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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. Since I'm a high mileage user (15 to 20,000 miles a year towing from one ramp or other) I'm aware that axles wear out... This one was around two years old when it failed. My best guess is that a combination of metal fatigue and some severe impacts did me in. About five or six weeks ago I allowed my onboard navigator to show me a shortcut while towing and it was onto a very bad road with severe potholes (and I hit my share...). That short trip actually damaged one of my roller arms which we replaced - but I never guessed how much damage it did to the spindle on one side of the axle... To make a long story shorter, yesterday I was able to pick up all the parts needed for the repair - and today I should be back up and running... Here's a pic or two of the damage as it exists now... things to do while waiting for the flatbed wrecker... a pic or two for the insurance claim the good side... My commercial charter insurance actually covers both towing on the water or on the road... As others have noted I got very lucky this time and if you're going to be towing a boat lots and lots you'll eventually have your share of troubles. Hope my next "incident" is a down the road aways... Today we're not only replacing that axle, all of the related parts including a new fender are ready to install...
  2. Towed my skiff to the folks that service my motors, all went well (20hour service on my new Yamaha motor) then picked it up in the afternoon for the forty mile run back home... Only went about a quarter mile when the trailer axle snapped... fortunately in heavy crawling traffic at less than five or ten miles an hour so no disaster - but had to drag the trailer off of the road into a nearby parking lot to wait for a flat bed wrecker... Not my first mishap, do a lot of towing and you'll end up in trouble sooner rather than later... Some hours later finally made it home with my trailer deposited in front of my garage and the first order of business now will be getting the parts to get back up and running. With a three day charter coming up this weekend the second call I made after calling a wrecker service... was to my charter booking out in Utah to let him know that he might not be coming my way (and I'll follow up today once I know whether the parts needed will be available today...). A few thoughts... If anyone tells you they intend to take up guiding - just laugh, it would be appropriate... and yesterday's troubles could have been a lot worse. Down here in south Florida most of us are hauling our skiffs up and down highways day in and day out. I've been forced to learn more about boat trailers and boats in general over the last 28 years - than I ever wanted to know... This same event at highway speeds might have had a very different outcome... Lucky me.
  3. Like Sage and others it grew up in Washington state -all those years ago back when fiberglass was the only material around unless you could afford split bamboo… They also started making graphite blanks in the later seventies (like every other outfit- some more successful than others)
  4. He'd have appreciated the humor (to put it mildly he was a wild man in his younger years...). They moved up to Alaska all those years ago and I believe it was the making of him. No war stories here - but he was shot and left for dead back in 1971 down near El Paso and most of our family had resigned themselves to his being a short life. He thrived up in Alaska and really made a great life for himself and his family in my opinion... He was the hunter - I was always the angler - and so it goes. Yes, I'll miss him (and I'm the last of our generation) - but there are grandkids...
  5. Mother nature has a habit of changing things in small waters - sometimes an improvement - other times things go the other way - whether it's a lovely freshwater stream or some backcountry brackish coastal area (where everything is actually temporary - until the next storm moves stuff around...). I've been known to try to stuff a seven foot wide skiff up a six foot wide creek so we have our share of mis-adventures as well as successes. A willingness to explore and push the envelope whether its trout waters or a salt creek can be very rewarding at times... Great report by the way - even though I'll likely never leave my jungle fishing...
  6. Very nice... years and years ago (before "graphite" came along) I built a number of rods using Lamiglass blanks (only one of them a fly rod though..). They were first rate blanks every time - whether I was building up a surf rod or a light spinning rod for bonefish...
  7. That first photo really struck a chord... My only brother lived in the MatSu area for more than forty years -- and every year, about this time... would be in the field looking for a moose... He's been gone now for over a year. They never bought meat at the store in all of those years - it was caribou, moose, a small black bear - and an occasional sheep for their table... The one time I visited them -moose was the best eating... Great photo and hope that bull comes along. I won't mention the hours of work required - after the kill...
  8. Where I guide there are both 'gators and crocs - but our crocs stay in salt or brackish areas (like the boat ramp down at Flamingo where I'll be tomorrow morning with clients..). The 'gator can be in both fresh and brackish areas, at times even in pure salt water areas (in summer when it rains every day... ). Of the two -the 'gator is the dangerous one in my area... The American saltwater crocodile is a fish eater - mostly.. The 'gator will eat anything and when they get big anything includes people... Here's a pic of one of the crocs that hang around the ramps I use when I'm down at Flamingo... The crocs I see most days will come after any fish you hook - but they''re not interested in you... at all...... Everywhere else in the world you find them -they' re maneaters... Along the coast of the 'glades they've got so much fish that they are never a problem for people..
  9. Thanks for the info.... Like many who spend their lives outdoors I have skin cancer (the mildest form - basal cell carcinoma), not life threatening - but still something to deal with... I get to see my skin doctor every three months... I'd say that skin cancer is an occupational hazard for any fishing guide... so you pay attention to any info that comes your way...
  10. They had to kill it to take it.... Yes, that's a big one (and the longer they live - the bigger they get...). From what I've learned, a big bull 'gator will attack a small craft -but mostly this is a mating season deal... The big bulls will set up in small lagoons or potholes and vigorously defend them while drawing females for mating. Any possible rival will be attacked on sight in those conditions... Nice to know he's not trying to eat you while destroying your skiff.... Stay away from big 'gators (bigger than 8 feet) - they're just plain dangerous animals... They can outrun you on the ground, and can actually propel themselves six feet and higher from the water... I once witnessed a ten footer take a great blue heron that was standing on top of a seawall - four feet off the water. The 'gator was less than twenty feet from me at the time - and I never knew it was there until I heard that heron squawk - then saw the 'gator slide back into the water - with bird sticking out both sides of his jaws...
  11. Some news accounts have mentioned that it was skin cancer that took him down... something exotic though that I've never heard of.. If anyone knows more please post it up... Skin cancer is certainly a hazard if you spend your days on the water... I get to see my dermatologist every three months as it is...
  12. Falling rocks aren't exactly a problem in my area.... Hate to be towing my skiff an hour or two before dawn and find that in my path... And yes, I'd be looking for that coyote as well....
  13. Passed away at age 76... say it ain't so. This hits a bit close to home - for those not aware he was a dedicated saltwater fly angler when he wasn't entertaining, with tarpon at the top of the list... I never met him, or had the pleasure of fishing with him but we're close enough in age for me to remember his very first album we he was working in the Keys - all those years ago.... The title was right on the money... "A white sport coat - and a pink crustacean" Guess radio stations will be playing lots of his songs now - for a while. Hope they play the early songs...
  14. Haven't waded for bonefish in years - but when I did... it was always super minimalist... Pockets empty, except for a folding knife, key to my vehicle on a lanyard around my neck as well as a pair of nippers for leaders, a pair of forceps (to act in lieu of pliers) clipped to a shirt pocket and allowed to hang.... All of the few flies with me, as well as a few coiled leaders in a ziplock baggie up under my hat... The real item I'd impart to anyone wading the tropics - is foot protection and sun protection... I always wore long lightweight trousers and a long sleeved shirt with a high rated sunscreen on any skin showing (but that was actually not enough.. these days I get to see my dermatologist, and his scalpel every three months...). Here's a pic of my daily face setup... and you can add sungloves as well... Any kind of old tennis shoe will do for foot protection - or you can spend a few bucks and get something designed as a "flats boot"... Whatever you choose make sure it's not too tight - and has a good puncture proof sole... Be very wary of any cuts or abrasions in tropic salt or brackish waters... If any occur - get to your ER without delay and ask them to check for "vibrio" a bacteria that can ruin your day in short order if neglected (the press call it "flesh eating" bacteria..). Catch it early and no problem at all - delay a day or two, give it a head start and you could lose a limb - or your life.. Sorry for the bad news - but I have lots of anglers that have never been exposed to tropical sun and some of the things that go with it - so I tend to preach about it. Me? I known eight or nine over the years that went down from melanoma - that stuff just isn't funny at all...
  15. Young men everywhere - aren't exactly geniuses and all of us were hard wired to be the first one in the cave with the bear in it - all those years ago... It's not an accident that the Marine Corps always has their share of 17 year olds wanting to join up...
  16. As someone that's been tracking hurricanes for many, many years - here's an observation or two for those watching the current, soon to be hurricane, coming our way... In general, the storm surge along the Gulf coast is much higher than it would be along the Atlantic coast (the difference is due to the shallow nature of the Gulf shorelines...). Secondly, those of us along the Atlantic side of Florida have a lot more warning about an approaching hurricane than you get with a something that brews up out of the Yucatan if you're south of Tampa... Southwest Florida can get a big hurricane very quickly if it starts up in the Yucatan area. In less than two days it can brew up and be on you - particularly towards the end of the hurricane season... Although the storm is not aimed my way - it will still cause some bad weather -even on the Atlantic side as it heads NE.. Now, like always, we'll still have to wait and see what it actually does... Not a coincidence at all that for years they were named after women... Lastly for anyone contemplating a home purchase - anywhere along the northern gulf coast - all the way across to Texas here's one more small detail to remember... Up there builders follow the Southern Building code - which specifies a roof that will withstand a 90 mile an hour wind force... Down here in south Florida our code requires a 140 mile an hour standard....
  17. Black, according to one of my wholesalers is always difficult to do properly and end up with a solid, colorfast, result. Their routine started out with orange dye, followed by black.. instead of red or brown. Years ago when I was filling lots of orders for fly shops, black tarpon flies (or patterns that had some measure of dyed black feathers, various different types of hair, etc were commonplace…). One look at the dye transferred to my fingers showed just how “colorfast” stuff dyed black natural materials were…
  18. In the backcountry of the Everglades most of our tactics (and gear, both spin and fly) would be very familiar to anyone that fished for bass… But when you add tarpon to the mix - things change… Big or small every tarpon is a distinct individual and no two tarpon behave the same when hooked. At night we’re using relatively light gear, an 8 or 9wt. For babies, fish less than 10lb, we’ll use rods all the down to a 5wt. We only break out the heavy gear when we’re faced with the big girls… One other big difference is that along the coast this time of year many of the fish we hook have sharks after them the moment you’re fighting them to the skiff - where most will be released if possible.
  19. We fished the falling tide on Sunday and Monday nights this week and found small to medium tarpon in both docklights and up under bridges. Since I'm still in the break-in period with a new motor, the Sunday was with a buddy - the Monday night was a charter. That first night we jumped five or six fish, getting two to the boat for a release - the remainder jumped off in fine fashion. We alternated between spinning gear with lures (mostly DOA shrimp) and fly gear. I actually got to do a bit fishing myself for a change. Here's a pic or two of one fired up small tarpon, about 20 to 25lbs and this old guy enjoying the ride... with a 9wt rod (TFO, Mangrove Coast), an old Billy Pate reel, and a hooked up fish I was enjoying the night... first time to the boat after a few minutes of slugging it out second time to the boat, two or three more times and I was finally able to leader him for the release... Here's the pattern that fish ate... I call it "something shrimpy" since it's not exactly a shrimp pattern at all... The second night we found even more tarpon - but not one of them interested in anything we were working (just spinning gear that second night). But we were able to turn it around with some docklight snook and jack. Here's our best for the evening.. . This time of year, hot as it is - night trips are a great idea... "Be a hero... take a kid fishing" Tight lines, Bob LeMay (954)435-5666
  20. Jacksonville... if you can believe it... From my experience, the folks that run things here or there - have no problem at all spending other people's money -and this doesn't include the usual kickbacks, bribes and other chicanery that can be found whenever there's public funds changing hands (note - not one reference to the folks running things now.... don't want anyone sending those fine young investigators my way...). And so it goes
  21. Gee thanks... Right now I'm still knee deep in re-fitting my skiff... almost done except for the fact that I've managed to screw up my navigation lights (and have a night trip scheduled on Monday...). It never ends. I noted a few minor items still to be done - then added them up - only six of them as of now... Just think... if I won the big prize I could have more boats (and a shop or two do all those "little things"...). The best part, for me at least... would be I wouldn't have to charge the folks that fished with me... since I actually like guiding and wouldn't give it up if I had that "big win"...
  22. Like most, every now and then I get that daydream of a big win..... but long ago quit buying even an occasional ticket. With a career in law enforcement behind me and a much too close look at some of the "rich folks" I came into contact with years ago... it's not hard for me to see a "big win" as something of a difficult proposition. One of the reasons I spend as much time on the water as possible is what I learned the hard way - about people in general... and what will happen to anyone with a lot of wealth - even if all they do is make it their life's work to give it all away... No war stories from this end - but I do have more than a few of how people in general behave when money is involved - particularly big money... My years on the street were from 1973 to 1995 - back when we really did have folks you might meet who carried their cash - in shopping bags (and that was just the accounting end of dirty business down here in paradise..). Glad those days seem to be behind us..
  23. Knock on wood... so far I haven't needed special glasses or magnifiers for my fly tying (maybe it's just that saltwater bugs are much bigger than freshwater stuff over all..). But as far as rod wrapping, reel repairs, wiring or repairing stuff on boats (always upside down and backwards.. "aren't boats fun?") and other fine work goes - I am wearing a small bright head lamp for careful work.. and I do have a selection of jeweler's loupes for extra fine work... I can remember my Dad saying over and over again while working on one project or other that you really had to have good lighting to be able to do a proper job. He did a 28 year career with the Corps of Engineers and could do it all from automotive work to plumbing, to crafting furniture with joinery techniques only... My small skills by comparison are only a weak echo of his. Wish he were still around...
  24. Looked at this older thread and thought I’d mention how I would use a ‘yak - if I had one… I’d only use one to get me to bonefish flats Oceanside… then wade, towing the’yak behind me. Oceanside flats are generally harder than bayside flats (no fun wading soft flats but I did just that years ago… with a 8wt in hand). You can approach big tailing bonefish on foot much better that way than any other way. For me all of that was years ago before hurricane Andrew in 1992. The average size of bonefish in the early seventies really was 8lbs if you can believe it. Seems like a dream now - but if we’re careful and work at it, just maybe we can bring that fishery back to what it was…. If I’d had access to a good kayak all those years ago I might never have taken up fooling around with motor boats.
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