Archive for » February 5th, 2012«

Tracker To Lay Off Workers In Miami

A boat manufacturer is laying off 112 workers in northeast Oklahoma. Officials in Miami, Oklahoma confirmed the layoffs at Tracker Marine on Thursday. The Tulsa World reports company officials cited falling boat sales and the relocation of a boat manufacturing production line to Clinton, Missouri. Miami’s interim city manager, Tim Wilson, says the layoffs will happen in 60 days. That means the plant will go from 175 employees to 63 employees. Terry Shook Senior, Tracker’s vice president of operations, says that while boat sales are down, the Miami plant is a quality facility that will still be used to produce a saltwater personal watercraft line. The Miami plant is also being considered for the installation of high-tech robotic equipment that will be used in the production of the MAKO watercraft.

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The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Mike Sweet column

Feb 05, 2012 (The Hawk Eye – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) —
It’s been a long time since I was last out on the water. Going on a year and a half, I suspect.

Can’t say there’s ever been that long a gap in my many years. I had plenty of excuses last year. Though none so compelling that I shouldn’t have tried to get out in a boat somewhere.

I’ve gotten my sea leg back, so I’m hoping this year I will arrange more opportunities to get out on Lake Geode or the Mississippi or the Skunk rivers.

My fondest memory of the Skunk was an inner tube float trip and sandbar campout we arranged for a friend’s bachelor party. We couldn’t afford a boat. We were teenagers. It was the ’60s. Life was pretty simple. Or maybe we were. Cast-off, patched-up inner tubes were fine by us.

Sorry to say, the last time I was on the Skunk was nearly 20 years ago with friends who were bank-poling for channel catfish and flatheads. I subsequently discovered deep-fried flathead is the finest eating fish this side of Pamlico Sound, home to the Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant in Morehead City, N.C.

My kid brother and I drove there one summer to visit our other brother in the Army and a friend in the Marines. We swam in the ocean and ate there. Twice.

This year I’d like to try some waters closer to home I’ve never been on, like Coralville or Red Rock reservoirs or Lake McBride. Living this close, and with four-lane highways leading to each, there’s really no excuse for winding up regretting not taking the time to explore them. As my good neighbor, Jim, has at various times reminded me, life is not a rehearsal.

I grew up a water lover. My parents swam, and my father fished. The first boat I remember being in was a wooden rowboat that belonged to a family friend who had a cabin on Lake Champlain in New York. I caught my first big fish in it, a bass. I was more scared than thrilled.

The first “boat” I built was made of fruit crates I cobbled together with tacks and twine on the patio of our home in Caracas, Venezuela. My brother, Terry, and I and our neighbor, Roberto, and Jerry the boxer spent many hours in our crate boat, making imaginary voyages up the mighty Orinoco and along the country’s pristine Caribbean coast. The fact the boat had more gaps in its planking than the Titanic didn’t trouble us.

Over the decades, I have gotten out on the water in borrowed boats, rented boats, wooden boats I built and boats I bought. There were sailboats, runabouts, canoes, paddle boats, offshore fishing boats, real ocean liners, several inflatables, pontoon boats, and the johnboats every Midwestern kid who likes water and fishing dreams of owning someday.

The personal watercraft (which evolved from the notorious jet ski) hadn’t been invented when I was young. I would no more want one of those noisy, annoying adolescent toys than a swarm of mosquitoes flitting around my head. I prefer peace and quiet with my water tonic.

I’m down to just two boats these days, both aluminum johns. The oldest is 48 years old, the newest is 28. They’re still as safe, sound and humble-looking as the day they were built by Midwest craftsmen.

My nephew came over last summer and repainted the oldest and put new plywood decks in both. They look nice out by the driveway, like a couple of thoroughbreds eager to run. Actually, nobody would mistake their boxy lines for a sleek horse. They’re not sexy. They’re working boats, the mariner’s pickup truck.

During long winter days I amuse myself by reading boating magazines and design catalogs. I have a drawer full of plans I bought and never transferred from paper and ink to wood.

I say I never had time. But except for a sailboat and a dory I did build, the spirit to keep going wasn’t with me for some reason. It was the dreaming I liked.

I still read boating stories but the Internet is a bigger smorgasbord of ideas and inspiration from inventors, designers and boat builders.

I’ve long been fascinated by those little boats on carnival rides that could carry a couple of kids. They’re short, simple and look safe. Of course, the water they float in is only a few inches deep. I’ve wondered how such a cute tiny boat would translate to real water.

I now know thanks to YouTube.

Perusing videos of kayaks, the only watercraft I’ve never used, I saw a video of a miniature tugboat called Tubby Tug designed by Glen-L, whose designs for wood boats have entertained me and lightened my wallet for decades.

The little tug is just 9 feet long. It’s for kids to use with adult supervision, but, of course, it’s adults who build them for themselves. Just for hoots.

It turns out there are all kinds of mini tug designs out there for home-builders, and even for metal workers.

Of course, I’m enamored with the idea of building one. Or maybe an 18-foot Carolina or Pacific dory that can go to sea. Either would be more practical. But also more expensive and time consuming and probably less satisfying. I can’t decide.

Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe I should just use the johnboats sitting in the back yard. And which would, if they could, wonder why for some guys one boat is never enough.

___ (c)2012 The Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) Visit The Hawk Eye (Burlington,
Iowa) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Wave hello to the shipshape show



Where: B.C. Place Stadium, Granville Island Maritime Market and Marina

When: Wednesday-Sunday, times vary daily.

Tickets: $13-$15 for day passes,, 604-678-882

Bob Pappajohn is what you could call a real Vancouver International Boat Show veteran.

“Far back as I can remember, I was going to the boat show,” said Pappajohn, the owner of M P Mercury, a boat and yacht sales business that launched in 1957.

Pappajohn says he hit his first boat show in 1969 at the age of four.

“From the time when I could barley stand up they have had me cleaning boats,” Pappajohn said. “I clean a wicked boat.”

Back in Pappajohn’s first year at the show, the big buzz boat could have been something like a Grand Banks 50-foot motor yacht, which came with a master stateroom ensuite. Now, for this, the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver International Boat Show, the star of the indoor program may only be four feet longer but it is an ocean’s width apart from the wooden trawler.

Kitted out with all the comforts of a really nice home, the biggest boat on the floor – the 50-foot Sea Ray 540 Sundancer – has all the latest technology literally right at your finger tips. Your entertainment needs are met via your iPad, a flip of a switch and sunroofs let in the fresh air, and your pesky parking issues disappear with the jiggle of a joystick.

“Any kid that can play a video game can dock the boat,” said Pappajohn, about the $1.8-million beauty which he says will likely get snapped up during the five-day show held at both B.C. Place Stadium and at its new in-water venue at Granville Island. “It’s wicked. I want one.”

Since officially launching 50 years ago at the Forum at the P.N.E., the show has grown into the largest consumer boating event in Western Canada. “It shows the health of the recreational boating lifestyle in Canada,” said show director Linda Waddell, who adds there is no typical boating demographic. “Most of the big shows, whether its Toronto, Montreal, Halifax or Vancouver, have been around a long time and I think that shows that people want the boating experience.

“Through the ups and downs of recessions, boating has been able to withstand those years because Canadians want to get out on the water.”

For this year’s event, 500 boats will be on the B.C. Place floor and another 70-plus will be in the water at Granville Island.

“Now there is quite a diversity,” said Pappajohn. “You’ll have kayaks to 54-foot yachts, so I think the show has a much broader appeal than it ever has. You know people don’t think anymore ‘oh it’s so expensive,’ but sure there is stuff to dream about and then there’s stuff everybody can use.”

Diversity is a word that also holds water when it comes to the show away from the boats. The exhibits and special features roster include a kidzone, a collection of B.C. authors and titles, personalities like Deadliest Catch TV show star Russell Newberry, record-breaking teen sailors Zac and Abby Sunderland and, keeping on trend with the resurgence of the clever Jack Russell (see The Artist), Duma the water-skiing Jack Russell will be showing her skills daily.

Adding even more sea-air freshness this year to the long-standing show is the switch of in-water venues from the north side of False Creek over to Granville Island.

“The No. 1 question at the boat show is ‘Will it go to Hawaii?'” said Pappajohn. “My answer always is, ‘Why would you want to go to Hawaii when we have the most beautiful boating here on the west coast of B.C.?'”

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Mild weather not as nice as ice – Times

Posted: February 5
Updated: Today at 3:00 AM

Mild weather not as nice as ice

“I’ve never seen a season like this” – WCO Aaron Lupacchini

By Tom Venesky
Sports Writer   |   Tom Venesky on Facebook

  |   @TLTomVenesky on Twitter

SLOCUM TWP. — Normally, Waterways Conservation Officer Aaron Lupacchini needs an auger or a chainsaw to cut through the ice to stock trout in February.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission had staff out stocking trout at Lilly Lake on Friday morning.

Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader

Local fishermen watch as trout are being stocked at Lilly Lake on Friday morning.

Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader

Trout season schedule

The extended trout season runs until Feb. 29. The daily limit is three trout and the minimum size is seven inches. Remember, a 2012 fishing license and trout/salmon permit is required to fish the extended season.

Stocking schedule

Area waterways stocked with trout for the extended season:

LUZERNE COUNTY (date stocked and species)

Lake Irena – Feb. 1, brook trout

Lake Took-A-While – Feb. 1, rainbow trout

Lily Lake – Feb. 3, rainbow trout

Moon Lake – Feb. 1, rainbow trout


Briar Creek Lake – Feb. 2, rainbow trout


Lackawanna Lake – Feb. 3, rainbow trout

This year, he does it the same way that stockings are done in the spring – with buckets or a pipe.

The February trout stockings conducted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are generally geared toward ice anglers. But an unseasonably mild winter has prevented safe ice from forming on most area lakes, leaving ice anglers out of luck.

Still, the stockings are going on as scheduled.

The PFBC released more than 1,000 rainbow trout into Lily Lake on Friday. The fish were piped into the lake or dumped in via buckets – techniques typical of the spring stockings.

“This is unusual,” Lupacchini said of the open water on Lily Lake. “And it’s not just here, this is happening across the region.”

The lack of ice has forced anglers to change their tactics for winter trout. The augers, tip-ups and jigging poles are left at home while spinning reels and bobbers are the tackle of choice. While the ice anglers are out of luck with the mild weather, Lupacchini said the open shoreline has increased angling opportunities for those who prefer to cast rather than jig through a hole.

“I’ve never seen a season like this since I’ve been with the agency,” Lupacchini said.

Aside from a thin sheet of ice covering the area around the boat launch, most of Lily Lake was open, giving anglers plenty of room to fish.

But that hasn’t been the case everywhere.

When the agency stocked Moon Lake on Wednesday, the trout were near impossible to catch thanks to a coating of ice that covered most of the lake. The ice was too thin to walk on, and the open water too sparse to fish.

“There’s no ice to ice fish, and not enough open water to fish with a pole,” said angler Dan Makowski of Nanticoke. “You’re really in limbo.”

Lupacchini said the lack of safe ice has forced many anglers to fish other areas. Activity on the Susquehanna River has increased, he said, as anglers can launch their boats now that the ice flows have cleared from the river. Anglers have been doing well with muskie and walleye near the Shickshinny Bridge and in the West Nanticoke area, he said.

“Guys who would normally be ice fishing are still putting their boats on the river,” Lupacchini said. “There was some ice on some of the lakes a few weeks ago, but the guys would drill test holes on their way out, see how thin it was and then come back in.”

Despite the lack of an ice fishing season, the PFBC has conducted all its winter trout stockings as scheduled. While the fish may not be caught right now, it could present an enormous opportunity down the road.

“In some places you can’t fish the open water because there’s not enough of it, and can’t fish through the ice because it’s not thick enough,” said Exeter resident Phil Russo and he cast into Lily Lake. “What does that mean? Well, there should be a ton of fish in these places when the season opens again in the spring.”

And there is still hope that the weather will turn cold enough to form safe ice on area lakes, salvaging a bit of the ice fishing season. If it happens, there will be plenty of trout available in area lakes that were stocked this month.

“This is the time of year when guys are itching to get out of the house, and the winter trout stocking program provides an extra opportunity for them to get onto the water and catch some fish,” Lupacchini said.

No matter if it’s jigging through the ice or casting into open water.

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ATLANTIC CITY – It may be winter but many Atlantic City visitors are thinking summer-time this week.

The 33rd annual Atlantic City Boat Show is back in town, dropping anchor at the Convention Center on Wednesday.

This event is 30 percent bigger than last years as exhibitors are there to show off everything from kayaks to wave runners to million-dollar yachts.

Visitors can board and browse hundreds of boat brands and models, take advantage of big sales, check out hundreds of booths filled with the latest gear and gadgets, and get their swell of boating education with hours of in-depth seminars.

The boat show will be sailing out of the city on Sunday.

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Shep on Fishing: Warm weather gets anglers off their perch

The unbelievable weather of this week brought some anglers
outdoors, and a few of them reported catching some white perch in
Mullica River.

Cody Meyer, a 20-year-old captain who operates
from the family-owned Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic,
said Friday that he and fishing buddy Josh Welsh
went out on the Mullica on Thursday and caught perch. He said it
wasn’t a lot, but those they caught were “really big”.

He said he saw one other person there, and Meyer had reports
from a couple of others around the dock that indicated white perch
fishing is pretty decent.

Meyer has been fishing the Mullica River-Great Bay area since he
was 14 or 15, he estimated, so he has that all-important local
knowledge of the area. He said perch school up in deeper channels
in the winter, slow up during the spawning season usually in
mid-March and then spread out in spring.

Meyer expects to have a good flounder season when he starts
taking customers as the fishing seasons develop. He said from
things he has read, fluke are recovering.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty good,” Meyer said.

He also will be fishing for weakfish and striped bass when they
show up.

Howard Sefton at Captain Howard’s Bait and
Tackle in Egg Harbor City said Friday that one angler he knows took
his boat out on the river in the Collins Cove area down by Chestnut
Neck. He told Sefton that he caught white perch and saw other guys
catching perch from their boats and others from the bank there.

Sefton said the angler he knows as “Gator” was using grass
shrimp, while Meyer said he and Welsh had bloodworm for bait.
Sefton said the fish “Gator” caught were in 23 feet of water, but
just seven feet under the surface. That angler also reported
hooking up a fish that broke his line.

Sefton said he has a lot of grass shrimp in the shop, and he has
some anglers coming down from Philly this weekend to pick some up
and then go for perch.

The Southern Regional Fishing Club will holds its fund-raising
fishing flea market Saturday, Feb. 18. It runs from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
at Southern Regional Middle School on Cedar Bridge Road in
Manahawkin. Admission is $4. The money raised will benefit the club
and its numerous activities.

Reminder: The season for striped bass in the back waters inside
the inlets is closed until March 1.

Personal note: Took my uncle Joe Connor for a
ride to get him out of the house Tuesday. We went down to Cape May
from Ventnor. When we went over the Townsends Inlet bridge, I was
surprised to see that there was a guy with a fishing rod in his
hands likely going for tautog.

I had driven past before I realized it, but I should have parked
and gone back to see what he was up to. I missed a story there (bad

Paul Thompson also was taking the Porgy IV
partyboat out today and Sunday from South Jersey Marina in Cape
May. He told his customers last weekend that if they caught, he
would go again this weekend. They did, so he is keeping his
promise. One fish caught on the Porgy IV last weekend topped 9
pounds. Thompson said he has been getting nice crowds with this
mild weather.

While fulfilling his promise, Thompson said Friday he will be
missing out on taking his grandchildren to the Atlantic City Boat
Show. He said that last year, they not only got to enjoy the show
but also a train ride because they took the New Jersey Transit
right into the Atlantic City Convention Center from Absecon, where
parking is free.

Mike O’Neill, captain of the Stray Cat
open/charterboat at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet, went
to the boat show on Friday and was impressed with the scope of
displays of the mid-winter classic. Boat show hours are 10 a.m.-8
p.m. today and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $14, youth 15
and under free with a paying adult.

O’Neill has not been out for a couple of weeks, but he has an
offshore run scheduled for today. He is heading out toward the
28-Mile Wreck as the first stop on a codfish and tautog trip.

Become a fan of Shep’s on Facebook and he’ll let you know
when he files an update. Go to our website at:, and look under favorite pages, or
simply search for Mike Shepherd’s Shep on Fishing in the Facebook
search field.

* * *

Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His
Shep on Fishing column appears in the sports section Saturdays
during the winter. Call 609-350-9388 or email:

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Charleston Boat Show attendance swells 42 percent

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Charleston Boat Show

gallery photo

The rising tide in the overall economy lifted the Charleston Boat Show to a 42 percent increase in attendance this year.

Held last weekend at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, the annual assembling of boat and accessory dealers drew 11,228 people during its three-day run. Last year, the show reported 7,910 people perused watercraft, reflecting the then-still-tepid market in the years following the financial market collapse of 2008.

“The show was a great success and attendance was up significantly, with the dealers reporting sales of more than 127 boats and receiving very strong leads,” said Debbie Taylor, show manager for JBM Associates, which produces the show each year. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

JBM President Jacqui Bomar said Charleston, with its proximity to the coast and several waterways, has generally had a stronger show.

“We believe there was a lot of pent-up demand over the past couple of years and people were ready to get back on the water and enjoy the boating lifestyle,” she said. “ It is Charleston after all.”

The Charleston Boat Show is hosted annually by the Tri-County Marine Trade Association.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or

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CG rescues sick crew member off fishing boat

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A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued a man from the deck of a fishing vessel south of Nantucket Wednesday after he reported suffering from heart attack-like symptoms.

Shortly after 11 p.m., the crew of the fishing vessel Monomoy reported a 46-year-old crew member was experiencing severe chest pains, with tingling hands, clammy skin and heavy breathing — often symptoms of a heart attack, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.

A crew from Air Station Cape Cod was dispatched to the boat about 60 miles south of Nantucket. Six-foot seas and 11-knot winds, along with the ship’s rigging, prevented the helicopter crew from lowering a rescue swimmer. The patient was eventually brought up by a basket lowered to the deck and he was transported to Cape Cod Hospital, according to the release.

“The conditions were definitely challenging, but the entire crew did an outstanding job and we were able to hoist the crew member aboard where our corpsman administered life-saving medications while en route to the hospital,” said helicopter co-pilot Lt. J.G. Zephyr Mays.

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