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Boating: Will sailboats save the world

September 19, 2012
by Boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

I made two trips to the Circle K with my 25-gallon super duty gas station on wheels. That's 50 gallons for my boat at $3.79 per gallon. Don't waste time doing the math; the total bill was $190. And that is horrible but what was worst is I left the receipt in the ashtray of my truck and my better half found it.

"How can you justify fishing when it costs you this much on gas!" She had a good point and would have found out sooner or later because she reloads my debit card.

"No, no I wasn't going fishing. Your friends from Pennsyltuckey are in town next week and they always want to go to waterfront restaurants," I said. This was partially true but I was planning a trip out 25 miles for a day of enjoyment and a little fishing.

"I don't buy that for a minute," she said. She has always been cynical person and she does know me well after 35 years.

"Boston Bob is going to take us fishing on Wednesday. He doesn't drive the taxi that day, and he's been bragging that it is easy to catch fish off of a sailboat," I recovered.

Poor Boston Bob, he works 12 to 14 hours a day driving rich people back and forth to the airport. He's helping support his single, 30-something son who lives in Manhattan, New York -one of the most expensive place on the planet. "You got to help your kids out," BB always says.

Anyway, I coaxed BB to take a few of the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' members out for a fishing trip. We all knew you can't fish off of a sailboat but we were going to try. Our cynical group consisted of Commodore Jim, Erie Earl, Buffalo Sydney and myself. BB sold his 38-foot boat to help his kid in New York City and bought a fixer-upper 32-footer that isn't quite fixed up yet.

The engine started, and we were out of the canal in short order. "Take the wheel while I set the mainsail," Bob said as he went forward to the mast. Most of us groaned when he killed the engine and the sail filled.

"It will take us forever to get out fishing," said Erie Earl but he didn't convince BB to re-start the engine. It was very quiet and spooky but we sailed out the pass and into open water.

I stayed on the wheel and learned the hard way about the wind and the way to keep a course. BB set a most peculiar-looking fishing rig with an artificial lure off the stern. The most peculiar piece of it was a one-foot section of surgical tubing. He kept up a running dialogue about how he was preparing to catch a Kingfish.

We laughed into the crook of our elbow until he made us help him drop the mainsail and raise a tiny jib (front sail). The wind was light and we moved along slowly as BB adjusted the rig. He was determined to keep the bait five feet down and swimming naturally.

We never felt the first hit. The line on the 'Cuban' reel just started unraveling. Then something silvery jumped behind us. Buff Sid jumped up and banged his head on the boom, "We got a fish!" It was either a King or a baby Tarpon but it was long gone when BB reeled the bait in. One barb on the hook was bent, and we had proof you can fish off of a sailboat.

The rest of the fishing was done while we were aground on the Sanibel Shoal. Hey, I don't know anything about boats that draw five feet. Well let me tell you it was a Chinese fire drill led by BB and, after we used two anchors and the lunch hook to 'kedge' us off the bar, we anchored and caught some ladyfish and a couple of tiny grouper.

Later we cruised past several fixed markers and snagged two sheep's head. Just inside the Pass Matanzas Pass we caught several mangrove snappers.

"You know if this sailboat fishing catches on," said Commodore Jim, "it could save the world! Just think how much oil we saved today and near zero carbon emissions? Al Gore might give BB the medal of honor if this catches on!"

We all chuckled at the sarcasm because Jim isn't a fan of old Al. Still it may have saved me a fishing trip out to the reef and that was worth it! Thankfully, they were all keepers so we had a little cookout at the dock when we returned. It included corn on the cobb, "Dead End Canal" baked beans and jalapeno corn bread with our catch.

The warmth of the BBQ grill melted a lot of prejudices between stink-potters and blow-boaters. No one linked arms and sang "Kumbaya," but a bit of understanding and appreciation passed between us. Thankfully, it was gone by morning.

Boatguy Ed is the manufacturer of a great bottom paint,, the past Commander of the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' (see them on Facebook) and sometimes a television producer of the Boater's Treasures television show. Send comments to



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