Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fishing, Friends and Photography

The Captain’s fishing tales are full and varied. We tried surf fishing on the Gulf side of Cayo Costa after reports of several varieties of desirable fish being caught close to shore. Despite our fresh bait and unusual patience, we landed only one small catfish [undesirable, even the dolphins don’t eat them]. Catching baitfish as we rested at anchor and then taunting catfish and catching a shark was very entertaining. But trolling behind as we ventured north from Cayo Costa to Venice proved fun, productive and a reminder of the hierarchy of the food chain. Trolling a flashy green plastic lure at 4.5 Kts., we hooked a 17-inch Spanish Mackerel. Just the right size for two people to eat, but the lure went out again anyway. After an hour there was a strong strike with the characteristic leap out of the water and we started to reel in. Suddenly the line went deep and got much heavier for a few seconds, then much easier to reel in as we could see the fish skipping along the surface, well not the whole fish--- just the head--- the shark ate the best part. The fish’s head, incidentally, was at least four times the size of that of our 17-inch catch. Our arrival in Venice was just minutes before s/v Barefoot with our friends Jim & Lenore motoring in from Punta Gorda. We relaxed and shared good conversation over dinner at the Club’s Tiki Bar. Their sail plan had them moving up to Sarasota on Sunday, but we plan to rendezvous in Clearwater, their homeport, in two weeks. After a short walk to the Venice Inlet to watch the Manatees, fishermen on the rock jetty and the ever parade of sailboats, trawlers, jet skis, kayaks and a WWII Duck full of tourists, we welcomed our Gulf Breeze and PYC friends, Kay & John Sheehan to the sea wall tie-up. They had sailed across the Gulf just the week before. Here our paths would cross for one night as we were heading to the Jewfish anchorage and on to Bradenton, Tampa and St. Petersburg and they down to Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound and Ft. Myers. We will meet again at the end of the month to make the crossing home together. Having a buddy boat will be a lot of fun. Between fishing, boat maintenance, dining well and reading escapist novels, photographing the nature sights have consumed or leisurely progress north. When we figure out how to post a photo album on Face Book we’ll share the bounty including the Black Crowned Night Heron and Anhinga from Venice. Oh, yes outside the Manatee River, our engine was running hot. So, we anchored off the channel to check on the engine raw water intake. The strainer basket had some sea grass but when that was removed there was no appreciable change in the water flow to the engine. John then disconnected the hose from the through hull to the raw water strainer. No grass in the hose but still just a trickle was coming in. The stoppage was in the through hull, beyond the elbow turn. Like the Wolf in the Three Little Pigs he huffed and he puffed, using the hose, "blew" through the through hull thus dislodging the grass clog. and it floated away. The location of this raw strainer in under the rear cabin bunk, necessitating the removal of "storage stuff". So both the Captain and his chief “step and fetch it” were hot and sweating after the two hour ordeal. A lovely shower and delightful “build your own burger” at the Bradenton Yacht Club were so welcomed!

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