Monday, February 25, 2013

A Bonnet Head AKA Shovelhead Shark and other assorted fish

My friend Paul and I went out Back country yesterday and had some luck catching a variety of fish. The first was a Bonnet Shark, not being targeted but just happened to hit the lure Paul was casting, then several large Lady fish weighing in excess of two pounds. Next to be boated were a few very nice Spanish Mackerel, three Bluefish and last but not least about forty Sea Trout, of which all but one were released.

Netted, so as not to harm the Shark, Paul prepares to remove the hook

Boga grip didn't work well on the Shark

Say hell to my little friend

Bonnet Shark is also known as a Shovelhead

One of the large Lady fish in these waters

This year the Sea Trout are here in great numbers as are the Redfish and Mackerel, so much so that the Trout season was kept open all year, normally it is closed for a month.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Plenty Of Fish After The Front Moved Through

My friend Paul, from NJ and me went out fishing the past two days and were greeted with mixed results. The first day we caught several Trout, kept only two for dinner, large Jacks, Lady Fish and a Spinner Shark.

Paul and two Sea trout that we kept for dinner

Yesterday,another good day for Trout,  Mackerel, Jacks, Lady Fish, two nice Spinner Sharks, a Bluefish  and the irresistible Lizard Fish.  Paul comes down each year in February looking to go fishing or sailing, it doesn't matter, he enjoys both,  plus the warm weather speaks for itself.

Paul and his Spinner Shark, caught on a Lizard Fish

We did not take either shark out of the water, just a quick picture and released
My Spinner Shark, it was a nice size Shark, especially on light tackle

Paul's Shark


Monday, February 18, 2013

Nest Key movie

Narrated Upper Keys Sailing Club Cat Boat slideshow

More Pictures From The Upper Keys Sailing club, . Storm moves in sailors move out.

Solo Cat boater with an angry sky ahead!

This photo was captured on the way back from Nest Key, the dark sky that developed during the afternoon caused the Cat Boats to tie in reefs and head for home.

With reefs tied in the sailors sailed or motored, in some cases , back to the UKSC.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Upper Keys Catboat Regatta, Day One

Today I was charged with taking nine hearty Catboats and their crews for a sail out on Florida Bay, destination, Nest Key. The day started at the Club with making lunch for the day's sail,  fixins supplied by the Upper Keys Sailing Club. After gathering at the wharf, all the Catboats set out for what would prove to be an interesting day, we had a nice wind around eight Kts. from the NE which propelled us straight toward intended goal. There were Marshall Sanderlings, a Menger, a Handy Cat, a Marshall Sandpiper, a Sea Pearl and even a beautifully built home made Cat. The sail out was uneventful save for a bit of rain, that only lasted for a few minutes. For the most part the little fleet stayed together, after all, this was not a race but rather a relaxed expedition to enjoy each others company and to enjoy what the Florida Bay has to offer, beautiful scenery.

Home made Cat from Va.

Roland and friend Jeoff

Sea Pearl and Felix in the Background

Wavy Davy's Felix and crew

We all arrived at Nest Key and anchored in the Lee, The water was shallow with a sandy bottom, affording all with a chance to enjoy walking from boat to boat while enjoying our lunches and perhaps a beer or two, my crew just had water. Poor planning on my part. All was good, there was much laughter, sharing stories about the sail and getting to know fellow Catboater's from different areas of the Country. All was good,  until when someone looked to the North and saw an angry sky that was making it's way toward us, you could see the rain, impending wind and just imagine how this normally tranquil sea was going to be transformed. Single and some double reefs were quickly tied in,  then in just a moments time were were all off, all with one goal in mind, get to a safe harbor before the worst.

A anchor, Nest Key

Sea Pearl and her crew

Talking Catboats

Puffin and Paul Smith

A gathering of nine Catboats at Nest Key, tomorrow the Nunsuch Cat's  race, 25-30  Kts. expected


Sanderling's and Sandpiper's, one lonely Menger rounds out the field

An angry sky is forming to the North

Alice, a Handy Cat

Charlie and Sally's A-Lee



For my boat and crew, we tied in just one reef, could have used two but we managed quite well, sometimes surfing down a newly created roller coaster and other times racing along in excess of seven to eight Kts. Arriving at our little harbor, nothing remained except to round up and drop the sail, like clock work that's what happened and a few minutes later we were safely tied up to the dock and the adventure was over until the next time. Sorry there are no pictures of the sail home, by the seat of our pants, life was too busy to fool with cameras.

Paul Smith arrived from NJ to attend the celebration. Paul is a Boat builder for Beaton's Boat Works.

Al Dwars hails from Wisconsin, a retired Navy Meteorologist

Paul and Al enjoying the sail out to Nest Key

One hour later we were all at the Club reliving the day, sharing stories how each boat managed the various changes during the day. Naturally, the sail home was the predominant story, everyone survived and lived to talk about it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Results of the first Florida Python Hunt...Python's won


  • William DeShazer/Staff
A 13 foot and 85 pound Burmese python lays out in the open for the public to see during the kickoff of the 2013 Python Challenge at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center on Saturday Jan. 12, 2013. Almost 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida.
    William DeShazer/Staff A 13 foot and 85 pound Burmese python lays out in the open for the public to see during the kickoff of the 2013 Python Challenge at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center on Saturday Jan. 12, 2013. Almost 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida.
    —They had guns, machetes and good intentions.
    That wasn't enough for most of the 1,500 snake chasers who signed up for Florida's month-long Burmese python hunt, which ends at midnight today.
    Heading into the final weekend of the state's Python Challenge, just 50 of the nonnative, nonvenomous constrictors had been wrestled out of the marshes and hammocks of the Everglades and Big Cypress swamp.
    "The way they were talking, I would have thought there would be a lot more than that," said Naples auto mechanic Harold Clark, 49, who tried twice with his nephew, Tom Clark, 37, of Sarasota, to catch and kill a python. "I saw nothing but alligators and birds."
    Scientists have estimated the South Florida python population at anywhere from tens of thousands to more than 100,000. The snakes, thought to be escapees from breeding plants or unwanted pets, pose a threat to native species and to an ecosystem that taxpayers are spending billions of dollars to restore.
    The hunt, which kicked off Jan. 12, has had amateurs and experts from 38 states and one Canadian province scouring roadsides, levees, canals and tree islands accessible only by airboat — and has left them scratching their heads.
    "This has really been an unprecedented amount of effort to catch Burmese pythons," said Carli Segelson, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which sponsored the hunt.
    She said the Conservation Commission will survey hunters who signed up to see how many times they went out and for how long to get a better idea of the effort.
    The low kill rate doesn't necessarily mean the python problem has been oversold, Segelson said. Pythons are well-camouflaged and live in areas that are difficult to access. Besides that, Everglades National Park, the epicenter of the python invasion, is off-limits to hunting.
    Some hunters theorized that warm temperatures during the hunt kept their quarry concealed rather than out in the open or on roads sunning themselves to warm up after a chill. Trapping wasn't allowed because of the risk to native wildlife.
    While the hunt might not have made much of a dent in the python population, it attracted a ton of attention around the world and helped raise awareness about the problems posed by invasive species, she said.
    "We're very pleased with how it's gone," Segelson said.
    Some feared turning hordes of weapon-toting humans loose in unfamiliar Everglades territory, but reports of lost or injured snake hunters have been as scarce as the pythons.
    Two men, 22 and 25, from Tennessee had to be rescued in western Broward County after they became disoriented and stranded while python hunting. They were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration.
    The University of Florida, which is collecting the captured snakes, isn't releasing details of who has done the catching, the size of the snakes caught or where they've been found until a closing event Feb. 16 at Zoo Miami.
    "We haven't been surprised," said University of Florida biologist Frank Mazzotti, who is compiling the results.
    The professional python hunter and amateur that catches the most pythons will each win $1,500, and $1,000 will go to the hunter who catches the longest python.
    Hunters had 24 hours to drop off their dead python at a collection station along with a data sheet that shows the snake's size, the GPS location where it was caught and the sort of habitat where it was found. They are able to get the snake back for its skin.
    As for whether there will be a second Python Challenge, that is yet to be determined, said Segelson, with the Conservation Commission.
    Clark's python hunting days are behind him.
    "It seems pointless," he said.