Let’s Talk About Bottoms

We’ve all got bottoms, and sometimes we all treat our bottoms in a rough manner. We grind our bottoms, we slap our bottoms, and on occasion we’ve even been known to penetrate our bottoms. Yes, boat bottoms can be problematic. Lucky for all of us bottom abusers, Todd Gregory and the boys over at Towee Marine has come up with the solution for all those abused bottoms out there. Total bottom makeovers are not just a dream anymore, I’ll let Todd explain…

Towee Boats and Towee Marine and Industrial LLC have released their new “T2 River Armor” coating for your drift boat or jet sled. Developed in conjunction with a major coatings company, T2 River Armor is the first coating developed specifically for adding significant protection for river craft that operate in rocky, harsh service environments.

Towee owner Todd Gregory explains that, like most great ideas,  T2 River Armor was born from a great need.  “Owners of drift boats and jet sleds, whether they are fiberglass or aluminum, have always faced the same issues.” “First, the hulls themselves can only take so much abuse due to the nature of both the materials themselves and the construction techniques – this had been the state of the art so to speak for a long, long time”. “After a few years of service, the owners are usually forced to bring the boats in for a bottom service or to have tears welded on an aluminum hull” . “The problem here is that not only is this expensive and inconvenient, It only brings the boat back to “original condition” at best and will need attention again in a few seasons. At Towee, we chose to address this issue by developing our proprietary hull material lamination schedule that produces a far tougher and lighter hull” .  “However, we routinely receive requests to repair great boats built by other builders that just weren’t quite so resilient. The second part of the problem, according to Gregory, is that there just weren’t any good options available. Builders and owners have tried most everything conceivable from heavy HDMW sheets to epoxy mixed with various fillers to bedliner sprays, air boat bottom coatings and the like. Each have their own issues and none have adequately addressed the needs of the hard core river angler.

Over the past year, Towee has worked directly with one of the worlds largest industrial coatings manufacturer’s Research and Development departments to develop the first coating designed specifically to greatly improve the protection and performance of boat bottoms in harsh service applications. “From the beginning, we didn’t want an off the shelf solution, we wanted something specifically formulated for what our clients do” said Gregory. “We had to have it meet all four of the basic criteria: Extreme impact resistance, abrasion resistance, light weight and low drag coefficient (slickness)”.  The team at our partner supplier really knocked it out of the park on all four criteria and provided us with a proprietary product that will change what is possible with river craft .”  “We have actually had a sheet of simple 1/8′ fiberglass in the shop all winter that was treated with an early variant of T2 and I’ve been just wailing on it with a 2 lb hammer for visiting Pro Staffers and collaborators.” ” It has had to taken at least 500 hammer strikes and I finally got a small crack with an 18 inch pipe wrench the other day – the crack was in the fiberglass, not the coating.”

After a winter’s worth of R and D and Spring testing, Towee is ready to add performance and reliability to your drift boat or jet sled and add years to its life. For traditional fiberglass drift boats and sleds, Towee will repair existing damage, build up the chines with additional layers of material and coat the bottom and chines of the boat to provide the owners with  super tough hull protection system for little more than a traditional “rebottom” service from one of the major boat builders.   In addition to improved service life, the slickness of the coating combined with the reduced surface area achieved by the glass smooth crinkle finish result in a hull that not only takes the abuse of a rocky river but slides over rocks and logs with ease without reducing motoring performance.

Available only from Towee, T2 River armor is applied in a two coats, a base coat and a top coat then baked at a specific temperature to ensure a proper cure. Gregory can be reached directly with questions and inquires at todd@toweeboats.com.

I’ve already had my bottom T2 armored, and I’m loving’ every minute of it. Don’t you owe your bottom the best? Give Todd a call and let him work out your bottom problems.

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Now Or Neverglades

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This video was released about a week ago, and I’m sure plenty of you have already seen it. But we decided we’d play the clean up role on this one. So if you’ve seen it, then sign up to support it. If you haven’t seen it, watch the video and then sign up to support flows going back to the Everglades. The time is nigh and I don’t know about you, but I for one think it’s time that big sugar takes a backseat to the people of Florida, and the rest of the country, that want our natural resources back.

SCOF Winter 2017 “Diplomatic Immunity” Issue is Live

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We here at SCOF are not a proud people. We may not shower regularly, or use deodorant, or even know what a lufa is, but every three months we put out an issue despite ourselves. So here it is, the SCOF 2017 Winter “Diplomatic Immunity” Issue. Now leave us alone for three months, we stink. Oh yeah…head on over to our Facebook page to Like, Comment, and Share this post for a chance to win a Simms Dry Creek 2 Sling Pack. We’ll pick the winner next Monday February 2oth. But after you do that please explain the concept of a lufa to us. We’re dying to know.

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SCOF Fly Tying Potluck Tuesdays

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From the genius minds that brought you Mystery Movie Night, we are proud to present to you, the SCOF community, our latest excuse to get drunk and tie flies on a Tuesday. SCOF Fly Tying Pot Luck Tuesdays will not only be the greatest tying night of the week, it might just be the thing to clear up that rash. We will be running the pot luck at both of our main office in Asheville as well as SCOF outpost FL. At our Asheville night we will have a limited number of seats for an hour of instruction with local guides and fly tying celebrities. Comment instruction on the Facebook Event Page. All materials will be provided and space will be limited. Now to the potluck part. Everyone that shows up will be asked to add a material to the potluck. Once all potluck materials have been assembled all willing participants will be asked to tie one fly using solely the potluck materials. Best fly as judged by someone in charge will win some pretty nice stuff given up by our sponsors, Patagonia, Costa Del Mar, and Hunter Banks Fly Fishing…with some SCOF swag peppered in for good measure. The rest of the time feel free to spin up whatever you want, or more importantly whatever my boxes might need. The bar will be in reaching distance at both locations to make sure everyone’s creative juices are properly lubed. This event will run the second  Tuesday of the month until further notice. Y’all are now officially invited to our potluck…make sure you bring some dead animals.

– Dave

SCOF Summer 2016 “Blood Oath” Issue is Live

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Here we are again folks. The SCOF Summer 2016 “Blood Oath” Issue is live and like all blood oaths, not to be taken lightly. This time around we’re celebrating the release of the new issue by giving one lucky winner a free pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses of the winners choosing. Go over to our Facebook page and like, comment, and share to enter to win. We’ll pick the winner next Monday. Until then please feel free to peruse the fruits of our summer bounty.

Click the link. Read It.
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SCOF Summer Mystery Movie Series: TONIGHT

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Come one, come all…The SCOF Summer Mystery Movie Series (SSMMS for short) is upon us once again. Food will be provided by Farm To Fender food truck, drinks by the Cascade Lounge, a pair of Costas of your choosing to be raffled off provided by Costa, and some pisctorial film noir provided by your friendly neighborhood SCOF. Show will start around 8:45 but the loitering will get going around 6:00. See you tonight….

XOXOXXXXXXOOOOX,
Dave

Movie Night Y’all

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Less than a week to go till the first installment of The SCOF Summer Mystery Movie Series. A couple of updates:
  •  The movie is free, but a portion of all bar, food, and vendor proceeds will be donated to the French Broad Riverkeeper for monitoring, improvement, and over all well being of the French Broad River right here in our backyard.
  • The featured vendor for the first installment of movie night will be our good friend Danny Reed of Crooked Creek Holler apparel. He’ll have a table set up with his new spring line of gear and the best thing is you won’t have to pay shipping.
Festivities start at 6, the movie starts at dusk on the trailer. Cascade Lounge will be providing the hooch, and Ron’s Taco Shop will be slinging’ tortillas.
We also have a pretty sick swag raffle for you folks to. Come on down to the Asheville Food Park, and remember to bring your own chair.
– Dave

THE LOOMING DEATH OF OUR COASTAL FISHERIES

In case you missed it, here it is. A clear and passionate explanation of not only what’s happening in Florida but all of our coastal fisheries. Rise up fly people, and force our politicians to end the bullshit.

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SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE FLY
WINTER 2016: ISSUE no.18
THE LOOMING DEATH OF OUR COASTAL FISHERIES
By Joe Murray

Our coastal fisheries are getting fucked because of pathetically poor habitat and water management, and fly anglers (hell, anglers in general) aren’t doing shit about it.

First, let’s do the historical baseline test. Let’s choose 60 years ago, if for no other reasode429092f4f77f13b58bf67e78ade813-1.jpgn than some of the people reading this will have fishing memories from back then, and can attest to the next statement: How is our coastal fishing now compared to then? Almost across the board, a mere shadow of what it once was. I have yet to speak with an older angler who has told me that fishing now is as good or better than back then – and “back then” could be 30 years, not 60. If we’re talking about evaluating the state of our fisheries, we don’t want to just look at the past five or 10 years — we need a bigger picture. And that bigger picture looks pretty damn sad. It sure as hell isn’t something you’d hang on the wall of the man room.

Sure, there are spots here and there where a fishery is pretty good, but even these spots tend to be hot and cold, anglers often having to work harder than they used to for good fishing. And once again the old timers tell stories that make a big day today pale in comparison.

So compared to 60 years ago, our fisheries aren’t doing well. Why are anglers okay with this? Are they so consumed by denial that they accept it as the new normal and just fish harder, or travel to find good fishing? I wonder how much of the fishing travel outfitter business in recent years is the result of anglers giving up on their home waters and traveling to scratch the itch? I bet it’s a lot. And that’s classic avoidance behavior. Plus, this only works if you have the money to do it. Everyone else is screwed.

To those who are reading this and think that fishing today is just as good as it’s ever been, you need to see a shrink, because you’re in a majorly altered state of reality.  Or you’re too young to know any better. The data say the fisheries are in decline, as do the accounts of those who’ve been doing this for a while.

So what’s the source of the ills that have befallen our coastal fisheries? Bad resource management. For most coastal recreational fisheries (there are a few exceptions), I don’t think it’s bad management, it’s bad resource management. Florida is a great example. By and large, the recreational fisheries are well managed. Size limits, seasons, bag limits are all based on best available science and are doing what they’re supposed to do.

In glaring contrast, the state can’t have its head much farther up its ass when it comes to habitat and water management. Due to ast errors in judgment, Florida has already lost somewhere around 50% of its mangroves. Since a lot of recreational fish species rely on mangroves, that’s a problem. Now, when the state reviews an application for clearing mangroves for development (yes, this still happens), it reviews the application as if there are just as many mangroves as there ever were, not as part of a larger, cumulative loss of habitat. This generally leads to the permit being approved at the expense of the fisheries.

 

And the outlook for salt marshes is no better.

As if to underscore his inability to grasp basic economics, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently declared that state parks and other state-owned lands had to prove their economic worth and pay for themselves. What he fails to grasp is that in large part it is these public lands that are the factory that produces the recreational fisheries that are worth somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion annually to the state’s coffers. His shortsighted “management” is resulting in reduced habitat and fishery health that will be felt by Florida for generations to come. Saddest of all, this guy is now in his second term.

But that’s nothing compared to the mismanagement of the water. Decades ago, folks had the bright idea to drain the Everglades for development and farmland. Now the southern half of Florida is crisscrossed with varicose veins of water canals, and many other watersheds in the state were similarly violated. Now there are few places where the freshwater that flows into the estuaries follows its historical path, not to mention all of the excess nutrients and pollutants that are in that water.

Not enough freshwater is getting from the Everglades into large areas of Florida Bay. This is causing the salinity (salt content) of the water in Florida Bay to get so high that it’s killing seagrass and fish. he typical salinity of ocean water is 35 parts per thousand. At one point this summer, the salinity in parts of Florida Bay was 65 parts per thousand. This has been killing toadfish and pinfish, which are virtually indestructible. The low amount of rainfall this year in the Everglades is certainly exacerbating the situation, but the real cause of the problem is diversion of the freshwater flows for “water management” (and you thought California was the only state with bad water management practices).

In contrast to too little freshwater, other parts of Florida get way too much. Two rivers connect Lake Okeechobee to Florida’s coasts. When the water level gets too high in the lake, the Army Corps of Engineers opens the locks that keep the freshwater in the lake, and it pours out the Caloosahatchee River to Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast, and the St. Lucie River to the Atlantic coast — billions and billions of gallons of freshwater. A few years ago, the plume of muddy, tannin-stained freshwater bellowing out of the Caloosahatchee River could be seen more than five miles offshore. No matter the tidal cycle, water flowed out of the river mouth top to bottom, 24 hours a day, for weeks. And in the St. Lucie River, not only did most of the oysters die due to the deluge, but people got rashes and got sick from being in the water.

You can imagine what this did to the fish and fishing.

How bad is the water in Lake Okeechobee? A few years ago during a drought, the water level in the lake became so low that large areas of the mucky bottom were exposed. Someone had the idea to dredge out some of the muck that had accumulated over the decades. But when they tested the muck, it came back as so contaminated that there was no place to put it other than a sealed landfill. It remains in the lake to this day.

Here’s another gem for you: The levels of mercury in freshwater fish in South Florida are so high that the state recommends that people do not eat freshwater fish. Period.

The frustration here is that Florida’s water is still being managed like it’s the 1950s. The world is different now than it was back then. We know more and we should know a lot better, but the old ways just won’t die.

One of the bullshit arguments you’ll hear over and over again is that this is competition for freshwater between agriculture and the fish. If agriculture used reasonable conservation measures with its water use practices, this wouldn’t be an issue.

A lot of the water management canals were built to move water – to prevent flooding in some areas, deliver water to others. Because these canals drain a lot of agricultural land and take runoff from urbanized areas, the water is full of all kinds of crap. At the top of the list for many is that the water contains too many nutrients. Too many nutrients entering coastal waters and estuaries cause plankton blooms, which kill seagrass, shellfish, and other organisms, which – you guessed it – greatly impacts the fisheries.

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For water management purposes, the entities in charge want long, straight, clean canals that can move a lot of water. So on a regular basis, these entities spray herbicides in the canals to get rid of plants like Hydrilla, which can clog the canals and water control structures and pumps. This, of course, not only introduces yet another pollutant into the water, but also puts the nutrients that had been soaked up by the plants right back into the water. This makes for a nasty nutrient soup heading straight for coastal waters.

A few locations in Florida and other states use barge-mounted, mower-like contraptions to remove Hydrilla. This seems like a decent alternative to pollutants, and it helps to remove the nutrients from the system.

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A massive plankton bloom driven by a long-term input of nutrients is to blame for the massive seagrass die-off in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. The plankton bloom blocked sunlight from reaching the seagrass, and then the decomposition of the dead plankton and seagrass reduced oxygen in the water, which helped take out a lot more of the seagrass. This happened in 2010, and the recovery has been slow to say the least. Manatees, dolphins, and turtles are dying in high numbers, and fish have lesions. There hasn’t been a report of a decent shrimp run in years.

Some say that the 2010 event was the “perfect storm” caused in large part by the extreme freeze, to which I say bullshit. The Indian River Lagoon has been through freezes many times before, and never has such a die-off been documented. Some also say that 2010 was the death of the Indian River Lagoon, but the estuary has been dying the death of a thousand cuts for years. The 2010 event was just the accumulation of too many cuts — it had been coming for quite some time.

The Indian River Lagoon isn’t going to recover until something is done to fix the water. High-nutrient, polluted water can’t continue to be dumped into the lagoon on a daily basis.  It’s pretty simple.

The same can be said for Florida Bay and the Everglades. Until the water is fixed, the ecosystem – and the fisheries that depend on a healthy ecosystem – will continue to weaken and eventually totally collapse.

The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers will continue to be wastelands until water flows out of Lake Okeechobee are controlled.

All of these problems are shitting on our fisheries. And until these problems are addressed, our fisheries will continue to decline. Here’s the scary part – ecosystem and fishery declines aren’t slow and gradual. They are punctuated by cliff edges where they take a huge drop all at once to a “new normal,” and to many this is an “oh shit” moment that’s too late.

If the changes in the coastal fisheries that have occurred over the past 20 years instead occurred over a few weeks, people would be going ape shit. The declines would be obvious, painful, criminal, even to those who don’t fish. Instead, the changes have occurred in increments — the infamous “death by a thousand cuts” – it’s death all the same. It’s just that saltwater anglers can’t get out of their own way to see the changes, instead grabbing ever more desperately for that “good day” of fishing, whatever the hell that means anymore. So the perpetual optimism that keeps fly anglers chasing fish across the flats is also what has kept us from seeing how bad it really is, and makes the con job of the resource managers just that much easier.

I know it doesn’t sound sexy, but short of getting the band back together (read Monkey Wrench Gang), the only way to get action is to make life painful for those who make the decisions – the resource managers and politicians. That’s how democracies work. You have to participate to fix shit that isn’t working. So far, recreational anglers are sitting on one hand and drinking beer with the other.

Sure, it’s a pain in the ass and may take away some of your fishing time, but unless this shit is fixed, you’ll have plenty of non-fishing time available in the not-too-distant future. Then you can write as many letters as you want lamenting the way it used to be, and you can use what you’ve made selling your gear on eBay to fix up the man cave.

Just because it seems like it’s free because there is no charge for being out there wading a flat, walking a shoreline, or poling a boat, don’t fool yourself. It’s not. What we invest in now is directly related to the benefits we’ll get later. Unfortunately, those who came before us didn’t invest enough and didn’t protect the investment. Those charged with protecting the resource have failed at their duties. So here we are in the shit show. Now get off your ass and pay your dues, do something about it.

 

SCOF Winter 2016 “Bless Your Heart” Issue Is Live

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The Winter “Bless Your Heart” Issue has rolled into town with legs and arms akimbo. The new issue is brimming with content hot enough to vanquish the doldrums of winter, and rhetoric ballsy enough to slap a grown man in the face. We’re also giving away a Vedavoo/SCOF co-lab TL Beast sling. The rules are up on Facebook for the contest, and as always the issue is free for the people.