Week 7

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 : , , , , , , , , , , ,