Monday, March 30, 2009

Second Honeymoon

Almost 25 years ago Tracy and I were joined in marriage. It's hard to believe it's been that long and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

With the recent engagement of our son Matt to his future bride Carly, we were reminded of how special it is to find the person God has prepared for you and to make a life together.

We have experienced the joy of watching our daughter and son-in-law find the same happiness and fulfillment of a happy marriage.

Our union was the culmination of an unconventional beginning but with the love and support of our families it turned out to be the perfect event at just the right time.

I always hoped that as Tracy and I got older, we would find more ways to spend time together and develop interests in things that we could share. Little did I know that somehow it would turn out to be camping in a travel trailer, boating and fishing that we both enjoyed!

When we first started talking about a special way to celebrate our 25th anniversary we thought about the usual things - a trip to an exotic location, a cruise, or some other special get away.

In the final analysis neither one of us was really all that interested in anything beyond spending the time in Matagorda. We hatched a new idea - "Let's buy a small boat and expand our ability to explore the Middle Texas Coast". So the idea for the Second Honeymoon was born.

After some weeks of research and a couple of false starts the dream has become a reality. Here are the pictures to prove it:

We have the lettering ordered. This is a Carolina Skiff J16 with an Evinrude 40 hp outboard.

The center console with a GPS / Sonar combo and a small compass I added.

The power plant has an integral oil reservoir and fuel injection. With no break in and no scheduled maintenance for 3 years, this engine is fuel efficient, has the lowest emissions of any 2-stroke, and the best weight to hp ratio of any engine in its class. (besides that it was on sale!)

The 18 gallon fuel tank is under the console. No oil mixing required.

There are two dry hatches under the bow casting platform.

This view from the bow shows the passenger seat in the front of the console and some rod holders we added. The driver seat is a 70 quart ice chest with a seat cushion and a flip flop back rest so you can face forward for driving and backwards for fishing off the stern.

This shot shows the aerated live well in the rear deck and the battery under the deck.

Here you can see the casting deck, the bow rail, and the socket for the bow running lights.

The live well is fed by a pump in the bilge area and has a valve to adjust the flow.

Matagorda may not be all that exotic to some people and a small boat driven by a novice captain may not be your idea of a cruise but for us it is the perfect event at just the right time in our life.

To all who may read this - May God bless your marriage as you seek His blessings.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break

The weather looked promising for the weekend and we were eager to get back to McNab in the kayaks. It had been several weeks for me and a few months for Tracy.

We launched a little after 8AM on Saturday. The winds had been fairly stiff on Friday but were mostly calm at this hour. I rigged Tracy up with a double shot of Sugar Spice Glow Gulp shrimp on one rod and a crankbait on the other.

I started out with a new Spook Jr. topwater as we fished Oyster Reef Fork.

The chartreuse/silver lure fooled this nice 16" speck and I quickly had one on the string.

This would be a nice start to our supper tonight!

We paddled all the way back to the lake and didn't get another strike. I spotted a nice red crashing bait in the back channel we call Gator Cut. Since Tracy hadn't found her fish yet I tried to get her a shot but the red had other ideas and took off before she got a chance at him.

It was a tougher paddle on the way out as the wind had come up to about 10mph. Tracy took this great shot of my catch with a sky background when we made it back to the launch.

Tracy wasn't ready to accept a skunk for all of her hard paddling. We both enjoyed getting the plastic navy back into the marsh but there were still some fish in the river as we were about to soon find out.

The same lure that had fooled my trout in the morning proved to be the ticket for this fat speck. This one was an inch longer than mine and quite a bit heavier. We continued to thrash the top of the river until dark with a couple of half hearted strikes but no takers.

Here is the Fisherman's view as the sun slipped over the trees.

I finally hooked up one more time on this 14-incher. We will be back in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

"T" is for Topwater

Friday after a field trip to Markham with some of my co-workers, Tracy and I found ourselves at PPRV #7. The weather had been overcast and warm all day with a prevailing SSE breeze. After the fun we had last week with the topwater lures, we decided to try our luck again in the few hours remaining before sundown.

Conditions were right for some big fish to be feeding as there was a late season cold front on the way. This was my first fish and she was a beauty.

Tracy followed up with her own topwater trout. This was a beautifully colored speck.

We were feeling pretty happy with the first two fish caught on the stringer.

This is my "Dream Fish". I told Tracy that the night before I had dreamed of tying on my biggest Super Spook and catching a big trout. I tied it on and made two casts before hooking up with this nice fat speckled trout.

We had eight big specks on the string by the time it got dark. I had the light hooked up and after we at a quick supper, we were back at it catching several specks.

Everything we caught was too small at first. Then Tracy answered the call by adding #9 to the stringer.

We took these to the cleaning table about 9PM. When we returned I kept on fishing as Tracy went to take a shower and caught one more keeper before calling it a night.

Saturday morning the cold front came in with strong winds from the north.

I caught a couple of undersized specks early but for the most part, there wasn't any action on the tops all day. That's OK - We had enough fun on Friday to last all weekend!