June 2020 Birthday 3.0

HOLY COW – I forgot to post this! Instead of a birthday week, maybe I should call it a birthday month or a birthday summer. Regardless, here you go. Man – I’m wishing we had the freedom to go fishing whenever we felt like it – like we did this Spring.

We made a quick middle-of-the-week trip to Crystal River. Why? Because we can (!) since (at the time) we’re still furloughed.

At first glance, the photo below just looks like me posed in front of our boat. What is really represented was…………..(1) the first time I drove the boat without Eric – solo, and (2) first time I docked the boat, tied it up and put out the bumpers by myself – solo, waiting for Eric to show up. Okay, so that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but while I’ve driven the boat numerous times, there was always someone more experienced on the boat with me. Not this day.

First time docking.
King’s Bay Lodge

We can no longer keep the trailer at our lodging so Eric’s arranged to park it at the place we bought out boat – Crystal River Marine. Our plan was to launch the boat at Pete’s Pier, Eric drives away to drop off the trailer, then parks the truck at our motel as I drive via water.

My only problem was kayakers – 30+ of them. I was getting ready to motor around a corner and here they come. They had varying degrees of experience and were spread out, so I waited and waited until the last one passed by me. BTW – she was cutting corners since she was so far behind the others.

Waiting for Eric at the motel, I glanced over the side and saw this group of mullet swimming by. They don’t take a hook and are caught using a net. They are good eating when offered on a menu. Wish I had a net – just saying.

Heading out to the Gulf, we only had the one spot of rain to watch.

Three hours later, that spot turned into this.

Which doesn’t look very close or menacing, until you see this. Yep – it’s time to go in, quickly.

Regardless, we had a good day of fishing.

Top & Center – 2 mackeral, Bottom & Center – 2 seatrout with the fish on the sides being Grunts.

Well, I guess I should say that I had a good day of fishing………….. The mackeral was 22″ and they are fuuuuunnn to catch! Once they take your hook, the line starts ‘zinging’ and there is no guarantee you are bringing them into the boat. They can bite off the line and leave you with nothing. That was not the case this day.

22″Mackerel

This was also a (very) nice seatrout caught the same day. They don’t pull as hard as a mack, but the bigger ones still give you a nice fight.

21″ Seatrout

The mack fillets were our evening meal, along with some conk peas and cubed potatoes – tasty!

We were out early the next morning, hitting the water. It seems like Eric is getting really good at hooking sharks (and also unhooking them).

We had another good day on the water, bringing home this catch.

Top to bottom: 1 mackerel, 2 seatrout, 1 bluefish and another seatrout.

HAD to take a photo with (my) biggest seatrout. It was a nice hefty size, perfect for filleting and eating. In the background is King’s Bay.

22″ Seatrout

Eric is getting very efficient at filleting our catches.

This day he had some help with the leftover trimmings. These birds were anxiously eye-balling his work.

Being it’s the middle of the week, one of our favorite restaurants was open AND it’s walking distance from our lodging, yeah!

We both devoured their hot, garliky herb- buttered bread, while sharing a bottle of wine throughout the meal.

They are known for their she-crab soup which Eric said did not disappoint. I had the fried green tomatoes, topped with bacon pieces and crumbled goat cheese as my starter.

We both ordered additional appetizers for our entres with Eric having braised pork belly and I had the Aji Tuna appetizer, very artfully arranged on the plate I must say.

And………….this is the reason we kept to the appetizer plates as we both wanted dessert. Eric really enjoyed his chocolate sundae while I loved my carrot cake & coffee.

It was a nice meal, followed by a leisurely walk back to our motel, truly feeling special for my birthday (month). 🙂

We were able to extend our stay for an additional night, thus getting in 3 days of fishing before heading home. Once again, Eric hooked a shark – a bonnet head shark this time.

This day we brought home 5 seatrout.

Going to Crystal River was an ‘escape’ for us while also allowing us to indulge in our hobby of fishing. For many, this is their livelihood. I was reminded of that several times on our last day. First was saw the shrimp trawl at Pete’s Pier.

Immediately to my right was one of the crabbing boats pulling their traps.

That bluefish we caught a few days ago turned into this VERY tasty fish dip once we got home. It was some of the best that Eric has made.

I drove the boat after we launched it at the beginning of our get-away and now drove it back to Pete’s Pier to pick up Eric. I’ve yet to drive the boat onto the trailer – but that’s coming soon.

Ginny

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