Archive for July, 2008

Fishing in the Lake Worth Lagoon

Posted by 29 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone welcome back! We finished up the weekly adventure session with another wonderful day of fishing. We had a great group, great weather and great fishing! It doesn’t get any better than this!!! This summer has been the very best that I can ever remember! Every group has been just great! We’ve had so […]

Hi Everyone welcome back!

We finished up the weekly adventure session with another wonderful day of fishing. We had a great group, great weather and great fishing! It doesn’t get any better than this!!! This summer has been the very best that I can ever remember! Every group has been just great! We’ve had so much fun and learned so much I never want it to end. And I can tell you, my adventurers don’t either!!! Just a few weeks left, and they’re all filled, still taking reservations for a waiting list just in case of a cancellation but I haven’t had one yet. Wish I had a bigger boat, and two more of me. Maybe next year…

Jordyn holding the Barracuda

I arrived at the dock about 20 minutes early, and you guessed it , everyone was already waiting for me and wondering what took me so long. They were ready to go and full of enthusiasm. Just the way I love it! We loaded up and went to the sandbar by the Deep Hole to look for some menhaden. The tide was very low and the menhaden weren’t in yet so we motored over to the Rock Garden to take a few casts with the net. It only took one! We had about 200 baits with the first cast. We put them in the live-well and off we went.

We motored a few times around the artificial reef till I marked some large schools of fish. I anchored up current a few feet, baited the hooks and AdventureJason, Jordyn, Michael, Christopher, Trevor, Gunner and Jagger dropped down. If you’ve been following my posts lately, you know what happened next! The second they touched bottom we had fish on!!! All kinds of fish! It took almost 15 seconds before I heard those familiar words, “I need more Bait!” From then on out, it was non-stop as usual!

AdventureTrevor took the lead right at first, with AdventureJordyn a close second. These two were neck and neck till about 40 fish each, and truthfully, I can’t remember who caught the most in the end! We were all too busy having fun!, and I was too busy baiting and taking off fish to keep count! This is when I really need 3 of me! Oh well…

AdventureMichael, Jason, Christopher, Gunner and Jagger were catching fish almost non stop too, but not quite as fast as AdventureJordyn and Trevor. Once the action started it was pretty much a blur for me after that for the next 3 hours! No time for snacks or drinks, just baiting hooks, taking off fish, occasionally re-rigging and every now and then stopping to take a picture of one of their fish when they wanted. Like I said, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” I just love it.

I baited up one of the bigger rods with one of their fish and gave it a short toss behind the boat. BOOM!!! The water exploded, and a second later a nice barracuda launched skyward! I think AdventureChristopher, Jason, Gunner, Jordyn and Michael took turns reeling it in. When it got right up to the boat, I took over and reached down with a short gaff, lifted it into the boat and put it in the live well out of the way so no-one could get near those wonderfully awful, nice large and very sharp teeth! I wanted to keep this one so I would have some nice bait for the crab traps over the next few weeks. Almost nothing smells “stinkier” or “fishier” to me than a nice barracuda! Well, short of a large flying fish hitting me square in the face and splattering at 40 mph on the way over to the Bahamas once. Nice shot too, bull’s-eye, square on the bridge of the nose. Ouch!, and a nice splatter job too, had fish parts from ear to ear, up my nose and even in my “pearly whites”. Everybody aboard loved it, well short of me of course, and maybe the flying fish! But barracuda does works great for bait, shark fishing and even deep dropping.

We fished non stop for about three and a half hours and caught all kinds of fish! Grunts, snappers, yellowtails, tomtates and sailor’s choice were the most common catches, but we had a few really nice fish on that I think were groupers or large mutton snappers. Just couldn’t get them up to see what they were. Maybe next time, but either way we had fun, and all of us loved it! We decided to spend the last half hour swimming in the Deep Hole, so we pulled anchor and motored over.

I took a couple of quick photos of the barracuda with all the adventurers then off into the Deep Hole we went. It was beautiful! Crystal clear and full of fish! We had a ball swimming and talking about the weeks adventures! On the way back, everybody said they had never had so much fun and learned so much at any summer camp before! And they didn’t want to leave. And you know something, I didn’t want them to leave either! Oh well… I really love it when things end like that!! Makes me feel proud inside. Thanks guys!!! I’m sure going to miss you and everyone when summer is over. We have had so much fun, so many wonderful adventures and discoveries, and so many great kids!!! Thank you! I never want it to end! Never…

I’ll be out of town for the next week. Going to do some adventuring of my own! I can’t wait!!! I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, Get outdoors, enjoy life, live the adventure, laugh alot and remember my motto:

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 9 Tags : , , ,

Lake Worth Inlet Snorkeling Fun

Posted by 24 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Welcome Back All, I just finished up the third day of this weeks adventure session and I just don’t think it gets any better than this!!! There just wasn’t enough hours in the day for us to do all we wanted. Every place we went and everything we did was an absolute blast and we […]

Welcome Back All,

I just finished up the third day of this weeks adventure session and I just don’t think it gets any better than this!!! There just wasn’t enough hours in the day for us to do all we wanted. Every place we went and everything we did was an absolute blast and we all had fun like their was no tomorrow! I was joined by three more new adventurers today, AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius, all the way from the Republic of Lithuania, a country on the southeast shores of the Baltic Sea sharing borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland, and the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Talk about adventurers, not only could these boys swim, they knew how to travel and even spoke a few words of English. So we got along great! And one thing they knew for sure was how to have fun, and they came to the right summer camp! I can guarantee that! With AdventureDavid and Dina from Hungary and Adventure Algis, Linas and Paulius from Lithuania my summer camp, AdventureMike’s, has gone international, and it has been Fabulous!!! From here on out, the skies the limit. Right on!

Group Photo

With AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius joining AdventurersJason, Jordyn, Christopher, Trevor, Gunner, Jagger, Michael and Chaz I had a full boat load, and I knew I was going to have my hands full! I knew this would not be a problem though, I am well seasoned by now after months like this! This is a great group of kids, knows how to swim, and DEFINITELY knows how to have fun!!! And that makes my job easy, at least on days like today!

We decided we would head straight for Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting while the tide was still low. AdventureJason, Jordyn, Michael, Gunner, Trevor and Jagger took turns pulling the seine net thru the shallows while AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius went snorkeling with AdventureChaz looking for starfish, sea urchins and large sea grass hermit crabs.

By the time we were finished seine netting the adventurers had found juvenile barracudas, hogsnappers, striped grunts, caesar’s grunts, french grunts, small mouth grunts, tomtates, pinfish, porkfish, mutton snappers, yellowtail snappers, gray snappers, mojarras, filefish, pufferfish, pipefish and even a few scorpionfish which we were careful not to touch. These were just a few of the many “treasures” we discovered. While we were having fun doing this, my Lithuanian Adventurers were discovering all sorts of cool things besides just starfish, hermit crabs and sea urchins. They saw eagle rays, crevalle jacks and even a pile of small lobster under a rock in 3 feet of water. Now that’s having FUN!!!, especially when you are from Lithuania!!! I could hear their excited voices all the way back to the boat! I was loving it!

Seine Netting

We went to Big Munyon Island for a really cool island hike, checked out the estuary for finger mullet, the backside of the island for horseshoe crabs and hermit crabs, the wild coffee and knickerbean plants scattered about, and we even checked under the rooftop of the picnic area to find 2 different type nests of 2 distinct species of mud dobber wasps. One type built a group of single family nests while the other built condos. Just like us. Now that was cool to see! We walked back along the beach to the boat and headed to the sandbar to swim in the Big Hole. Along the way. we stopped at Starfish Prairie, picked up a few very large Cushion Seastars to show the group, released them, and off we went.

We arrived at the Deep Hole along the sandbar and the water was perfect! Just the right depth and perfectly clear! The way we love it! It was full of menhaden and the snook and small barracudas were having a feast. The menhaden would spray out of the water trying to get away from the hungry fish below while the terns and sea gulls were having a feast from above. There was action in every direction and we were loving it. We checked out the West Indian and Florida fighting conchs laying eggs and found that the West Indian species out numbered the Florida species by about 3 to 1. Along the way, AdventureJordyn found the smallest Beaded Sea Starfish I have ever seen. It wasn’t a half inch in width. They are not just uncommon around here, they are downright rare, and to find one this size, unbelievable! I thought it was great, and the coolest thing was that the smallest adventurer aboard would find the smallest beaded starfish I will probably ever see my whole life. Now that’s neat, and I have searched alot!

Conch Collectors

After this we went to the Rock Garden, dropped anchor and got in. And low and behold what did we see? That’s right, thousands,and I mean thousands of fish in every direction! One of the best days ever! And how was the visibility? That’s right, crystal clear! It just doesn’t get any better than this! We watched hundreds of blue runners and snook eat menhaden till their hearts, and stomachs content. All within inches of our masks. Just great! AdventureMichael, Gunner, Trevor, Jagger, Christopher and Jason caught all kinds of swimming crabs, blue crabs, seaweed blennies and hermit crabs, while AdventureJordyn, Linas, Chaz and Paulinus were content swimming amongst the tropical fish and watching parrotfish, surgeonfish and spotail pinfish graze on the algae covered rocks.

By now we had only 45 minutes left so we climbed in the boat, had a quick snack and some drinks, and decided to head out to the beach since the ocean was as calm as a swimming pool. We drove around the south jetty and dropped anchor a few hundred yards down the beach 10 feet from shore. The water was crystal clear, the beach full of shells and hundreds of juvenile pompano and permit were feeding on sand fleas in 3 inches of water. We were loving it all! The days just don’t get any better than this! Blue skies, clear calm seas, thousands of fish and a great group of adventurers enjoying their day. Now that’s living!!!

Exploring the Sea Shore

When it was time to go, you know, not one of us was ready to call it quits. And especially my group of Lithuanian Adventurers. Even they, with there limited knowledge of English, let me know they wanted to stay longer! And they sure knew how to say FUN while they were having it!!! Today was one of those truly blessed days and even though AdventureAlgis, Linus and Palius spent only one day with me, I know they will never forget it! When we arrived back at the dock and I heard them excitedly talking to their mom about the day I knew things just didn’t get any better than this! I knew every one of us had fun today! And the best thing about it all, there is one more day of ADVENTURE and I just can’t wait till tomorrow!!!

Its fishing day!!! And you know what that means!!! We’re going to have fun, catch fish and live the adventure!!! We’re going to have some FUN!!! Right On!!! God, I love my job!!! Yippee!!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 9 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Snorkeling for Crabs by the Sailfish Marina

Posted by 22 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back! We just finished up the first day of another new adventure session, and as usual, what a great day it was! AdventureJason and Jordyn from a couple weeks back returned for another fun filled week of adventure and I just love it! After a weekly session full of adventure and sharing […]

Hi Everybody,

Welcome back! We just finished up the first day of another new adventure session, and as usual, what a great day it was! AdventureJason and Jordyn from a couple weeks back returned for another fun filled week of adventure and I just love it! After a weekly session full of adventure and sharing discoveries you almost feel like you become part of the family! It doesn’t get any better than this! AdventureChaz from last week came back again to give me a hand with the boat, helping out with the group and looking for critters, and we had a blast! We were joined by 5 new adventurers today, AdventureMichael, Trevor, Christopher, Gunner and Jagger, and let me tell you this bunch can swim too. Just like fish, and they seemed to love the water as much as me! Once we got in, we didn’t get out for 3 hours. It was great! My kind of adventurers! Mini me’s! RIGHT ON!

Group Photo

We loaded up the boat and left straight for the Rock Garden. The tide was incoming and the water crystal clear and full of fish! Absolutely Beautiful!!! As soon as AdventureChaz dropped anchor we were in the water. There were large schools of fish everywhere, starting right underneath the boat and all the way to the beach. We didn’t know which way to go first! We decided to head to the rocks and the shallows to get up close and personal with some really big snook feeding on the menhaden. They let us get withing 3 feet before slowly swimming away. We felt like we could reach out and grab one and a few of us tried but no luck. They were faster than they looked! There were so many large schools of fish all along the rocks that it made the snorkeling just unbelievable. Parrotfish, sergeant majors, porkfish, menhaden, grunts, snappers, angelfish, barracudas, needlefish, Bermuda chub, surgeonfish, etc., everywhere was fish! and I mean EVERYWHERE!!! There were all sorts of tropical fish within inches of our nose! We were swimming in our very own underwater paradise, sea world it was, and again, we had the “pool” to ourselves. Nobody else around. I just love it when things come together like this! And I was sharing it all with a great group of adventurers too!!!

Checking the Shallows

We found another nice chocolate chip sea cucumber and you guessed it! Yep, We took another photo op. of my new adventurers with “sea cucumber head hairdo” and I think in some cases it was quite appealing! I just love having fun like this and so did they!!! We stopped in the shallows and collected hundreds of the tiny hermit crabs with the little blue legs. They were under every rock by the dozens, and the last I saw AdventureJordyn she had a handful of them in a dozen different types of shells. It was just great! The rest of the gang caught every different type of crab you could find around here. It was like show and tell for all of us for 3 non stop hours! We caught arrow crabs, stone crabs, rock crabs, spider crabs, shame faced crabs, porcelain crabs, blue crabs, sally lightfoot crabs and an assortment of different types of sand crabs I hadn’t seen before. If it was a crab, we caught it, checked it out, let it go and went looking for another species. We found plenty of nice size queen conchs with their beautiful pink interiors and bright blue eyes too. The way they would stick their eyes way out and look at us was just magnificent to see. We all felt they were checking us out too! Just Great! It was like this all day, non stop action like I said. Everybody was catching something different and we were loving it!!! It was nothing but smiles all day!!! Everybody was having fun and I felt great!!! I think I had the biggest smile of all watching everybody else smiling, laughing and finding “treasures”! Just love it like this…. Thank you!

A Net Full of Crabs

With 40 minutes left we headed back to the boat, had some quick snacks and drinks and went swimming in the Deep Hole with a million menhaden all around us. We took turns chasing them around and when someone jumped in, the menhaden would jump out of the water and land on our backs and flip all around before swimming off! Talk about having fun, WE WERE HAVING IT!!! Right up to our gills! It just doesn’t get any better than this! And as usual, when it was time to go, nobody wanted to head back. We were having too much fun with too many smiles to go along!

On the way back we talked about what we were going to do tomorrow and where we wanted to go first. Everyone of us was looking forward to it and I could hear the excitement in their voices. I can guarantee you everybody is going to be early again! After the very first day on an AdventureMike adventure session, nobody ever arrives late! Not once this whole summer! They are ready and raring to go and full of excitement. The way I love it! Thanks to the parents too!

And guess what’s going to happen tomorrow? That’s Right!!! WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

Stay tuned for the next adventure! Cause we’re going to live it! Wish you were along cause we’re going to have a story to tell… another adventure of our own to share!

See you on the return,

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 9 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Weiss School Student Adventure – Part III

Posted by 18 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi everyone, I just finished up the third day of our adventure session and as usual, we had a wonderful day!, and boy was I busy! Today was our weekly fishing adventure and I knew things could get hectic so I had AdventureChaz from a couple weeks back come along to give me a hand […]

Hi everyone,

I just finished up the third day of our adventure session and as usual, we had a wonderful day!, and boy was I busy! Today was our weekly fishing adventure and I knew things could get hectic so I had AdventureChaz from a couple weeks back come along to give me a hand running the boat, keeping the hooks baited and helping me take the fish off the lines that everyone caught. AdventureAndrew, Lauren, Darby, Michael, Seth and JC were at the dock waiting when I arrived. It seems no matter how early I get there, this group is ready to go! I love it that way!!! Kinda makes me feel special, thank you! What a great group!

Group Underwater Photo

We started the day heading over to the Deep Hole to cast net some menhaden in case anyone wanted to use live bait. Fresh squid seems to give us the most non-stop action, but live bait gives us the bigger fish. Three throws with the net and our live-well was filled to the brim and off we went to the artificial reef to drop anchor. I motored around the best spots I had fished before but did not mark the same quantity of fish I did the week earlier. The tide was much lower than before and the water quite a bit dirtier with all the rain we have had the past week. I was still hoping for the best and hoping everyone would still have the time of their life even if we didn’t catch 200+ fish like the week before. We dropped anchor to give it a shot.

It wasn’t long before AdventureAndrew, Lauren, Darby and JC had fish on! A few seconds later AdventureMichael and Seth began to catch up! The action was not as fast and furious as before but we were catching fish and having a great time! And that’s what makes the day special! AdventureLauren caught a really nice Porkfish, the first one all summer, and I was really happy with that! I love their coloring of bright yellow with two dark black bands covering the eye and gill. Nice catch! Just after that AdventureAndrew caught a really nice Sheepshead Porgy, and big enough to keep too! Nice Job! AdventureSeth, Michael, JC and Darby caught quite a pile of Sailor’s Choice but only a few were big enough to keep.

We tried moving to a few different spots just to see if the action would increase or have better luck but things stayed about the same. We had lots of bites but today they were harder to hook. I could still here that familiar sound, “Mike, Chaz, I need more bait!!!! I need more bait!!!” coming from all different directions at once and it was still difficult to ever catch up. No taking breaks or breathers for us, didn’t even have time to take a drink! AdventureAndrew caught another nice Sheepshead Porgy and a large Sailor’s Choice which we kept too. AdventureLauren caught another nice Sailor’s Choice, so nice matter of fact that a hungry barracuda decided to eat the middle out of it on the way up so we decided to throw that one back so he could finish his meal. All in all, everyone caught fish, but most were difficult to hook and maybe that why they call it “fishing” instead of “catching”. I guess every week can’t set a new record, but I always hope it will and I’m going to keep trying to make that happen!!! We still had a great day!!! We boated Yellowtails, Porgies, Sailor’s Choice, Flounder, French Grunts, Lane Snappers, Spottail pinfish, Caesars Grunts and even a couple of Adventurers caught a few sponges! Or as someone mentioned a few weeks ago, “the pants off Sponge Bob Square Pants”. I still laugh when I think of that! Some day, I’ll have to write a book…

With one hour left we went to the Sand Bar to swim and play around in the shallows. AdventureChaz kept everyone entertained while I filleted the fish and cleaned up the boat. When it was time to head back no one was ready to call it a day. We were still having fun, still smiling and laughing, and its times like this, that I love best!!! Even though we didn’t boat the “Big Ones” today, we had a blast!, and one things certain, We’re going to have Fun tomorrow!!!

See you on the return,

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 8 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

A Weiss School Student Adventure – Part II

Posted by 16 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hello All, I just got back in from the second day of the Weiss School adventure session and let me tell you it was another great day! It started off with a real frenzy, feeding frenzy that is! I arrived at the dock early, and as usual, everyone was eagerly waiting for me and raring […]

Hello All,

I just got back in from the second day of the Weiss School adventure session and let me tell you it was another great day! It started off with a real frenzy, feeding frenzy that is! I arrived at the dock early, and as usual, everyone was eagerly waiting for me and raring to go. Nobody ever seems to arrive late for departure at my summer camps, and that’s a good thing cause I’m just as excited about going as they are!!! You can never start having fun and adventure too early and we never know what we discover.

Sea Cucumber Head!

Today the adventure started at the dock just as we were beginning to load up. As we were walking down the dock a tremendous school of menhaden in the tens of thousands came racing along the seawall right towards us. They were being chased by hundreds of large blue runners intent on having them for breakfast. Just as they got to us the water boiled into a wild feeding frenzy and the school of menhaden erupted into the air intent on getting away. The blue runners cornered them along the wall and the water foamed and frothed in the melee as they ate their fill. All this commotion attracted jack crevalles and some really huge snook and they too joined in the feast. They in turn were followed closely by a half dozen extremely large rays hoping to pick up some scraps. By the time the commotion ended there was nothing but scales and tails sinking to the bottom, and a few frantic menhaden looking for a hole to hide in! All this took place in 3 feet of crystal clear water right beside us and the boat. Talk about exciting! What a way to start the day!!! At least for us that is! That was just unbelievable…

After this we couldn’t wait to get in the water so we hurried to the Rock Garden and dropped anchor. I couldn’t clean the masks and put defog in them fast enough for each adventurer today. Half of them were out of the boat the minute I dropped anchor into the shallow water! Nobody wanted to wait for me, last one in again! They didn’t even leave me a net to catch something myself. Going to have to use my hands again. Oh well…you have to be quick with this adventurous group, otherwise you’ll be left far behind! I just love that enthusiasm!!! It gets contagious!!! The way I love it… Right on!

JC with His Find!

We were lucky today! The tide was high, the water crystal clear and fish everywhere you looked! And best of all, we had the pool to ourselves and no one in sight. It was great and with this group, it doesn’t get any better than this!!! We saw just about every type of fish you could see around here today. I think the snook, barracudas, parrotfish, angelfish, needlefish, flounders, porkfish, surgeonfish, doctorfish, sheepshead and spotted moray eels were the biggest hit today! On the way to the new rock pile put in yesterday, AdventureAndrew found a nice chocolate chip sea-cucumber and this gave us a wonderful opportunity to see one up close and watch how it feeds. Sea cucumbers are basically the vacuum sweepers of the ocean floor that move slowly along the bottom ingesting sand particles and digesting the algae and detritus covering them. In one end goes the algae covered sand grains, and out the other comes nice clean sand particles, just the kind you would like to make a sand castle with! That is as long as you don’t mind sand going thru the intestinal tract of a sea cucumber first.

Andrew Discovers a Sea Cucumber!

Now for me, I just love it! Almost every grain of sand on the sea floor has at one time or another been thru the belly of a sea cucumber. So enjoy next time your making sand castles! But what I liked best about this opportunity was, and you guessed it? That’s right!, another wonderful opportunity to take pictures of the adventurers with “sea cucumber head”. And not just your everyday hairdo accessory either, but real life “chocolate chip sea cucumber head”. One of my all time favorites!, ranking right up there with my all time favorite, “starfish head” or “sea urchin head”. Now talk about having fun!!!, and yes, maybe even still acting like a child!!! Now we can’t always take life too seriously. Sometimes you just have to cut loose and have fun! And for me, sometimes acting in a non grown up sort of way keeps me young at heart and besides that, its good entertainment for all. Who cares if everyone is laughing at you instead of with you anyway? Fun is Fun, and you can’t beat that!

Lauren with a Chocolate Chip Sea Cucumber

We also had a wonderful opportunity to observe a spotted moray free swimming along the rocks, and AdventureLauren, Darby and Seth found some really lovely juvenile queen conchs that made another nice photo opportunity for all. AdventureMichael, JC and Andrew chased fish and caught crabs in nets and every now and then one large crab would swim out right past the girls and I would hear a scream of excitement, or maybe that was trepidation, right next to my ear. I think its still ringing. I tend to think it was excitement myself with this adventurous group! No wimps here! Just true adventurers!!! We caught one nice flounder in the net on the way back to the boat and everyone had a chance to hold it before we let it go. Now this one I remember they nick named “Fred” so “Fred the flounder” it was!

From here we motored to Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows. We all took turns giving it a shot. We caught hundreds of juvenile parrotfish, grunts, filefish, wrasse, yellowtail snappers, hog snappers, mojarras, pinfish, barracudas but no pygmy sea horses this time. I was sure hoping!!! We swam south along the island and found hundreds of short spines sea urchins and hermit crabs and stopped to pick up a very large brilliant red cushion sea starfish. The largest species of starfish found around here. It was a such a great day and a real adventure for all of us!!!

Darby and Lauren with Sea Urchin

From here we had to hurry back. The day had come to an end, and all to quickly for us. But we knew that tomorrow was going to be another Great Day!!!,and another adventure to be lived!!! Its fishing day!!! And we know what kind of day that is!!! Its time to have FUN!, and we are going to enjoy the adventure and the ride along the way!!!

I can already hear it now! “MIKE, I NEED MORE BAIT!!! I NEED MORE BAIT!!!”

Right on, and just the way I love it!!! God, I love this job!!! Thank you…..

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 8 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Weiss School Student Adventure – Part I

Posted by 15 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Welcome back all, We just finished up the first day of a new adventure session and as usual we had a fabulous time! I was joined by a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureSeth, Michael, Darby, JC, Andrew and Lauren from the Weiss School. This group was well acquainted, extremely comfortable in the water, […]

Welcome back all,

We just finished up the first day of a new adventure session and as usual we had a fabulous time! I was joined by a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureSeth, Michael, Darby, JC, Andrew and Lauren from the Weiss School. This group was well acquainted, extremely comfortable in the water, and they could all swim like fish. All the makings for a wonderful week! I just love it like this! AdventureNicholas, who joined me a few weeks back, came along to give me a hand and help find unusual creatures to share with the group.

Group Photo

After introductions, the group of adventurers boarded my 26′ Island Runner, “Dream Chaser”, donned lifejackets and off we went. We were all excited and in a hurry to get to the Rock Garden and start the days adventure! After a few minutes getting the masks cleaned and ready we got in. In seconds everyone was pointing at different fish, searching for crabs and finding “treasures”. We saw parrotfish, sheepshead, wrasse, bermuda chub, porkfish, pinfish, snook, barracudas, snappers, lizardfish, grunts and an assortment of tropical fish all around us. The usual here! Many times we were completely surrounded by schools of menhaden so thick you could not see thru them. AdventurersDarby, JC and Lauren found all kinds of corals while AdveturersAndrew, Michael and Seth were finding tunicates, crabs and some strange types of tube worms that had long thin stringy tentacles filtering thru the sediment on the bottom. Some of these tentacles were 2 or 3 feet long and the second you touched a tip of one, the whole thing would race back into the hole and disappear in a split second. It was neat to watch them go!

While we were snorkeling a barge came in carrying a load of large rocks to place around the perimeter of the snorkeling area to increase habitat for fish and stop erosion along the south east side of the island. I never saw this here before and it was neat to watch the back hoe operator pull the barge into shallow water and begin dropping off his load. We moved further south along the snorkeling area to get out of his way and check out some new area so we did not swim in the same places I usually go. Even the life guards didn’t know he was showing up till 10 minutes before he arrived.

Future Naturalists!

AdventureNicholas found us crabs and sea urchins and caught a few fish in his hand net to show the gang. He caught a small scorpionfish in his net and brought it over to show us. I wanted everyone to see what they looked like and how well they camouflaged on the bottom. I mentioned how they could deliver a potent sting and to just let them be should you encounter one. I just wanted to make sure everyone new what to be aware of and how to recognise them in case they saw one.

A short time later AdventureNicholas returned with the smallest yellow stingray I had ever seen. It was only about 3 inches wide and cute as can be!!! It had one very tiny little barb that was hung up in the net and preventing it from swimming away. Everyone wanted a closer look so I carefully removed the barb from the ray and gently lifted her out of the net for everyone to see. Since she no longer had any barbs she was totally harmless and I could hold her without worry. This was a great opportunity for everyone to hold a ray and feel how it would suction itself to the palm of their hand as it pumped water thru its gills on the underside and out the sphericals on the top side of the head. It didn’t even try and get away and we all took turns holding it. It was a great experience for all of us and I could tell by the giant smiles all around that everybody was enjoying this encounter as much as I was. I just love it when there is nothing but smiles!!!

Seth with a Yellow Ray

From here we swam back to the boat and found some really nice fossilized worm tubes and quarts crystals along the shallows. We discovered a few jawfish burrows with the tiny jawfish peeking up at us from within their shell lined homes. These are one of my favorite fish that actually carry their fertilized eggs within their mouths until the babies hatch. When danger comes near the young swim back into their mothers mouth and hide till the danger has passed. Always wonderful and fascinating to see this take place. Just love it!

From here we loaded up and went to the sandbar and found West Indian and Florida fighting conchs laying eggs and swam in the Deep Hole looking for fish. For the first time this summer, the skies began to darken overhead and the rain storm was inevitable so we motored over to the Blue Heron Bridge and played around by the life guard stand and stayed out of the rain for the last half hour till it was time to go. We even had fun doing that! I was with a great group, and we had fun no matter what we were doing and that’s what counted. I would liked to have spent more time in the shallows around the sandbar but didn’t want to stay out in a storm. I knew there was always tomorrow, and with this group, there is no doubt in my mind, We are going to have some Fun!!! I can’t wait!!! Stay tuned…..

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 8 Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Fishing Near Peanut Island

Posted by 10 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi All, I just finished up the days fishing camp adventure session and let me tell you WE HAD FUN TODAY!!! Today was our weekly fishing day and we set an all time record that may never be beaten!!! We started the day going to the Deep Hole to cast net bait. Two throws later […]

Hi All,

I just finished up the days fishing camp adventure session and let me tell you WE HAD FUN TODAY!!! Today was our weekly fishing day and we set an all time record that may never be beaten!!! We started the day going to the Deep Hole to cast net bait. Two throws later our livewell was filled to the brim with hundreds of menhaden. These would help augment the 3 lbs of fresh cut up squid that I had gotten ready earlier. Little did I know then what an unbelievable day we were going to have!!!! As I sit here and write about it I know nobody is going to believe me but it is all true!

Dakota with a Black Grouper

I knew I was going to be busy today so I was joined by two great friends to help give me a hand, AdventureMatt, who I love like my own son, and his girlfriend Michelle who I love dearly too. Matt was going to help me bait the hooks and take off the fish and Michelle was going to help wash the boat down as things got fishy. All this seemed simple enough to me on the way to my secret spot along the artificial reef. Just how confusing could things get anyway?

Jason with a Lane Snapper

Well we arrived at my GPS numbers and AdventureMatt dropped anchor. When the anchor came taught we were about 15 feet from where I really wanted to be, didn’t seem like much so we baited the hooks and sent them down. After about 1 minute I knew things were wrong. We only had 2 bites, not the non stop action I expected and had in the past. We motored up and pulled anchor and moved 15 feet further to the north, right over the 12 foot drop off where my fish finder was marking fish by the hundreds. We re-baited the hooks and let them down and from that second on, my day was only a blur!!! Instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY everyone had a fish on. AdventureJason, Jordyn, Brian, Carolyn, and Dakota caught fish faster than I have ever seen, and I mean EVER SEEN!!! Like in my whole life of fishing!

Brian with a Lane Snapper

I could not count 3 seconds between the time their bait hit bottom and a fish eating it! All AdventureMatt, Michelle and I heard for 4 non stop hours was, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!, I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” That was coming from 5 different directions all at once and it never stopped! We couldn’t even think about wiping up anything. Even AdventureMichelle was taking fish off the line non stop and re-baiting hooks! With all the bait previously cut up and in buckets in 3 different spots on the boat, we could never catch up!! Three seasoned adults could not keep up with my 5 adventurers today!!! We could not keep bait on the hooks or take fish of them fast enough. I have never see
action like this in my life! I may never again!

Jordyn with a Grunt

AdventureCarolyn, Brian , Dakota, Jason and Jordyn caught everything from mangrove snappers, mutton snappers, yellowtail snappers, lane snappers, schoolmaster snappers, red groupers, black groupers, caesar’s grunts, french grunts, striped grunts, white grunts, smallmouth grunts, tomtates, cottonwicks, spottail pinfish and one lonely scorpionfish! We had one truly monsterous Barracuda on that ate a large yellowtail snapper, that not only ate the snapper, but the 20 inches of wire leader that was attached to it also, right up past the swivel to cut us off. A mighty impressive fish! Looked much bigger around then my leg, kinda like a swimming telephone pole with some razor sharp and snaggled toothed dentures!!! That one line from “JAWS” came to mind. “WE NEED A BIGGER BOAT!”. I’ll never forget that!

Carolyn with a Grunt

AdventureCarolyn was going to quit fishing after she caught, (and we all counted) 50 fish because her arm was tired and her hand hurt, but I talked her into trying to make 61 instead. I said, “when are you ever going to catch fish like this again?” keep fishing, and she did! And she made it to 61, and when she got there I said now go for 70!!!, just thinking that can’t be possible! She said if she got to 70, “THAT”, was definitely going to be IT! Well you guessed it, she made it to 70 and I was only able to talk her into catching one more. So, she stopped at 71 fish caught all by herself and took her first break of the day! AdventureDakota and Jason had to catch over 50 fish each themselves, some of those nice groupers and yellowtail snappers, and AdventureBrian caught close to that many himself! AdventureJordyn stopped at around 30 and spent the rest of the day handing bait out of the bucket to help Matt, Michelle and I to try and catch up. What a day it was!!! I will never hear the words, “I need more bait” without thinking of this day.

I know well over 200 fish were brought in the boat. I can’t even begin to guess how many we had on besides that. It was amazing how moving the boat only 15 feet made this difference. I have no idea what made the action so extra special, or what made the fish bite like they did, but I know one thing for sure, not one of these adventurers will ever forget this day, and neither will Matt, Michelle or I!!!

We had fun!!! We had a blast!! ! We had a once in a lifetime day!!! And we all had a story to tell!!! It may sound like a “fish story” to some, but we all know differently! WE LIVED THE ADVENTURE!!! And if you saw the smiles on the faces that I did today, you will never forget it!!! Thank you !!!

God, I love my job!!!! How can we have this much fun!!! I must still be dreaming…

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 7 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Things We Seined in our Summer Camp

Posted by 10 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back! Today’s adventure session was a little bit different than the normal session I had planned and I can guarantee you, everyone had a great time today! We were going to do a little bit more snorkeling in the morning and then an island romp later but when I saw that the […]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back! Today’s adventure session was a little bit different than the normal session I had planned and I can guarantee you, everyone had a great time today! We were going to do a little bit more snorkeling in the morning and then an island romp later but when I saw that the tide was extremely low, I decided to change things up a bit. We made a quick trip to the sandbar just to check things out and see what we might find. AdventureCarolyn and Jordyn wanted to find some Baby Ear snails so we searched the dry bar till we found their indicative cracks in the sand that let us know the snails were just about to pop out into the open. We collected a few to observe and talk about, then released them a few minutes later into deeper water. It is amazing how fast they can disappear right before your eyes! Now you see them, now you don’t. Just great to watch them go! The hundreds of fighting conchs, blue crabs and mantis shrimp were still there but we decided to let them be and head to Little Munyon Island instead to do some seine netting in the shallows.

Critter Collecting

When we arrived the conditions were perfect for what I had in mind. It was dead low tide and would be incoming all day and I wasn’t worried about getting the boat stuck in the shallows. And perfect for seine netting! We unloaded the gear out of the boat, brought a large plastic container and a couple of 5 gallon buckets and our masks and snorkels and headed to the south end of the island. AdventureBrian and I decided to make the first pull of the net. He followed me out into waste deep water and then we slowly pulled the net towards shore, keeping the lead line on the bottom and out in front to make a nice pocket. We gently pulled the net onto the beach and sorted thru all the fish, putting the unusual ones in a bucket and letting the rest go. I was amazed at the diversity of juvenile fish.

From the very first pull we found dozens of juvenile barracudas, hogfish, parrotfish, pipefish, grunts, snappers, mojarras, pinfish, tomtates, pink shrimp, grass shrimp, filefish, pufferfish, ballonfish, sea urchins. You name it, we just about found it. It was fabulous!!! We all discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem including water quality, mangrove estuaries, grass flats, etc. and how the offshore reefs and fisheries benefited from this natural and delicate balance. As we took turns pulling the net it became obvious to all that the juvenile fish needed the grass beds and mangrove estuaries to provide food, shelter and protection from predators until they could reach a large enough size to move out to the reefs and survive. On one pull, Adventure Dakota, Brian and Jason found a beautiful pigmy seahorse. It was a full sized adult female about 3/4 of an inch in length and the only one I have ever seen here. It was a fabulous find!!! We all loved it! Thank you!!!

Seine Netting

We put away the net, donned our snorkel gear and swam thru the shallow grass beds and found hundreds of short spined sea urchins. AdventureBrian even came up with a nice sized lobster molt and we new what that meant! Somewhere near by was a nice lobster but we never found him. The sea urchins came in all colors and sizes from bright pink to pure white. It was great to see so many! AdventureJordyn, Carolyn, Jason and Dakota spent a good bit of time trying to find the smallest one, while AdventureBrian and I went in search of the elusive 9 armed starfish. I showed him the type of sand and loose coarse shell they like to live in and we began to run our fingers thru the sand searching as we slowly swam back to the boat. It didn’t take him long to find one or me either.

Jordyn, Carolyn and the 9 Armed Starfish

We were in the right spot!!! Everyone came over to check them out and admire them. We then took a few photos, brought one back in the live well to show the parents, and then let them go. We were busy non stop and were having so much fun we barely had time to eat a snack before we had to head back. Somehow the day had come to an end and we felt like we were just getting started. And yes, not one of us was ready to quit! We were just too busy having fun, enjoying ourselves and learning so much! Just the way I love it!!! Today was now over for us, but tomorrow will be another adventure waiting to happen. And we are all looking forward to it! Its fishing day!!!, and we know how much fun that is!!! Can’t wait till tomorrow! I don’t know about you, but we’re going to have some Fun and catch some fish too!!!

See you soon on the return,

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 7 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Week of Adventure Mike’s Summer Camp

Posted by 8 July, 2008 (0) Comment

We just finished up the first day of a new summer camp adventure session and as usual, we had a blast! I had a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureJason, Jordyn, Brian, Carolyn, and Dakota, and let me say, we had fun, non stop! AdventureChaz from a couple of weeks ago came along for […]

We just finished up the first day of a new summer camp adventure session and as usual, we had a blast! I had a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureJason, Jordyn, Brian, Carolyn, and Dakota, and let me say, we had fun, non stop! AdventureChaz from a couple of weeks ago came along for the day and gave me a hand with the boat, anchor, creature collection and more. When I met the group at the ramp, not only were they early, they were eager and ready to go!

Group Photo

It didn’t take us long to load up, organize our snorkel gear and get on our way. I could already tell this was an enthusiastic bunch and we were going to have some fun today! We rounded the corner and decided to stop at the sandbar for an hour instead of going straight to the Rock Garden. The tide was incoming and only a small part of the bar was showing and we wanted to hurry up and check it out while we still could. We grabbed our gear and a couple of nets and hopped out. In seconds, AdventureDakota, Jason and Brian found both Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and AdventurersCarolyn and Jordan found some buried in the sand laying eggs. In no time at all we had our hands full of them and I began showing them the difference between the two. A few of the conchs didn’t want to be held and they tried to shove our hands away with their operculum’s. This gave us a great opportunity to really check out the animals inside as they would crawl halfway out and try and dislodge our fingers. It was really neat to watch those in the sand actually lay eggs. I don’t see that too often, always is fascinating to me to watch as each species of shell lays its own identifying egg mass. Cool…

Got One in the Net!

We then took a quick jaunt around the sandbar and I watched as AdventureJason, Brian and Dakota caught some nice blue crabs and the rest of us checked out Mantis Shrimp holes hoping to find one inside. No luck, they are shy, intelligent, nocturnal creatures that know when we are there and hide way before we know where they are. We took a swim in the Deep Hole which was full of menhaden and a couple of nice barracudas and snook, then headed back to the boat to have some snacks and drinks. We scooped up some Sargasso seaweed along the way and found some filefish, shrimp and crabs that camouflaged perfectly with the weeds.

While we were sitting in the boat, I spotted a nice Porcupinefish in the shallows and I quickly grabbed a net, hopped out of the boat and ran after it. I’m sure everyone in the boat thought I had lost my mind as they watched me scramble back and forth trying to net something they didn’t see. Finally I was able to net it and as I held it up to show everyone it began to suck in air and balloon up. Within a second or two it became firmly stuck in the net and I brought it back to the boat to show them and let each one touch it and feel the short spines. I made sure to tell them about the mouth and how well it could take that “perfectly clean round bite” out of a finger or hand if they weren’t careful. Remember that important lesson I spoke of in a previous post that I learned as a child and never wanted to repeat! Will never forget that!

I See You Too!

I told the story that as a child, when we would catch fish bare-handed we would make a wish, give em a kiss and let them go for good luck, just in case. In case of what, I was never sure. AdventureBrian decided to give it a kiss, on the backside of course, and make a wish for good luck before releasing it. Hope his wish comes true! I could never remember if mine ever did but it was always fun and it put a smile on my face every time! I never minded a mouth full of fish slime either as a child but I think the porcupinefish was a bit “fishier” tasting than AdventureBrian actually thought it was going to be. Live and learn, right on… yumm! Or in his case, Yuck!!! I don’t think he has the same enthusiasm for “fish kissing” as I had when I was a child. Maybe he just needs more practice?

A Kiss Before You Go

We started up the Dream Chaser, motored over to the Rock Garden, dropped anchor and got in. The water was perfectly clear and full of fish! Absolutely perfect and the way I love it!!! We had large schools of parrotfish, doctorfish, bermuda chubs, jack crevalles, blue runners, menhaden, snook and barracuds all around us! It was great!! We felt like we were in a giant aquarium and the best thing about it was that we were! Our very own! AdventureDakota, Brian and Jason caught all kinds of crabs. Big ones, little ones, round ones, thin ones, short ones, long ones. You name it, they caught it. It was just great! AdventureJordyn hung on my back for a ride and learned about fish while AdventureCarolyn caught things on her own and found out that some crabs can pinch well! Even while in the boat and right thru the net! AdventureChaz came to the rescue and dislodged that nice crab claw hanging to AdventureCarolyn’s finger while I tried not to laugh. Been there, done that a thousand times, and yes, “I could feel her pain” too. As I have said before, I was a slow learner!, but in reality I just loved grabbing everything and didn’t mind if I got pinched or not. I just knew I was having fun!!! There was so many fish to see we didn’t know which direction to go first. It was just great to watch the thousands of menhaden try and hide all around us while the snook and jacks chased after them. At times the they were so thick you couldn’t see thru them. I just love it like that! Non stop constant action all around us, just great..

We were having so much fun we didn’t want to quit! When I looked at my watch and it was 1pm I couldn’t believe how quickly the day had gone. When I called everyone back to the boat said it was time to go, no-one wanted to leave. Nobody was ready to quit and neither was I, but the parents were waiting, there was always tomorrow, and I knew we were going to have Fun!!! Our adventure was just beginning and we were going to make the most of it!!!

Stay tuned to see what we discover, or better yet, come join us, share in your own adventure and “Lets go have some Fun”!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 7 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fishing Near Peanut Island

Posted by 2 July, 2008 (1) Comment

Hi Everyone, I just got back in from the third day of our Adventure session and let me tell you we had fun today, and boy was I busy!!! AdventureDavid, Dina, Corey, Hannah, Parker, Maxwell and I were joined by two new adventurers, Adventurers Ryan and Chris, who just returned from white water rafting the […]

Hi Everyone,

I just got back in from the third day of our Adventure session and let me tell you we had fun today, and boy was I busy!!! AdventureDavid, Dina, Corey, Hannah, Parker, Maxwell and I were joined by two new adventurers, Adventurers Ryan and Chris, who just returned from white water rafting the Green River in Utah. Talk about adventurers, I don’t think they know when to call it quits, my kind of guys, and great kids too!

Today was our weekly fishing day adventure and I had a full load! I knew I was going to be busy today trying to keep up with this crew. We started off heading to the “Deep Hole” by the sandbar to cast net some Menhaden to augment our bait supply of fresh squid. AdventureCorey and I threw the nets a few times and filled the live-well with a couple hundred and off we went to the artificial reef to drop anchor.

Two Fish

From the very first second I couldn’t bait hooks fast enough! Some wanted live bait and some wanted fresh squid and every one wanted to fish at once. Luckily I had 10 rods on the boat, 8 to use for bottom fishing and 2 to put out larger baits for Barracuda. We decided to fish them all at once, and amazingly enough I don’t remember having to untangle one line. Now that’s a fine group of adventurers! What I do remember is having to bait hooks faster than I have ever done in my life before. We had lots of nonstop action, but the fish were a little more difficult to hook today. Maybe they remembered from the last time we were here and were a bit more careful.

Adventurers Ryan, David, Corey and Hannah were quick to hook up and bring fish to the boat while Dinah, Parker, Maxwell and Chris spent a bit of time feeding those on the bottom. AdventureRyan caught a nice big Caesar’s Grunt while AdventureHannah was quick to boat a big Black Grouper! AdventureDavid boated a beautiful yellowtail snapper and AdventureCorey boated a large Lane Snapper! Now that’s fishing!!! It didn’t make a difference where you fished from the boat, everyone was having bites! It just was a lot harder to hook them today. The current was ripping out over the top of the reef and it was definitely harder keeping your bait on the bottom, and that can make all the difference in the world.

Blue Fish

All of a sudden I heard AdventureDavid yell he had another big one on and I looked over to see his fishing rod bent double. A second later the line slackened and I watched as David reeled in a 6 inch long Butter Hamlet wrapped around a nice red sponge. Someone said he caught the ‘pants” off of Sponge Bob Square Pants and I almost fell out of the boat laughing. Of course, I had to take a picture of that!

Sponge Bob's Pants!

AdventureDina and Parker caught some nice Caesar’s Grunts while Ryan boated a big Porgy. AdventureHannah wasn’t saying too much but I watched her catch fish non-stop! I don’t think she wanted anybody else to notice how many fish she was catching and crowd her spot!
I always have to admire when the girls out fish the boys, kinda like AdventureAllison last week who caught fish non-stop and didn’t say a word either. Maybe there is an important lesson to be learned there. I wonder…

Red Fish

We caught all kinds of fish non stop but surprisingly enough the big barracudas didn’t show up. A little bit later Ryan caught a scorpionfish, a nice ugly bottom dwelling poisonous fish full of spines and loaded to the hilt with a very painful toxin. Yep, you guessed it, as a very inquisitive, (some would say careless) child, it didn’t take me long to find the business end of one of those either! And that left a lasting impression that I never wanted to repeat, ever again! From that moment on, I have been very careful taking these off the hook. Sometimes I think it’s best to cut the hook off and leave the fish well enough alone! At this point we decided to call it a day fishing and spend the last hour left snorkeling the Rock Garden or going back to swim in the Deep hole. Just as we were leaving I think AdventureDavid spotted a dead Loggerhead turtle floating on the surface and the current swept it right by the boat. When it came by, you could tell what caused its demise! Missing out of the right side was a large ragged circular bite, right thru both sides of the carapace, and only one very large toothy critter does that! I decided not to hum the tune of, ” When the shark bites” at that moment, but I thought about it. I just knew that my humming was no better than my singing or dancing and I didn’t want to embarrass myself… Stick to what I can do and avoid what I can’t do kind of thing!

Shortly after this we arrived at the Rock Garden and everyone spent a half hour snorkeling, catching fish and crabs in the nets and just having a blast! AdventureRyan found a nice Jawfish in his tunnel and we all checked it out then boarded the “Dream Chaser” and headed to the Deep Hole for a quick snorkel with the thousands Menhaden swimming here before having to call it a day. AdventureCorey took a few throws with the cast net and caught a bunch of menhaden and the terns and seagulls were quick to make a meal of a few. almost off our finger tips. It was great for us, maybe not so much for the menhaden though, but the terns and sea gulls loved it too!

From here we hurried back, each one of us with smiles on our faces, and looking forward to tomorrow! Not all of us actually boated fish today, but we had fun trying!!!! We knew there was always another day and another adventure to be lived and we were going to make the most of it!!!

Come join us, and Let’s go have some Fun!!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 6 Tags : , , , , , , ,