Old Photos Gallery

These are some old photos of me listed in chronological order starting with the first carp I ever caught. This photo gallery maps my journey from a ten year old boy with his first carp - the biggest fish I'd ever caught up until that point - through my fishing adventures, including fishing for Sailfish, Blue Marlin, Tuna, and Swordfish, to when I first started getting established in Islamorada as a Florida Keys Flats Guide.

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My first big fish. This was in Maryland where I grew up. Our pier on the  Severn River was my home base - my fortress. From there I explored the  Severn in my aluminum 12 foot Sears "Sea King" powered with oars and a 6  horsepower mid 50's vintage Mercury "Mark Six." The cowling was green  and everything else was silver. There were no spare parts available. Here  I'm holding my first carp. I remember it was hurting my hand to hold it up.  But it didn't matter; at last I had conquered the mighty carp. Thus, I  became obsessed with this species. At this time I had no idea down which  path this would lead. My first big fish. This was in Maryland where I grew up. Other than carp, there wasn't much else besides panfish. In the summer  the daily activities revolved around crabbing. At that time the area was  still quite rural. There were no other kids around. I was the only person in  my family who cared about fishing - everyone else was completely  clueless, therefore I was on my own. I spent all my time outdoors and on  the river. Nature was my inspiration. I did have a fantasy mentor in the  form of the TV personality Gadabout Gaddis, who was the star of the "The  Flying Fisherman" show. I loved Gadabout Gaddis. I glued myself to that  black and white tube whenever the show was about to come on. Also, I was  completely enthralled with the movie, "The Old Man and the Sea,"  especially the sequence of the jumping marlin, which was from a film of  Alfred Glassell's 1,560lb. world record black marlin caught off Cabo Blanco,  Peru in 1953. Other than carp, there wasn't much else besides panfish. In the summer the daily activities revolved around crabbing. Some kind of catfish, probably a channel catfish, but I never bothered to  find out. They weren't that common. I cut them up for crab bait. Some kind of catfish, probably a channel catfish, but I never bothered to find out. They weren't that common. I cut them up for crab bait. A Carport Carp. A Carport Carp.
At this point I really have that "Huck Finn" thing going. After years of life  on the Severn I began to look the part, which was by default, not design.  It was only just this past year that I read the book. At this point I really have that "Huck Finn" thing going. On the Chesapeake they're called "Rockfish,"  everywhere else they're called Striped Bass. This  catch reflects the fact that by this time my boat's  been upgraded to a Boston Whaler. I could then  access the open Bay. On the Chesapeake they're called "Rockfish," everywhere else they're called Striped Bass. Bluefish. Now it's time to start exploring the Atlantic  Ocean. Bluefish. Now it's time to start exploring the Atlantic Ocean. More bluefish. They were pretty nice size. Check out  the bushel basket. Now it would be something made  of plastic. More bluefish. They were pretty nice size. Check out the bushel basket. Now it would be something made of plastic.
Back in Islamorada exploring Florida Bay. Back in Islamorada exploring Florida Bay. Me and my Boston Whaler. I had brought it down  to Islamorada so I could start exploring Florida  Bay. This is probably 1974. At this time I was  working as a mate for Captain Larry Wilcher on his  charter boat "Fathom Five." Me and my Boston Whaler. I had brought it down to Islamorada so I could start exploring Florida Bay. This is probably 1974. Summer 1974 and starting to work on charter boats  out of Ocean City Md. This is a nice wahoo. Summer 1974 and starting to work on charter boats out of Ocean City Md. This is a nice wahoo. This is the first Blue Marlin I was involved with. Most billfish  were released. The only ones that were brought in were the  ones the angler wished to have mounted. Nobody was doing  replica mounts back then. It was more than a decade later  when that started becoming popular. This is the first Blue Marlin I was involved with. Most billfish were released. The only ones that were brought in were the ones the angler wished to have mounted.
From perch to blue marlin. Savoring the moment. From perch to blue marlin. Savoring the moment. White Marlin, Wahoo, and a Longfin Albacore. I don't remember when I  started wearing hats. This was still prior to that point. Check out the  bell-bottoms. White Marlin, Wahoo, and a Longfin Albacore. I don't remember when I started wearing hats. This was still prior to that point. Check out the bell-bottoms. This was a fun-fishing day. That means it was the crew's turn  to have a little busman's holiday. This was my first blue marlin  as an angler. It's on my living room wall to this day. This was my first blue marlin as an angler. It's on my living room wall to this day. Another blue one. I remember we had four White Marlin that  day as well. This was in a tournament of some sort. It might  have been the Ocean City Marlin Club Tournament. Another blue one. I remember we had four White Marlin that day as well.
Back in Islamorada for the winter. This was another fun-fishing  day. After 35 years the two guys on the left and I are still close.  The only difference is gray hair and a lot more stories. Back in Islamorada for the winter. This was another fun-fishing day. Dolphin on the Rocks. This was in Costa Rica in 1976. A group of us  went there to run the boats out of a new billfish camp called Bahia  Pez Vela. Nearby was a beach with a rocky peninsula-island called  Ocotal. Now it's the Ocotal Beach Resort, but at that time there  was nothing there but a little farm. We would go at low tide when  we were able to wade out to the rock island. Once we got on the  island we would cast-net ballyhoo and keep them alive in tidal  pools. We would then wait for dolphin to come and crash the  schools of bait near the rocks. Standing on the rocks with a  spinning rod rigged with a live ballyhoo we could sight-cast for the  dolphin when they came within range. We caught a few roosterfish  that way as well. If we had spent more time at it we may have  been able to catch a sailfish from the shore. Or maybe at least  hook one. But at that point the boats were delivered and we were  busy exploring the Gulf of Papagayo for pacific sailfish. Because I  was so caught up with the idea of going to Costa Rica to fish for  Pacific sails my mind was stuck in the single dimension of agonizing  over what fishing gear I should bring. So, I went to Costa Rica with  some clothes and a ten year supply of tackle. Stupidly, I did not  think to bring a camera. As a result, the only mementos I have of  that trip are this photo taken by another member of our group,  the chewed up psycho-squid daisy-chain teaser I dragged all over  the Gulf of Papagayo, a bill from a pacific sailfish, and the skin of a  poisonous sea snake. On my return to the U.S. that snake skin  ended up expediting my passage through U.S. Customs. When the  Customs inspector opened my suitcase and saw the snake skin she  shrieked and sent me on through without further delay. I was  home. Dolphin on the Rocks. This was in Costa Rica in 1976. A group of us went there to run the boats out of a new billfish camp called Bahia Pez Vela. 1976 and back in Islamorada working on the charter boat, Comin Home.1976 and back in Islamorada working on the charter boat, Comin Home. Cast netting bait. Cast netting bait.
1977 and Guiding. The pictures from this era always involve  dead fish which may create the illusion that everything we  caught got slaughtered. This is because the only fishing pictures  I have from that period were taken on the dock. My boat at  that time didn't have any dry storage area. I couldn't afford to  ruin my camera. It wasn't until I bought a Pelican Case that I  started getting on-the-water shots. We released almost  everything we caught. This fish was a Metropolitan Miami  Fishing Tournament, or Met., record for this angler, who  qualified for the "Pee-Wee" division. Therefore I had to kill it to  weigh it for the tournament. Other fish were killed for mounts  but that changed later. Releasing the fish even for a mount  became more popular. Later the State of Florida required  anglers and guides to purchase a "kill tag" to legally kill a  tarpon. Except for records, that ended the killing of tarpon. 1977 and Guiding. The pictures from this era always involve dead fish which may create the illusion that everything we caught got slaughtered. Another on-the-dock shot from the same period. That day was  very fishy. There were at least two other tarpon brought in plus  there's a blue marlin under my foot. Another on-the-dock shot from the same period. That day was very fishy. There were at least two other tarpon brought in plus there's a blue marlin under my foot. From 1977 to 1981, in addition to guiding in  Islamorada, I spent the months of July through  September in St. Thomas working on a private boat  fishing for blue marlin. From 1977 to 1981, in addition to guiding in Islamorada, I spent the months of July through September in St. Thomas working on a private boat fishing for blue marlin. September 2nd. 1977. I'm standing on the right. The guy in the  white shirt kneeling on the left and I were working on a boat called  the Halter 60. Another boat, captained by the fellow standing on  the left, had this fish on and the angler wanted to mount it. I don't  remember exactly what the deal was but I think the mate may  have had some kind of problem with his hand and couldn't handle  the wire. The captain asked if we could transfer over to his boat  and help land the fish. My associate, the now late Terry Burnett,  wired the fish and I gaffed. I think this was the biggest blue marlin  I ever put in the boat. September 2nd. 1977. I'm standing on the right. The guy in the white shirt kneeling on the left and I were working on a boat called the Halter 60.
The Elbo Seven, a Monterey Marine boat built in Stuart, Florida in 1978. I was  on this boat from 1979 to 1981. During those years I would guide anglers for  tarpon, bonefish, and permit in Islamorada for six months, then the rest of the  year I would spend gallivanting around the billfishing scene between Venezuela  and Florida. That's me standing in front of the door. It looks like we were on the  cruise but the fact is we were fishing when this photo was taken. Check out our  trolling speed. The Elbo Seven, a Monterey Marine boat built in Stuart, Florida in 1978. I was on this boat from 1979 to 1981. Here's a pretty good St. Thomas blue marlin. You can tell he's still pretty fresh by  the way he's lit up, i.e., by the purple to sky-blue colors he's displaying. That's me  on the wire and Peter Wright of Destin, Florida (not to be confused with the "other"  Peter Wright) is using a small gaff to retrieve the lure which shows as that blue  blob in the fish's mouth. Here's a pretty good St. Thomas blue marlin. You can tell he's still pretty fresh by the way he's lit up, i.e., by the purple to sky-blue colors he's displaying. Fishing the North Drop for Blue Marlin in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. My shirt  says "Release Them Alive" and has a trout on it, but that's no trout jumping  around on the end of that wire. Tim Davis is ready with the tag stick. Fishing the North Drop for Blue Marlin in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. This one's aired out nicely. You can see the wire going up and over the middle  of his back and then to his mouth where the hook and the green and yellow  skirt is. This one's aired out nicely. You can see the wire going up and over the middle of his back and then to his mouth where the hook and the green and yellow skirt is.
What we have here is a photo of me and an associate, a mako  shark, and a c-note. I think this was about me winning a wager  over something. What we have here is a photo of me and an associate, a mako shark, and a c-note. I think this was about me winning a wager over something. From the late seventies to mid eighties you never really knew what you might  come across when out on the water. This was in Florida Bay. I didn't do it, I just  found this airplane sitting on a flat in the middle of the Bay. From the late seventies to mid eighties you never really knew what you might come across when out on the water. This was in Florida Bay. From 1982 to '86 I guided Billy Pate in the Gold Cup Tarpon  Tournament. He needed an ox to pole that boat he had. That  thing belongs in a museum. It's quite a coincidence that I'm  wearing the exact same outfit I was wearing when I was  standing on that airplane. I'm sure I must had done at least  one load of laundry since the day I came across that plane  sitting on the flat. From 1982 to '86 I guided Billy Pate in the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. He needed an ox to pole that boat he had. That thing belongs in a museum. This is circa early eighties. Back then sight fishing for  mutton snapper on the flats was a very viable fishery.  They followed the rays and if the rays were up on the  flats feeding then there was a good chance there'd be  muttons with them. They were very spooky when in  shallow water. They required a long accurate cast and  you only really had one shot before they took off. This is circa early eighties. Back then sight fishing for mutton snapper on the flats was a very viable fishery.
In the mid eighties my friend, who ran the private boats for the people who  fished for billfish and with whom I had fished until about 1981, purchased a  longliner and got in the business of longlining for swordfish and tuna. I went  with him on his longliner in November of 1988 and again in March of 1989. This  photo shows us with a very respectable example of a full grown swordfish. On  rod and reel the leader for the 80 and 130lb. class tackle was thirty feet long.  Later the IGFA changed the rules and shortened the leader length to twenty  feet. On the longliner the leaders were thirty fathoms, that's one-hundred and  eighty feet. That means one hundred and eighty feet of 400lb. test mono  between the clip and the hook that a person has to pull in hand over hand. I like  to pull on stuff so I took the leader whenever I had a turn. As we were hauling  back the mainline there were usually signs that something big had eaten one of  the baits. You never knew what it might be - it could have been anything from a  giant leatherback turtle to a big shark or marlin. The hope was always that it  was a swordfish or tuna but you weren't able to find out what it was until the  thing was close to the boat. One sign that a large creature was in the offing was  a giant tangle in the mainline. Another was the mainline taking on a severe  downward angle and becoming very tight. Buoys coming up looking like  shrunken heads because they had been drug down by something big and  powerful that had sounded to an extreme depth were another sign of an  encounter with a big critter. I got the leader on this one. It was tight but it was  dead weight. As you bring the thing up sometimes the pull on the leader begins  to lessen. This is because there's a depth where the air in a fish's swim bladder  begins to expand to the point where the fish becomes neutrally buoyant. After  this point, if the fish is dead, he just floats up to the surface. That's what this one  did. It was slick calm and hot that day. This fish popped up belly first about fifty  feet off the side of the boat. A word about longlining:  Each of these trips I took on my friend's longliner lasted right around 30 days.  Out of the total 60 days on the water we ended up soaking gear for at least 45.  It didn't take very long for me to see that longlining and rod-and-reel fishing  have absolutely nothing in common. They are diametrically opposed. They are  opposite to the extreme.  Recently, while hunting around on the web for some information on pelagic  species I stumbled across this: Confessions of a Longliner. I read it and realized  that I had had the same general experience. The only difference was that we  caught billfish, but not in the numbers this fellow described. Now, that might  only have been because we weren't fishing the same places. I was on a  long-range longliner. It was a steel-hulled vessel 90 feet long. It could be at sea  for a month or more. After reading the interview it doesn't sound like we were  fishing the same waters.  As I remember, we were catching an average of 2 billfish per day and that did  not include the swordfish. The majority of these billfish were blue marlin. The  rest were about an even split between white marlin and sailfish. The survival  rate was about 60% for blue marlin, 10% for white marlin, and 0% for sailfish.  Since we caught more blue marlin than whites or sails the average daily billfish  mortality rate was around 50%. That meant that out of the average two billfish  per day that we caught, one was released and one was dead. So, we were killing  one billfish every day we had gear in the water. Now, if we had been in a place  that had predominately sails or whites then the billfish mortality would have  been higher. Also, this number doesn't include the undersize swordfish. We  caught them as well and they were almost always dead. I still have swordfish  bills around here that are roughly the size of letter openers.   I remember on some of the days we'd be hauling-back to the east. Occasionally  you'd look ahead of the boat and see a big blue marlin out about a quarter mile  or so silhouetted in the early morning sun and tearing up the ocean like they do  when they're freshly hooked. Apparently they would go after the un-eaten baits,  as they were being planed up to the surface by the process of hauling-back, and  had gotten hooked. My impression was that a lot of these fish eventually  escaped because I don't remember having to deal with too many fresh and  frisky blue marlin coming up shortly after we'd seen them hooked and jumping  around out ahead of the boat. Usually when we'd pull up a blue marlin it was not  expected.  So, we averaged one dead billfish per day and however many swordfish pups  that came in. But on top of that was everything else. Swordfish and tuna were  the "money fish." Sometimes almost everything that came up was a money-fish.  Other times we'd bring up dozens of other species for each fish that we kept and  out of all those unwanted species a good portion were dead. It ended up that for  each money-fish that came on board about a dozen other things had to die. Dead  everyday was a potpourri of blue sharks, bigeye thresher sharks, longfin mako  sharks, shortfin makos, assorted other sharks, six foot squids, escolars, and  lancetfish. We caught a kind of fish that no one had ever seen before and I never  found out what it was called. It had a giant eye and was about 50 or 60lbs. It  came up dead. We also had dead bluefin tunas that could not be kept because  the quota had been reached and they had to be tossed. I was really not  comfortable seeing all those animals come up dead and then just get discarded  like trash.   I have to give my friend, the owner and captain of the boat, credit for his efforts  in trying everything he could to minimize the by-catch. He'd make every  exertion to revive any unwanted fish that came up barely alive. Also, he forbade  the deckhands from cutting the fins off any of the live sharks. I distinctly  remember a huge whale shark that swam up to the side of the boat. It wasn't  hooked - it was free swimming. The deckhands were murmuring about catching  it and cutting off its fins. It was folly of course, but they were serious. In other  words, their plan was to kill this 40ft. animal so they could sell its fins for 20  bucks. My friend, the captain, put the kibosh on that real fast. He also  discouraged them from taking the fins off any of the dead sharks. But, for all his  efforts, he couldn't prevent unwanted species from eating the baits and then  struggling until they died. When something comes up dead, it's dead and that's  it.   So, the difference between rod-and-reel and longlining is that the nature of  longlining results in a huge by-catch with a high rate of mortality where rod and  reel fishing is more selective and any by-catch can almost always be released.  For more information visit: http://www.bigmarinefish.com/extinction.html In the mid eighties my friend, who ran the private boats for the people who fished for billfish and with whom I had fished until about 1981, purchased a longliner and got in the business of longlining for swordfish and tuna. Here's another whopper swordfish. This fish probably  weighed around 750lbs. It looks like the same one in  the previous photo, but it isn't. In the previous photo,  which was taken the previous day, the ocean was slick  calm and it was hot. This day the wind was blowing -  just compare the sea condition. I got to leader this one  too. But unlike the one the day before which was dead,  this one was fresh and lively. Here's another whopper swordfish. This fish probably weighed around 750lbs. In 1990 I had the pleasure of spending a week in  Quebec on the Grand Cascapedia at the Middle Camp.  This is an Atlantic Salmon. Those fellows with me  were the guides. In 1990 I had the pleasure of spending a week in Quebec on the Grand Cascapedia at the Middle Camp. This is an Atlantic Salmon. A Rasta Runs Through It. Here I am in Montana the  same year that movie about trout fishing came out. A Rasta Runs Through It. Here I am in Montana the same year that movie about trout fishing came out.
Yellowfin Tuna, Allison Tuna, or Ahi. Call it what you  like. This is off Key West circa mid-1990's. Yellowfin Tuna, Allison Tuna, or Ahi. Call it what you like. This is off Key West circa mid-1990's. Here I am trying my best to imitate inimitable Warren  Zevon (with whom I'm standing). He had just angled  this lunker permit to the boat. If you can't close your  fingers around the base of the tail then it's a big  permit. Here I am trying my best to imitate inimitable Warren Zevon (with whom I'm standing). He had just angled this lunker permit to the boat. If you can't close your fingers around the base of the tail then it's a big permit. Excitable Boys. Me and Zevon. Excitable Boys. Me and Zevon. It's the mid '90's and this is an Asian Grass Carp my son had just caught. They  like bread balls on the surface at dusk. It's the mid '90's and this is an Asian Grass Carp my son had just caught. They like bread balls on the surface at dusk.

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Captain John
Your Guide, Captain John Kipp.

Memorial to the Pioneers Florida Bay: The life and final resting place of Jimmy Albright, Cecil and Peggy Keith, and Jack and Dori Brothers. It was an honor and a privilege to have known and worked with these people
A tribute to the pioneers.