Simon’s week


Simon stayed with us this week. It was another combination of fun and work but maybe a bit more on the fun side this time. Over the past six months or so lots of dead branches had come down from the trees but with a fire ban in place, the piles just kept getting higher. We finally got some rain and the ban was lifted so Si and I did a major burn of our own. He mowed the lawn one day and between us we ran another 12 gauge circuit from the generator area up by the carport to the house. I had put in a single circuit last year just before hurricane season and it worked fairly well but had some limitations. By running another circuit the capacity will be doubled and should eliminate some of the shortcomings from last season. We did a few light chores in the garden, mostly picking beans but also buried some fish carcasses to fertilize. Si was in charge of catching and I was in charge of burying. We also got some power washing done – cleaning off the kayaks. Bees kept us from cutting jungle but we did set some bee traps and wiped out two nests – at least 50 yellow jackets between two sites.

Simon brought his kayak up with him so we had to make sure it performed well in some of my favorite fishing spots. We did a day on Strickland Creek and a day on the Tomoka River. Both of these waterways are on the coast so we were fishing for salt water fish. The fishing was great – the catching was lousy. Undeterred, we tried our hand at surf fishing and crabbing on two days. On Tuesday we struck out on the beach but caught 14 blue crabs. Before driving home we called Nancy and told her to put the pot on for some crabs. The picture is Simon and Nancy doing the first day’s catch. We went again on Friday and this time made a decent catch in the surf – two nice whiting, a pompano, and a small shark. It was sweet because people fishing next to us got zip, even fishing with 4 rods. The secret was the bait. We were using sand fleas and the competition was using shrimp. They tried to catch sand fleas but just didn’t have that touch. We could tell it was driving them crazy and Simon wanted me to go show them how to catch sand fleas. I don’t think so! When we left he gave them the ones we hadn’t used so he felt better. From the beach we hit Bulow creek where we’d scored well on crabs earlier. We caught 18 this time. Interestingly, the places where we caught the crabs were totally new to me in terms of trying to crab so I have a nice collection of hot spots now and feel fairly confident that one place or the other will produce all summer long. We ate the fish for dinner on Saturday and Simon took the crabs home with him on Sunday – cooked of course.

Each evening we fished off the dock for a couple of hours. We caught a few bass, the biggest maybe 4 pounds; a couple of mudfish which ended up in the garden as fertilizer; a large soft shell turtle; and hundreds of bait size bluegill. Si would catch the bait for me and then feed the pet bass who lives under the dock with the overage. On Thursday night the bass nabbed 8 bream; 7 on Friday; and an unbelievable 10 on Saturday. The fish must hear us on the dock and gets into position next to the ladder. Nearly each time Simon would catch a bream and drop him on the fish – splash, bam, he’s gone. A couple of times he nearly caught the bream in the air. It looks to be about 5 pounds already. I’m guessing he’s in withdrawal now that Simon has gone home.

We had an interesting wildlife sighting a couple of evenings. A pack of 4 baby armadillos has nested right near the house. They are little bitty pinkish miniatures and have no fear of us at all. I had been seeing a large one for a few evenings last week and that must be the mother.

All in all it was a great week. Between Tommy and Simon, I plan on resting up for a few days- they wore me to a frazzle. Having them both to help enabled me to totally catch up on all the backlog of work I had and got me back on track kayaking on the coast.

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