Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay fishing is world-renowned for its quality, diversity, and scenic qualities, whether you’re plugging for striped bass in the Upper Bay or trolling for blues and Spanish mackerel in the Lower Bay. The Chesapeake is North America’s largest estuary, where salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean mix with the freshwater flow of rivers like the Susquehanna, the Potomac, and the Rappahannock. The resulting brackish stew is idea for species like striped bass, bluefish, speckled sea trout, red drum, and many, many more. We’ll discuss how to catch these fish in detail, but first, let’s get a glimpse of what some red-hot Chesapeake Bay fishing action looks like. This video was taken during one afternoon of fishing in March, in the middle Chesapeake, near Calvert Cliffs.

How do most people fish on the Chesapeake Bay? The basic techniques include:

Fishing with cut bait
Fishing with live bait
Chumming with ground fish or clams
Trolling with lures
Casting and retrieving lures
Jigging with spoons and soft plastics

The fishing we saw in that video could be categorized as either casting and retrieving lures, or as jigging with soft plastics. There’s some overlap between these and many other types of Chesapeake Bay fishing– which take place for literally dozens of different species of fish (the Chesapeake Bay Program has an excellent field guide to the different fish found in the Bay). Let’s examine these forms of fishing on the bay in their most basic terms.

Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay with cut bait can mean many things. It might be slicing bloodworms into little tidbits and threading them onto a top-and-bottom rig to catch panfish like spot, croaker, and white perch. It could mean cutting bunker (also known as menhaden) into chunks used to attract species like striped bass and bluefish. In the southern reaches of the Bay, where the water is saltier and more like the open ocean, it could refer to using cut strips of squid to catch fish like flounder and croaker. And at certain times of the year, cut bait may even be used to attract the attention of giant gamefish. Many anglers use cut soft crab, for example, to target black drum– which can grow in excess of 100 pounds.

The one thing all forms of fishing with cut bait have in common? The angler is using pieces of a naturally-occurring food to get a predator fish on his or her line. Fishing with cut bait may be done while casting from the shoreline, while on a boat at anchor or adrift, and is also commonly used in conjunction with chumming (more on this later). Cut baits normally used on the Chesapeake Bay include:

Bloodworms– used for panfish including spot, croaker, and perch, and on occasion, used for larger species such as striped bass or weakfish
Bunker (also called alwife or menhaden)– used for larger predators including striped bass, bluefish, red drum, blue and channel catfish, sharks, and cobia
Grass shrimp– used to catch most panfish species
Herring– used for larger predators, often the same species as bunker
Mullet– also used for these same larger predators
Night crawlers– used in fresher areas of the Bay and its tributaries, for species like largemouth bass, sunfish, perch, and catfish
Razor, surf, and manninos clams– used for fish that commonly feed on bottom, including black drum and in some cases, striped bass
Soft crab and peeler crab– used for virtually any fish in the Chesapeake; just about everything that swims in the Bay likes to eat crab
Squid– used for species common to the saltier portions of the Chesapeake such as flounder or sea bass, as well as croaker, weakfish, and sometimes striped bass

In many cases, such as when attempting to catch monster blue catfish, cut bait is simply cast out or dropped to the bottom and allowed to rest there until a fish finds it. In some other cases, such as when fishing for flounder, the bait is drifted or possibly even trolled at a very slow speed, to attract a fish’s attention. And on occasion (fishing for triggerfish is one example) the cut bait may even be sight-cast right in front of a fish that the angler has spotted.

Since cut bait is very effective and is quite simple to use, many beginners start out by using it. Most of these baits are also readily available at the local tackle shops lining the Chesapeake’s shores. On the other hand, some people shy away from using cut bait because it can be very messy.

Many of the live baits used by anglers who enjoy Chesapeake Bay fishing are the same as ones listed above– the anglers simply gather or buy them live, and keep them alive until they go on the hook. The list of commonly used live baits includes:

Bullhead minnow– used for relatively small predator species such as yellow perch, small stripers, and especially flounder; in tributaries and relatively freshwater areas, bullhead minnow are used for pickerel, crappie, and bass
Eels– used for striped bass and cobia
Grass shrimp– used for panfish like perch, spot, and croaker
Green crab– used specifically for tautog
Mullet– used for virtually all predator species, depending on the mullet’s size (small mullet, called “finger mullet,” are often used for smaller species).
Silverside minnow– used mostly for flounder, often in conjunction with a strip of squid (called a “minnow ‘n squid sandwich,” which is considered a classic flounder bait).
Spot– used for large predators including striped bass, cobia, weakfish, bluefish, and very large flounder.

Live baits may be used with a number of fishing tactics, including casting from shore, drifting over large areas, fishing while at anchor over structure, or even when sight-fishing (most commonly in the Bay’s southern reaches, for cobia). At times, live bait will dominate the action. In the Middle and Upper Bay regions, for example, during the summer season the vast majority of anglers often will put a spot on the hook to try live bait fishing for stripers.

Fishing with live bait is commonly considered one of the most effective techniques used on the Chesapeake, and is employed at one time or another by recreational anglers, charter boat captains, and just about anyone trying to get a big fish on the end of their line. Since it’s so effective, relatively simple to use, and in some cases (such as bullhead minnow and grass shrimp) is available at most tackle shops, many beginners start out by using live bait. The down-side to using live bait? Once you acquire it, either by purchasing it at the store or catching it yourself, you have to take pains to keep it alive.

Chumming is the tactic of grinding or mincing a bait, most often fish like bunker or herring but occasionally razor clams or grass shrimp, and then releasing it into the water to attract fish. Most anglers chum from a boat while at anchor, since you want to remain stationary and bring the fish close to you with the scent and free food provided by the chum. Some anglers also chum from shore, however, by broadcasting their chum as far as possible out into the water. In any case a current is necessary for chumming to be effective, or the chum just sinks and doesn’t disburse through the water to bring in fish from afar. You can learn a number of tricks and tips about chumming by reading this article about Chum Tricks.

Chumming is extremely effective when fishing for striped bass, bluefish, sharks, and sometimes also cobia. Some anglers grind their chum on the spot, but more commonly they will buy pre-ground frozen blocks or buckets of chum. The frozen chum can then be hung from the side of the boat in a net or a bucket with holes, and will disburse slowly as it melts. This can be particularly advantageous as the consistency of a chum slick is even more important for attracting fish than its size or volume. A little bit of chum going into the water slowly but steadily works far better than large amounts that are released haphazardly.

Chumming is a tactic all its own, it’s used in conjunction with fishing cut bait. In a chum slick of menhaden, for example, the anglers will usually bait their hooks with cut menhaden. If the chum consists of razor clams, the anglers would be baiting with razor clam. Those baits will then be set at differing depths with the use of added weight, until the angler determines the most effective depth to fish at.

Some anglers will also try fishing live baits in their chum, and on occasion, casting lures. As a rule of thumb, the chum and the baits are matched because the fish you’re trying to catch can become quite focused on that particular type of food.

Once again, the main down-side to chumming is the mess it can make on a boat. It also forces the angler to buy additional supplies– the chum or lots of fish for grinding– and it requires constant attention to make sure the flow of chum is constant and sufficient.

Trolling is when lures are set out behind a boat, and the forward motion of the boat pulls them through the water to give them a life-like appearance. Depending on the size and speed of the species being targeted, trollers may set their throttles to move the boat anywhere between two and eight miles per hour. Specific types of lures which can provide their own “action” when moving through the water at these speeds, such as lipped plugs that swim because of water resistance, spoons that wobble as they move through the water, or lures with paddle-tails that wiggle back and forth, are most effective for trolling.

Trolling can be highly effective on just about any open-water fish and in some cases, such as Spanish mackerel, regularly works better than any other technique. Many professional charter boats favor trolling since it allows the captain and mate to regulate the appearance of the lures and how they travel through the water with no additional effort or expertise on the part of their customers. In effect, once the lures are set out behind the boat by the mate, all the angler has to do is reel the fish in after it strikes a lure. Tension already on the line, thanks to the boat’s forward motion, will “set the hook” all by itself.

In some areas of the Bay, particularly during the spring trophy rockfish season in Maryland, trolling is by far the most common– and effective– method of fishing. Many anglers also employ “planer boards” which are tied or cleated to a line, and utilize water-resistance to move out 100′ or more to the side of the boat. The angler puts fishing lines on the planer board line, to spread them out and away from the boat. Using this method, some captains may troll two dozen or even more lines at the same time, while trolling for spring trophy striped bass.

Boating Rules to be Aware of

There are guidelines that apply to boats on the water, similar to vehicles on the road. It’s important to learn these guidelines to avoid accident and maintain your safety and the safety of others on the water. This sea yarn is a fun and easy way to help you remember the rules of the road at sea.

Guidelines to keep in mind when two vessels satisfy

– When two power vessels are approaching head on, both vessels should change course to starboard to pass port-side to port-side.
– When two power-driven vessels remain in crossing circumstance on a collision course, give way to the vessel to starboard (right). The pave the way vessel must take early and apparent action to avoid a collision by either stopping or modifying course to starboard.
– If the give way vessel has another power-driven vessel from the Port (left) which does not take obvious action to pave the way, or change course to starboard, then the Skipper of give-way (base on) vessel needs to take incredibly elusive action by either stopping, or once again, modifying course to starboard.
– Every vessel (power or sail) that is surpassing must keep well clear of the over taking vessel. You are overtaking if you are approaching another vessel anywhere in a 135 degree sector at its stern.

Channels and harbours

– All vessels need to keep to the starboard (right) side of any channel.
– Inside a harbour (generally shown on the pilotage limit on the chart) you should keep out of the method of any ship over 500 loads. (which is about 50 metres in length).
– Do not create a wake which triggers unneeded threat to other vessels or individuals.
– You must not anchor in a channel.
– All little craft need to stay out of the way of larger vessels which are limited by their draft to preserve passage and steering within the channel.

When power satisfies power.

– You should give way to another vessel on your starboard. (right).
– If you satisfy head on, both vessels must turn to starboard. (right).

When power satisfies sail.

– Power paves the way to sail unless the sailing vessel is surpassing.
– Cruising vessels ought to prevent sailing in a narrow channel. They have to give way to power-driven vessels restricted in their ability to manouvre in the channel.

When sail meets sail.

– The vessel which has the wind on its starboard (right) side has the access. The vessel which has the wind on its port (left) side must give way.
– When both boats have the wind on the very same side the windward (upwind) boat has to give way.

Boating Repair Tips

Huge or small, standard or customized, every boat needs to be kept. Thankfully, regular maintenance and little repairs aren’t that hard. In the long run, a little elbow grease will definitely pay off.

Wash Your Boat

boat upkeep
The first and most basic job is to wash your boat routinely. If you boat in saltwater, rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water after every trip to eliminate salt residue. Salt will not only wear away metal, fasteners and other hardware, left too long on your gelcoat, It can mar that too. Utilize a long-handle, soft-bristle boat brush and some quality soap. Marine boatwash is best and is developed for gelcoat. Car wash soap is next best and some boaters utilize laundry soap in a pinch.

Modification Your Oil

Just like cars, boats have to have their oil altered. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats need routine oil changes. The frequency will differ by model however an excellent rule of thumb is to alter the oil every 100 hours of operation or once a year.

Regrettably, there aren’t any quick modification oil purchase boats, so you either need to change your boat’s oil yourself or take it to your regional dealership. Thankfully, changing the oil in your boat’s engine is simple and can be done rapidly with the right tools.You’ll require an inexpensive oil extractor pump that eliminates the oil through the dipstick tube. Likewise, an oil wrench and sufficient rags to catch the typical drips. As added protection against untidy oil, it’s a terrific idea to put a taking in pad under the engine, especially near the oil filter.

Step 1– If your boat is in the water, start the engine to warm it up. If your boat is on a trailer, you’ll have to supply cooling water to the water consumption at the gearcase. Do this by placing exactly what mechanics nic-named “earmuffs” over the water consumption. Earmuffs include two suction cups on a V-shaped piece of tubing. A hose pipe fitting at the Vee materials water to the engine. Outboards and some sterndrives have unique pipe fittings for this function.

Action 2– After 5 minutes, turn it off and get rid of the dip stick.

Step 3– Place the oil extractor suction tube into the dipstick tube and slide everything the method until it stops. Pump out the oil. It will stay securely in the pump until you can take it to an oil modification purchase recycling.

Step 4– Hold a rag around the oil filter and remove it with the wrench. Screw on the new one after rubbing oil on the sealing gasket.

Step 5 – Change the dipstick and fill the engine with new oil through the oil fill port– the cap is significant “oil.”.

Boat Repair Tips used by Pro’s

Huge or little, standard or personalized, every boat has to be kept. Fortunately, routine upkeep and little repairs aren’t that hard. In the long run, a little effort will absolutely pay off.

Wash Your Boat

boat upkeep
The very first and simplest job is to clean your boat routinely. If you boat in saltwater, rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water after every outing to remove salt residue. Salt will not only corrode metal, fasteners and other hardware, left too long on your gelcoat, It can mar that too. Utilize a long-handle, soft-bristle boat brush and some quality soap. Marine boatwash is best and is developed for gelcoat. Vehicle wash soap is next best and some boaters use laundry soap in a pinch.

Change Your Oil

Just like automobiles, boats have to have their oil changed. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats need regular oil modifications. The frequency will differ by model however a good rule of thumb is to alter the oil every 100 hours of operation or once a year.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any fast change oil buy boats, so you either need to change your boat’s oil yourself or take it to your local dealership. Thankfully, changing the oil in your boat’s engine is easy and can be done rapidly with the right tools.You’ll require an affordable oil extractor pump that eliminates the oil via the dipstick tube. Also, an oil wrench and adequate rags to capture the typical drips. As included security versus unpleasant oil, it’s a great concept to put a taking in pad under the engine, especially near the oil filter.

Step 1– If your boat is in the water, begin the engine to warm it up. If your boat is on a trailer, you’ll have to supply cooling water to the water consumption at the gearcase. Do this by putting exactly what mechanics nic-named “earmuffs” over the water consumption. Earmuffs consist of two suction cups on a V-shaped piece of tubing. A hose fitting at the Vee materials water to the engine. Outboards and some sterndrives have special hose fittings for this purpose.

Action 2– After 5 minutes, turn it off and get rid of the dip stick.

Step 3– Insert the oil extractor suction tube into the dipstick tube and slide everything the method up until it stops. Pump out the oil. It will remain safely in the pump until you can take it to an oil modification purchase recycling.

Step 4– Hold a rag around the oil filter and remove it with the wrench. Screw on the brand-new one after rubbing oil on the sealing gasket.

Step 5 – Replace the dipstick and fill the engine with new oil through the oil fill port– the cap is marked “oil.”.

Mistakes to Avoid While Boating

Whether you’re a new seafarer or an expert captain, errors can take place. Fortunate for you, a great deal of these “oops” moments can be quickly stayed clear of. Right here are a few of the most typical ones we see, and just what you can do to prevent them from happening to you.

1) RELEASING THE WATERCRAFT WITHOUT PLACING IN THE PLUG

Failing to remember the plug is the most common blunder individuals make. Normally, the excitement of placing in your boat outdoes the thought of placing in your plug. Below’s a basic policy to comply with: don’t assume the plug remains in as well as always double check. If you’re trailering your watercraft, we suggest putting your plug in a noticeable area (tie it to your guiding wheel for instance) when taking it out so you can not miss it when the time pertains to drop it back in.

2) OVERLOADING THE BOAT

Every boat has a capability limit determined by either a variety of people or weight limit. This error is stayed clear of by understanding just what the watercraft’s ability is and managing individuals on board.

3) BOATING WHILE INTOXICATED

There is something to be stated about a watercraft ride while appreciating your favored drink. However, there is a distinction between doing that and also being irresponsible. Much like a vehicle, you can’t run a watercraft while drunked. Michigan’s legal blood alcohol restriction while driving the watercraft is.08 or above. If you’re above that, you will certainly be obtaining a BUI (Boating Intoxicated). Stay risk-free!

4) SPILLING GAS

Nothing is more irritating compared to filling up your boat with a typical 5-gallon gas can only to splash gas all over the place. This is usually the result of a defective nozzle on the can. Easy solution: Security Siphon. Check out the video.

5) FAILURE TO BE COAST GUARD APPROVED

If your summer seasons are spent on the water, opportunities are you will be stoppeded by the sheriff or Coast Guard at some point. It’s common for them to do random safety look at unwary sailors as well as if you do not have the needed equipment aboard, it could lead to a ticket. Do not let this be you! Go here to see what you should be Shore Guard approved.

FYI: There is a brand-new Coastline Guard app that will certainly notify the Coast Guard in an instance of an emergency situation as well as help them locate you on the water. It also works on inland rivers, as the Coastline Guard will certainly notify the ideal neighborhood authorities. Visit this site for additional information.

Top Reasons to go Boating

Boating has constantly been an experience: from the first seafarers that set out to uncover new globes to the business anglers as well as seller seafarers also today who decrease to the sea in ships. The seamen who opened up world trade routes around the Horn, the captains as well as team that battled the globe’s fantastic sea battles, and the birch bark canoe men who were adventurers. Whenever or wherever you take to the water in your watercraft, from a dinghy to a yacht, you are signing up with the ranks of marine travelers of perpetuity. There is constantly an unknown ahead of you– a journey awaits.

Bonding
You can, certainly, boat alone, yet the greater complete satisfaction is in boating with others, bonding with friends and family, and creating teamwork that makes your watercraft go better. Collaborating to leave the dock, racing, travelling, securing, and going back to harbor could increase your life and partnerships. Cruising, perhaps, supplies the greatest opportunity for group structure, yet so does 2 guy canoeing, also pedal boating.

Workmanship
Watercrafts, more than autos or planes, need artisans. There is constantly something to fix or improve on a boat that you should do on your own, not contract for. There’s a crack to heal, or a leak to plug, or a bottom to clean; something to repaint, varnish, or polish, or a busted line (seafarers don’t call them “ropes” see Education, listed below) to splice or change. Probably there is a screw to tighten up or a block to grease. If you have an engine, there might be oil to change or packing to stuff. It is an endless resource of fulfillment for a work well done.

Establishing abilities, knowledge, as well as confidence
There is never ever a day when you will go out in a boat that you do not find out something brand-new or develop a skill. There is never a day when you are not needed to make a decision, frequently promptly, that you have not made in quite the same way prior to. Watercrafts are not as harmful as autos, yet they appear to be. The larger danger in boating is to your vanity, for there are times when wind, wave, or current becomes the master. And also with loss of vanity, as the Maine sage says, comes wisdom. In this way you establish confidence in on your own and in your ability to handle unforeseen circumstances.

Using a Natures Head Composting Toilet

I recently replaced my standard marine head with a Nature’s Head composting toilet. How am I liking it and what have I learned?

Bottom line: we’re really happy that we made the switch, but there has been much more of a learning curve than we expected … and in talking to numerous other people with composting heads, that seems to be the case for well over half of new owners.

We like it for all the reasons we thought we would– no holding tank (ours was tiny), no pumpouts, virtually no smell, and the ability to be in remote places for long periods.
It has taken us eight months to get to this point … and at times we really wondered if we had done the right thing. Did everyone just say they liked their composting head to justify having bought one?
Here is what we wish someone had told us when we first began using the Nature’s Head. Hopefully, it will help others who have installed one or are thinking of doing so.

COMPOSTING MEDIUM
First off, it’s important to know that we’re using coconut coir as the “composting medium” as opposed to peat moss.
– Coconut is easily renewable (it’s coconut husks) while it takes millions of years for peat to form.
– Coconut coir is much more compressed than peat moss, so it takes a lot less space to store.
– Peat moss can come with bugs in it … coconut doesn’t.
Coconut coir has to have water added to it and then be crumbled up before use. It expands tremendously as water is added. Here’s the dilemma: add too much water and you’ll have a foul seepage around the crank handle; don’t add enough and it will absorb water from the waste deposits and expand and overfill the compartment so that the handle won’t turn.
At first we added the amount of water stated on the coconut package for reconstituting it to use in a garden as a soil additive … which was way too much. We were able to find out exactly how much water someone was using for a specific weight brick and were able to extrapolate from there to our bricks:
– We now use 18 cups of water for one 2.75-pound brick. UPDATE: based on some reader comments below, we now use just 1 cup of water per 2.75 pound brick, and initially fill the composting bin about 2 ″ short of the agitator.
– We use the “Beats Peat” coconut available on Amazon and each “brick” (one quarter of the total package) is 2.75 pounds.
– We have learned that it will still absorb some moisture from the waste, and instead of filling the composting bin level with the agitator (as directed by Nature’s Head when using peat moss), we fill it to about 1″ below the agitator. Se update above for new level.
– Sometimes, after about a week, we have to open the bin and use a stick to dig the compost material out of the corners and get it into the mix.
NOTE: We do not put toilet paper into the compost bin. It takes up space and can tangle with the agitator. We never put paper in our regular marine head, so it wasn’t a big change for us.
HOW OFTEN TO CHANGE
We have learned to change the composting medium at about 3 weeks, or 21 days. We’ve tried letting it go longer but frankly, it was pretty nasty to change. Pre-purchase, things we read led us to believe that we ‘d get 30 days between changes.
Now that we’ve got the procedure down and aren’t having to clean up a mess because of too-watery coconut, it takes us about 30 minutes to change it.
COMPOSTING
If you are using the unit full time, it will not be anywhere close to composted when you change it. Even if it is left long enough to compost, it should never be used on food crops.
BUGS
By not using peat, we’ve cut down on the bugs considerably. Anything you read will tell you to use various amounts of diatomaceous earth to get rid of them (see what we bought on Amazon). It did not solve the problem for us and apparently for some others we know in the tropics.
Oh, we still use some diatomaceous earth as we don’t know if the problem would be worse without it, but a friend told us of another product that has helped far more: Rid-X Septic Tank Treatment Packs (Amazon). We use 1/2 of a pack at a time and mix it into the fresh compost when we change it. It’s a dry powder that helps the waste break down faster, the theory being that bugs aren’t interested in the waste once it starts to break down.
VENTILATION
We hooked the vent hose up to our old pump out port and put a mushroom vent on it. Nature’s Head comes with a fan that is wired into our 12-volt system and draws next to nothing. Three things that we’ve learned:
– It’s easy when you lift the seat to remove the urine container to slightly dislodge the electric plug for the fan. Any time you lift the seat, check that the plug is secure and that you can hear the fan running.
– SHUT THE MUSHROOM VENT when underway (also unplug the fan). If you take a wave over it, the water could swamp the compost … and friends who got water down the hose had it cause their vent fan to stop working. (Carrying a spare fan wouldn’t be a bad idea … we’ll get a spare when we’re back in the US.).
– Periodically clean out the vent intake and fan on the seat and on the deck fitting if it’s screened. You want all the air flow you can get.
SMELL.
There is very little odor associated with the composting head, but there can be a little when the compost bin has been open while emptying the urine or when changing the compost (or if you have a problem with urine getting in the compost or too-wet compost). There can also be a little smell when we’re underway and the vent is turned off.
I also use a quick squirt of it in the trash can where the used paper goes. An 8-ounce spray bottle lasts us over a year.
CONCLUSION.
Almost everyone, it seems, has problems getting the coconut/water ratio right to begin with, and most internet sources just give descriptive terms such as “moist” or “not wet” or “quite dry.” Those are all very subjective and we found them not helpful. Even the YouTube videos we watched of someone preparing coconut coir didn’t give a “recipe.”.
Once someone told us their mix ratio, 90% of our problems were solved. It’s also important to use less coconut in the initial fill than peat moss, as coconut swells as it absorbs water and peat doesn’t.
Those parts also cost considerably more than the coconut we use. Dumping urine or changing coconut are relatively quick jobs compared to many of those on a traditional head and, if something else is going on, changing the compost can be put off a day or two.
The benefits of the composting head are tremendous and will pay off for years. We don’t regret switching at all and recommend the Nature’s Head brand (admittedly, we have no experience with other brands). It is so much better than dealing with a traditional marine head … and we now have two fewer thru hulls!

Sail Bareboat Charters in the Bahamas

Resting in the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast of Florida the Bahamas have become a sought after destination for travelers seeking an intimate paradise. The chain of more than 700 islands, both sprawling and shallow, rise from the sea and greet visitors with cays surrounded by barrier reefs and delightful island culture.

Cruise to Great Abaco Island, circled by a number of smaller islands and home to picturesque colonial towns. Billowing sails dot the Sea of Abaco where under the water walls of coral and schools of tropical fish provide divers an excellent opportunity to experience the vibrant sea life at its best.

Fair winds and a peaceful sea are what usually wait for charter yachts cruising through the Bahamas. During the winter months cool breezes from the northwest fill the air and a stronger wind fills the sails of cruising vessels. Routes along the Sea of Abaco consist of short passages and line-of-sight navigation making for a tranquil trip.

It could be the gentle trade winds, the serene beaches or the picturesque villages, but the islands of the Abacos have an appeal that continually lures in travelers from across the sea. Visitors will fall in love with the nautical ambience where shoreside there is no lack of harbors, pleasant anchoring and dazzling ocean sunsets.

The cost? Charters for a week can run anywhere from $7,000 a week in June to a low of $3,000 a week in Spetember. It depends on the kind of boat you desire as well as the time of year.

Catch the Big One on a Ft. Myers Fishing Charter

We are heading down to Ft. Myers FL next month to escape the NE winter chill. Looking for a charter recommendation I ran cross this site. You need to check it out..

“One of Southwest Florida’s favorite past times is fishing. With the Gulf of Mexico as the area’s backyard, the waters here are teaming with hundreds of thousands of fish. There are also thousands of spots to explore in the bays, inlets and sounds that surround the islands here.

From April through June the majestic tarpons migrate through the area from the Florida Keys, in huge numbers, drawing anglers from across the globe. Fishing is a year round sport in Southwest Florida with redfish, snook, snapper, shark, trout, grouper, mackerel and more on the menu.

If offshore fishing is on your radar, hop on board the ultra fast Miss Hayden with Sanibel Offshore where you can also reel in mahi mahi and blackfin tuna.

Because of the numerous mangrove islands, that can all look alike to the novice, along with the area’s shallow waters, fishing with an experienced guide is key for a successful experience.”

I looked at all the reviews and decided to go with Catch Me If You Can charters…

Ft. Myers Fishing Charters

“This charter service has two 24-foot Morgan Boats, perfect for exploring the inland waters and back bays. Docked at a marina found just before you cross the Sanibel Causeway, you’ll get fast access to areas teaming with fish. Arrangements can also be made for pick up on the area’s barrier islands (Sanibel and Captiva) and select resorts. These boats are capable of getting into shallow water and are also good for sightseeing. With a good amount of shade, you’ll be able to fit a party of six maximum. Repeat customers rave about the service and the success they have on the waters, catching all kinds of fish that are keepers.”

I like the bay fishing and not having to waste time heading way out into the Gulf.

Vermont Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

From the SkiVermont website…

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month nationwide, and we know that there is no better place to experience the thrill of learning to ski or ride than in its original state. Here in Vermont, we have some of the best instructors in the world and plenty of terrain for those starting out. Learn to ski and ride month isn’t only for those who have never been on snow before. You can also learn a new snow sport through Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Ski Vermont is once again offering a $49 package for beginners including a beginner area lift ticket, professional lesson and rental in January 2017.

What’s the Deal?

In the spirit of spreading the love of winter to new enthusiasts, the majority of our member resorts will be offering $49 beginner lesson during the month of January, excluding Holiday periods. The beginner package includes equipment rental as well as a lesson with a professional instructor (lesson duration varies by resort) and access to the beginner terrain. Due to the deeply discounted price, we will only offer one beginner package per person.

These packages are for BEGINNERS ONLY and for the 2016/2017 season. See participating resorts with details and instructions for reserving your lesson below. Most reservations must be made 48 hours in advance of the desired lesson start time.

Other Learn-to-Ski-and-Snowboard Programs at Vermont Resorts

Sugarbush Resort
The $49 first timer lesson at Sugarbush is a two-hour group lesson that includes rentals, instruction, and a lift ticket, offered every day during the month of January except Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Sugarbush’s First-Timer-to-Life-Timer Program offers three consecutive group lessons including rentals, instruction, and a lift ticket, followed by a FREE All-Mountain Season Pass – a $1,779 value – to those who complete the program. The First-Timer-to Life-Timer program is offered throughout the season, but during the month of January, the $49 first time lesson can be bundled into the price of the program, bringing the total cost down from $280 to $224.