Well, we sold our house and had less than a month to find a new place and get moved so the electronics install had to go on the back burner. Things have stabilized though and we have been able to make some additional progress.

The old system was all networked with NMEA 0183. SeaVee ran all of that to a bus bar for distribution, but all their pretty wiring was a pain in the butt to pull apart and trace. I was afraid to cut wires without being certain what was what so I traced every one from end to end before removing. SeaVee has all the wires tightly bundled together into several routing channels. Each one is zip tied to a clip screwed to the fiberglass every two inches or less!  I had to clip every one of those little suckers.

The bus bars in the background below are the old NMEA hub.

In the end, I was able to completely remove all of it as there was nothing wired in here that was needed for the Simrad install. Since it’s all Smirad it will all connect through the NMEA 2000 backbone. Much simpler than the old setup.

I built a new aluminum rack to mount all of the black boxes and the stereo amplifier.

Had to go back and fiberglass in the dash where the auto pilot goes. Thought the dimensions were the same, but did not work out that way.

Auto Pilot installed and MFD’s up and running!

Still need to get the transducer in and the radar array mounted.  Can’t wait to get it all up and running.

Until next time, catch ’em up!

EVO3’s Are In

Got the new EVO3 MFD’s mounted in the dash.  What do you think?

With sun covers

Also got the VHF mounted and my indicator for the high water alarm as well as a double USB port.

Still need to install the black boxes, the radar array, the transducer and the auto pilot.  Until then, Catch ’em up!

Time to Do the Gel Coat

So I got the prep work done.

Decided to call in a professional to do the gel coat.  Les Harris with Harris Fiberglass came out.  I was prepared for him to tell me my fiberglass job was a mess and not ready for gel coat, but no.  He said it was good to go and he went right to work.  We decided to go bold and use a different color for the dash.  Went with powder blue.

Les showing off his good work.

Tell me what you think.  When its all done and the MFD’s are in I’ll see if I can do a poll on the color selection.

Until next time, Catch ’em up!

Time to Upgrade

If you like electronics you’re going to dig this.  It’s time to upgrade the electronics on the FN Pair-A-Dice.  It started out with wanting to upgrade to a CHIRP fishfinder, but has morphed into a full on refit.  It’s time to have a system where all the electronics work together seamlessly.

We decided to go with all Simrad.  Two EVO3 16 inch multi-function displays will be the hubs running an S5100 CHIRP sounder with a 2KW Airmar R111 transducer.  A Simrad Halo 6 foot open array radar system with a Precision9 rate compass will help us navigate at night and in bad weather.  To save space at the helm for the displays, we chose to go with the Simrad R90 black box VHF and the Sonic Hub2 black box stereo system.  And to round out the system we upgraded to the Simrad AP44 auto pilot.

We are doing the install ourselves so I will post up here as we go.

The first step was to fiberglass in the holes where the stereo and VHF were mounted.  There will not be room for those with the new MFD’s.

I’ve never done any fiberglass work so this should be interesting 🙂

Solid glass took forever. Decided to core the patch on the hole for the old fish finder and that went much faster.  Used filler over that to get a smooth surface.

Patched over the back for extra strength.  Doesn’t need to be pretty in there.

OK, time to cut out holes and dry fit the new MFD’s.  Looks pretty good! We will gel coat that later and it will look like new.

The debate now is what color for the gel coat.  Match the existing white?  Or do something that contrasts?  Back to you soon with the results of that debate.

Until then, catch ’em up.

Now lets eat this thing!

I forgot the recipe and the “eating it” pictures for that sword.  It was tasty.

The recipe is Sword ‘O Brian 🙂 named after Chef Brian.

Onions & garlic  (optional), dry cured sausage, hot peppers, tomatoes, bright herbs (parsley, green onions,basil, lemongrass coriander etc…) S&P.

Olives – really flavorful ones not mild ones.

Chop into bite sized prices. Pack with seasoned and oiled fish into foil or parchment packets and bake until just cooked through.  It takes a while to get the fluids inside steaming (30+ minutes at 400 degrees), but once they do it goes from raw to cooked very fast.

The finished product:

Plated with some rice and fruit. (Don’t for get the beer).

Almost gone.

A Quick But Successful Swordfish Trip

My buddy Stephen called me wanting to take his new Grady White Marlin 300 out for some fishing.  With schedule constraints on both ends we ended up with a last minute departure at three in the afternoon aimed at a little sunset wahoo fishing and then on to overnight sword fishing.

Things started out rough when I realized I had forgotten the swordfish baits in the rush to get to the boat.  Fortunately we were able to pick up some Baitmasters sword squid on the way out the pass.

We made it out to the edge and put the high speed wahoo baits in the water, but after a couple of hours without a bite we decided to pack up and head south to the sword grounds.  I rigged up a couple of squid during the run.  Stephen’s Grady rode well and has a good bait rigging station that let me work while underway.  Rigging your own baits is a lot harder than just buying pre-rigged, but when you catch the fish it gives you a bit more satisfaction to know you built the right presentation.

Lines in a little before 9Pm.  We picked a spot based on how we thought we would drift and after a bit decided we liked how we were moving over the deep ocean bottom contours.  We sat back and had an adult beverage and some fried chicken and waited.  About 80 minutes in the shallow rod clicked a few times.  We reeled up a few cranks, dropped back a bit, but no further movement on the bait.  Maybe just the wave action?

At about 90 minutes as we were discussing relocation plans, the deep bait rod started clicking.  One click, two, three, stopped.  Hmm.  Played with the bait a bit bringing it up and dropping back and the clicker starts going again.  This time a little more consistent pull so we start cranking and fish on!  Woo Hoo.

Stephen belted up and settled in for the fight.  (Video Link at the bottom of thread) All smiles at first.

But as the fight wore on there were not as many smiles and I started to hear some grunting.  40 minutes in Stephen was putting the heat to this fish with about 25# of drag on the 80W reel.

Some might say that is too much drag on a swordfish, but the fish is in the boat after a 90 minute battle 🙂

Well, at least part of it.  He really did not fit through the door and way too heavy for me and Stephen to get over the gunnel.  We turned him up on his belly and started tugging and eventually were able to get it to slip through the door and into the cockpit.

The fish is a stud.

In fact, it would not fit in the fish box or the fish bag even with the bill cut off.  So, we set about the business of improvising.  Now he sleeps with the fishes 🙂

The happy angler selfie.

With the fish iced on deck and more sword than we could eat in a month of Sundays, we decided to head for the hill.   Got sporty on the way home as we passed through a pretty ugly lightning storm.  Got back in about 3:30 AM and sidled up to a friend’s boat from which we could get some additional ice while we waited for the scales to open.

Weighed it in at 235#.  Cleaned that baby and back home by 8 a.m. That is an efficient trip.

Here is the action on video:

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Until next time, catch ’em up!


Family Fishing Time

The last month has not seen a lot of bluewater trips, but more importantly, it has been time for fishing with family.  Our cup has runneth over with family visits and we have done a decent job of getting folks on the water.

Niece and Nephew Jennifer and Jason got on the snapper.

And the AJ too!

Nephew Will found the bull reds:

Nephew Brian was acting captain leading the next generation into battle.

Great niece and nephew Bella and Charlie taking in the sights.  The porpoise were putting on a show.

Lines in!

And Fish ON!  Good job Katie.  Pretty nice catch for inside the bell buoy.

Brian did make it offshore with me, Logan and John and was stoked to get his first AJ.

John found a stud.

I got a nice one too.

The highlight of this trip was finding a large piling, maybe twenty feet long, floating almost vertical in the water.  It would poke up about two feet and then slowly sink back down below the surface about as far.  Man, it would have made a bad day to hit that, but eagle eye Logan picked it up before it was an issue and we made a few passes.  The p-nut dolphin came out to play so I was throwing a small jig on a trout rod when a wahoo came up and pounded it.  He took about 2/3 of the braid on the reel in his initial run and then the hook pulled.  It was exciting while it lasted.

Radar on the FNP went down so I made the leap to upgrade all the electronics to Simrad.  I am in the process of doing the install now so I will post up some pics of the work and the new gear over the next couple of weeks.

Until next time, Catch ’em up!