Crystal River – 1st 2021 trip!

Ahhhhhhhhh finally back to one of my favorite spots in Florida. It’s been so long, Eric had a lot of work to do on the boat, getting it up to (my) boating standards. Don’t kid yourself – he LOVES working, cleaning, waxing, cleaning, waxing the boat.

Weather had the potential to be dicey, but it looks like any storms will have passed by the time we arrive. Driving through them with the boat on the trailer wasn’t a lot of fun – just saying.

Yeah!!!! I’m back on the water.

We usually pack lunching items while on the boat and today was no different. Our choice of lunch was not the norm………tuna salad – yes, crackers – yes, fruit of some sort – yes, oysters – not usually. Don’t forget the cookies in the upper left corner of the photo. Sit them on top of the deck for a few minutes and YUM, they taste like they just came out of the oven with ooey gooey chocolate chips.

Eric has been keeping some on ice these past weeks from a local purveyor and thought they would be the (perfect) thing for our lunch on the boat. Perfect for who??????

There were enough leftover for a mid-afternoon snack once we returned to King’s Bay Lodge.

Seafood Sellers continues to be our restaurant of choice and dinner that evening had some of the usual items ordered.

Fried tomato chips and grouper sandwich – yum!

If you’ve read any of my earlier Crystal River posts – there’s only one thing on the menu that Eric will order, if available………………..crayfish.

All washed down with a locally brewed beer.

It was a bit chillier the next morning.

Saw this eagle in one of the slow zones we pass through. My photo isn’t the greatest, but if I had the latest I-phone………………think how much better it would have been.

We got a quick photo of me with my first snook – not a keeper.

Before hooking this puffer. LOVE their puffiness.

Each of these keepers were hard-earned: 3 trout and 1 mackerel.

This white egret was very persistent as Eric was filleting out catch. He/she was bound and determined to steal one of our fish – he was not successful.

Always a great day on the water when you catch (keeper) fish and are with good friends.

Eric and I were able to extend our stay for one more day. This enabled us to (1) have one more meal at Seafood Sellers and (2) catch a few more fish – black sea bass (top) and a grunt.

Always LOVE coming to this area and catching fish makes it sweeter.

Ginny

Crystal River – Fall 2020

Yes, we do get Fall in Florida! It’s very subtle. You just kind of know when it’s here. It’s a feeling you get when you walk outside. It takes a few years to develop this ‘sense’, but it’s possible.

I had a chance to tag an extra day onto my weekend for 3 day break from work. We headed west to Crystal River. Love the bay, love the blue sky, love the white puffy crowds and love the water. Yep, it felt great to get away.

We have a new process for getting the boat in the water………..

  • >Drive to Pete’s Pier.
  • >Eric backs the trailer & boat down the ramp.
  • >Ginny (me!) backs the boat off the trailer.
  • >Ginny (me again!) motors the boat to King’s Bay Lodge.
  • >Eric parks the trailer at pre-determined storage.
  • >Eric drives the truck to King’s Bay Lodge and I pick him up to go fishing!

After loading up on drinks, shrimp and ice we motor out to the Gulf. But not before running into these……………paddle boards. Seems like they are taking over in popularity here. You know, I tried it once and I just wasn’t very good at it. Granted I wasn’t sitting down…….

Man! Got to keep an eye on the weather. We saw this before heading out. We had some open blue skies for a bit. Looked like we could get in several hours fishing before it got dicey.

And fish we did! We came in with a m.e.s.s. of fish. Look at those beauties! Eric makes fun when I ‘frame’ the fish with greenery. I think it adds something – so there!

Top to Bottom: Black sea bass, mangrove snapper, seatrout (4), mackarel and grunts(2).

I caught this snapper, a mighty tasty fish.

But let’s see what Adrienne did. Yep, she herself got the majority of the fish. She beat the Dardens!

Supper that night was a mix of fish. Eric grilled the mangrove snapper whole, while I got the black seabass and grunt filets, also grilled. Cubic fries were added to the meal. Not truly a ‘balanced’ meal, but hey we were on vacation.

And just to be sure we were full…………ice cream filled in the cracks. 🙂

The second day we got on the water much earlier and first thing we saw was this boat, looking for manatees. I believe I’ve talked about this before, but if not… numerous tour companies advertise ‘Swim with manatee’ trips in the fresh-water springs. Which also means you have to be careful when motoring through the water to ensure no manatees are hit by your boat propeller. Notice how still the water is? There wasn’t a bit of breeze – yet.

Can I say it? We had a great day! Look at these beauties. The cloud cover was a nice bonus, keeping the temps (relatively) cool.

Eric hooked this redfish early in the morning.

We came back with another great catch for a morning/early afternoon of fishing. A little spanish moss helped the edges of the photo. 🙂

Top to Bottom: Seatrout (2), redfish, mackarel, redfish and seatrout (2).

Eric had numerous ‘friends’ waiting for the spoils after filleting our fishing.

He drew quite a crowd.

He got tired of cleaning fish and asked for a break from cooking. After all, it was such hard work catching all of those fish. We always enjoy Peck’s so off we went for an early dinner.

Eric ordered his dozen steamed crabs preceded by clam chowder while I ordered the ‘fish of the day’ (grouper) with cajun seasoning. Got to have the special onion straws or ‘fish net onions’ as they are called on the menu.

Right behind King’s Bay Lodge is a crab facility and they had thousands (literally, 15K+) of crab traps ready to be dropped into the Gulf. I had a chance to talk with one of their workers and got a mini education. I couldn’t resist a few extra photos. I’m sure they thought I was crazy for taking photos of old traps and buoys.

Our last day of fishing continued to be a day full of fun. That big redfish at the bottom was caught by Eric.

Definitely needed to measure the redfish to be sure it was ‘in the slot’, using the yardstick fish ruler sticker along the side of the boat, instead of the top of the cooler. Rich?

As you can probably guess, there’s a story there. A friend was using our boat earlier in the summer, got stopped by the FWC officer who measured their fish………..and it was short.

We’re coming home with numerous baggies of fish. Eric used his foodsaver to divide up the filets and freeze them for future dinners. We kept a few fillets out and had trout almondine for dinner later in the week. You caould almost see the fish under the almonds.

I couldn’t resist this last photo. This guy had a ‘bad day’. Probably was the storm that hit the coast a few months ago, high water pushing the boat where it ordinarily shouldn’t go.

Always, always, always enjoy our time spent at Crystal River.

Ginny