Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thompson Trawler 44 For Sale. SOLD

This boat is SOLD.
Thompson Trawlers like this 44 footer were designed and built for the Gulf Coast commercial shrimping and fishing industry and constructed in Titusville, Florida. These hulls quickly became famous for their seaworthiness and durability. Seeing that the overall design would be a perfect platform for a cruising yacht, Thompson built approximately 100 trawlers modified from the deck up to offer yachting accommodations without sacrificing the strength and stability of their commercial cousins. With its stand-up, walk-around engine room housing twin Detriot Diesel 4-53s, this 1976 Thompson is easy to work on and maintain. The main cabin of this trawler features a full head with an electric flush toilet and enclosed shower.  The forward V-berth also has its own head with a shower and manual flush toilet.  Air conditioning and a Follow-Me satellite TV system complete the package and give this 1976 Thompson all the comforts of home. 

There are currently only half a dozen other Thompson Trawler 44's for sale in the U.S. and this one is by far the best value, especially considering its twin diesel configuration.  This boat has a lot of potential and would make an excellent liveaboard.  With a little TLC it will be ready to cruise anywhere.  It's already getting a lot of interest at Cape Regal Yachts and you can click here to see its full listing.  Contact me any time for more details.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Key West Bonefishing, August 2010

Here's a quick photo essay from my third trip back to Key West this year. I fished with two of my buddies Capt. Mike Bartlett of Key West and Capt. Rob Kramarz from Cudjoe Key. Both are great guides and will show you an excellent time on the water.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still More Great News About The BP Oil Spill And Pine Island

Once again, here's another reason that we won't see any oil from the Deepwater Horizons spill that was successfully capped several weeks ago. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Excellent Pine Island Fishing Reporter

Since I'm in Key West all week fishing with some friends here are some even better sources of information about Pine Island. One of my favorite local writers is Capt. Bill Russell who's weekly "On The Water" column appears both in print and online in our widely read Pine Island Eagle newspaper. Capt. Bill is a well respected Southwest Florida guide and his articles always feature very detailed information about what's happening and where. His articles are also full of on site reports from many of this area's other local fishing guides. Everyone I know on Matlacha and Pine Island reads his column regularly and you can also go to the Pine Island Eagle website and check out his archives from the past. Here's a great example from last month that features some great first hand reports from three different local guides, including some great tips on Matlacha redfish: On The Water, July 6, 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Big Matlacha Redfish At Sunset

Matlacha Pass is seeing a great flood of redfish this month. There are even some big schools of tailers on the flats during the lower tides. I caught this 26-incher last night right at sundown on the Indian Fields. It was part of a school of at least 200 other big reds, all tailing like crazy. This fish ate an all white Deceiver and several other where hitting my dad's topwater lure before we finally couldn't chase them anymore in the dark. It was a great sight to see and one that will be more common as the fall approaches.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Flawless Ranger Ghost For Sale

This boat has been sold.  Thanks for looking and click here to return to the main page.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flats Boats Wanted

In addition to being a full time flats guide for the last 15 years I also work with the brokers at Cape Regal Yachts. Their current inventory consists of 100 exceptionally clean motor yachts, cruisers, and fishing boats mostly located here in Southwest Florida.

Flats boats are as popular as ever and have moved well upmarket in the last ten years. It may seem a bit unusual to buy or sell a flats boat through a yacht broker but ther are a lot of reason why you should. Consider the fact that many of these skiffs are easily worth between $30,000 to $50,000 when new and you'll realize that Craig's List might not be the best place to start a transaction like that.

If you choose to list your boat with a broker it will get worldwide exposure on a Multiple Listing Service, just like a piece of real estate. Currently, Cape Regal Yachts sells 20% of their inventory to overseas buyers. If you're the owner of a top end flats boat like a Beavertail, Maverick, or Hell's Bay we might be able to find a buyer in the Bahamas or Caribbean willing to willing to pay a higher price than a Stateside angler considering the current economy. So if you've got a clean, late model flats or bay boat that you'd like to buy or sell, give me a call at (239)565-2960 and I'll answer any questions and get you pointed in the right direction.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Redfishing And PETA

Everyone knows that redfish aren’t picky eaters. They’ll hit everything from cut ladyfish to dry flies, but they really love crabs. Last month I was poling the southern Matlacha Pass just before sunset with one of my regular anglers, keeping Bert’s Bar within sight so Eric and I could race in once the no-seeums found us, when I noticed the water was filled with crabs of all sizes. There were huge blue claws waving defensively at us from the bottom and smaller pass crabs clinging to the struts of my trim tabs. They were everywhere, even paddling along the surface. That’s when the first school of reds started pushing towards us, heads down and tails up, grabbing every crustacean in their path. Eric dropped his hand-tied pattern in the middle of the school and it was clobbered instantly. Ten minutes later we had the perfect 29 inch redfish, his first on fly, next to the boat. When we held it up for some photos we could feel the hard pieces of crushed crab shell packed tight in its belly.

A few days later we watched another feeding frenzy, this time involving dozens of tarpon as well as countless ladyfish and catfish feeding on an acre of bait. In addition to crabs they were busting shrimp, pinfish, the occasional tiny flounder and even puffer fish. It was an amazing sight to see so much food thrown together and the tarpon couldn’t have looked happier eating such a collection of hard shelled, clawed, and pointy things.

That’s when I was reminded of an article that seems to spread across the internet every few years. It was a scientific study promoted heavily by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) declaring that fish feel a significant amount of actual pain when hooked. Some of my tree-hugging friends (yes, I have a few) forwarded that article to me and I read it carefully, thought about it, and declared it total BS. It’s obvious what “research” like that is trying to accomplish, which is to make us think that fishing is cruel. Of course I don’t agree with that notion and I really hate seeing it pushed on non-anglers and especially on kids. Check PETA’s website and you’ll see them unapologetically do this with a very heavy hand. I have absolutely no background in marine biology or neurology of any kind, but I know slanted reporting when I see it, so here’s my totally unscientific take on this subject.

First, let’s go back to the redfish in that photo for a moment. After Eric struck it with the fly it did what many reds usually do, shook its head briefly and slowly swam away from us. The 1/0 hook point didn’t faze it in the least. Only when the line came tight did the fish go berserk. It felt resistance, something totally unnatural, and that triggered its flight response. A metal hook jabbing that fish in the mouth was meaningless, it simply didn’t feel it as pain like you or I would. Don’t believe me? Then here’s a quick test for you to try yourself, again totally unscientific. Go find a live, palm sized blue crab, pop it in your mouth and chew hard. Then, on your way to the emergency room, ponder the fact that redfish do the same thing all day, every day. They eat live, hard shell crabs like we eat Ben and Jerry’s. Except the Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t fight back.

At this point it might sound like I have a problem with the animal rights crowd, and I do, even though I’m with them on a lot of issues. I’m not a vegetarian, far from it, but I detest animal cruelty, especially against dogs. Michael Vick should still be taking prison showers, not making millions in the NFL. I also think commercial whaling is an atrocious and inexcusable act. I love that TV show “Whale Wars” and I keep rooting for those incompetent hippies to finally sink those Japanese harpoon ships one day. Most of animal rights people have their hearts in the right place but it’s the PETA folks that take things too far.

When they pull stunts like breaking into a New York fashion show screaming “Fur is Murder!” and tossing fake blood on the runway models, they’ve lost me forever. You people who do this might think you’re heroic but terrorizing a bunch of anorexic young girls doesn’t make you a vegetarian Rambo, it just makes you a gutless clown. Try this instead if you want my respect. Drive out to the Ragged Ass Saloon here on Pine Island next weekend (you can’t miss the place, just look for all the Harleys,) then go inside and try throwing fake blood on some of the women in there. They won’t be wearing full length chinchilla but hey, if “Fur is Murder” so is leather. Wearing one dead animal is no less cruel than wearing another, right? I’ll sit outside and sell tickets to that one. After the long, hard season we’ve had I could use some entertainment.

I try not to get too philosophical on the subject of fish. They’re magnificent animals and I make my living thanks to them, but I don’t assign fish the same “rights” as a human or consider their “feelings” like those of my pets. I release most of the fish I catch and quickly dispatch the few I choose to eat. And I have no problem putting a hook into the bottom lip of a big red simply because I want a closer look and a photo. They’ll shake it off and just go hunting something else to eat with big claws or spines. They’re fish after all, and they’re a lot tougher than us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mixed Bag From Burnt Store Bar

We've been catching a bit of everything on the Burnt Store Bar these past couple weeks. All the fish in these shots we're hooked on artificials, including the pompano which hit a white Exude. I've been drifting the western side of the sand bar in at least four feet of water between Two Pines and the Burnt Store Marina. That's a long stretch of water and it's all been very productive for everyone else I've talked to lately. As an added bonus there's whitebait everywhere so one or two throws of cast net is usually enough for the day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Key West Slam With Capt. Mike Bartlett

Catching a tarpon, bonefish, and permit in one day is one of the hardest things to do in all of saltwater fishing and my buddy Capt. Mike Bartlett is really good at it. These are some photos he sent me of his most recent Slam caught on Friday with angler Marlin Scott, host of the popular AM 1300 radio show "From the Water." All three fish were caught on spinning gear and live bait. Capt. Mike get the credit for the first reported Slam in the entire Keys this year with one his anglers achieved back in early April. He's based at the Garrison Bight Marina in Old Town Key West and will soon be running a brand new Beavertail Vengeance BT3 flats skiff. If you're headed that way give him a call at (305)797-2452