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Why Are So Many Boats For Sale?
By Jonie Maschek
Sep 4, 2008 - 8:43:41 AM

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As of Sept. 1, you can catch snook. Speaking to one angler, he told me that he can go fishing again. I looked at him in amazement and he then began to explain to me that he only fishes for snook. Well, ok, with all of the different species of fish that are in our water­ways, he is really missing a lot of good fishing time.
Floating homes in Portland, Oregon

One bait shop was full of conversation about the snook, and the biggest comment was, “Why does it open at football season?”

There are some anglers who try to catch the first snook of the season, but I didn’t hear of the catch. The heavy rains from the tropical storm have kept anglers from fishing this week.

Those fishing from their docks caught some sheepshead. Between showers at Simmons Park, a few trout and redfish were landed. Down at Shell Point some were throwing nets from their docks and getting enough mullet for the table.
Those having crab traps out were finding a few blue crabs, enough to put into a salad. In Gibsonton, ­anglers were fishing around Bullfrog Creek with a catch or two of trout, redfish and drum. Many boats around Williams Park were in “safe harbor.” Some have been anchored there for weeks.

I have seen a number of boats “For Sale” this week. Is it the high price of gasoline? It isn’t that there are no fish in our waterways. Are they moving out of our area? Is it because of the storms? There are storms in every part of the world, not just in Florida.

We do not have adequate launching space nor are there many free or public launches. Much of our waterfront is now private property.

There is still much conversation about the “barbwire” across the upper Little Manatee, which several have said they have cut it apart more than once. Is it because of the dozens of signs posted at Cockroach Bay?

This area is the “Fishing Capital of the World,” so what has happened? Will it liven up when the tourists arrive? Some tell me that they like it like it is, as there are no traffic jams on the waterways, and they love the ‘peace and quiet.’

A “Fish Ladies” question this week: Why is a flounder flat? It looks like a swimming pancake, with one eye.

Flounder are not born swimming on their sides. As they grow, an amazing magical change takes place; their body flattens and turns so that it lies on its side and the left side becomes the bottom side, and the eyes move so both are together on the top side. It now stays flat on the bottom and uses both eyes to look up for food or prey. It is difficult to see a flounder, as they have a feature that causes their top side to blend in with the background they are in.

If you live in Portland, OR, you might buy a floating home. While out there, I took a photo of some of the many homes built to float up and down the waterways. When the fishing gets bad and you want to move on, just hire a barge to move you to another waterway. You don’t have to pack all of your belongings, just sit in your easy chair and watch the world go by as you move along the water.

What a way to live if you are an avid angler and your mate likes the water and perhaps loves the sport of fishing. To me, this is the life! I would much rather do this than have a home built over a hole in the ice, and have to move it when the ice melts.

If you live in the right location, you might consider building a good fish pond to catch fish in your own backyard. From my sources I found that:
It should be near a source of clean, clear water. Soil in pond area should be 30% clay, so it will hold water. Watershed should be ten times the size of the pond. If watershed is too large, or close to a livestock pasture, or fertilized land, consider building a ditch around your pond to divert some of the water. Slope the banks around your pond. Banks should be 3:1 or 4:1 for easier maintenance. Minimum depth is 3’ for under­water weed control. If you are in question about your pond, be sure and contact the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Blue crabs are being sold along the highways this week. Somebody is setting their traps in the right places. Those I talked to who have homes along the waterways say that their traps have not been full after a week’s time. The last law I saw said that you can have five traps around your pier.

A salad favorite is lettuce, boiled egg and blue crab, mixed in mayo. Seafood Slimmers will provide you with a delicious meal, while helping you to watch your weight. Broil your scallops with a honey, lime juice and a dash of ginger marinade.
Make a shrimp salad with lettuce and some pineapple with a honey lemon or low-cal dressing. Lean fish are sheepshead, a pure white meat, flounder, trout, or whiting.

Broil or bake your fish. Don’t batter or fry it if you are trying to lose weight. Fish is digestible and high in “fill-ability,” so with a bit of imagination and a dash of color there are endless possibilities for a tantalizing meal from fish.
Fish long, fish late, but be ever mindful of the weather, for goodness sake.
-- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.


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