Lobsters and stuff...

A lot of field herpers seem to go fishing, or maintain aquariums, as much as they do herp! Any and all things fish are welcome in this forum.

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Tim Borski
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Lobsters and stuff...

Post by Tim Borski » July 29th, 2010, 5:45 am

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High tide is at 12:43A, so I'm gonna need some help on this one...

The family and I decide we want to bullynet lobsters in the Florida Keys. Jill, my wife

likes to eat them, myself and our two boys are indifferent but normally up for a good hunt

so we decide to go. The opening day of "preseason" is called Mini season and lasts two

consecutive days before closing a week, then opening for real.

Well, it opens tonight and I'm of course elected to put some semblance of uniformity into the

night. At 3:05P I hook up the skiff, pull out of my driveway and head south. I have a few stops

along the way for the invariables. Drinks, munchies, a new nav light (mine has ceased to

work) and caffeine. It will be a late start in what promises to be an even later night. As I

head down the overseas highway, I have time to think ahead to tonight and reflect a bit on

the past; a period in my life that was much less complicated. At the time, my biggest

hurdles were: A) About every 2 years, drop a "yanked" engine into my old Chevy truck and B) buy

new power for whatever skiff I was drivin' at the time. I felt just like I was born with a

silver spoon, only a lot different.

I arrive at the ramp. It is private, behind a locked gate and deserted...just the way I

lik'em.

The official start doesn't happen until 12:01AM but I am here because I know that high tide is at

12:43 and the big moon is going to deliver big water. I want to pole around the crown

(shallowest part) of the flat I've chosen to begin. My plan is straight forward. encircle

the shallowest area and make a series of waypoints so that tonight, when all is dark, I'll

simply refer to my gps and know that as long as I'm inside the marks, I'll be in shallow

enough water to find "bugs". (The local term for Lobster.) I am hoping to stay in less than 30 inches

of water and preferably half that, or less. After the tide begins to fall a bit, my life

will become easier.

Here's the flat I've chosen...
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And this is what the bottom looks like.
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Here's my waypoints to keep me "in bounds."
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With that taken care of I run out to a nearby area in Florida Bay, shut down and drift with

the incoming water. My skiff is an old friend of mine and she is informally named the

"Whipoorwill." Together we watch another sunset.

Kicking back...
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The sunset.
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As we drift, I look around and see remnants of days gone. In the carpet on her gunnels I

find a couple of flies that have been stuck there to dry on some other outing. This is always a good barometer

of the skiffs owner's fishing preference...never pass up a chance to check the carpet of an unfamiliar vessel for clues

to what's been happening on the water. You can learn more than you should here if you are observant.

(Whenever I'm talking to someone alongside their skiff, a quick, discreet scan of the carpet

often reveals stuff they've forgotten about and probably don't want you to see.0 Most times

it will only reveal the type of fishing they prefer to pursue. Other times it

may reveal a unique lure or fly. (Or much more.) Skiffs with assorted jigs and rubber grubs hanging from the

sides reveal the least. It gets better from there...

Worn fly.
Image

I also spot a surface lure that looks like it should be retired soon.
Image



The boat ramp I use tonight is on a private Island I lived on, (mostly) alone for 12 or 15

years. The island itself brings a flood of mostly fond memories and has changed since the

days I mowed the grass in the front circle wearing my boxer trunks and big, foam

cowboy hat. It (the hat) was a gift/joke from a girlfriend and I took a liking to it. The 'friend, along with the hat, are both long since gone.


The house with the long terrazo hallway I used as a firing range at times of drunkeness is

gone too. It has been torn down, leaving a smooth, gravel area of a few thousand square

feet.
Even the pool that saw so much traffic during so many "Spring breaks" has been filled and

flattened.
This is an island that once caught fire under my watch (not my doings) and burned for weeks,

flaring up in random fits from scattered fissures and crevises. At the time, I remember

having people at various times of day and night, banging on my door and blurting out "your

island is on fire!" I'd say "I know, it's been burning for weeks", close the door and go

back to whatever I happened to be doing at the time.

After sunset, I'm back at the dock and tie off the skiff. I'm going to spend some time

looking for snakes in the gathering eve with my Q beam. During all my time here, I can only

remember seeing 2 snakes ever. Both were Ringnecks and both were happened upon while walking

to or from the gate after dark to let someone in or out. At the time, I was interested in

Fish, girls and beer...in that order. Now, I am intruiged with the pursuit of herps and have

given much thought to this island in terms of diversity and can't help but wonder what I

missed. The 5 acre piece of property looks perfect for Corn snakes and I'm going to check

it out... I have nothing better to do for a couple hours while I wait for the others to show

up.

Perfect habitat...
Image
I search during the prime time from dusk until the big moon comes up and find nothing. The

habitat and forage base is second to none and I feel if they (Corns) were present, I would've found

at least one. It feels odd to pick apart such great edges and borders anywhere here in the

Keys and come up empty. If I were a younger man, I'd catch a bunch from local, outlying

islands and introduce them here to see how (if) they "change" to suit the isolation of such

a drastically fragmented piece of real estate.
On the east, the island is seperated from the upper Keys by a fairly roiling channel of salt

water that is better than a half mile wide. To the west is a larger, more formidable one.
I'm told, it is the one responsible for most of the water exchange between Florida Bay to

the north and the Atlantic ocean to the south. I finish and think. It's probable, the

ringers I found were inadvertantly introduced with potted plants and ornamental shrubs over

the years. I see none of them tonight. This is an island filled with forage and habitat

waiting to happen...
Along with the dozens of Brown and Green anoles, and Greenhouse frogs, I find several sleeping

Iguanas; they are newcomers and have arrived since I left.

9:30. Still waiting on the company that will join me later for lobstering.
In the truck, I roll down the windows. It is warm but breezy. I push the seat back and close

my eyes. A friend wakes me and we are soon joined by Jill and our two sons.

We load up and are off. Earlier, when I was "boinking" the perimeter of our target flat, I hit MOB (man

overbard) at the point we'd stake out to watch the minutes tick by until 12:01A.
At 11:10, my youngest son, Gus, is absentmindedly scanning the water around the boat with a

light and turns up a bug on the move. It is the forbidden fruit and we let it pass with the

tide. Sometimes, the lobsters give themselves away with glowing eyes as the light passes

over them...

'Eyes have it...
Image

Mostly tho, they appear as "something different" from the surroundings and only vaguely

Lobster-esque" in appearance so it is important not to become too casual in your scanning.

Typical look...
Image

Once we begin, it takes us almost 30 minutes to turn up our first one in the light. It is a

keeper and into the livewell it goes. Yes!

First of the night...
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In another 30 minutes, we are dialed in to the depth most of them are during this particular

stage of the tide and they come to net in short spaced intervals. After which, our tide tops

out and goes slack before beginning to drop. Movement ceases for about 45 minutes and Gus

takes advantage of the down time and falls fast asleep where he normally does during

after dark forays.

Image
At some point I take some random pics from my postion on the poling platform.

Jill and Josef "on point."
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The gang...excluding me.
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Asst pics of bugs on deck...
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Image

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It is a fine night which of course slides by too quickly. Before long, it is 4:55A and even

tho none of us "feels" tired, we decide to finish up. Back at the dock, I say good night to my friend and send my family home. I then run the the whipoorwill back towards the ramp on the other side.

Florida Bay is smooth as glass and I open her up. She is healthy, responds well to the touch,

and together we go for a ride. It is already light when we return. Put skiff on trailer. Stow gear. Hit the road.
I see people driving to work as I drive home...with tonights dinner.
Tim

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Lobsters and stuff...

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 31st, 2010, 7:49 am

Being a New Englander, the concept of catching ones own lobster is mind boggling... Good stuff!

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pete
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Location: cape cod ma.

Re: Lobsters and stuff...

Post by pete » July 31st, 2010, 4:02 pm

as always...just a wonderful post!!! thanks for takin the time!

millside
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Re: Lobsters and stuff...

Post by millside » August 1st, 2010, 8:12 am

Tim
nice writing, I enjoyed the whole post.
looked like a lot of fun. I bet they slept good that day. :beer:

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monklet
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Re: Lobsters and stuff...

Post by monklet » August 4th, 2010, 9:47 am

Great writing Tim...really fun and informative as well. :thumb:

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Dan Krull
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Re: Lobsters and stuff...

Post by Dan Krull » August 16th, 2010, 8:37 am

This post makes my mouth water. Drooooooool We need a little drooly face over there to the left. I'll have to settle for this: :thumb:

Dan

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