01/01/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges



Happy New Year to all of you and a special happy new year to the fine
men and women who defend our country!


Those That Know Me Asked For It, So All Of You, Know Me Or Not, Are
Going to Get It - Extreme, X Rated, Hard Core Fishing Tales

How To Scare A Race Car Driver  -  Driving

I lived at Panama City Beach Florida for almost twenty years. Although I know little
about car racing, I do happen to know a long time Nascar team owner, James Finch.
His Phoenix Racing Team was located at Lynn Haven Florida just outside of
Panama City for many years. It's since been moved near Charlotte North Carolina
close to most of the other Nascar teams. Several years ago, James wanted me to
take his friend and driver for the new upcoming season, Neil Bonnett fishing.
Meantime, a couple of drivers from the Miami area that were at Phoenix Racing most
everyday at that time heard about it and wanted to go fishing with me. The name of
the driver this story is about wouldn't be recognized nationwide, but he had won and
placed in several short track events just under the top level and was well known in
the South Florida area. He had run around plenty of tracks near 200 MPH and on
top of that, he raced motorcycles. It should also be noted that this particular driver
owned a Fountain Boat which are known for their speed. Regie Fountain probably
holds more speed records than we have fingers and toes. This particular driver
dropped a few comments about how fast his boat was. I won't mention him by name
because it would definitely embarrass him. These guys do have some big egos. I
was well aware of that from meeting a few of the drivers.

This particular driver (I will call Mr. Nascar) and I packed up one day and headed
over to Pensacola Florida where I planned to leave from the next morning to fish the
oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana. It's about a 90 nautical mile run to where I wanted
to fish. If you run between 30 to near 50 knots, it doesn't take long but it all depends
on the seas. The marine forecast looked okay with 3 to 5 foot seas predicted. I love
the 3 to 5 forecast. It's the one they use when they really don't know what the seas
are going to run. At 3 feet most boats have few problems running on plane, but with
5 foot seas, it takes either a well designed small boat (23-35 foot) or a larger, much
slower boat to handle them. With any size boat, running fast in 5 foot seas is rough,
especially in the Gulf where the wavelengths are usually short.  I thought about
going through the Intracoastal waterway from Panama City to Orange Beach and
entering the Gulf at Perdido Pass but that takes a long time due to speed limits in
the IC. I couldn't wait to show Mr. Nascar some of James Marsh's boat handling skills
and how to put some large dolphin, wahoo and tuna in the boat.

Well, to get to the point, I put the 25 foot Ranger up on plane just as we entered
Pensacola Pass early that morning. The seas were between 3 and 5 with a following
sea. Going with them is worse than running into them because of the tendency to
dive the bow into the swells. If you don't run at a fast speed, you will fall off the
peaks of the waves into the trough instead of catching the next swell. This will jar
your teeth out. If you stay on top, the engines will scream between the peaks of the
waves because they will be completely out of the water for a few split seconds. In
other words, your half flying and half boating. If this isn't done right, it can blow the
engines. Outboards don't run well when they are cooled by air. It was just Mr.
Nascar and I and we were headed for a long day of exciting fishing on the offshore
oil rigs.

It takes a minute or so to put the 9 foot beam, heavy boat on top, even with the
combined 450 HP of a pair of Mercs. After about a minute or two of running full
speed, Mr. Nascar started yelling bloody murder. I pulled back on the throttles and
noticed his hands were white as cotton from squeezing the stainless steel tower
supports. His face showed he was scarred. He was bad scarred. He was so scarred
he begin to curse and ask if I was crazy. When he gave me a chance to talk, I tried
to tell him that is standard procedure and that I that I had done that same thing for
many years. It didn't convince him at all. i explained that if we ran at a slow speed it
would take hours to get there and hours to get back. It didn't work.

Later, after he calmed down a little, I asked why it scarred him. He said "because
you have no idea where the boat is going and what is going to happen next". I said,
"hold up there dude - wait just a minute - I most certainly do - I have hundreds of
hours running in rough seas like this and even much worse". I tried to explain that I
did know exactly what the boat was going to do. I also explained that I also knew
what not to do. One thing you can't do is run half speed. You have to run on top or
slow down and run off plane as a displacement hull at about ten knots. I asked how
he ran his Fountain. He said,  "I never do the crazy stuff you just did". It didn't matter
what I said, he was not having any part of it. He would have fought me over it. It
scared the heck out of him. The same guy can jump long distances on motorcycles,
run around tracks near 200 mph in cars and motorcycles, but he couldn't handle
what not only I, but most of the guys who own similar boats do every day.

I must admit, I did have somewhat of a reputation of being reckless with the boats,
but he didn't get to see any of that. What he experienced was normal. Testing and
demonstrating boats was a part of my responsibilities. I have run the same boat in
12 to 15 foot seas (not on top) when it really was dangerous. I crossed the Gulf of
Mexico in the same size and make of boat with twin Yahama outboard power. As far
as anyone could determine, it was the first time anyone had ever crossed a major
part of the Gulf using outboard engines for power. One slightly off-course move off
a straight course line from Panama City to St. Petersburg Florida and Rick Carrie
and I would have run out of fuel. Anyway, Mr. Nascar continued to insult me and I
fired back insulting him asking about his real race car driving qualifications. He
made me a little angry and I made him pretty mad. Anyway, we remained friends and
did end up having a good day catching red snapper a few miles out of the
Pensacola Pass, rocking and rolling. I kept wishing he would get sea sick, but he
didn't.

A couple of days later, I told James Finch about it. He said, "those Miami guys are
not going to drive for me'. They are just hanging out at the shop every day wanting
a ride. "Getting a ride is Nascar slang for getting a job driving". James has two
teams currently, with his 09 car running the Sprint Cup Circuit and his 1 car running
the Nationwide circuit. I asked him how Mr. Nascar could drive in the races he had
driven in, in both cars and motorcycles, yet get that scarred in my boat.
James
replied, "I can tell you exactly why - he wasn't the one driving - you were".

He explained that is how they all are. They have plenty of confidence in themselves
but little in others. It makes good sense.

I never got a chance to take Neil Bonnet fishing. Neil had 18 Nascar victories and is
still ranked 35th all time driver. When he finally recovered from his bad crash and
was ready to start driving for James at the first of the 1994 season, he was killed at
Daytona, the very first day of practice. His helmet sits on top of James's bar at his
home in Lynn Haven. I talked to James at our favorite hangout just after he flew
back from Daytona the same day Neil was killed. He was very, very upset to say the
least. That same day, he had watched his good friend die as well as lost his new
driver for a very hopeful new Nascar season. I'll just stick to boats or maybe drown
from wading. After all, there are worse ways to go.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh