Tag Archives: eagle ray

Summer 2009 Week 6: Snorkeling and A New Fishing Record!!!

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you it has been absolutely FABULOUS!!! This week has been just perfect!!! I’m not even sure where to begin! We’ve had so much FUN since the very first second we left the dock!!! It seems like this adventure has been going on for weeks, not just 3 days! Just love it like this!!! On Tuesday AdventureGeorge, Peyton and I were joined by 6 New Adventurers, Adventurer’sLeah, Nicholas, Emily, Daniel and Joseph. And the best thing, this group not only swims like fish, they know how to make the most of an Adventure!!! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Group photo at the Rock Garden
Group photo at the Rock Garden

We started the first day going to the Rock Garden. The tide was high, the water crystal clear and fish everywhere by the thousands! As soon as we got in the water we saw big snook chasing menhaden, small barracudas on the prowl, parrotfish, surgeonfish and sergeant majors by the hundreds! Everywhere you looked there were fish in every size, shape and color. So many different species of fish just too numerous to mention!  It was just GREAT!!! The first wonderful highlight of the morning occurred when we caught a small sharpnosed pufferfish and watched as it puffed itself up as if on cue with water to almost double its size. Always love catching these!!! Had a chance to take some nice photos as everyone had a chance to hold it and check it out. Everybody had smiles from ear to ear as this was going on! Everyone was on the hunt with nets and catching swimming crabs, blennies, rock crabs, hermit crabs, pistol shrimp, etc. You name it, we just about caught it!!!

Emily with a pufferfish!
Emily with a pufferfish!

The second fabulous highlight of the morning occurred when we discovered a nice yellow ray swimming along the bottom without a barb.  We quickly surrounded it and were able to catch it in a net. This gave everyone a wonderful chance to check it out up close and personal since it was totally harmless. It was just great!!! We brought it back to the boat to take some photos and give everyone the opportunity to check out the mouth underneath and the sphericals on the top behind the eyes. It would lay in our hands like it belonged there without even wriggling! Did we all love this!!! Just GREAT!!! After a few minutes we let it go and watched as it swam back to the bottom and continued on its way. We spent the whole day snorkeling here. We never wanted to leave we were having so much FUN!

Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!
Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!

The second day we went back to the Rock Garden since we had so much FUN the previous day and found a baby octopus peaking out of his hole at us as we swam by. It seemed he was as curious about us as we were about him. We would stare eye to eye for minutes and boy did we all love this! We also found some cool jawfish and a baby flying gurnard crawling across the sand with its modified ventral fins that act more like legs than fins. Such a cool find! From here we went to the beach and spent the rest of the day snorkeling, collecting sea glass, shells and body surfing in the waves. We were having so much fun nobody wanted to call it a day when it was time to leave!  On the way back to the boat we saw some big tarpon in the shallows! Really cool seeing that! And on the way home we saw 2 big eagle rays swimming slowly side by side and we were able to motor right up next to them just a few feet away. They didn’t seem to mind that we were there and we loved that too!!!
And of course you all know that Thursday is our fishing day. And let me tell you, DID WE HAVE FUN TODAY!!! We set all kinds of records that may never be beaten! And I mean NEVER!!! Unfortunatel 2 adventurers couldn’t make it this morning so AdventureGeorge and Joseph missed the boat since their moms called and let me know they weren’t going to make it. They won’t believe what they missed! We had so much FUN today!!! Sorry guys…

Another quadruple hook-up!!!
Another quadruple hook-up!!!

I arrived at the dock at 9AM, and AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel were quick to load up and as excited as you could be about fishing! Man were they raring to go!!! Luckily I had 5 pounds of squid already cut up into bite size morsels and 20 extra rigs already made! I wasn’t going to be having any help today so I had prepared everything as best as I could! Little did I know then how unbelievable our day of fishing was going to be!!! I quickly motored out to one of my “secret spots” and  when I drove over it with the fathometer on, we marked thousands of fish from top to bottom! The bottom was litterally “swimming” with fish!!! I anchored right above the rocky ledge, got the rods ready and handed them out. From the very minute we baited the hooks and dropped them down the rest was just a blur!!!
Instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY everyone had a fish on. AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel caught fish faster than I have ever seen, and I mean EVER SEEN!!! Like in my whole life of fishing! You didn’t have 3 seconds from the moment you dropped down till you had a fish on, most times I couldn’t count to 1 second! EVERYONE had fish on ALL THE TIME!!! The action was so unbelievable that everyone was baiting and taking off their own fish!! I couldn’t even keep up with just one adventurer by myself today, the action was so hot!!!
The kids caught all kinds of fish in every size shape and color you could imagine. They caught fish I have never seen caught on rods before. From Parrotfish, snapper, grunts, cottonwicks, sailors choice, tomtates, scorpionfish, banded pufferfish, threadfin herring, porkfish,  butter hamlets, etc. You name it, I think they caught it!! We had groupers eating our bait and fish left and right and cutting us off in the rocks!!! Just Unbelievable. We had one very exciting moment occurr while AdventurePeyton was waiting for me to take his big Caesars Grunt off a big shark came up and ate it right at the side of the boat; hook, line and sinker!!! Just about splashed us in the frenzy. And while that was going on, a huge barracuda came up and ate Reeses fish off too!!! Man was that exciting too!!! Talk about having FUN, we were having it NOW!!! I know none of us will ever forget this day of fishing!!! I didn’t get a chance to look at my watch for 3 hours. It was just that crazy!!!
By the time 3 hours were over and done with, we had boated 419 fish!!! That’s right, you read that number correctly!!!  419 FISH!!!  BROUGHT IN THE BOAT!!!  And that does not include what we lost, had on or got eaten by something else!!! As fast as we could catch them and release them, we had 6 more on!!! I have NEVER seen anything LIKE THIS!!! I may never again!!! It set an all new fishing record for AdventureMike’s that may NEVER be beat!!! And I mean NEVER!!!  It never let up!!! From BIG FISH TO SMALL FISH, WE CAUGHT THEM all!!! God I love this job!!!!!
Somehow or other AdventureDaniel caught this tiny pufferfish on a hook that I had never seen done before and I bet him he would never catch another one like that again. Well just to prove me wrong, not only did he catch another one, he caught another two!!! Talk about losing a bet, Oh Boy…. I loved every minute of it!!!!!!!!! Just GREAT!!!  🙂

Daniel catches his first pufferfish!
Daniel catches his first pufferfish!

In the end, the final tally was: AdventurePeyton with 43 fish, Reese with 54, maybe even more? Lost count, oops.., Leah with 67, Nicholas with 71, Emily with 73, and the new all time winner, AdventureDaniel with 111 fish!!! I can’t tell you just how good I feel right now!!  Today was one of those “ONCE IN A LIFETIME DAYS!!! Is it possible to get any better than this or have more FUN? I don’t think so… What a day it was!!! I will never hear, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” without thinking about this day! never!!!
We caught so many fish!  I can’t even begin to guess how many we had on besides that. It was amazing!!! I would have given anything to have it all on video!!!  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 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 would never forget it either!!! Thank you !!!

God, I love my job!!!! How can we have this much fun!!! I must still be dreaming… YOU GUYS ROCK!! I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!



Lake Worth Inlet Snorkeling Fun

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!!!!


Ctenophores and More in the Lake Worth Lagoon!

I just finished up the first day of another new adventure session with a wonderful group of adventurers, and as usual, it was a blast! I had a full boat today and one of my best friends sons, AdventureNicholas, gave me a hand helping with all the things needing to be done, but most of all entertaining the kids and making sure everyone left with smiles from ear to ear. Which of course they did! He was great to have along and after the days session was over helped me clean the barnacles off the bottom of the boat and put away all the gear. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!!!

Group Photo

We had 3 new adventurers join us for the first time, AdventureAllison, AdventureGavin and AdventureTrevor plus 3 returning adventurers, AdventureMadison, AdventureDina and AdventureDavid. It was a great group to have together and we laughed and had fun the whole day. I can’t remember when I or anyone else laughed this hard.

We started the day going right around the corner to the sandbar and anchoring in knee deep water. We hopped out and everyone was instantly collecting fighting conchs, juvenile blue crabs and looking for starfish. We found fighting conchs with blue eyes, brown eyes and even some with green eyes and a few shy ones that never came out of their shells to show us what color eyes they had. Madison found a really nice empty Alphabet Cone and I believe Gavin or Trevor found a few empty sundial shells that get their name from the way they are shaped and patterned. Nice find!!!, and not many around sitting empty. There were hundreds of ctenophores, a type of non-stinging jellyfish like tunicate washing into the shallows as the tide went out that look and feel exactly like clear jelly. I brought up the fact that my brother and I used to play with them as kids, and the next thing I know I became target practice for 6 laughing kids hurling ctenophores in my direction. I got one in my ear, in my mouth and even one up my nose. I thought I was going to die of laughter! I’ve never seen kids laugh so hard and for so long as today. I couldn’t open my mouth long enough to yell, “aim for Nicholas instead of me” without one just about flying in there. I’m still laughing just thinking about it…and I know they are too.

Creature Collectors

From here we went to the Rock Garden and everyone got in to snorkel and check out all the fish, crabs and Hairy Blennies. And as usual, they were there by the hundreds. We saw parrotfish, angelfish, barracudas, sheephead, houndfish, snook, needlefish, lizardfish, porkfish, snappers, grunts, flounders, large schools of menhaden and an assortment of tropical fish too numerous to mention. We found hermit crabs by the hundreds, rock crabs, blue crabs, stone crabs, shamefaced crabs and sally lightfoot crabs running on the rocks just at the high tide mark. None of us wanted to get out of the water! That kept us busy for the rest of the day, barely had time to snack. AdventureGavin, David and Trevor caught crabs and blennies and put them in a bucket for all to see, while AdventureAllison, Madison and Dina collected hermit crabs and looked for shells. We all worked together and it was a blast. AdventureNicholas made sure we had what we needed, carried creatures back and forth to the buckets and brought us drinks when we asked. It was a perfect day!!!

Goofing Around

Somehow when the kids got in the boat they found my hidden stash of Squirt guns and nothing stayed dry after that, including my glasses which I could barely see out of. Next time I’m going to hide a “super soaker” for me and blast them all in return. Can’t wait…Some kids just never grow up, and that would include me too. Oh well… we had fun!

From here it was time to go, and as we headed back we saw a quite large eagle ray foraging in the shallows for conchs. Had to be 6 feet across. We stopped to watch as he glided about and then disappeared into the deeper water. It was a beautiful way to end the day! On the way back the kids kept saying ,”why do we have to go back now? Why can’t you run your camp till 3 or 5 and not end at 1? I don’t want to go back yet, do we have to go back now?” I told them their parents would be waiting for them and they said why don’t I just call and have them come back later? I didn’t have a good answer for that. They seem to think of everything nowadays. I told them there is always tomorrow, three more days left, and who knows what we are going to see next… That didn’t really satisfy them but they quit asking, and I didn’t really want to go in either. I understood how they felt. Oh well…

And for all the rest of you who haven’t experienced AdventureMike’s aquatic summer camp… Stay tuned, or better yet, Come join us for our next adventure!!! Get off the couch and get outside… Be a part of the Adventure!!!

Lets all go have some Fun!!!


Our First Adventure

This past weekend we had a wonderful time on a one day custom session with a great group of kids. At 9:15 a.m., Hannah, Madison, Jack, Jake and Noelle boarded the Dreamchaser, my 26 foot island runner, and off to Peanut Island we went to begin the day snorkeling.

Ready to Go

On the way there we spotted a large eagle ray foraging and were able to approach within a few feet.

Wow! Eagle Ray to Port!

While snorkeling in the shallows, we saw porkfish, bermuda chub, parrotfish, grunts, sergeant majors and spottail pinfish along with numerous hermit crabs feeding on algae growing on the rocks. Madison was so excited to see 2 very large Giant Hermit crabs fighting over each others Queen Conch shells that she took almost her whole roll of film in just a few seconds.


After Bocce and Snacks we went to the sandbar where everyone was excited to find dozens of fighting conchs, hermit crabs and giant mantis shrimp and southern lugworm tunnels. It was fun to watch Hannah, Jack and Noelle try furiously to dig one up to no avail. Everyone had a blast playing in the shallows, looking for starfish, and chasing seagulls.

Chasing Seagulls

From here we headed to Munyon Island to explore the mangrove estuaries, see what we could find, and take a short nature walk. Collecting Nicker Beans, sometimes called lucky beans, from their thorny pods and finding a few Spotted Sea Hares along the beach were the highlights here. We stopped and pulled one of our crab traps along the way but no luck.

Sea Hare

By now it was time to call it a day and head back to Phil Foster Park. On the way back, “Eagle Eye” Jake spotted a bottlenose dolphin and we stopped to watch hoping for an up close encounter. It was a perfect way to end the day and left everyone looking forward to their next adventure. We’ll be heading out again soon so make sure to check back for highlights of the next trip! And remember, it’s time to get outdoors and have some fun, come join the adventure! 🙂