Birthday Week 3.0

Finally, the fishing.…………………


I saw this carved fish artwork at one of the restaurants we visited, and was looking for a place to add it into the blog – I found it!

I mentioned in the previous posting that we had to move to a hotel, early into the vacation.  So here’s the scoop.

Eric had found a place on VRBO, which we have used a bit on previous vacations.  We knew some of our friends were going to join us during our time at Crystal River, so we needed a few extra bedrooms.  AND, we didn’t want to eat every single meal at a restaurant.


While this is a shot from the back yard, you get the picture.  It was an older (3 bedroom) house, which had been remodeled inside, very nicely.  A screened in porch (as seen in the photo above) had pretty much been my perch as soon as we arrived.  Kind of hard to see, but there is an outside jacuzzi in the right corner, surrounded by the fence on 2 sides.  Here’s a shot of the kitchen (nice, says Eric) and the master bedroom.


D2F74143-03DD-473E-94F1-32D2666BB293After dropping off our groceries and clothes, we needed to launch the boat.  It was a (very) short drive to the Fort Island Trail Park.  Literally after turning out of this subdivision, 2 streets later we were at the park.


We’ve used this launch multiple times – I love the wide ramps for the boat & trailer.  This day, we had no problem launching the boat, no line at all.


Of course there was no line because (1) late morning on a Wednesday and (2) it was pouring down rain!  Not a single vehicle or trailer was in the parking lot.

Finding our canal was not as easy as Eric expected.  He had to open Google Earth to find the exact location.   While this photo shows blue skies and white fluffy clouds, it was still raining on his first trip to the house and much more difficult to find.


Of course he found the house – eventually – and was tying up the boat when I spied another set of eyes watching our movements.


This little gator was about 3 feet in length.  It seemed like others had been feeding him – which is against Florida law and carries fines of $500.  Don’t do it!

The canal was next to a RV park and it was always entertaining as we motored by.  The lot owners had creatively used their outdoor space to enhance their RV living: decorative iron fences, bird feeders, planters and lawn furniture to name a few things.  They also had a dock along the canal and this guy was having a BAD day.


His airboat was half-submerged – bummer.  The good news was………………..the next day this is what the dock looked like.   Some way, some how, the boat was able to be moved.


This canal kept giving us surprises.  A little further along the canal and we saw this home-grown ‘art’.  The picnic table had been decorated with some random items and secured so everything stayed in place, even the lamp, no matter how much wind and/or rain came down.  There were a couple of tables, but this was the best.  Unfortunately, my shot washes out some of the color – it was a cute display.


The weather was looking dicey when we left home to begin our fishing vacation, but eventually we ended up with the photo on the far right within 4 hours.

Finding the house – check. Launching the boat – check.  Eating lunch – check.  Next on the agenda was to get on the water!  The first task was to set the pin traps after being stuffed with chum (frozen sardines).

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OMG – these little devils (buoys) were hard to find in the coming days.  Eric purposely wanted the buoys to be unobtrusive so others won’t raid the traps, but even with a GPS marked point, it was challenging no matter how many eyes were looking.  They were the size of my closed fist.  You might notice the 3 straight bars of rebar on the traps.  These were a recent (Eric) modification so that the traps wouldn’t roll in bad weather.  Yeah, that happened in Apalachicola Bay and OMG x 3.

The fishing was good on our first foray.  We caught numerous shorts (redfish & trout) and brought home a sheepshead (Eric) and a black drum (me).   The  sheepshead turned into our ceviche that night for dinner.



Coming back up Crystal River, we passed several shrimp boats heading out for a night of shrimping.

Day 2 of fishing and the skies were bright blue with a few clouds.  This one cloud we kept an eye on and it eventually turned into a storm – heading our way – which chased us back to safer harbors.


We were fishing with live shrimp…………………


………………………and Eric’s pinfish from his traps.


Early on I caught this Jack Crevalle.  Man, it was a good fighter.  Not typically used for food (Eric tried it once – yuck) but really fun to catch on the light tackle that we use.


We both caught some keeper trout this day but they weren’t filleted until the next day with others we caught.  Yes, that’s important.  We caught fish.  🙂

So we get back to the rental from a morning on the water and the inside temp is 79 degrees.  The A/C is not really working.  😦  With the clouds the previous day and the house being closed up, it was not noticeable – much.  Eric had his suspicions but after being gone for less than 3 hours, the temps inside the house were rising.  After talking with the owner, who talked to an A/C repairman, who (luckily) stopped by that afternoon………the A/C was broke and not easily fixable.

Plan B:  Find a hotel.

In this we were fairly lucky as having stayed in the area before, our first choice was the Plantation Inn of Crystal River.  Eric made a call, talked to Darlene, and we had a patio (boat/canal view room) for the next 4 nights. Wheww!



Back to fishing……..……………..

A friend (Adrienne) was driving over and when we shared the latest update about accommodations, she asked for our hotel and while talking on the phone to me, booked a room on-line for the night.


For being a novice angler, she did quite well.  She caught  1 blue runner to add to our catch of sea trout.


The next day she caught a mackerel and sea trout, adding to Eric’s catch of 3 sea trout.



Notice anything…………………no keeper fish from me.  😦  I caught several short trout and catfish (not the kind you normally eat) and other assorted species.  Regardless, being on the water is always a fun time.


Crystal River is known for the manatees that hang around the springs, especially in the winter time.  Some of the animals stay year around in the springs.  The hotel has lots of souvies and clothing that features the sea cows.  Couldn’t resist this one photo spot.


The storm clouds chased us off the water, but we easily got in several hours of fishing.  There were some mighty impressive clouds.


No, we did not catch any of the fish in the photo below – but isn’t it amazing.  A Guide Service is available at the hotel and one option is to go off-shore fishing – which they did.  Wow, wonder what it takes $$$ to fill their tank and run out in the gulf 100+ miles.  Glad we’re not paying that gas bill – just saying.  But again……………..WOW!


Other friends stopped by (as expected) and made the same plans as Adrienne did – booked a night at the same hotel.  We all went out on the boat early sunday morning for a day of fishing while still dodging storms.

With having others on the boat, it gave us another photographer (thank you 🙂 )  I caught several short trout and one of the things Eric hooked was remora.  They are typically found attached to a shark, as they are scavengers and snack on the extra bits of food the sharks misses.  News flash – when reseraching remoras on-line, I found the previous statement has been shown as a falsehood.  It is now assumed it is a ‘mutulalistic arrangement as the remora can remove ectoparasites and loose flakes of skin while benefiting from the protection of the host’ (which could be a whale, turtle, ray or shark.  There you have it!

Our friends wanted some photos to share with their family back home, so the extra photographer was nice.  🙂


As we began to head in after our day of fishing, there was a boat, seeming to head straight for us and would intersect our route.  Really? Really!  Oh, it’s two officers with the FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) and they mean business.  After they left, then I thought about taking a photo.  But when an officer is on the boat (with a gun), checking for the required equipment and our catch (unfortunately none) it didn’t really seem like the best time to pull out the camera and get a photo.   They did leave us with this sticker.


The officer that searched our boat was (seemingly) impressed that everything was in order, easily found to his satisfaction and everyone was wearing their lifevests as they approached.  He said to place the sticker within 6″ of our boat identification number and it will make a difference in the future.  Wow, way cool.

So my last photo is dinner at home.  The sea trout turned into  ‘trout almondine arugula salad’ and was most delicious.


While our best-laid plans went awry this week, we’ve discovered that we can bounce back, modify plans and still have a great time together and with friends.

Until our next adventure……………….



3 thoughts on “Birthday Week 3.0

    1. I guess it depends upon your interest. 🙂 For me it’s a toss up between the food posting and the fish post. Let us know when you plan a trip down here. Hopefully we can take you out on the boat. Take care.


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