The Launch



It’s never quite as exciting as the launch of a Space Shuttle, but the boat launch can often be as eventful, as unpredictable, as entertaining, as challenging and even as life changing as blasting off astronauts into space.

My experiences at boat ramps goes back over 60 years. I’ve pretty much seen it all at least once.

When I was young, boats that were trailed behind cars and trucks were much smaller. They were usually no more than 14 or 16 feet in length. They were made of wood, and had a single outboard motor on them, or maybe a single screw inboard in them. I remember the first 20 foot fiberglass Thunderbird Cabin Cruiser my Dad sold to a neighbor, with new twin 1958, 50 h.p. Johnson outboards motors on it. It was huge, and launching it was a whole new adventure.

Back then, most boat launching ramps were crude, often no more than a concrete pads poured out into the water on some sloped beach near the water way. There were seldom docks, seawalls, or cat walks. The process of launching boats back then was more simplified. There was much less ramp traffic, and much less pressure for the unseasoned boater to perform under the eyes of and the scrutiny of other more experienced and sometimes inebriated  boaters.

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In the 1950’s and 1960’s, many good boat trailer manufacturers came out with tilt down and roll on trailers, which made boat launching even easier. My Dad sold Gator Trailers, Magic Tilt Trailers and Seminole trailers, all of which, if set up properly, made launching  boats a breeze. With these trailers, the rear wheels usually never touched the water, but the boats would slide off effortlessly.

As trailed boats grew larger, heavier, and later included three and four engines, trailers became larger and heavier as well.  Tilt style and roll on trailers gave way to the modern float on trailers, with water proof bearings and aluminum frames. The boats no longer slide off the trailers, but must float off and on. Of course that means the trailer must be partially or mostly submerged, which also means the vehicle must much be farther down the ramp than in the early days. Most modern public boat ramps are now steeper, have bulk heads cat walks, and staging areas. Many have numerous ramps where multiple boats are launching and pulling out at the same time.

Especially on holiday weekends, most are over crowded during peak hours, and wait times can be tens of minutes and even hours before launch time. When it’s your turn, pressure is on!

All of these changes and evolving dynamics have made the modern boat ramps a stage for almost any type of human behavior imaginable. From outright drunken brawls, to total humiliation, to vulgar exchanges, and even pure stupidity, it all can be observed on a given weekend at the average public boat ramp.

There’s always the guy who cannot back his trailer straight down the boat ramp. After numerous tries, he’s straddled the middle, taking up the entire ramp, and leaving others unable to launch or pull their boats out of the water, tempers flare!

There’s the beginner, that cannot drive his boat correctly, and bounces off other boats to make his landing. Or the drunk that is lucky to even see the ramp let alone dock accordingly. Both Launching and removing boats can be a source for adventure at the boat ramp. Tempers flare!

You can often see someone fall on the ramp, slide into the water, fall off their trailer, fall overboard, or even fall off the dock. That’s a common occurrence. Often others laugh.

I’ve seen numerous times, where the captain forgets a dock line to secure the boat at launch, only to helpless watch it float away while he stands on the trailer watching. Usually a brief swim is needed to retrieve the boat at that point.

Then there’s the guy that forgets to remove the wench cable from the bow after launch, and who then proceeds to drag the boat back up the ramp when he pulls the trailer from the water.

With many of the large heavy boats today, some vehicles are not able to pull the boats out of the steep ramps, and must be pulled out by other vehicles. This always ties up ramps and often tempers flare.

The most humiliating event is when the vehicle ends up down the ramp and in the water.

If you ever want free entertainment on a busy holiday weekend, most public boat ramps will provide all you need. Just bring a comfortable chair, sit back and watch the action.

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The Ultimate in stupidity!

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A SINGING REEL – HOW SWEET THE SOUND

My tuna in the boat 2The sweetest music to a fisherman’s ears is the tune played by a fishing reel, when line is screaming off the spool, as your prize catch grabs your bait and decides to leave the scene in hast. It is a “Sweet Sound” that only fishermen understand.

Depending on the rod and reel, the type and size of the reel, the size and kind of line used, and the species of fish on the other end of the line, the music is as varied as Mozart and Bach is from hip ho and heavy metal. From the small light spinner, to the Shimano Calcutta 700, to the Fin Nor 12/0, each instrument has it’s own unique tune. They are as varied as the instruments in a full orchestra.

Each species of fish has it’s own unique fight. Some make swift long runs and others just dog the line from the reel. A wahoo will sing a reel while ripping off hundreds of yards of 50 lb. or 80lb. test line at over 50 miles per hour. A blue marlin or large tuna will do the same while pulling 35 or 45 lbs. of strike drag, on 130 lb. test line, from a reel. A good sized bone fish, on the flats, will spool a light tackle spinning reel, or fly reel in a heart beat. A red fish, permit or cuda will do the same. Each has it’s own tune on different instruments. The music is sweet to the ears.

Having fished for over sixty years professionally and privately, I have heard many of those “Sweet Sounds’ over the years. But there is none so “Sweet” as that of of a 600+ lb giant blue fin tuna, strumming a 12/0 Fin Nor, on a 13o lb rod, which is tied to a cockpit fighting chair to keep the rod in the boat. The music is majestic while great tuna is stripping off over 700 yards of line in mere minutes, pulling a measured 45 lbs. of strike drag off the tip of the rod.

At the strike, the boat turns to run with the fish full out at 30 knots. The chair is turned sideways in the cockpit as the boat chases the fish to the Drop a mile and a half off shore, where the fish is headed. The reel sings to a high pitch  as the line is stripped from the spool at lightning speeds. The more line that is taken, the faster the spool spins and the higher the pitch of the music.

The sound of the music increases to a steady melody as the 130lb line screams through gold anodized fin nor roller guides on a now bent 130 lb. class rod. You are strapped in the bucket harness with the harness straps snapped on the ring eyes of the Fin Nor 12/0 which is on the rod, tied in the chair gimble between your legs. You are “In The Air” as the power of the great fish has lifted your entire weight off the chair. The boat continues to chase after him. Your legs are burning and begin to shake, with your feet solidly planted on the foot stand of the fighting chair. As they attempt to withstand the pressure of the pull on the rod against them your legs become weakened. The reel sings louder as the fish strips the line, while still outrunning the boat to the edge.

As the giant tuna presses hard to reach the deep water, and the boat continues the chase. The tune of the reel reaches a crescendo, as the line on the spool seems to continue to evaporate, and the spool turns faster and faster. Then the tune suddenly begins to soften, as the fish reaches the deep water and begins to sound. The boat slows to a stop and the captain spins the boat to address the cockpit to the diving fish. Line continues to spool of the reel, but the sound is now soft and steady. The drag is now over ridden from 45 lbs. to 80 lbs. to pop the fish up if possible. Finally the music is temporarily silenced. The fish is coming back the the surface and you begin to gain line swiftly, as you have shifted the two speed reel into high gear. After several tiring minutes, you have retrieved most of the 700 yards of line, and the fish has pooped back to the surface. Once again however, he decides to leave the scene. The song is not over yet. The reel sings again, and at an even higher pitch, with 75 lbs. of drag on the giant. Several hundred yards of line disappear from the reel once again.  The run is brief, but is then followed by two more short bursts at high pitch. Finally the music stops. The final yards of line are cranked on the big reel, and the concert is over. The great fish takes his bow at the side of the boat, and the lights go out.  “How Sweet the Sound” to a fisherman’s ears.

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My tuna doug & larry

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“NOW THAT’S A BUCK TAIL”

I personally have been on the ocean fishing for much of my 64 years. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things swimming, floating, and basking in the ocean waters, sometimes far at sea. But when I saw this today, I had to share it with my friends!  This is amazing!

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This button Buck was found 1 1/2 miles off shore, was rescued and released unharmed when they got him back to shore.

Thanks guys!

We believe in conservation and preserving our wildlife when possible at the Depot!

Visit or conservation & Education site:  www.Fishingtackledepot.net 

Buy tournament quality fishing tackle & accessories at:  www.Fishingtackledepot.com

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Woolyboogers Produce Results

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Wollybooger Lures produce results for anglers from the Atlantic, to the Gulf of Mexico and now Kona Hawaii.  Below are some examples of recent catches trolling Woolyboogers. The pink & white sugar pops  seem to be “hot” right now.  We sell the entire line of Woolybooger lures at the Depot. If you want to enhance your spread, you need to add Woolyboogers to your arsenal.

Buy your Woolybooger Lures at the Fishing Tackle Depot

531 lb. Blue Marlin caught on a pink and white sugar pop in the Gulf of Mexico

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800 lb+ Giant Blue fin tuna caught on a pink & white Sugar Pop.

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Recent short nosed spear fish caught on a pink & white Sugar Pop in Kona Hawaii

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Tournament winners with Woolybooger Lures

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THE WIGGLY JIGGLY JIG HEAD BY LOGIC LURES

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THE NEXT GENERATION IN PLASTIC LURE FISHING!

If you fish soft plastic lures in freshwater or salt water, you need Logic Lures new Wiggly Jiggly’s. These lures are “hot” for red fish, trout, snook, and permit, on the bays and flats.  Freshwater anglers love them for big bass and steelhead.

These jig heads have revolutionized soft plastic bait fishing, with their patented flexible hook attached to the jig head. Most jig heads have a stationary hook molded into the head, which prevents the plastic lure from flexing except in the tail area. The front of the lure is therefore stiff. The Wiggly Jiggly allows the lures to move from the head back, and provides a much more natural swimming motion. Whether used as a swimming retrieve, or a jerk motion, the Logic lures look like the real thing. The Wiggly Jiggly jig heads can be sues with any of your favorite soft plastic baits, but Logic lures makes their own “Fluttter Tails” which are perfect for the Wiggly Jiggly lure system.

Watch the Logic lures in action at the our Bass Tackle Depot site.  Buy all of the Logic Lure products at the Fishing Tackle Depot.

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“A TRUE BASS MASTER”

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Earl Douglass & friend Olive Yarborough, off Little Peanut Island in Lake Worth Lagoon, (1951) note Blue Heron Bridge in the background!

“A TRUE BASS MASTER”

When I think of Bass Masters, it takes me back to 1953. That’s when my Granddaddy Earl Douglass, would pick up his 4 year old grandson, at 4:00 A.M. for a day of fishing on the Big “O” (Lake Okeechobee, Florida). He would drive us the 40 miles west from West Palm Beach, out the 2 landed, washboard, State Road #80 through the rich Everglades muck land and sawgrass marshes, to the small farming town of Belle Glade. We would stop at a tiny greasy spool restaurant in downtown Belle Glade for a quick breakfast. His breakfast was always 2 eggs over easy, two strips of bacon, home fries with onions & coffee.

Granddaddy would then drive us the last mile or so, out Canal Road and up and over the Herbert Hoover Dike. We would slowly cross the single lane, Point Chosen Bridge, the 75 year old swinging span draw bridge, that still exists today, connecting Torey Island and Cramer Island to the mainland and Belle Glade. As we crossed the bridge, I remember seeing Slims Fish Camp, and the lit up, wooden covered boat docks, snuggled in a small cove, almost under the south western side of the bridge on the Torey Island. I can remember the old fashioned wiring that lit a single naked light bulb hanging over every other boat slip in the small marina at Slims. Slims small tackle store always smelled like the lake water, due to the live bait tanks full of grass shrimp, Missouri Minnows and live lake shad. Granddaddy knew Slim, because both had been in and around Belle Glade for over 30 years at that point. My Granddaddy lost a home in the 1928 Hurricane in Belle Glade, when over 2800 people perished.

Slim always had boat #4 ready for Granddaddy to hang his own 1950, 10 HP. Johnson motor on, and filled up his 6 gallon gas tank for the days fishing. The boat was a 14 foot open hand built, wooden lake skiff, painted grey. The motor was driven by hand, with the throttle on the steering handle of the motor. There were no running lights, no batteries, no electronics, no depth recorders, no temperature gauges, no tolling motors, no power poles, no live wells, no jack plates, no power trim, and no GPS, just a boat, a small motor, and six gallons of gas.

Just before daylight began to break, Granddaddy would exit Slims and head west down the rim canal, the short distance to Pelican cut, wide open throttle,  at about 20 miles per hour. He would steer the small boat through the cut, following the narrow winding channel out into Pelican Bay. The channel could be seen in the early light because everything beyond  the boat channel was covered with lily pads, pepper grass or hyacinths. Every quarter of a mile or so, there was a tall stake driven in the lake bottom marking the channel, as it wound north westward out to the open water of the lake. At first light, it was time to fish.

Granddaddy would choose his spot, stop the small skiff, tip up the 10 Horse, and we would begin to drift slowly across the pepper grass beds. His rod and reel of choice was a 5 foot, split bamboo casting rod, with a Plfeuger service, bait casting reel. The reel had no anti reverse, (free spool all the time), and no drag system. The drag was your thumb! His reel was spooled with 20lb. dark green nylon braid, and the only bass lures in his tackle box were several coffee colored Johnson weedless spoons, two Baby Dalton Specials, and three Arbogast jitter bugs, one black, one white with a red head, and one frog. He also had two jars of the Uncle Josh pork chunk frogs, that were his favorites.

He had a similar small rod and reel fixed up for me, with my own coffee Johnson Spoon, and his favorite green frog pork chunk on it. Granddaddy would lean over to me, put his finger to his lips and go Shhhh; to let me know it was time to be quite. As we drifted across the grass flats, he would rear back with that bamboo rod, and sling that spoon and pork junk frog almost out of sight in the dimly lit early morning light. I sat patiently watching. as the Spoon and frog lure wobbled slowly over the top of the lily pads and pepper grass beds. Suddenly, a great explosion would engulf his frog. He would set the hook firmly, and the battle was on. The big bass would pull line as Granddaddy skillfully thumb the rear of the spool, and the handle of the reel spun wildly backwards. The fish would jump several times, trying to dislodge the hook of the Coffee Johnson Spoon. Slowly, the Bass Master would subdue to big fish, and would begin to retrieve line. He would skillfully bring him along side, lift the Lunker out of the water proudly and say “that’s how it’s done Mick”.

I would sit patiently for the first few casts, watching the same game play out, several times within in the first few minutes on the lake. It seemed he knew exactly where to cast to catch the next one. He knew exactly the proper retrieve for his lure to entice those big bass. He knew the proper drag to apply to wear them out without breaking  the nylon line. After boating each fish, he would  show them to me and repeat, “that’s how it’s done Mick”.  As a young boy, I dreamed of being able to fish like that some day.

After catching several bass, ranging from 4 to 10 lbs. or more, Grandaddy would put his rod down, and say OK, Mick it’s your turn. He picked up my rod, showed me how to hold it properly, with my thumb on the rear of the spool, and gave it a light cast. He handed the rod back to me and said OK, Mick reel it in like I do. All of a sudden, as my frog wobbled across the surface of the pepper grass, a huge explosion engulfed it. I can still hear my Granddaddy’s laugh, as I almost lost the rod overboard, and the big back lash that followed. He took my rod and skillfully cleaned the backlash, while continuing to keep pressure on the fish, He then handed the rod back to me to finish the fight. when the fish came along side, he lifted it from the water by it’s lower lip, look me in the eyes with a smile and said, That’s how it’s done Mick.

During those early morning bass fishing excursions with my Granddaddy Earl, I learned to cast my bait casting reel. I learned how to clean back lashes. I learned how to feel the rod, the fight, and to apply the correct drag to the fish. I learned where to cast. Why the fish were there and not in other places. I learned how to boat them, unhook them, and even release them if I was not going to eat them. Granddaddy never killed fish unless they were going in the frying pan.

 

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The Johnson Weedless Spoon (Gold) – Granddaddy preferred the Coffee colored)

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The Uncle Josh Pork Junk Frogs – His bass bait of choice.

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We Fish Rosco Terminal Tackle – Tell us your fishing stories & send us your “Pics”!

3896_517611028261659_1233869193_nRome Specialty Company Inc. has been manufacturing top quality fishing swivels, snaps, snap swivels and numerous other cutting edge terminal tackle for both salt and freshwater anglers for over 85 years. I personally have fished professionally and privately, almost exclusively, with Rosco Terminal Tackle for over 60 years. I can attest to the superior quality and dependability of Rosco made terminal tackle.

If you use Rosco tackle and have and exciting fishing adventure to share, visit us on facebook and “We Fish Rosco Tackle” .

 Buy your Rosco terminal tackle at the Fishing Tackle Depot

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TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN?

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Guess that depends on whether you’re grown up or not!

We catch bass with lures from the Depot! Check out the new Logic Lures. 

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PLUNKING BRANCH SWIVELS – FOR SALE AT THE DEPOT

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These unique Branch swivels are used for “plunking” for Steelhead and Salmon. They are hand made with sleeve swivels from Rosco Tackle, by a fisherman in Oregon, and sold at Fishing Tackle Depot.

They have great flexibility and can be used in many applications were fish are feeding in moving water or strong currents.

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We Fish Ande Line – Tell us your stories- send your pics

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ANDE MONOFILAMENT – OVER 50 YEARS – OVER 1800 IGFA WORLD RECORDS!

Tell us your fishing stories about using Ande Monofilament fishing line to catch your

prize fish! Share your pictures with other Ande Fishing line users.

 

VISIT WE FISH ANDE FISHING LINE :  (CLICK PIC BELOW) line-block

 

 

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