Back from the beach

Since I can’t discuss the fishing, or lack thereof, the beach is the next best thing. I mentioned some time back that the beach had totally changed character from soft, coquina sand to gray, fine, hard packed sand – making Flagler Beach the same as Daytona. It’s been that way for about a year but this storm has brought back the soft, reddish sand. I had also mentioned that the surf, which had always featured two troughs running parallel to the waterline, had become a flat beach bottom far into the surf – again the same as Daytona. I’d like to say that the trough structures are back but the fact is I don’t know. Right now the surf is so big that the current low tide level is higher than what I’ve known as high tide in past years. I can only hope that the troughs are reforming but have no way of knowing. I had blamed the fine, hard packed, white sand for the demise of sand fleas and was sure that once that was replaced by soft, shell sand the sand fleas would return. So far that hasn’t happened. I have to get back over here once the weather calms the surf and see just what mother nature has done to my beach.

Thursday – the winds finally calmed, the ocean calmed and the blues were biting. I had a dozen or so finger mullet and a whiting that I had saved from last March and went through all that in a couple of hours. Not a single hit on the spoon but action galore on cut bait. I started a couple hours after the tide starting coming in and fished until nearly high when the weeds shut things down again and was into fish the whole time. I went through more tackle that I ever have – cut leaders, broken snaps,, bent hooks – these are strong fish with sharp teeth. I had to hit the local tackle shop – Big Al’s – to replenish my stock at the end of the day. The final count – 6 landed, more than that escaped by tearing up the tackle, and loads that banged the bait and escaped the hook. They were really not the big ones I had hoped for, which probably explains why the spoons didn’t score, but it was sure plenty of action and lots of fun. Not sure my body would have been up to a full week of this kind of fishing.

Friday – wind shifted to the NW which further calmed the surf and maybe fishing easier – not better but easier. Caught a few small blues and just generally enjoyed the sunshine and the salt air. I was thinking perhaps there could be a repeat of last year when on departure Saturday, all hell broke loose in the surf and I cleaned up on the blues. Not to be. It was blowing a gale directly out of the NE so the surf was as big as it was when we got here and flowing almost horizontal to the shore. So it was impossible to cast and even if I could, no way the bait could hold.

So all in all, this ended up a great week for R&R but not so great for fishing. Did learn one important factor. There’s a place on the beach called the Sea Turtle Cafe or maybe it’s the Green Turtle Cafe. We had noticed a fair number of cars parked there the other night on our way to the Pier restaurant and decided to give it a shot on our last night. Turned out to be good with maybe the best onion rings on the beach and perhaps in the County. We had nothing but seafood all week long and Nancy proclaimed these shrimp to be the best. I had Mahi tacos and they were for sure the best Mahi tacos I had on the beach – also the only mahi tacos I had. They had a very nice selection of draft beer so I can see an evening of onion rings and tall cool ones in my future. The place seats maybe a dozen and is decorated in early 50’s kitchen stuff. Nothing matched so your first impression was that the place was a bit dumpy. I got a clue when we walked past a table where the server was in a detailed discussion with a customer about the wine. It was one of those technical discussions that you’d expect to hear in a totally different environment. Then I noticed there was no Bud Light tap – another dead giveaway that this was going to be an ok place. That was cemented when they ordered an appetizer of onion rings and they brought out what would have been two meals for me. There were also 3/4 pound burgers on the menu.

Windy, windy, windy

It’s Halloween and the ocean is going as a hurricane. It’s been windy but dry. Now it’s windy and rainy. The good thing is that while I’m out there fighting it, nobody else is on the beach laughing at the whack job going as a surf fisherman. I’m starting to think this is going to be a “try out new restaurants” trip.

It did finally stop raining and the wind abated just a bit so the surf became fishable, kinda! The rough water has stirred up the seaweed so it’s virtually impossible to pull a spoon through the surf without snagging seaweed. One calm day should fix that. Did pull something interesting out of the surf – two Publix crates. They were bobbing around between the beach and the surf a few hundred yards down from us and I had to go check it out. I retrieved the crates knowing I will be able to put them to good use sometime in the future. I might use them right away to gather sea weed for the compost pile. I’m thinking if I load them up with seaweed right away, that by Saturday, when we leave, it should be dried out. My problem them becomes getting them in the car which was fairly loaded on the way over without alerting Nancy that there are aliens with us.

Tuesday – stopped raining but the wind picked up. The news says it’s 20 mph with gusts over 30. That’s inland so I think you could conservatively add 5-10 mph to those numbers to fit the coast. Totally impossible to cast if you wanted to – which I don’t. Nancy is playing bridge in Palm Coast today so I am left to my own fancy. Normally I’d take a long walk on the beach but have to decide is it better to walk first with the wind to my back or into my face. If I walk into the wind, it will no doubt be a short walk; if I walk with it to my back, I might go so far, so fast that I can’t make it back. Maybe I’ll just get a book, pour a little red and find a sheltered spot to enjoy. Can’t stay in the house. I love watching the ospreys and pelicans either flying with or against the wind. Against the wind, the ospreys hover like helicopters; with the wind the pelicans approach jet speed.