(FT. MYERS TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Last week proved to be one tough week for locating and catching the large numbers of Seatrout, Reds, Snook, Tarpon, Crevalle Jacks and other species compared to the earlier weeks of September. However, this week should start with stronger tides and high tides providing new opportunities, weather permitting. The wind forecasts are for stronger and changing directions with periodic gusts hampering some fishing efforts complicated by both wind and lots of floating seagrasses. My suggestions will be to avoid the winds by positioning your watercraft to allow the winds to assist with casting and staying against the land providing the most cover from the winds.
The new moon will provide the currents and other incentives to entice strikes during the early morning hours. Off shore will provide opportunities as well, but be prepared to deal with the winds. The shrimps are large and they along with Pinfish and other cut baits should continue to offer the bests results. Fall is in the air and the game species are moving back to the rivers and canals offering terrific opportunities for both beginning and professional anglers.
If you would like to inquire about any fishing or boating needs do not hesitate to contact me at 239-357-6829/239-471-7332 or email me at email@example.com. Check out my websites on www.fishfacecharters.com or www.captainterryfisher.com. Until next week—GOOD FISHING!
Sun Sports Cycle & Watercraft invites you to dust off your Seadoo, Wave Runner, Jet Ski, Tigershark or whatever you have that floats and join them for a group watercraft ride. The ride will start at the mouth of Picnic Island and will work up to Pine Island Sound—making a few interesting stop along the way. All vessels are welcome to join! The ride starts at 11:00 am on Sunday, September 23rd. Please register in advance by email to Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the deal with Jet Boats? Let’s start with what a “jet Boat” is not. A jet boat is not a boat powered by an aircraft type jet engine nor do they have flames shooting out of the back of the boat like a rocket is attached. Jet boats, as they are most commonly referred to, are vessels propelled by an internal high pressure water pump. The pump takes water in from the bottom of the vessel then forces the water, with power from the engine, out the back of the vessel through a shaped nozzle, creating thrust that pushes the craft forward. By allowing the nozzle to swivel from side to side, the thrust is directed right to left to steer the boat. There are a number of different kinds of water borne craft that use this “jet drive” system. Personal watercraft or “jet Skis” are jet drive powered, as well as many other vessels, from small fishing and sport boats to huge ocean going people movers and public transportation.
Why Jet Drive? There are some distinct advantages of the jet drive system, especially to recreational users. First is safety. Because the engine, pump, and all other sharp moving parts are inside the craft, within the engine compartment, there is nothing outside or hanging down in the water to cut or hurt someone. Also because there is nothing hanging down below the bottom of the boat, they can operate in very shallow water without worry of damaging a propeller, prop shaft or outdrive of the other types of propulsion systems that are most common in recreational boating. Next, jet drives produce incredible thrust, which pushes the vessel to a plane almost instantly, and with the short throw steering (only about ¾ turn from lock to lock) turning is very precise, like a sports car.
Personal Watercraft (PWC) or jet skis, waterbikes, aqua sleds and whatever else they are called use a jet drive for all the above reasons and because the engines and jet pumps can be made of light weight materials and configured in a very compact size making them ideal for this type of application. Great acceleration, extremely nimble steering and a compact, motorcycle style package make for a lot of fun.
Thanks for reading the first installment of this column. I will be providing, in future installments, all kinds of info regarding jet drive propelled vessels including tips, care, types of craft, performance and anything else I discover that is pertinent to “The Jet Set” lifestyle. If anyone has any questions or thoughts, I can be reached at Sun Sports Cycle and Watercraft in Ft Myers anytime. Thanks again.
Sun Sports Cycle and Watercraft
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) The water temperatures in the gulf are beginning to cool and come alive with baitfish and the game fish that pursue them. Snook are beginning to move back to their homes in the canals and rivers. Redfish will continue to come out of the mangroves to spend more time on the ‘flats’. Early morning ‘top water’ and chunked dead bait will be a good bet to catch the quality Redfish. Sea Trout are around the oyster bars and the flats, making them easy targets using a popping cork and live shrimp. There are still some ‘local’ Tarpon around in Pine Island Sound, the river and the canals. Most are small, but put up a great fight.
Off shore anglers should continue to enjoy good catches of Grouper, Snapper and Permit so long as the weather permits. One does not have to go as far out to enjoy bottom fishing at its best as the weather and water temperatures continue to cool down.
Until next week; GOOD FISHING AND BE SAFE! If you need or want any information to assist with your fishing or boating needs, I am easily reached at 239-357-6829/239-471-7332 or email me at email@example.com. Check out my other fishing and boating reports at www.fishfacecharters.com
Saturday was a great day if you were fishing the inside of the East Keys. Captain Cayle wacked the Mangrove Snappers and Red fish. Cayle said he had other fish, but it was unreal how big and steady the Snapper bite was.
Capt., Greg had a different kind of day. Greg & Chris headed to the east side. Found a pothole against the side of an island. They started fishing then proceeded to catch every conceivable fish you could fish for in Charlotte harbor; grouper, lady fish, trout, redfish, snook, snappers. Everything except flounder and sheeps-head. The even ended up catching one catfish on what was to be his last cast. After the cat-fish they decided they had had enough.
It was a great trip. End this one on a high note. Putting in the trolling motor, they headed out from the keys, to more open, deeper water. After reaching water deep enough to use the out board Chris went to hit the key nothing, dead battery. Luckily there was a guy fishing on an aluminum boat not far away. They trolling motored up to the guy. Due to a little bit a bad financial luck he had to sell his flats boat and here he was fishing in an aluminum boat, but at least he finally got out on the water. And all he wanted was to catch dinner for that night, but he had not caught a thing.
“Idea!!” How about a trade? A nice 24 inch six and three-quarter pound red fish for a jumpstart. I know you’re not supposed to trade redfish for a jumpstart but this was an emergency. He was able to have fish for dinner, and they were able to start the engine. As it turned out, their lucky day, turned into his lucky day. Not a bad way to and a fishing trip. They did not have a fish dinner but they did not have to push the boat back to the ramp!
Blue gill is the fish of choice, Lake betty or the Coco-Plum water way or 9-mile canal system is slap full of hungry blue gills. All this rain from the tropical systems has provided lots of fresh, cooler waters and the Blue gill are responding. #8 thin wire hook on 6 pound test mono line, 2 to 3 feet under a thin style bobber. Red wiggler worms are the bait of choice. For those of you who like to use lures a beetle spin 1/8 ounce with light browns.
Just as a thought, a nice place to launch a boat for blue gill is in South Gulf Cove. Launch the boat, put down the trolling motor and start fishing to the west, Watch for culvert pipes draining into the canal. The blue gills have been bunched around those pipes.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Wow, what a wonderful fishing experience for those that had the fore-site to go out and fish the days before, the morning of and days after Tropical Storm Issacc! I had the opportunity to fish all of the above with both charter clients as well as with my wife Vicki in the Cape Coral Canals, Pine Island Sound, the back country of Punta Rassa and Matlacha Passes. They all produced great sport fishing for hungry and aggressive Crevalle Jacks, Snook, Tarpon, Redfish and Trout alike. My clients enjoyed violent strikes from both Snook and Jacks on artificial baits. We caught several 17”-22” Seatrout on shrimp under corks and Vicki landed a 42” Tarpon in the ‘spreader’ canal in Cape Coral on her favorite MR 19 Mirro-Lure twitch bait ( the key is to know how to ‘twitch’ it)!
We have a full moon for most of the weekend together with subsiding winds and I cannot wait to get out over the Labor Day Weekend anticipating both great weather and great fishing. I will be targeting Redfish north of Matlacha Bridge, as well as the northern parts of Pine Island Sound to confirm that they are still holding in those areas. All species seem to have been charged up by the dark waters, stronger moving tides, giving the anglers a chance to make unsuspecting presentations.
(FT. MYERS BEACH TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Fishing has been fantastic this week with the higher tides and good weather. Charter Captain’s are reporting lots of Redfish and Snook together with all other species ready for eager anglers to simply make a good presentation.
My 1st Mate (Vicki) and I took to heart some of the above mentioned recent ‘back country’ fishing reports and went out for a few hours today to check them out for ourselves. As mentioned above, the conditions were favorable for an early morning departure to search for new spots. We got an early start and arrived in the ‘back country’ of Pine Island Sound about 7:00 AM, at a location where the tide was high and slack. When it started moving we started catching Snook and Redfish. As the tide went down to the back half of the outgoing we pulled anchor and headed East to catch the last of the top half of the outgoing on the east side of Charlotte Harbor for a lot more of the same. The Redfish pictured here was caught on a ‘twitch-bait’ by Vicki and while I landed several nice Snook.
Depending on Tropical Storm ‘Isaac’, I suggest that one gets out before Sunday, as the fishing will more than likely suffer for a few days after it passes.
If you would like to get in on some terrific September and October Redfish, Snook or other back country species, contact me, Captain Terry Fisher at 239-357-6829/239-471-7332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay updated on fishing activities on my website; www.fishfacecharters.com.
Remove the boat from the lift & store in a safe place.
If the boat can not be removed, raise the craft as high at you can & tie the vessel snug to the lift if your particular configuration will allow you to raise above storm surge levels. Remove the boat plugs so water will drain out & not overload the structure.
If the boat can not be removed & your configuration places you below the storm surge levels, then once again raise as high as you can & secure to the lift. Also secure long ropes to anchor points just in case the surge lifts the boat off the lift, “potentially” this will help it stay somewhat close to your boat lift. Leaving the plugs in or out is up to you, either way your boat will have a lot of water in it.
Once the boat is removed, lower the cradles to the bottom below the water level. This will keep it from swinging in the wind.
If you have a low profile installation, or if the tide surge could reach the height of your boat lift motors, switches, covers remove & store in a dry safe place. If you have a sealed direct drive system you need to remove the gear unit as well. If the gears go underwater, saltwater will collect inside that sealed housing allowing the salt crystals to freeze up the gears. Make sure you lower the cable down to the lowest point BEFORE removing the gear as the cable will free spool back down once the gear is removed.
Tighten all nuts & bolts on the lifts.
Visually inspect the lift before operating again; make sure the structure is sound & square. If the lift has shifted the unit needs to be realigned for proper performance.
Double & triple check the cables to ensure there are no questionable areas. If you see issues do not operate the lift until new cables can be purchased & installed.
Inspect below & behind the boat lift for any debris & clear out accordingly.
Assuming there is a loss of a power a generator can be used but the generator needs to be properly grounded or the motor will burn up. Amps x voltage will tell you what watt generator is needed to successfully operate the lift.
If you do not have a generator, depending on your drive unit type and lift capacity an adapter for manual operation may be available. It attaches to the end of a cordless drill & can raise & lower the boat manually.
Inspect all the attaching hardware on the boat lift, if you see bent bolts replace before operating. Double check that the fasteners are tight & in good condition.
If your lift or dock needs repair contact Stokes Marine for assistance.
How to Operate your Emergency Override on your Automatic Stop
A few weeks ago during tropical storm Debby our area experienced extreme high tides associated with the storm. Many people’s docks and seawalls were under water. A lot of our customers with a remote control and automatic stop called asking how they could raise their boat lifts up higher to ensure their boat would not float off the lift. So here we go again with the possibility of Tropical Storm Isaac coming ashore.
Assuming you have a remote control and automatic stop you are aware of the fact that your lift will only go so far up and so far down as these upper and lower stops or limits are set when the lift is installed and wired. This prevents you from lowering your lift down too far and getting slack in the cables, which creates the need to re-wrap the cables to prevent damaging them and level out the cradle assembly. The upper limit prevents the cradle assembly from being raised too high and hitting the top beam assembly resulting in costly repairs and potentially dropping the boat. These are common problems if you run the lift too far in either direction.
If you are in a situation where you need to raise your boat higher than the limit switch is stopping the lift, you do not have to reset the upper limit. You can simply override the limit switch. This is done by inserting a pencil or probe in the perforated emergency override up hole located on the yellow face plate of the switch box. It is centered in the top third of the face plate just to the left of the up button. Simply insert the probe pushing and holding it against the switch located behind the face plate until the boat reaches your desired height. In order to stop the lift, remove the probe from the perforated hole therefore disengaging the switch.
This same procedure is followed for lowering the lift past the spot that the lower limit stops the lift. Follow the same steps above except you will be inserting the probe in the perforated emergency override down hole which is centered in the middle of the face plate just to the left of the auto stop button. Remember the power to the switch box must be on in order to raise or lower the lift using these emergency override options.
A few things to be careful of when overriding your lift higher or lower than the preset limits include:
Only allow your cables to wrap to the end of the cable winder without double stacking the wraps-do not raise the boat into your canopy or boat house.
Do not raise your cradle assembly into your top beam if you have a lower profile top beam installed.
Do not allow the cradle assembly to touch the bottom or else you will get slack in your cables allowing them to unwind and tangle on the winder.
The long forgotten seacock….yeah the valve in the bottom of the bilge that separates the world’s oceans from the inside of your boat! If this valve has such a BIG job, why is it that most of us never pay any attention to it?
At least four times a year minimum (and best to actuate them monthly) all of your seacocks or ball valves (depending on what was installed in your boat) needs to be “worked” to ensure that the valve is in working order. Additionally, a spray silicon lubricant should be sprayed on the moving parts to help keep working smoothly. If at all possible it would be ideal to check all of these valves when the boat is out of the water. If there is a problem with one of them, then it is more convenient to repair or replace. However, don’t delay opening and closing each ball valve or seacock to ensure proper functionality just because your boat is still in the water. If you do have a problem with one of the valves, it obviously is better to find out when you are at the dock and not 50 miles offshore!
There are several types of these valves, each requiring slightly different care.
First there are gate valves. Let’s hope you don’t have any of these as they are the most prone to fail and have been prohibited to be used byNational Marine Manufacturers Association http://www.nmma.org/ approved boat manufacturers by American Boat and Yacht Counsel http://www.abycinc.org/. It is advisable to replace any of this type of valve at the earliest possible opportunity. It is best to have skilled marine technician that is familiar with ABYC Standards replace the valves. http://www.proboat.com/2010/02/sweating-the-small-stuff/
Ball Valves- Pretty simple for routine maintenance. First make sure that the component that the valve supplying water to is turned off. Now, simply close and open the valve several times to ensure smooth and easy operation. If the valve is stuck either in the open or closed position, you may want to employ a certified marine mechanic to see if he/she can “free” it up. If not, then it needs to be replaced. In the event that a hose or seal fails “down stream” of this valve and it can NOT be closed, it gets to be pretty exciting on board as you have to “MacGyver” a field fix out on the water before your boat sinks! Also, while opening and closing the valve, look closely at the bronze housing for signs of corrosion and/or electrolysis. If it has any pitting or is pinkish in color, have it replaced!
Seacocks- Again, pretty simple and is treated the same as a ball valve (see above). The only real difference between the two is that some seacocks can be disassembled for inspection and greasing of the interior housing and valve assembly. Newer seacocks are designed and constructed in similar fashion to ball valves and are actually a version of a ball valve. Older and some larger seacocks have a cone shaped rotating inner valve assembly that sits inside of the housing. It is held in place with a nut and washer on the opposite of the handle along the rotating axis. When the boat is hauled, the seacock should be disassembled to have the housing and valve assembly cleaned, inspected and lubricated with water proof grease before being reassembled.
When your boat is hauled this is the time to carefully inspect all seacocks. Remove the hose attached inside. Have someone inside the boatactuate the seacock while you are outside looking up into the seacock with a flashlight. Remove marine growth and any other obstructions and insure smooth operation. And finally, completely remove seacocks for disassembly and inspection every four years, which also ensures that you’ll be renewing the bedding compound when they’re reinstalled.
Richard Strauss is a broker with Galati Yacht Sales, and has been around boats nearly all his life. He has a degree in Marine Technology from Florida Tech, and has worked for well-known boat manufacturers as well as operated his own boat repair facility for fourteen years. When he is not busy helping customers find the boat of their dreams or sell their existing boat, he can be found cruising the waters of Sarasota Bay. You can contact Richard at https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-strauss-82425926 or 239-633-5724.