Not too much to relate, due to a rainy northeast spring and preparation of the Hyperfishing Sonic project boat for use this summer. Drove the Formula to the Ramapo River to fly fish for trout. In the Sonic, I targeted fluke and weakfish in Great South Bay near Fire Island, east of Long Island.

HYPERFISHING BY CAR

Hyperfishing by car was limited to occasional 1996 WS6 Formula trips between the raindrops to the Ramapo River in Northern New Jersey. While the car is capable of 162 MPH, I have not achieved that speed and rarely had the t-tops off due to the weather this year. This limited the doses of burbling dual exhausts that I am so fond of. Two years ago I was the fastest student in a BMW factory autocross event, but I had to miss a SLP drag strip event this year to due a bent wheel.

Back to fishing: one fellow driving a 1997 Z28 Camaro caught a bass in the Ramapo trophy trout lake, so that is certainly successful Hyperfishing. But, I had no luck at all this year catching the wily brown trout stocked in the river. However, just as the sun was setting one evening, the light caught the silvery sides of four trout holding just off the rapids south of the footbridge in the Ramapo County Mountain Reservation. They were not fifteen feet from my chest waders, but showed no interest in the Royal Coachmen flies I drifted past them. Darkness descended before I could switch to different fly patterns.

I had success at Ramapo last year with a Royal Wulff fly pattern and the aptly named Orvis Wonderline forward weighted floating flyline. Wonderline does require some stretching to get the kinks out of it as it likes tropical temperatures better. I use a relatively heavy number eight rod and a delightful Orvis Battenkill disk drag reel. I have put the trout I caught into plastic garbage bags to avoid messing up the WS6 interior. Lighter rods and reels are really more appropriate at Ramapo, but I have seen some large rainbows taken up to ten pounds. The most interesting natural event I noticed this year at Ramapo was a small army of crayfish that drifted past me on one trip there. Not sure if it was a mass spawning event or not.

I have had many successful Hyperfishing car trips over the last few years with the Firebird t-tops stashed in the "trunk", a six man Sevylor PCV inflatable boat, Mini Kota electric trolling motor and Interstate deep cycle batteries jammed into the folded rear seat area. Oh yes, still lots of room for a pup tent, sleeping bags, cooler, fishing gear and everything else required for weekend camping trips too. The Firebird and Camaro are TRUE sport utility vehicles! Read about these trips in Freshwater Destinations.

HYPERFISHING BY BOAT

Hyperfishing by boat this year is still in the preliminary phase, working the kinks out of a recently purchased 30 foot 1988 Sonic with twin 350 cu inch engines. Top speed should be around 65 MPH at 4800 RPM, but it is happy cruising at 40 MPH and 3,000 RPM for terrific gas mileage. At this RPM, the Sonic is likely getting 2 to 3 miles per gallon, at least twice the efficiency of a heavy sportsfishing boat the same size. An argument could be made that twice the gas mileage at twice the speed means an ocean racing powerboat is four times as efficient as a traditional sportfishing cruiser. This is essentially the same argument comparing the delights of a Firebird/Camaro/sports car against a standard "sport" utility truck. Besides, driving a Firebird/Camaro/sports car through the countryside to a fishing destination or skippering a muscleboat leaping over the waves at 40 MPH is A HECK OF A LOT MORE FUN TOO. This is the whole concept of Hyperfishing . Many agree that life is too short to drive a boring car or boat anyway. The boat is dry stored near Fire Island , east of Long Island and southwest of the Hamptons.

On the Sonic I have removed the rear bathing beauty engine cover cushion and am using the six by six foot space as an ideal fly casting platform. Using the same fly rod set up described above but with a Clouser minnow fly to better attract weakfish, fluke or striped bass. No luck with that. But, jamming ultralight Shakespere spinning rods equipped with twin hook fluke rigs into the handholds behind the seat bolsters raised some fish. Used frozen squid strips on one hook, frozen spearing minnows on the other and caught two one foot long attractive fish. They were not pictured in any fish books that I have, so tossed them back. Also dragged up a six inch crab. He was hanging onto the squid with one claw, snipping off pieces of squid with the other and stuffing his mouth while he was looking straight at me to determine how much longer he could continue to dine on the tasty meal. Very funny, and the highlight of the Sonic Hyperfishing trips so far. Hope to catch some tuna next month.

Stayed overnight on the Sonic for a couple of weekends and am very pleased with the accommodations. The forward vberth is quite spacious so that the wife and I are very comfortable sleeping there. I am 6í3" tall and suffering from a fractured rib, yet was still comfy in the V berth. We leave at least one of two hatches open with a fan running to disperse any fumes that might make their way into the cabin. Donít quite trust the fume detector. Lying in the V berth, the forward hatch is directly above our heads so we look at the stars when it is open. Very nice. I duct taped window screen over the hatch openings to keep the bugs out and have ordered some custom screens that just drop over the top of the 22 inch hatch openings.

Duct taping the window screen over the hatch opening proved to be a wise precaution when an enormous cloud of flying ants descended on the boat, trying diligently to get through the screen to visit with the wife and I. They were ultimately unsuccessful, and when we fired up the engines to blast around in Great South Bay, the surface of the ocean was covered with the ants for miles. They must have blown over from Fire Island. Glad we were not ripping around at 40 MPH when the ants were in the air, otherwise weíd have been picking them out of our front teeth.

Very happy the porta potti is in an enclosed head and not stashed under the V berth like most boats this size. Certainly would be impractical in the middle of the night. I equipped the head with a Thetford model 135 potta potti I bought,chucking the "no name brand" that was in the boat. The 135 model has a swiveling "output" pipe that you point into a toilet, push an airlock release button and it empties easily. No fuss, no mess. Great system. Other units without this swiveling output pipe could be a nightmare to empty as they are more prone to spill contents. Yeech! The porta potti tank holds enough fluid for about twenty five flushes, then needs to be emptied into an appropriate receptacle.

Speaking of slime etc., I was alarmed at the speed bottom growth attaches to the boat. After only a few days in the water slime attaches which cannot be washed off with a brush. Had to use an acid solution to burn off the slime coating, now I have waxed the entire bottom and sides of the boat as well. Hope that helps. The boat has never been bottom painted and I hope to keep it that way by storing the boat on land in a cradle. It is amazing how fast everything rusts. Brand new stainless steel horns are rusting as are the propellers on the boat. Removed the rust and waxed all exposed metal parts.

Installed a Raytheon L365 dual frequency fish finder unit that displays fish, depth, speed and water temperature. It graphs the bottom as you travel with alarms and fish depth/size symbols when it spots fish. It can see down 1,200 feet and certainly makes catching fish easier. Easy to install, not sure about that little steam boat wheel that spins to determine speed though. Hope it is more durable than it looks.

Purchased a portable Garmin eTrex GPS unit which already proved its worth when we got momentarily lost heading back to the South Shore of Long Island, straight into the setting sun. Already difficult to distinguish between the various bays on the low shoreline, it is impossible heading straight into the sun. The GPS signal was upgraded in May to within thirty feet. I find it very difficult to maintain compass headings while traveling at 40 MPH, weaving around other boats and navigational hazards. Have to get better at it. GPS makes navigation much easier. The wife lost a large waterproof chart overboard when the 40 MPH slipstream ripped it out of her hand. I had spent some three hours drawing Dead Reckoning plots and compass readings on the chart, so I hope who ever recovers it will appreciate all this work. I try to plot out where I am going before I even get in the boat. Much better than trying to do it while leaping over waves.

DOCKING WOES

The mechanic says the combination of a light boat (7,000 pounds), 350 CI engines and large pitch four bladed props is really the ultimate in economical twin engine operation. The bad news is that Iíll just have to live with difficult docking. The props fire the boat forward at about five miles an hour when shifted into gear, even at slow idle. This is really too fast for comfortable docking. In addition, the four bladed props bite hard when shifted into forward or reverse gear, dropping the engine revolutions about 300 RPMs and frequently stalling the engines. Canít raise the idle speed because the boat is too fast already at idle and a faster idle speed would also be harder on the gears in the Alpha stern drives. The partial solution is too run on only one engine, leaving the other in neutral, ready to snap into gear when needed. I prefer to let the starboard run in neutral since that is providing the power steering and it is no fun to steer this boat with a stalled starboard engine and no power steering. Do I look like a klutz when docking? You bet! But, I donít want to give up the benefits of the four bladed props by downsizing to three blades or a lower four bladed prop pitch. It is a good thing the wife is good at jumping around and using the boat hook to fend off pilings when docking.

Until the next Hyperfishing missive, tight lines!

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