Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Permit Fishing At Night With A Gulp Shrimp?

There are just some things that don't make any sense at all, one would not be expecting to catch a wily, spooky Permit at night in a busy body of water. Now almost all who target Permit know that the fish frequent the flats in the Florida Keys and their favorite meal is silver dollar sized crabs, so to catch one at night in a channel on an artificial shrimp is completely unthinkable. My guess is that Captain Dave had no idea that such a large game fish would be attracted to his choice of bait, time and location, rather, I believe Snapper or perhaps a Snook was the intended goal. Way to go Dave!

Captain Dave Perkins, a Back Country Guide, here in the Keys (Florida Bay), took a Charter out to catch some shrimp, however, on that night the shrimp were not running as expected. After realizing the shrimping was going to be a bust, Captain Dave put a Gulp shrimp on a hook for one of his clients and low and behold the person hooks up a thirty pound Permit and lands it. Included is a photo courtesy of Dave and "Keysmon" who writes a fishing Blog here in the Keys.

Captain Dave Perkins/ 30# Permit

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marshall Sanderlings Of Note On The Florida Bay

As stated in the previous Post, Marshall Sanderlings have been built for fifty years. It is because these little craft have been designed and built to look and sail like their wooden counter parts, sailors such as myself and the others depicted in the following pictures, have chosen Marshall Sanderlings to explore and enjoy the Florida Bay.

Each year, for the past few years, another Marshall or two appear on the Bay, indeed,  we now have so much interest that last year an annual Regatta,  just to include Catboats was initiated. Not only did we have Catboats from the Florida Bay, we had boats that came from Michigan and Massachusetts. This year we expect a greater turnout than last year, it will be a three day event that will include a day of racing, a day cruise on the Florida Bay and a trip to nearby Black water Bay. For more information look at my post archives for a flyer of the Regatta.

Noteworthy Marshall Sanderlings On The Florida Bay

Wavy Davy aboard his Catboat Felix

Roland Barth and his Ibis

Puffin and me

Green Eyes, JC, Rose and Rebel

A History Of The Marshall Sanderling

The Cape Cod catboat has graced the waters of New England since the mid nineteenth century. Originally designed and sailed as rugged yet accommodating work boats, their stout construction and rig could withstand the tough proving grounds of the waters off Cape Cod and beyond.  Strong winds, tides and treacherous shoals demanded a design which would stand up to these conditions, yet sail fast and provide enough room to carry a large payload. Throughout the early years yachtsmen watched these sturdy craft ply the waters with grace and speed in a wide variety of conditions and by the late 1800’s a number of shipwrights were building catboats for the sole purpose of racing. However, by the mid 1900’s, more modern sailing designs had decreased the popularity of catboat racing and more reliable engines had decreased the efficiency of sail boats as working craft. Many people felt that the catboat had outlived its purpose.
Fortunately, Breck Marshall did not subscribe to that theory. In 1962 he undertook an exhaustive study to create a “modern day” catboat that would incorporate all the best features of these historical craft; stability, speed, spacious accommodations, shallow draft and classic beauty. His goal was to produce an affordable catboat with exemplary sailing characteristics and by using the relatively new technology of fiberglass construction, make them easier to maintain than their wooden predecessors. The result of his labor was the Marshall Sanderling.
The early years were a bit rough for Breck. Many traditional sailors were not very approving of the classic catboat being built in fiberglass. Yet he remained persistent. He entered the Sanderling in as many catboat races that he could and was consistently placing in the top three spots and usually in first. Within a few years the virtues of the Sanderling were becoming apparent and more and more orders were placed for new boats. Nearly 50 years and more than 800 Sanderlings later it is evident that Breck’s vision of the “modern” catboat was a success.
With the popularity of the Sanderling on the upswing in 1965, Breck expanded the Marshall fleet to include a comfortable, shoal draft family cruiser, the Marshall 22. Building on the reputation of quality construction and strong sailing characteristics, the appeal of this boat was strong from the start. To date we have produced over 275 of them.
To round out the line of Marshall Catboats, Breck developed the 15 foot Sandpiper in 1972. The lines were a scaled down version of the Sanderling and she proved to be as nimble and comparably stable as her larger sisters. Like the Sanderling, the Sandpiper quickly established herself as an accommodating family boat and the appeal as a one design race boat soon followed suit. In the nearly 40 years since the first Sandpiper was built we have produced almost 600 of them for owners throughout the US and overseas.
In 1976, Breck expanded the lines of the Marshall 22 to create the Marshall 26. The idea was to create a larger cruising catboat with standing headroom. While it did have plush accommodations by catboat standards, the cost of production was very high and some of the aesthetic appeal was lost. Therefore it was a difficult boat to market and only two were produced.
1976 was also the most difficult period in Marshall Marine’s history. Breck’s sudden passing shook much of the good will and customer confidence that he had built over his career.  He was the face of the company and without that recognition, some orders were cancelled and new orders were scarce. His wife, Sarah, and his business partner Bill Pinney were determined to keep the company moving forward and with the help of John Garfield, who was hired in 1973 to help with sales and production, they worked hard to gain control of the operation and get it back on track. Within a year John became the general manager and Sarah stepped back from the day to day operations.
Once things were back on a more even keel, catboat sales became very steady again. John managed the operations very efficiently while continuing to pay close attention to quality and detail. In 1986 Sarah and Bill recognized John’s dedication to Marshall Marine and sold the business to him. His expertise in all aspects of the business served the company well and for many years John promoted the boats admirably. He developed a great rapport with thousands of cat boaters over the years and was always a strong proponent of the camaraderie that exists among the owners of these unique boats.
While I hadn’t worked in the family business, I had been working in the marine industry since the mid 1980’s as a boat builder, rigger, yacht captain and customer service manager at another boatyard. I had also obtained a degree in naval architecture from Maine Maritime Academy. John had been a good sounding board for me during these years and after numerous discussions we came up with an idea. John wanted to plan his retirement and I was looking to own a business in the marine industry. This appeared to be a natural fit and in 2001 I came to work at Marshall Marine.
The idea was for me to learn as many aspects of the business as possible and then purchase it from John.  After five years under John’s tutelage, I, along with my wife Kristen, purchased the company and the business was back in the Marshall family. I am very grateful to John for this opportunity and for all his help and continued support and friendship.
To date, Marshall Marine has produced nearly 1,700 catboats.  My goal is to maintain the same standards of quality construction that Breck set down in 1962 and look for ways we can improve our boats wherever possible.  Constructive feedback from current Marshall Cat owners is always appreciated, and taken into consideration. We look to expand on this rich history and maintain the catboat’s standing as the classic American sailing craft that it is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Florida Python Hunting In The Florida Everglades...An Update To An Earlier Post

This is solution that the Florida Wildlife Commission has come up with to control the invasive Python population in the Florida Everglades. PETA has already added it's two cents, indicating that the Pythons will suffer pain when beheaded. "We expect that the Pythons will suffer pain for at least an hour after being beheaded".
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A python hunting competition starting on Saturday is drawing hundreds of amateurs armed with clubs, machetes and guns to the Florida Everglades, where captured Burmese pythons have exceeded the length of minivans and weighed as much as grown men.
Python Challenge 2013, a month-long event sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is open to hunters and non-hunters alike.
But the idea of luring weapon-wielding amateurs into the harsh environment of the Everglades has raised some alarms.
"I just thought it was as exciting as could be. It's a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity," said contestant Ron Polster, a retired salesman from Ohio whose closest encounter with the swamp has been from the highway heading south for the winter.
Participants pay a $25 entry fee and take an online training course, which consists mostly of looking at photographs of both the targeted pythons and protected native snakes to learn the difference.
The state wildlife agency is offering prizes of $1,500 for the most pythons captured and $1,000 for the longest python.
A Burmese python found in Florida last year set records as the largest ever captured in the state at 17-feet, 7-inches (5.4 meters). The snake weighed nearly 165 pounds (75 kg).
FWC spokeswoman Carli Segelson said the number of registered contestants reached about 500 this week and was growing, with people coming from 32 states.
The stated goal of the competition is to raise awareness of the threat Burmese pythons pose to the Everglades ecosystem. The snakes are native to Southeast Asia and have no known predators in Florida.
The contest also serves as a pilot program to determine whether regular hunting competitions can cull the growing population of the invasive species, said Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife expert from the University of Florida who helped create the competition.
Python Challenge rules require contestants to kill specimens on the spot in a humane fashion, recommending shooting the snakes precisely through the brain.
"I was hoping there would be a lot of machetes and not a lot of guns," said Polster, the retired salesman. He said he worries "these idiots will be firing all over the place."
Shawn Heflick, star of the National Geographic "Wild" television show "Python Hunters," told Reuters that despite the formidable size of the snakes, he expects the swamp itself, with its alligators, crocodiles and venomous snakes, to pose a greater threat to the contestants.
"You get these people going down there, they'll get lost, they'll get dehydrated, they'll get sucked dry by mosquitoes," Heflick said.
Segelson said the wildlife agency will provide training on the use of GPS devices and on identifying venomous snakes at the kick-off event. In the meantime, she said, contestants should be familiarizing themselves with the Everglades environment, just as they should before entering any other strange territory.
Heflick said most of the contestants likely were drawn to the Python Challenge by the romantic mystique of bagging a giant predator. He expects few will last long in the hunt.
"The vast majority of them will never see a python. The vast majority of them will probably curtail their hunting very quickly when they figure out there's a lot of mosquitoes, it's hot, it's rather boring sometimes - most of the time really, and I think a lot of them will go home," Heflick said.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Dan Grebler)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sailing Again, With IBIS

Sail with Roland aboard IBIS,  me in Pufffin
Wind: 12 Kts. ESE
Temp: 80 degrees
Bay:    Light to moderate chop
Sky:    Partly cloudy

Yesterday Roland and I set out to do another around the block, this time with one reef. Destination, to sail out to Nest Key or Duck Key, then back home, a round trip sail of about 14 to 16 miles. After passing through Butternut pass, we noticed that the wind had shifted from the East to SE, that brought about a change in plans. We now altered our course to sail up through the Swash Keys then out to Porjoe Key, through the Pass at Whaleback and then home. I have included a chart of the Florida Bay if anyone wants to follow what our course was. Incidentally, the sail out to Porjoe was all on a Starboard Tack and the trip home past Whaleback was all on one Port Tack. I have also provided some pictures that show Ibis and Roland happy as clams.

The trip home was capped off with a Sunset view, wine and pretzels. It does not get any better than the sail we had yesterday. "Old Guys Rule".

Black line, Starboard Tack out to Porjoe, Blue line Rolands deviation from the course and the Red line is our Port Tack back home from Porjoe
Sneaky Roland, always a trick up his mast.

Roland coming around Porjoe

Getting together for a chat about the sail out to Porjoe

Roland heading home

We are still carrying one reef

We just went through Butternut Pass, in the background

Chasing the Sunset

The end of another sailing day on the Fl. Bay

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sailing with Green Eyes again

Today Green Eyes, with JC, Rose and Rebel met out on the Bay again. Naturally we had to get together and sail in close formation, a tactic that we almost always employ when we get together. the weather was great, eighty degrees and a wind out of the SE about 15 Kts., ideal conditions for a Catboat under full sail as the video depicts. This winter has been one of the mildest in recent memory, great wind conditions for sailing combined with calm days for Back Country fishing. I am certainly getting my moneys worth this year.

JC, Rose and Rebel

Green Eyes

Rebel with his American Flag life jacket
That makes sense, JC is a Vietnam War Veteran

JC and Rebel

Just another Sunset

Friday, January 11, 2013


Often, here on the Florida Bay, one or two reefs is all it takes to sail more often than not. On this day it was one reef that made all the difference between hanging on or sailing comfortably on her bottom. We all chose to sail comfortably, dry and fast.

I hope you can appreciate the water color as much as I did,  depending on your location on the Bay, cloud cover and wind speed all affect the color.

Reef madness

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My buddy, the Osprey

A regular visitor

Owls, Manatees, all sorts of visitors to the Keys, however, there is one guest who keeps coming back for regular visits. My friend is an Osprey who happens to enjoy the vantage point of a tall Norfolk Pine located on the property. He especially likes to perch at the very top and call to his partner,  who  is nesting nearby, ocassionally he brings his lunch and enjoys the view and a meal.

The Osprey

Typical Voice
  • Size & Shape

    Ospreys are very large, distinctively shaped hawks. Despite their size, their bodies are slender, with long, narrow wings and long legs. Ospreys fly with a marked kink in their wings, making an M-shape when seen from below.
  • Color Pattern

    Ospreys are brown above and white below, and overall they are whiter than most raptors. From below, the wings are mostly white with a prominent dark patch at the wrists. The head is white with a broad brown stripe through the eye. Juveniles have white spots on the back and buffy shading on the breast.
  • Behavior

    Ospreys search for fish by flying on steady wingbeats and bowed wings or circling high in the sky over relatively shallow water. They often hover briefly before diving, feet first, to grab a fish. You can often clearly see an Osprey's catch in its talons as the bird carries it back to a nest or perch.
  • Habitat

    Look for Ospreys around nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs. Their conspicuous stick nests are placed in the open on poles, channel markers, and dead trees, often over water.

Range Map Help

Osprey Range Map

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pictures of "Puffin" from "Green Eyes"

The afternoon of the Fly-by, I sailed with alongside Green Eyes, another Marshall Sanderling owned  by a couple from Wildwood, NJ.  Earlier in the day, I saw them head out for a sail and as stated in the previous Post, I set sail shortly there after to meet up with them. These are a few pictures that came  from that encounter. A great wind, and a beautiful day on the Florida Bay.

Sailing astern "Green Eyes"

Ahead of "Green eyes"
Puffin in the foreground, where I live, in the background
After sailing by Roland's earlier, I met up with "Green Eyes" for the view of the Sunset.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

End of the day Fly-by

I was up at 4:30 am yesterday to take Frannie to Fort Lauderdale Airport. We left the house at five as planned and arrived at the airport at 6:45, dropped Frannie off and headed back to the Keys where I was greeted by another outstanding day.

I was working on one of my davits when I saw a familiar Catboat sailing out of their harbor,  instinctively, an alarm went off  and I immediately gathered some things together and went across the street,  jumped aboard Puffin and sailed out to meet the other boat. We had a great sail, the wind was about 12 Kts. and at the end of the sail I decided to do a fly-by of my friends house. As expected, he was there with his camera in hand, this is what he caught as I sailed by.

I am fortunate to have so many sailing and fishing friends down here, it really affords me a great many opportunities to completely enjoy the Keys experience. This is what I had always hoped retirement would be and you can bet your bottom dollar that I appreciate every day that I am afforded. 

Sailing into the inner harbor

Sailing to windward in about 12 Kts. of wind

With the wind from the perfect direction, I decided to do a Fly-by (sail-by) of my friend Roland's Dock

Add caption

Approaching Roland's Dock

To the Starboard is a coral reef which necessitates me to sail close to the shoreline

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Great Fishing Today, Light Winds And The Fish Cooperated

Today, my girlfriend (Frannie) and I went out fishing in the Back Country, although we were going to fish some where nearer home, on our way out I spied a neighbor who looked like he was going to the same place I had planned to fish. So in my infinite wisdom, I made the decision to go to alternate fishing areas, the gamble paid off, big time. Not only were we able to catch fish just to bend the pole we caught big Trout, Red fish and Mackerel.  On our way home we decided to look for one lonely Red fish at our original destination, eh voila, not after a short time casting a Top Dog and walking it home, we hooked up, the result a nice big Red fish. All of our fish were released unharmed, save for two Bluefish that are destined for the smoker.

Photos, did you say photos, of course not, no camera on board. I did, however, take some video before my battery failed.

All in all, the day was fun, Frannie got tan, caught fish and we're all happy.

I will attempt to down load the video.

Picture from two days earlier