Posts by smilinmatt

    This was the first time I attended an FWC meeting, and one thing I took away from it - they listen and are swayed by the public speakers. All it takes to give input is to sign up at the meeting, and you are given 3 minutes to talk. We had roughly 10 people there from the dive community, and we were 3 for 3 on the issues we came to "defend".

    While some of you in Montana and Southern Cal might find it a little more difficult to attend, I encourage anyone that is going to be impacted by any future proposals to go and give your input. It makes a difference.

    Fruit meads are a nice way to make a good "wine-like" drink without all the effort that goes into making wines (meads are tough to mess up). I don't really have a recipe for making fruit meads. Usually I just add what looks like a reasonable amount of fruit (~1# blueberries per gallon). The steps to making a fruit mead:

    1. Boil the honey, acid blend, yeast nutrient, Irish moss and water for about 15 minutes. During the boil, scoop off the foam (it's mostly protein that will give it an off-flavor).
    2. While that's boiling, I'll crush the fruit. You don't have to juice it, just crush it to break the skins.
    3. After the boil is finished, turn off the heat and add the fruit and juice while it's still hot. This will sterilize it. Don't continue boiling the fruit, or you'll end up with a hazy finished product - or worst case spiked jelly.
    4. It's easiest to start the primary fermentation in either a 5 or 7 gallon bucket with a lid. That will make it easier to filter out the fruit later. Once it's cooled off, pitch the yeast.
    5. After 3 or 4 days, rack into a carboy and filter out the fruit (I use a big funnel with cheesecloth over it. Try to do this before the end of the heavy fermentation that way the yeast is still active and you can minimize introducing bacteria.
    6. After fermentation stops and you're ready to bottle, if you want to make it carbonated, add about 1/3 cup sugar per 5 gallons.

    For the most part, the more "complex" flavor of the fruit, the longer you need to let it sit before it's ready to drink. Fruits I've done:
    mulberry - best fruit mead I've ever made and it's ready to drink right after bottling
    blackberry - almost as good as mulberries. It works really well even with wild blackberries that don't taste good (we have lots of those in Florida).
    blueberry - really good, but takes a while to mellow. About 6 months before it's ready to drink.
    carambola (starfruit) - doesn't add much flavor to the mead, but it does make it undrinkable for about a year.

    If you have access to pomegranites, they're supposed to make the best mead and wine. I"ve got three trees in my yard, but with the Florida climate, I hardly get any fruit that make it all the way to maturity.

    I've got an Indian Pale Ale and a Vanilla Porter conditioning in bottles right now. I'll probably start a mead in the next few days - that's one of my favorites.

    I've managed to keep about 12 bottles of blueberry mead that I made in '07. Those are incredible right now. I've also got some carambola mead that I made a couple years ago. For the first year or so, it tasted like something a whino would piss out, but it's mellowed and tastes pretty good now. It makes it easier to let it age, when it tastes like crap the first year.

    The photo is of a barley wine I made about a year ago. A little more work, a lot more patience, and a ton of ingredients, but the finished product was awesome.

    He wanted nothing to do with me. The first time I saw him, he saw me and took off. I didn't chase, hoping he'd stick around. A few minutes later I saw him up against a rock, I was able to drop and hide myself from him to close the distance.

    Reminds me of when I was in college. We used to go to a swamp near campus and trudge around with dip nets collecting crawfish. The first few times, we'd grab a case of beer, stumble around the swamp, get another case of beer and boil the crawfish. They tasted great, but the crawfish "butter" was woody and gritty.

    One time we had something to do that night, so we threw all the crawfish in a 55 gal tank we had, half filled it with water and threw an aerator in it. The next day, it was a nasty, black mess. We figured all the crawfish died, but when we went to scoop them out they were all alive. We cooked them up, and they were the best tasting ones we had. After that, we always gave them a one day purge before eating them. Best part about it was that it gave us an excuse to get drunk two days in a row. :thumbsup2:


    I know about using toothpaste to clean mask, but what is the "lighter" treatment?

    Run a lighter over the inside of the lens. Don't hold it over any part, it probably takes about 15 seconds to cover each lens. You'll immediately see black soot accumulating around anything that's on the lens. After the lighter treatment is a good time to use toothpaste - it will remove all the soot.


    Several months ago, I was at Nautilus and asked Andrew about the difference between the NS blades and the leaderfin blades. He told me that the NS series are made by leaderfins, but they have a higher ratio of carbon fiber to resin than the leaderfin carbons. Something like 15% if I remember right.

    I keep hearing that about Leaderfins that I think was an error in translation that keeps getting thrown around. The Carbon and Fiberglass are both "fibers". The epoxy used to wet it out is the "resin".

    If they had to adjust the amount of "resin" they're using by 15%, their quality control issues are way beyond anything Dan has alluded to. :@

    There is more than just a little satisfaction in knowing that you just pulled the trigger at 90+ feet, can pull the fish far enough away from the bottom that it can't hole up, and carry your 5mm bloated self and gun up to the surface while maintaining a relaxed kick that isn't wasting your O2.

    The best part is, you know it was a good dive, when the fish you just shot is suffering from a case of the bends so badly that bubbles are coming out from under the scales. :thumbsup2:

    Manual of Freediving is like a school textbook. It's full of all kinds of positive and useful information, but if you don't have a professor explaining it, you won't learn much. I read it, thought I learned quite a bit, took FII, then reread it and realized that I read it completely wrong.

    I haven't read Breathology so I can't help there.

    I haven't seen or used the Leader fins, but in concept, it is a good way to make cheap, effective fins. When you flex fins, the majority of the load is carried on the surface (the same reason that I-beams are used in construction- the interior is basically space filler). They're putting the material that will give the best response at that point. My guess is that they'll perform as well or better than any fiberglass fin with a similar durability as FG. From a strength standpoint, interior carbon is a waste, but it's "responsiveness"still adds to the performance.

    All that being said, my last fins were a pair of Pursuit carbon's a little over a year ago (my next pair of fins will be Pursuits). I asked to have them custom fit into Beuchat pockets, which Dan agreed to do - and he did very well. My wife was the one that took them to him, and she was amazed that he was able to maintain his composure while making the modifications. :D (I wouldn't be surprised if he now requires a 4 figure modification fee along with a liter of rum).

    If that's not enough of a promo, how about the fact that I was shooting hogfish last week in 95' while wearing a 5mm wetsuit (which makes you about as hydrodynamic as a manatee).

    They're different than a bonita (Sarda sarda). Over here, we call them bonita, but they're really a "little tunny" (Euthynnus alletteratus - a type of small tuna). True bonita look more like a skipjack tuna. In the Tampa area, we get them right up to the beaches.

    If you have any recipes that make them taste good, please share. The best I can do is make them taste like fish-flavored liver (that's with bleeding, soaking in milk, etc.)

    Surprisingly, white is really easy to see against the bottom. It also reflects really well, so it's easy to pick out in murky water. If I lay one of my guns with an OMER handle on the bottom, I can spot the handle before I can see the yellow float line attached to it.


    Gulf Grouper , Thanksgiving day 2011 , 5' 6" , weight? more than me 75-80 kilos?. Sea of Cortez

    Back in the "good old days" (when you could still get jewfish), I had one that was 5'7" and 174# (79 kg). It looks like you're right on the money with your weight estimate. Like you, it was more than me at the time. Of course, now I weigh the same as a 6'2" one my dad got. :D

    I lived in Marathon from '80 through '92, and there isn't much of a change in quantity or size of the hogs down there. Where most people are shooting 12" hogs (on top the reef and the mixed grass inside the reef), there were always hordes of tiny hogs. It was rare to find a big hog on the reef. Most of the big ones I'd get would be inshore around channels. Back in the '80s, the typical hog we got was probably in the 14" range. Most days, the biggest ones would be around 16-18".

    Up here on the Gulfcoast, a typical male is going to be over 16" and there are no shortage of them. Their habitat is from the shoreline out 100 miles, and we have a fraction of the divers that SE FL and the Keys have. While a 16" size limit wouldn't affect me, I don't know if it would make much of an improvement anywhere else.