I just got back in town around midnight last night from New York with some striper images, something I have never fished for. Here are some images for you guys this morning.
The weather was great 50′s at night and low 70′s during the day. Even coming from Florida, I could still walk around in shorts and T-shirt during the day up there.
A bit more of a write up today when I get done with some catching up.
Where are we staying,what are we doing, where are we eating? Common questions we faced on a daily basis. For most people who prefer a rigid schedule of planned events, well this trip would not have been for you. We all packed light and were very flexible for whatever sounded fun. Looking back it’s hard to believe we were able to fit as much as we did into a week. A couple of days and nights touring and partying in Old San Juan, followed by a mountain top hike through the El Yunque rain forest. A short drive to Farjardo and a $2 ferry we found ourselves in Vieques. Being friendly to the locals while waiting for the ferry managed to get us a hookup on a taxi, hotel, biolumenscent bay trip, and the infamous scooters. Cruising the island we felt like members of the Hell’s Angels, but in reality we probably looked more like we belonged in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. After two days of exploring and searching out the baby tarpon we decided to head back to Puerto Rico and go zip-lining and tour the Bacardi factory. One last adventure was to go see Arecebo (world’s largest radio telescope).
For me the two best parts of the trip were the new moon trip to Bioluminescent bay. Watching the fish run away from the boat looked like shooting stars under the water. However it was too dark for photos and video, the images I’ll forever hold in my memory. The other was the the scooter rentals. A mere $40 and you kept the thing overnight. We raced, explored, crashed, toured, crashed some more. Even had the police pull us over but those secrets will remain on the island.
Here are a few photos from along the way. I’m sure Sam will complete his “part 2″ for a more detailed description of the trip.
Prior to this trip, the most popular fact I knew about Puerto Rico was that Ricky Martin was from there. I do know, from friends and research was that no passport was needed and it was cheap to get there.
Normally when I travel it is because of work or a writer’s event of some sort. Trips like of this sort there is an agenda and schedule to follow. This leaves very little time to actually enjoy the environment and culture. Don’t get me wrong it is still enjoyable but many times I leave wondering what you have missed.
On this trip I wanted to visit a place with zero agenda. Just me and a few buddies hanging out and doing whatever we felt like doing. I took two fly rod, minimal camera gear and some clothes.
The ticket cost was only $200 from Tampa, Fl. Using priceline we were able to book hotels and a rental car. Prices for hotels and rental car was very comparable to the States. Though the gas was sold in liters the prices came out pretty darn close to the states as well.
To make things even easier, most everyone there spoke at least some English which made life easier for us gringo.
The first day we got there about noon. Just enough time for us to enjoy lunch, unpack, enjoy the pool scene at the hotel. That night we visited Old San Juan. Old San Juan was filled with color ful historic buildings. Similar to when I visited Panama a couple years ago. The streets were clean and there plenty of restaurant and shots to browse along the narrow walk ways.
Along with local shops, you will see many familiar sights, including a Starbux, ColdStone creamery, and a Walgreens. Obviously we opted to eat Puerto Rican food the first night. We stopped a popular place called Mojito and I believe everyone enjoyed the local disk called mofungo.
Mofongo is generally made from fried green plantains which are mashed together in a pilón (which is a wooden mortar and pestle), with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon. It is often filled with vegetables, chicken, crab, shrimp, or beef and is often served with fried meat and chicken broth soup. Mofongo relleno is mofongo stuffed with stewed beef, pork, chicken or seafood, with stewed sauce poured over.
We were exhausted from the day’s travel. After some gambling at the hotel everyone pretty much went to bed a bit early that night.
Day two took us back to Old San Juan but this time it was to visit the seaside historic Spanish fort. We got there around 10am and walked the streets on the way towards the fort. The cobble stone roads and colorful walk ways made it an interesting walk indeed. Using my Sony Nex 5 I took many scenic shots along the way.
Here are some photos from the walk of Old San Jaun.
Jay trying to get the shot
Whole friend snapper was the lunch. Probably at the top of the best meal of the trip.
After trip through San Juan we drove the beach only to get rained out. We stopped by some road side shops to grab a couple T-shirts and headed back to the hotel.
Coming up, Day 2: the Rain forest, trip to the island of Vieques and the brightest bio luminescent bay in the world.
Took a raodtrip down to the middle keys last week with a couple of buds to chase the silver king. It became apparent that all three of us have a certifiable obsession with this fish that should probably be addressed by a professional. We were really hoping that we would luck up on the worm hatch and we were rewarded with a couple of nights of worm-slurping goodness (thanks Derek Rust for the heads up). Seeing hundreds of tarpon rolling and eating worms all around your boat is an unblievable experience. However, the fish become more challenging to catch during the worm hatch than we had previously thought. The live bait bite pretty much shut down on the hatch and even though we were getting hundreds of shots, we weren’t getting much response from our worm flies. So leave it to some rednecks from SC to deploy the electric chicken jerk bait because it “sorta looks like a worm”. We hadn’t seen anyone hook-up all night at the bridge, but within 5mins of dropping an exude funky chicken behind the boat, we had a nice fish on. For the two nights during the hatch, we did a number on the big tarpon and went through all of our electric chicken baits – who would have thought that dangling a redfish bait behind the boat would put so many stubborn fish in the air.
Was able to stop and stay in Oak Hill, FL for a couple of nights on the way home to fish the Lagoon and see my friend Eddie. We got on a really great trout bite and got to do a little bit of redfishing.
I’m thinking Blake should rock this mustache full time - he grew it for the week of tarpon fishing and said it was his lucky poon-stache - hahaha.
Thanks to Honson, Derek, and Eddie for helping to make sure our fishing was productive.
Capt. Jay Nelson
If you’ve never eaten a soft shell crab before, you need to do yourself a favor and call your local seafood market. Every spring, our blue crabs go through a molting phase and shed their hard shells, leaving behind an entirely soft body. The entire blue crab is edible after the crab has molted – even the legs and claws. There’s very little prep involved…just remove the gills or “dead man’s fingers” and cut off the eyes and mouth with a pair of culinary scissors. Dredge the crab in your favorite seafood breader and drop it in the fryer.
Unfortunately, once spring redfish in SC have had a taste of a softshell crab, they basically go lock-jaw for a short period of time and won’t eat anything else. I will tell you from experience, it HURTS to put a soft shell crab on a hook and fire it off into the sea. However, you won’t find a more effective redfish bait on a spring day when the fish won’t cooperate. Here’s one Carl was forced to feed a crab to this weekend – the crab barely settled to the bottom before this fish came along and roped it. Thank God the redfish are back on a mullet diet and things are normal again – no more fishing with culinary delicacies.
Capt. Jay Nelson
Here is a video and photo of a baked salmon dish I made today. The point of the video is to test out the new Sony NEX-7 camera. This is new mirrorless aps-c sensor camera with interchangeable lense. At 24 megapixel and full HD in a small body you can carry around with you. Here I am shooting at iso 800, 18-55 kit lens. As you can see it looks pretty darn good.
The still was shot with out flash and cropped down from 24MP.
Now for the food part.
Since I’m so A.D.D. I find it hard to keep on task especially when I”m cooking. It’s either under cooked or over cooked. So for me to get edible food I have to use a timer with a temperature sensor.
First I season the salmon with Stan’s Stuff seasoning. Stan’s is made right here in the Florida panhandle. If you have not used it, it is an excellent all around spice. I have a cupboard full of seasonings and this is the one I use 90% of the time for fish, chicken, steak and veggies. It pretty much replaces my salt and pepper for cooking.
- I preheat the oven to 350 degrees on baked.
- I heat the pan on high with some olive oil.
- I then sear the fish on both side from 30 to 45 seconds.
- After putting the temperature sensor into the thickest part of the fish I stick it in the oven.
- Once the core temperature of the fish reaches 130 degrees it’s perfectly done.
- I take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minute so all the goodies stay inside.
I do the same with chicken breast. It is perfectly cooked at 160 degrees.
This is a video clip of us wading for Bone fish on the rocky flats out of Long Island Bonefishing lodge at Deadman’s Cay Bahamas. I would never thought fish, especially bone fish would ever get this shallow. I am talking ankle deep and some places not even.
I shot this video of Glenn hooking up to a tailing bone fish in super skinny water. The fish eventually came off but could not move as he was stranded. It was so shallow his body was two thirds out of the water. I actually thought it was a rock sticking out of the water when I first saw it. Glenn eventually walked over and the fish spooked and swims off in inches of water.
It is one of those stories that if I didn’t have the video to prove it no one would believe me.
This is our first installment of new series of “Chow Low Down”. I hope you guys enjoy it.
Chow Low Down at 717 South Tampa, Florida
Wednesday brought the 3F Adventures crew ( this time tolerating me) to 717 South Howard Ave. in the SoHo district in South Tampa a long time destination for foodies of the area.
Chef Robert Masson was going to be preparing for us a seafood meal that I did not want to miss. “Chef” has been awarded numerous awards in his 9 years at 717 South and is one to think quickly on his feet. His credo is “Keep it Simple” (for a simpleton like me…well that is just fine) though “Chefs” simple is viewed through a Italian Asian fusion. An interesting twist to an interesting man, an avid fisherman and adventurer (just rolled his Jeep 4-wheelin’ that previous week).
My previous visits have included most recently the chicken picatta (served with mashed potatoes of all things – and it was good!).
The Seafood bisque (a favorite of the frequent there)was prepared and was very good. Not your traditional bisque ( a somewhat secret spice is used and once you learn what it is, you’ll go “oh yeah, that was it!” )however it was warm and creamy full of the delicate fruit of the sea.
The main course was what the crew was drooling over pistachio crusted Black Grouper ( Chilean Sea Bass is also used for this dish depending of the availability of freshness and quality) with a white wine/lobster sauce,with Portobello mushrooms and shrimp. The lightly toasted pistachios complimented well the sweet delicate, flakey fresh grouper and conversely it contrasted it in texture. The simple yet flavorful sauce brought out the true beauty of the dish. The shrimp were not tough and dry but rather just firm and tender, and sweet. We all could have eaten more of that speaking to the appreciating of the dish and not to the portion which was ample. The sides were perfectly cooked (not floppy, but with just a bit of crunch) asparagus spears and fluffy white rice that just oooozzzzzed goodness when loaded on the fork with the fish and the sauce.
Finally, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, “Chef” brought to us his now famous in our eyes “Punkin’ Cheese Cake”. Staying true to form and keeping it simple, he only used 7 ingredients if you don’t count the simple graham cracker crust.
It was both Elegant and at the same time homey, served with a dollop of whipped cream with a mint garnish. My opinion of it? Well lets just say that I plan on making that for my loved ones this Thanksgiving (although, I know mine will not be as good as “Chef’s”).
For most dinner entrees you are looking at less than $20 so the outlay to reward ratio is heavily tilted to your favor. At lunch there is a 1/2 Chef’s Daily Sandwich Special & Cup of Cupboard Soup or 717 Salad 8.95.
When ever you are in the South Tampa area or if you would like to make this a dining destination (they do accept reservations but have a well apportioned bar if you would like to “enjoy a short wait). They also have special nights with Tampa Bay area Celeb Bartenders (such as Joe Madden and various artists, musicians and other sports figures) on a regular basis for giving back to the community.
I highly recommend you go. Say “Howdy” to “Chef” and tell ‘em we sent ya!