down cycle that caused the striper crash in the 1980s. When that cycle ended, stripers recovered — not just owing to the fishing limits but because the weather became more favorable.”
National Public Radio

25 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...25 JAN

Yet another day on the beach.

Spent part of the morning dealing with the latest employment situation report from the Connecticut Department of Labor: Connecticut lost 4,300 jobs in December.... The state’s unemployment rate remained the same at 9.0%....

At the same time our new governor is making statements about how bankruptcy is not an option for Connecticut...which of course means, he's considered the option and thinks he's got other ways to tax us to get the state government out of the hole into which it's dug itself. Definitely: Expect toll stations back on the state's highways.

The pic above: We were at the Family Dollar Store in Key Largo when this dude dropped a whole bunch of Coke 64-ouncers. They make quite an explosion when they hit the pavement.

I think this fellow was aiming for a listing in the Darwin Awards [Honoring those who improve the species...by accidentally removing themselves from it!]

Having been prevented by the *wind from going fishing since last Wednesday, a week ago, I decided to fish off the dock for a while. Went over to Smugglers and bought a dozen live shrimp. Fellow there said business had been dead all day. Maybe that's why he gave me a few extra.

These are nice, clean shrimp. You could eat them if you wanted to. At $3.50 a dozen in the bait shops, that might be a good alternative for garnishing your shrimp cocktail or pasta marinara.

I set up a rod on the east side of the dock and caught a bunch of mangrove snappers, but none big enough for a snapper sandwich.

There was also a school of ladyfish out on the west side so I baited up a second rod with a shrimp and threw that out as well.

At one point, had a fish on both rods at the same time. There's a rod holder on one of the dock pilings, so I set one of the rods in that and reeled in the other fish.

Would have been a lot of fun if they'd have been bigger fish.

Also caught a small barracuda.

Was cloudy all day, and this shot and the next one show what might appear to be the end of the clouds and the coming of clear weather...until one looks at the forecast, however:

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Numerous showers and a chance of thunderstorms early in the morning...then a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Breezy. Highs in the mid 70s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph early...shifting to the northwest. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Wayne's picking up Linda at the airport on Wednesday...which is very good...it will be great to have her back in the Keys again.

May get to fish on Thursday:

Thursday: Mostly sunny and cool. Highs in the upper 60s. Northwest to north winds near 15 mph.

Meanwhile, in other news...

• Fishing in Winter…in New England

“Back in the day, when there was a modest cod fishery from the Boston south shore down to the east end of the Cape Cod canal, the problem was finding a vessel that had not been put to bed for the winter. Today there is a fleet of boats from Boston to Green Harbor serving the fishermen in search of winter codfish action.”

24 January 2011

Islamorada Journal 2011...24 JAN

No fishing again today. *wind, as usual.

Pic is of some of the litter that comes down out of the coconut palms when the *wind's howling down here.

Click on any pic to enlarge.

You do not want to be in a hammock under one to these things at such times.

This bird was finding food tidbits in the detritus washed up on the shore in front of the house.

Highlight of the day was when Wayne, Tony, and Charley came over and we finally got Shoo-Fly up in the boat lift.

Now I don't have to chew my fingernails every time the *west wind blows.

As you can see, she now sits high and dry.

This is much safer for the boat, but will make launching and recovery a bit more complicated than just jumping in from the dock.

Hard for there to be a sunset when there's no sun.

Prospects for fishing the next few days are not good:

Tuesday: Southeast winds near 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 7 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters rough. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Wednesday: Southwest to west winds 15 to 20 knots...shifting to northwest by noon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning. Scattered showers in the afternoon.

But, we'll have to see how it goes.

Meanwhile, in other news:

Drunken Serb Frees Beach from Shark

“Dragan climbed on the jumping board, told me to hold his beer and simply ran to jump. There was no time for me to react or to try to stop him, he just went for it…Dragan jumped high and plunged down to the sea, but didn’t make as much splash as we thought he would….”

Cutting Lobster Quota will sink Fishermen

“Connecticut's lobster fishing industry is navigating through rough water after plans to cut the number of lobster commercial fisherman can catch by 50 or 70 percent were announced….
One lobster fisherman said the quota reduction will kill the industry.

Coast Guard after Striped Bass Poachers

“Striped bass populations are moving farther off shore into warmer waters and fishermen are often pursuing the fish beyond the authorized state waters. Atlantic striped bass may not be caught, harvested or possessed in the Exclusive Economic Zone. A person caught fishing for striped bass outside of 3 nautical miles and into the EEZ is subject to fines starting at $100 per fish.”