Thursday, May 9, 2019

Fishing, catching, boating...a great vacation

May 9, 2019—Sebastian Inlet is known as a fisherman’s paradise. All types of species are caught in the inlet, the Indian and Banana Rivers, and on the ocean at the jetty. All types are caught…when the fish are biting.

The desirable species were nowhere to be seen this week. Not only by us, but by anyone. Where are the fish? Yesterday, when we fished at the jetty, we saw only one person pull in an undersized snook, nothing else. We left after about two hours without even a satisfying bite. The most fun was watching a manatee in the ocean. I did not know manatees swam in the ocean, but apparently they are migratory and swim the coastal shore. This was stayed in the same general area the entire time we were at the jetty.
It is difficult to capture a picture of a manatee, because you never know when they will come up for air. This manatee (the grayish blob in the picture) stayed in the ocean around the jetty the entire time we were fishing. The photo is poor but it will serve as a memory jogger for me. I had never seen a manatee in the ocean before.

The lack of snook, reds, black drum, and trout did not take away from the fun we have had. We surf-fished (I caught an undersized pompano); we fished off the pier in the state park several times and caught catfish and lady fish (we kept the lady fish but threw the catfish back); and we fished in our boat, from which we only caught pesky catfish.

Our first boat trip was aborted, because of oil in the cylinder. The second time we launched it (later that same day) we had to cut the expedition short because of trouble with the auxiliary gas tank. After Jim realized what the problem was, he filled the gas tank in the motor itself, and this morning we took the boat out again. The boat and the motor both worked like a charm.
We saw our RV from the river! What fun we had in our Porta-bote!

Our goal in taking out the boat today was mainly for a second “shake-down cruise.” But, we did some fishing, too. Our catch? A half-dozen catfish, and a toadie (a type of puffer fish).
This is a picture of the type of puffer fish Jim caught today. Unfortunately he threw it back before I could take a photo, so I borrowed this one from the Wikipedia on the web.

All fish are edible, but some are better than others. We have cleaned and eaten salt-water catfish, but they are difficult to skin and don’t offer much meat. So, we let all of them go. The puffer fish? Well, we weren’t sure what it was, so we let it go also. Later I researched the species and discovered that although you have to be careful not to puncture the liver (the bile is toxic), the puffer fish (aka toadie) is excellent to eat, albeit that to make a meal you have to catch a lot of them. (They are very small.) Also, once they are caught, they should not be put on ice, rather in water. Ice will make the skin stick to the meat. Apparently, toadies can often be found in shallow water and/or in grasses. It is said they are easy to catch, if you find a school of them. Next time we will keep whatever we catch.

So, what did we learn about our Porta-bote?

  • It meets our needs for right now. We can’t wait to take it fishing in the marshes in Jacksonville. According to the newspaper, many “good” fish are starting to bite, because the water has warmed. We did “good” in buying this Porta-bote and the 5 hp Coleman outboard.

  • It was a lot of fun taking the boat out on the water. It provided a comfortable ride, even in choppy water.

  • We need to make a couple of modifications, such as rigging up a way to tie off the anchor, and using double pulleys to hoist the boat up to the tow-rigging Jim designed. And we have to figure out the best way to stow things on board.

  • I need to modify my stadium seat (attached to the bench seat) to provide lumbar back support, or buy a regular boat seat. Maybe Jim will want one, too.

We have packed up the boat and stowed it on top of the truck. We are both tired, and I think fished out.

Tomorrow we head home.

It was a great vacation.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


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