Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Dade City man has crafty ways to lure fish

DADE CITY

Jim Swann can convert a $2 pair of flip-flops into $500 worth of fishing lures in one day. Swann, who owns and operates Swann's Fly Fishing Shop, combines plastics, chicken feathers, human hair, foam packing material, nylon dusters and electronic fiber-optic wire to create tiny turtles, crabs, birds, bugs and minnows.

He can teach a novice about casting and catching fish in five minutes. But Swann is a sportsman, who describes true fishing as "an art form for catch and release."

Swann, 69, returned to Dade City — and the old-fashioned craft of fishing lures — in 1994, after a career as a General Motors tool and die maker.

"Computers turned us into dinosaurs," he said. "That's when my six-month trial period to make a little money with a fishing shop turned into 19 years."

He has built his business at 13650 U.S. 98 bypass through word of mouth, and now builds fly or spinning rods for customers from Sarasota to Gainesville. He also sells trotlines, gigs and traps.

And now he has a protege: Kenny Roy, a 14-year-old student at Zephyrhills High School who wandered into Swann's shop earlier this year. Roy makes a little extra money by helping craft popper bodies.

"Kenny designed the hollowed-out bullet casing to drill lures from flip flops," Swann said.

Swann clamps Roy's templates into a desktop vise and punches a hole through the center of a half-inch piece of rubber with a wire hook. He uses flat wax nylon string and glue to wrap and tie down the big thumbnail-sized creature.

"I take matched sets of trimmed chicken feathers and combine them with deer hair and transparent foam to create a wing base," Swann said. "I hold it up to an overhead light to get what a fish is looking at."

Swann figured out that the red thread brings out a predator/prey relationship.

"A big gulp of air flares the gills of a fast-escaping victim," he said. "The fish knows that time is limited to get him."

Swann admits he can't get inside fishes heads, but he believes they bite as a line of defense, rather than out of hunger. He doubts they have any memory. Swann said he sometimes catches the same fish over and over again.

For people who can't fish, Swann recommends a bucket of minnows or any live bait. That's what separates a meat fisherman from a sportsman who tricks the fish with handmade lures.

Swann fishes everywhere from streams out West to Midwestern freshwater lakes to the deep seas off of the New England coast. In Florida, he prefers rapid-moving river waters and, of course, the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. A 7-foot sailfish is mounted above his desk.

Swann most enjoys chasing rainbow trout in their beautiful habitats, as well as pursuing graylings, which he describes as the "blue gill gems of clean northern waters." And he relishes the showdowns with aggressive stumpknockers.

"A 5-pound stumpknocker will try to turn over the boat and eat you alive," he said.

 
Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Updated: 4 hours ago
Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

TAMPA — Firefighters were battling a blaze at Captiva Club Apartments on Thursday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.According to video taken at the scene, the roof of one of the apartment buildings at 4401 Club Captiva Dr. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 6 hours ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 7 hours ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 8 hours ago