Monday, July 21, 2014

Great early action, then motor problems

Randy and I had the pleasure of working together on Saturday to guide Zack Etinger and his buddies Nate and Robert. I took Zack and Nate on my boat, and Randy took Robert; and we headed to the same area where we agreed to fish separate shorelines. We left the dock so early that it was hard to see, and I left my Q-beam at home. Fortunately, the sun was close enough to the horizon that there was a slight glow to guide us. When we turned back west, however, that slight advantage disappeared, so I squinted in the dark as I planed through the opening to a westside lagoon, and shut down 200 yards past the shallow pass that was prohibitively shallow for all boats other than airboats and Stilts. Zack got up on the bow and began blind casting, and then targeting wakes that appeared close enough to be discerned in the low light. After a few casts, he hooked up on the first red. And then Nate took over.

It took a while for the reds to begin feeding. That's often case at daybreak: There's a delay and then suddenly you begin hearing explosions all around. We spent almost three hours in the shallow area, where reds continuously exploded on the white shrimp that are starting to mature. There was some tailing action, but the fish were moving around so much that you'd see a tail one moment, and then the fish would shoot away. Targeting the active fish was difficult, but the guys managed to land a few reds before we opted to head east onto the sand. While we were planing across deeper water toward the east side, which was still glassy in the low wind, my oil light came on! I shut down, unclear about the implications since I'm unfamiliar with the Suzuki system. I figured that I was probably safe to continue, but I didn't want to do what I've done before--burn up a powerhead assuming that things were okay when they weren't. So I called Randy, who came over and took my clients onto his Stilt, leaving me to head home. As I got up on plane, and headed toward the ICW, the motor overheated! That's when I concluded that the power head wasn't getting oil. As it turned out, the overheat was probably due to floating grass, and was unrelated to the oil light. After being towed into the County Park, I spoke with my friend Jaime Lopez, who laughed and said, "That was your 100-hour oil service reminder!" Not having read the manual completely :-) I had no idea that the flashing red light was simply a reminder. Well, that's one mistake I won't make again. I've got the manual out, by the way. My bedside reading in advance of three days of guiding this coming weekend.

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