Rescuing a 1987 17′ Aquasport: Part 5

Rescuing a 1987 17′ Aquasport: Part 5

With the weather improving, my son is again hard at work on his rescued 1987 Aquasport. This journey began back in March of 2021, when we located, with the help of my friend Phil, this boat sitting in a backyard. Having been out in the weather for at least a decade, it was in tough condition, but the price was right. Soon after we had it back at my son’s house.

March 2021

In the previous post, back in August of last year, my son removed the damaged, old transom. It had to go, folks. We both realized that this was likely the biggest structural issue we had to face in restoring this boat. We built a replacement using a 1.5″ thick Coosa board core, sandwiched in between several layers of fiberglass. It turned out pretty good!

New Transom

With a new transom in place, the next significant issue was to remove and replace the deck. Unfortunately it was spongy and not useable. So last week, using a reciprocating saw, my son cut out the existing deck. The cavity you see is the well that originally held a 25 gallon gas tank. The original  deck had a rotten plywood core. Lighter, waterproof,  synthetic materials will be used instead.

Its going to take time to put in a new deck. And the hull liner is next to be removed. But after that the remaining work on this old Aquasport is cosmetic for the most part, as well as customizations my son wants to do. Not saying those things are going to be quick to accomplish. But they should be simpler.

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Some Fish are Weird

If you fish in the same area, year after year, you pretty much know all the local fish.  Face it. There are only so many species you’re apt to cross paths with. And you get familiarized with them one and all. Nothing surprises you.

If you decide to try fishing a new part of the coast, however, I suggest getting a fish identification book. One you can carry in your boat, kayak or tackle box. I’m not joking.

When I lived in Florida, I quickly learned that lesson.  It’s for your own good. Some fish are nasty in one way or another. Take the leatherjacket. It’s a small Florida fish, looking harmless enough, but the dorsal and anal fins carry a strong venom. Ouch. Be careful with those guys. In fact, be careful with any fish you can’t identify right off.

My friend Pete is down in the Keys right now. A day ago, he sent me the picture above.  Now that is a weird look fish. Right? It looks like a fugitive from a Mars. But any Key’s angler would know it immediately. Just a parrotfish.

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Nice Snook from Florida’s Atlantic Side

Nice Snook from Florida’s Atlantic Side

Recently, well-known wildlife artist Dann Jacobus sent me a few snook photos. He fishes for snook, along with several other species, on Florida’s Atlantic side beaches.
Here’s Dann’s description of the snook fishing. Sounds might nice!  “The fly fishing for snook is absolutely spectacular. We don’t have as many snook as the Gulf side but they are larger. Again, when things are right in summer, you can spot and cast to cruising fish, most of which are above slot. The mullet run this year was unbelievable and I think that made the snook fishing what it was. Of course, we blind cast to them as well, but nothing compares to seeing four or five big snook leisurely moving parallel to the beach and being able to cast to them.”

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March Fishing on Florida’s Gulf Coast

March Fishing on Florida’s Gulf Coast

If you live on Florida’s Gulf Coast, you know that March is a corner in the year. The alluring winter weather that attracts millions of people down to the land of palm trees is fading. Up ahead lies the rainy season and the heat and humidity of summer. And by April 1st the roads north will be jammed packed with cars and RVs as the snow birds hit the trail home.

Dave with a Redfish

But there is good news too. In March the fishing on the Gulf Coast is picking up. As the waters warm, snook begin to spreading out again. Spotted seatrout that have been balled up shivering in deep hole are also on the move. Tarpon arrive daily. And forage fish return to the flats. Yes indeed, March fishing on the Gulf Coast is a time for anglers to rejoice.

Pete with a Redfish

Redfish are only fish that never really seem to feel winter’s wrath. Even in the chilliest days of winter they are out and about. Why? Well Florida is the southern end of the redfish’s range. So, they doing okay down here. Check out these photos of my friend Dave – aka the redfish whisper- and his buddy Pete. Wow! Those are some nice reds on a fly rod.

Dave again with a Red

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Articulated Streamers are Hot!

Articulated Streamers are Hot!

Yesterday Phil and I went to see Kevin Pelletier. Kevin is one of the finest fly tyers I have ever seen. He is a real artist at the vise, believe me. Presently, Kevin is into articulated streamers, something I know very little about. So this was a chance to not only visit with Kevin, but as well learn about articulated streamers.

What are articulated streamers? Traditionally, streamers have been tied on long shank hooks, going all the way back to the famous flies tied by Carries Stevens on Rangeley Lake in the 1920’s. Articulated streamers, however, do not require long shank hooks. Instead they are tied on micro shanks – small metal shanks that are linked together to form a chain. Together they act much like vertebrates, capable of curving and wiggling. As a result the finished streamer fly seems to literally swim through the water like a living fish. Deadly!

Kevin’s tying desk is filled with a a wide assortment of materials to make these unique  flies.  Micro shanks in various sizes, tungsten beads, weighted fish heads, specialty hooks from Kona, Firehole and others.  And even a tool to make what are called “brushes”.

One of Kevin’s Articulated Streamers

Another one of Kevin’s Articulated Streamers

Both Phil and I were deeply impressed with Kevin’s work. His flies are exhibition grade, suitable for framing. Kevin has been a fly shop manager and owned two fly shops over the years. He is also a talented rod builder. In fact he built my all time favorite saltwater 10 wt. some 3o years ago. Like to purchase some of Kevin’s flies? You can reach him at 860-707-0156. Be patient, these custom creations take time.

Kevin’s Crayfish Fly

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