A Guides Day Off

RotneMosquito Lagoon guides Billy Rotne and Willy Le enjoy a day off in their home waters.




Mosquito Lagoon Guides Day Off from Willy Le on Vimeo.

One Man’s Skiff Renovation; Part III

In the paint booth waiting for Awlgrip Primer to dry.

In the paint booth waiting for Awlgrip Primer to dry.

We checked back in Seth Vernon to find out where he is with his Beavertail B2 renovation.  The latest updates include a lot of sanding, laying down some Awlgrip Primer, a lively debate about what new deck color should be chosen, a visit to a local fabrication shop for a custom poling platform, a few modifications to the trailer while the primer dries, some coxcombing on the steering wheel and finally back to the sanding to get ready for Awlgrip non-skid.  You can check out a little more of Seth’s renovation on his blog.


Zane Grey and Bonefish Oblivion

Author and Keys fishing pioneer Zane Grey. Photo: IGFA

Author and Keys fishing pioneer Zane Grey.
Photo: IGFA

Grey referred to the trancelike state sometimes achieved aboard a skiff after hours spent beneath the hot sun attempting to sneak up on schools of bonefish as “bonefish oblivion.”





Fulton Coupler Hinge

Fulton HingeOne of the real joys of small boat ownership is being able to store your rig in the garage.  In addition to keeping it out of the elements and generally taking good care of it, you also have the opporunity to do any necessary and “unneccesary” tinkering in relative comfort.  Trouble is, garages these days are barely large enough to park a car or two in and get out, so getting a skiff in amongst all your other stuff can require a little geometry so the door will close with that all important inch of clearance.  If your rig has a break-away or removable tongue, you’re probably in business, if not, a swing tongue is a great solution that can really make garage storage easier and simpler.   A Fulton Fold-Away coupler is a great solution, it’s a relatively easy install and can create up to a 48″ swing tongue.

Before cutting the tongue off the trailer and realizing I’d forgotten to do something important like pull chase lines for the wiring harness, I spent some time laying out exactly what needed to be done, and in what order.   Measure twice, cut once.  The installation process is very smooth and the tools required are pretty basic.  I used a 4″ angle grinder with a metal cutting disc, a reciprocating saw would work but I found the angle grinder worked really quickly.  In addition to all the standard miscellaneous tools; hammer, tape measure, square, etc, you’ll need a drill (two charged batteries helps) and ratchet that can accomdate half inch bits, a torque wrench capable of 80 ft.-lbs, and a number 55 torque bit which I found at Northern Tool Supply for about $5.   Fulton provides a complete set of installation instructions which are easy to follow and they make coupler kits for a variety of sizes capable of fitting trailers with frame dimensions from 2 x 3 all the way up to 3 x 5.  For this install, a bolt-on style hinge was used, weld-on models are available also.

The tongue before measuring and cutting

The tongue before measuring and cutting, note the location of the wiring harness exit.

After pulling chase lines through the frame for the wiring harness (and then being extra careful not to cut them), the tongue was cut using a 4″ angle grinder with a metal cutting disc.  A file knocked down any burrs or rough edges and it’s a good idea to hit the raw exposed metal with some Cold Galvanizing spray to protect it from rusting.  I also test fitted the coupler and marked the locations for drilling the holes required for bolting the hinge in place.

The tongue after cutting with marked pilot holes for drilling.

The tongue after cutting with marked pilot holes for drilling.

Test fitting with pilot holes marked prior to drilling.

Test fitting with pilot holes marked prior to drilling.

At this stage there are lots of pilot holes to be drilled, 16 in total and it’s easier (and much more accurate) to begin by drilling with an 1/8″ diameter bit and then expand the holes to 1/4″, 3/8″ and finally 1/2″ using the appropriate sized bits.  Now you’re ready to install the thru-bolts and snug them down tight with the torque wrench.

Hinge installed and ready to reroute wiring.

Hinge installed and ready to reroute wiring.

With the coupler hinge in place it’s time to reroute the wiring harness.  I found it easy to keep the wiring harness out of the way by coiling it in an empty 5 gallon bucket.  Note the chase lines draped over the top of the hinge ready to be reattached and pulled back through the trailer frame.  You’ll want to make sure that the rerouted wiring harness has enough surplus to allow the hinge to comfortably open but not so much as to be pinched when you close the coupler for trailering.

The installed hinge in the folded position.

The installed hinge in the folded position.

The completed installation ready for storage and trailering, you can go ahead and slide your skiff into position in the garage.  Now that I can store the boat straight in instead of at an angle, it’s saved all kinds of room and the garage door easily clears.  The Fulton Coupler hinge is available at most quality marine stores for around $100.



South Florida the Top Dream Destination for Anglers

Photo Credit:  State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/266996

Photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/266996

Whether it’s the fish, climate, scenery, guides or the skiffs, South Florida remains the top dream destination for anglers, according to a recent survey by Southwick Associates.

Fernandina Beach, FL – Hawaii, Florida, Texas, California, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Alaska-all offer world-class fishing. And with cold weather slamming much of the country for the past two months and spring still more than a month away, where do seasoned anglers dream of traveling to land their next big one? According to a survey conducted by AnglerSurvey.com, South Florida remains the top dream destination of would-be traveling anglers with 43 percent of those surveyed choosing it as the location they would most prefer to fish if they had the opportunity.

The popularity of South Florida was followed by Costa Rica with just over 18 percent of respondents selecting the Central American country as the place they would go. Next on the list was Mexico with 12 percent, followed by the Bahamas with just over 12 percent and Panama with more than five percent. Nearly 12 percent of those surveyed said they had no preference, while 11 percent said they wouldn’t choose any of those places.  Additional destinations written in by anglers included both salt- and fresh-water fishing locations such as Texas, California, Alaska, Minnesota, Alabama and a handful of others.

While all of the asked about destinations offer superb fishing-49 percent of responding anglers said that was one of the chief reasons they chose their respective dream fishing location-there are other factors that may have helped South Florida edge its competition. In addition to perceived great fishing, other top reasons for choosing the place respondents selected include less hassle to get there with 22 percent selecting that motivation, 21 percent cited feeling “more secure” at the location as a concern and 20 percent pointed to the cost of travel as a factor.

“By virtue of being tropically located, but still a part of the United States, South Florida certainly offers a certain appeal to a lot of anglers not wishing to deal with the cost or additional concerns of international travel,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. “Efforts by all travel destinations to improve convenience, contain costs and hassles and provide a strong sense of security can boost their sportfishing tourism dollars.”

To help continually improve, protect and advance hunting, shooting and other outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and/or AnglerSurvey.com. Each month, participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

About AnglerSurvey.com, HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com:  Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com, HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends.  Survey results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Follow them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/huntersurvey and http://facebook.com/anglersurvey or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/AnglerSurvey and https://twitter.com/#!/HunterSurvey.


Buried Treasure in that Old Tackle Box

A Heddon Midget River Runt, one of the best fishing lures ever made. Photo by Chris Landsberger

A Heddon Midget River Runt, one of the best fishing lures ever made. Photo by Chris Landsberger

Ed Godfrey writes about antique fishing lures in The Oklahoman.  Heddon advertises itself as the world’s oldest lure maker, having started in 1894. The company was started by James Heddon in his family kitchen in Dowagiac, Mich and recently a set of 89 Heddon lures sold for $125,000.

Tarpon Tune-Up Angling Workshop

Tarpon Tune UpLearn the tackle, techniques, and get answers to the questions you’ve always wanted to know about tarpon at the IGFA Tarpon Tune-Up on April 5th, presented by the IGFA School of Sport Fishing and Hells Bay Boatworks.

Scott Deal and Johnny Morris to Speak at the National Press Club on Fisheries Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Congress moving forward quickly to revise the federal act that governs our nation’s marine resources.  Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris will present their vision for managing America’s saltwater recreational fisheries to the National Press Club later this month.

The sportfishing and boating  industries, along with recreational saltwater anglers, are stepping up efforts to ensure that their economic, social and conservation priorities are well represented.

As the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act reauthorization advances on Capitol Hill, Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, leaders in the recreational angling industry and co-chairmen of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, will present “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” at the National Press Club on March 26, 2014, from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

The report, introduced to fishing and boating industry stakeholders on February 13, 2014, at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show, is receiving critical acclaim as an important step toward commonsense saltwater fisheries management. Now, with strong support from the boating and fishing community, the commission is taking the report to the Hill to work with Congress as the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization proceeds.

The Morris-Deal Commission assembled an expert panel of state and federal agency administrators, researchers, industry representatives and economists to promote a proactive vision for saltwater fisheries management. The current Magnuson-Stevens Act does not sufficiently address this important use of our nation’s public fishery resources. The commission’s report addresses recreational fishing specifically and differentiates the economic, social and conservation needs from those of commercial fishing.

According to NOAA Fisheries, 11 million Americans recreationally fish in saltwater each year.  These sportsmen and -women contribute more than $70 billion to the nation’s economy and $1.5 billion for on-the-ground conservation of aquatic resources and habitats.

Who: Johnny Morris, founder and CEO, Bass Pro Shops
Scott Deal, president, Maverick Boats

When: Wednesday, March 26, 9:30-10:30 a.m. EDT

Where: Fourth Estate Room, The National Press Club
529 14th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20045

RSVP to Lauren Dunn, National Marine
Manufacturers Association, at ldunn@nmma.org; or Mary Jane Williamson,
American Sportfishing Association, at mjwilliamson@asafishing.org.


2014 East Cape Lostmen

2014 LostmenKevin Fenn of East Cape Skiffs takes us on a walkaround of a 2014 Lostmen skiff just finished for a new customer.


Students Learn Skiff Building

Students Learn Boat Building

Students Learn Skiff Building

Students in Gananoque Ontario on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River are building a St. Lawrence River skiff as a class project.