Planet Now! Boating on Sanibel November 20 2013, 0 Comments

Our newsletter title is a nice pun this time, but it also has some relevance.

Planet 1

First of all, we need to congratulate one of our site visitors, Dan Horner for coming the closest to describing the strange supposed planet pictured in our last newsletter. We got some pretty good - and creative - guesses on what was going on there. One of the best was Ralph Stillman’s who wrote, “The lady who took the picture with the phone in one hand had a bottle of wine in the other hand and popped the cork just as she took the picture. What you see is the cork!!!!!!”  WRONG. But Ralph, you certainly get points for being highly creative. 

The real answer to the supposed new planet came from Dr. Juergen Schmoll, a highly regarded Astronomer and Instrument Specialist at the Centre of Advance Instrumentation in the United Kingdom. (You think we’re fibbing here? We’re not – this is serious stuff – there was 20 bucks on the line!)

Now, here is Dr. Schmoll’s abbreviated answer so we can get on to fish stories: (C’MON, YOU NEED TO READ THIS) “The object on the right of the sun in your photograph is definitely not Venus. It looks to me like a reflection of the sun in a parallel surface, as it is in focus but dim enough that the extend of the solar disk becomes visible without overexposure as in the direct sun image in the centre of the photograph.” (Say what? The Hey Mon needs an aspirin.)

Dr. Schmoll finishes by saying, “In optics design languages, such images are called ghosts. These are very commonly created by parallel surfaces. As glass reflects about 4% of the passing light, and there are two reflections involved, the intensity is about 0.04^2=0.0016 or 0.16% of the original intensity. To reduce this further, antireflective coatings are being used to bring 4% reflectivity down to 1-2%.”

Oh, now I understand! Let’s leave it at a cell phone made the appearance of a new planet through weird reflections when the photo was taken. That’s kind of what Dan inferred with his explanation so, close enough, he gets the 20 bucks. Congrats. And finally, here’s a big tip of the solar system thanks to Dr. Schmoll for providing the true answer.

Planet 2

Based on some of the boat trips we’ve had over the past few weeks, you need make it down here over the next 4 – 5 months. PLANET SOON. There’s just too much nice weather and great boating not to. Here are some goings-on and highlights from the past few weeks.

With the water temps slowly falling, the action on the frenetic Redfish pace has slowed a bit.

It hasn’t stopped the hot Snook bite though. What’s most exciting is they are now legal to be taken again for the first time in years. That gets the anticipation running high even though the months they can be taken is abbreviated. Also, there is a tight “keeper” slot in the Gulf of Mexico zone of 28” – 33” and one allowed per person with a Snook Stamp. That makes this scrumptious eating fish even more rare and sought after. Add to all of this, to catch a Snook of any size is pretty uncommon for most anglers and the fight they put up is magnificent.

The trout action on the flats has been solid with a few “Gators” (over 22 inches) being caught.

Also, there are Pompano in the area that is our favorite fish to eat. I told guest, Bill from Columbus, Ohio, who caught one of these beauties, that he should give the fillets to his crack guide. He happily declined which I don’t blame him. We’ve had much success using 4” tails on various colored jigs when targeting fish on the flats. Our favorite brand is Love’s Lures. Their quality is unsurpassed and they have a wide range of colors to choose from. We particularly like Silver Glitter, Root Beer and White. For a little extra incentive for the fish, we’ll even “tip” the jig and tail with a small piece of shrimp. This can get anything riled up.

Speaking of Bill, I recently had a chance to fish with him and his son, Nick and son-in-law, Chip from Ohio. These three guys were collectively as good at pitching bait into the mangroves as I’ve been with. When fishing the mangroves, the greatest success for hooking-up nice fish starts with having good bait and then making a pinpoint cast. This allows the bait to move under the mangrove roots with the tide movement. That’s often where the big boy or girl fish are hanging out and they’ll smack that bait with everything they’ve got. These Buckeye guys hammered some nice fish that way.

You know, Guides down here will usually talk about “regulated” fish species like trout, snook, reds, gags, snapper, tarpon and pompano, to name just a few. What rarely is discussed are some of the “unregulated” species. I guess the reason is because they generally don’t make great table fare. (You don’t eat tarpon either but they are a whole different story. See one of our previous articles.) However, some of these unregulators can be fierce fighters and acrobatic performers. For example, talk to most experienced anglers down here and they’ll tell you that a Crevalle Jack of size will burn your shoulders off. Lady Barb learned this first hand when she got chomped on by close to a 10 pounder that darn near ripped the rod right out of her hands.  These fish never give up the fight even though they are going get released. Barb fought that fish, away from the boat, near it, under it and all around it before the prolonged fight ended.

And then there are Ladyfish. When they’re in the area, they are a riot to catch. Once hooked up, they usually go airborne multiple times and will also make great “runs” particularly if they are of size. We also keep some of them to use as cut bait for tarpon and reds.

By the way, here is a little fish-catching education to impart when you’ve got one that’s diving under your boat. I watch top anglers do this with precision-like ease. One way to lose a big fish is when your line comes in contact with your boat bottom, engine, swimming ladder, or whatever. Nine times out of ten the line will get frayed or your drag will be eliminated because of a wrap-around. To counteract this, when you see that line heading under the boat, stick for rod down in the water as far as it can go while you still have control of the fish. Oftentimes, and I can’t explain why, this will also cause the fish to reverse direction and come back out from under the boat. Try this technique the next time you have a big one doing this. You’ll increase your odds of keeping the fish on. And equally important, you’ll look cool and impress your friends!

As we all know, Thanksgiving is almost here and the Holiday Season is nipping at Jack Frost’s nose. Here’s one great gift idea. Book an on-the-water outing on the Hey Mon with or for your loved ones, business associates or close friends. You’re bound to score points that will leave diamond, mattress and fruit basket purveyors green with envy.