Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Look Back

A River Runs Through It aired over the weekend. Of course I watched. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the 1992 film, but it never gets old.
Brad Pitt and Tom Skerritt are the main stars, but the bit players, IMO, pulled their weight as well. One of those is Susan Traylor, who played Rawhide, the rough-around-edges companion of Neal Burns, the loser brother of Jessie, Norman Maclean’s girlfriend.

There’s a classic scene when Neal and Rawhide meet Paul and Norman for early-morning fishing after a night on the town. Who can forget, “Buster here wants to fish.’

The clip has been edited with special effects, but is still worth a look.

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A Forgotten Classic

The inside cover of Fishing The Big Three

Bought a book a few months ago. Actually I had it before, but got rid of it during a recent move. Big mistake.
Fishing The Big Three by John Underwood is a classic. Thirty years ago, Underwood spent a season fishing with Ted Williams in the Keys for tarpon and bonefish, two of Williams’ favorites. The time the two spent together became the basis for the book, which was published in 1982.
Each fish has a chapter. There’s a fair amount of how-to instruction, but the anecdotes are priceless. Williams hated the press, but obviously felt comfortable with Underwood, who loved to fish and apparently that mutual passion led to a level of trust that Williams rarely bestowed.
Underwood, a longtime college football and golf writer for Sports Illustrated in the magazine’s heyday during the 1960s and ’70s is exceptionally talented. A lot of writers can write about what they know, as long as they have a compelling and willing subject. Underwood doesn’t need that much help. His feel for the language and reporting skills leap off the pages.
Williams, he noted, caught black marlin in New Zealand and tiger fish in Zambezi, but his quarry of choice were the tarpon, bonefish and Atlantic salmon, hence The Big Three.
Williams, who spent time in Homasassa, passed away in 2002. This book, no doubt, will sustain his legacy, not necessarily as a ballplayer, but as an angler, which is probably the way he would have liked it.

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Filed under Education, Entertainment

First Day of Tarpon in 2013

Leaving Dunedin Marina Thursday morning

Low winds, calm morning at Caladesi

The tarpon have arrived — not in full force — but enough to get the blood pumping. Despite a lingering case of the flu, I went out Thursday morning. My friend Parker poled around and generated a half dozen chances, but I had trouble seeing the fish in time. I was always late with my presentation and in tarpon fishing, you’re on the move, so you’ve got to get the fly to the fish on time. That means you have to see the fish as early as possible as they approach the boat. Typically, I didn’t look out far enough from the boat. I focused within casting range. If you wait that long to take your shot, it’s too late. Lesson learned.

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Filed under Fly fishing

Behind the camera

Joe relaxes Saturday morning near Gandy Bridge.
Casting platform. Height always helps when it comes to seeing fish.

Spent a few minutes this morning shooting a photo for a story I’m doing on Joe Welbourn for The Drake. Joe makes skiff accessories — casting platforms, poling platforms and push poles — out of carbon fiber, which is super light and durable.
As for the photos, thanks to Joe for his patience while I tried to point the camera in the right direction. A big pat on the back to Steve Parker, who brought his skiff, which provided the perfect setup. I’m not an experienced enough photog to take advantage of everything we had working for us. Hopefully, it’s good enough.

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Filed under Misc.

This Really Happened

Went after tarpon on Thursday. This is what we found when we returned to the Dunedin Marina ramp. Apparently, a driver pulled up to look at the fishing regs uphill from the ramp, got out to look at the sign, left the car in either neutral/drive and watched his new cadillac roll into the water Thursday morning. It took two hours, two two trucks, assorted police and help from a diver before the car was removed and order was restored.

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Filed under Entertainment, Misc.

Dealing with the Wind

Headed out to Fort Desoto to fish the last of the evening ebb and flood tides. The goal, as always, is to get a few shots at redfish tails. The biggest obstacle usually is wind, which makes fly casting tough. The winds are supposed to be light this afternoon, but you can never tell. I hate the wind, but I’m dealing with it. Here’s a video of Shawn Leadon teaching the value of casting angles against the wind.

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Filed under Fly casting, Misc., Uncategorized

Another Assignment

I’m working on a story on Joe Welbourn for The Drake. Joe founded Carbon Marine, a company that makes boating accessories out of carbon fiber, a super lightweight, durable material prevalent in the aerospace industry.
Being the good reporter I am, I wondered about the difference between graphite and carbon fiber. It took a lot of research on the internet and a few more conversations with Joe, but here’s the deal: both are carbon based, but graphite is carbon after its been heated to a much higher temperature than carbon fiber.
So that tennis racquet you have, it’s not graphite. It’s carbon fiber. Golf clubs? Carbon fiber. The fly rod. Same deal.
Over time, graphite has become a catch phrase. In fact, overseas they call it carbon fiber, which is technically correct. In the U.S., apparently we’ve gotten it wrong. So essentially they are the same, but it’s just matter of the timing in the heating process when carbon becomes graphite.
 Below is a picture of Joe after he placed in the Salty Fly this winter.

Dave Preston, left, and Joe Welbourn celebrate.

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A Breath of Fresh Air

 As we head into the heart of 2013, the economy continues to tank, an issue since 2008. Many Americans are losing their jobs and there’s not a lot we can do about it. To survive you have to create your own wealth. If you’re part of the overhead, you’re in trouble.
Back in 2009, Russ Caipen lost his job when his company was sold. I would have panicked. Not Caipen. He gathered all of his fishing gear (kayak included), bought a new pickup truck and took a roadtrip — from one end of Florida (Jacksonville) to the Keys (Key West) — and blogged about it — complete with stories, music and photos.
To access, click on the ramblin’ header on the main page of the blog. It’s really well done and provides a nice change of pace.

Limecider Chronicles

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A New Toy

My casting always needs work, so I got the Redington Form Game Rod, which means I now own in the neighborhood of a eight fly rods. Four for trout, two/three for salt and two minis for practice.
A few months ago, I got the Practicaster from Orvis. Both have their place. The Orvis rod is better for inside the house. Its yarn line can’t do a whole lot of damage.
The Redington, on the other hand, has real fly line along with a 5-foot rod, which casts up to 30 feet. Double haul and roll casts are doable. You can take it outside and work on your timing, if your yard, like mine, is too small for longer casts and bigger rods. Can’t beat the convenience.
The only issue for me is timing. Such a short rod demands a little quicker stroke, something I’ve been trying to break myself of with the conventional rod. Still, it’s great to get out in the yard for quick session when you don’t have to assemble your regular rod and reel. The Redington takes seconds to put together. Overall, I’d say it’s well worth the $39.95 and would make a great Father’s (or mother’s) Day gift.

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Filed under Fly casting

A Change of Pace

Enough about the FWC, tarpon and fly tying. Time for some music. If you grew up in the ’70s as I did, you probably knew Steve Martin as a comedian from Saturday Night Live and the big screen. As I recall, sometimes he would play the banjo. Back then, I didn’t think much of it. I do now. What started as a curiosity in a comedy act has evolved into a career.
Ever heard of Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers? They’re good. Even if you don’t like bluegrass, you have to appreciate Martin’s versatility, which will be on hand May 23 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Check out the clip. Good music, funny lyrics. The best of both worlds from Martin.

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