With Memorial Day traditionally kicking off the pleasure boating season, and if you own a boat or watercraft, this list, prepared by the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), tallies the most popular boat names. The tradition dates back a quarter century, with the list derived from adding up requests for boat name designs from BoatUS Boat Graphics.
Each reveals something about the personality of the vessel’s owner. And the list is entertaining to say the least.
The 2019 BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names:
1 Aquaholic: After a four-year absence from the Top 10 list, this popular boat name returns. Its appeal is in its intoxicating wordplay about overdoing too much time on the water. This kind of imbibing, however, won’t give you a hangover – except maybe on a Monday morning when you have to go back to work!
2 Pearl: Sometimes a shortening of the name of the fictional ship in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, folks who put Pearl on the transom likely know that their luxurious vessel has an understated luster.
3 Forever Young: While boating isn’t exactly like the Fountain of Youth, many boaters say the feeling of boating, sailing or fishing keeps them feeling young. A perfect name for maintaining a stress-free boating life.
4 Second Chance: This boat owner has likely had an opportunity for a do-over – be it with boating or a life challenge related to health, career or matrimony. It’s a reminder to take advantage of the chance to start over.
5 Squid Pro Quo: It’s clear this fishing vessel owner appreciates Latin, or at least perhaps understands that life is a game of give-and-take.
6 More Cowbell: A 2000 Saturday Night Live comedy skit featuring Will Farrell and Christopher Walken pokes fun at taking things too far. Perhaps this boat is a little over the top as well.
7 Pegasus: A winged horse from Greek mythology that was capable of creating water springs just by striking his hoof into the earth. This boat name that connects earth and sky is commonly found on both sailboat and powerboat transoms.
8 Feelin’ Nauti: Who says you can’t be amorous while boating?
9 Why Knot?: These owners appreciate nautical wordplay and realize sometimes you just have to jump into things without overanalyzing it.
10 High Maintenance: This term, sometimes used to reference a boat owner’s spouse, can also indicate that this vessel also requires much time, money or effort. A good choice for a high-performance boat.
For a look at all of the BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names lists over the years go to BoatUS.com/Boatgraphics/Top-10-boat-names. The BoatUS Graphics service offers an online design tool to easily create custom boat graphics with fast turnaround times. BoatUS also has simple step-by-step video instructions on how to install graphics on your boat.
FREE FISHING DAY MAY 26
During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend when many families and friends will already be gathered together, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is pleased to offer the first of two Fish-for-Free Days in 2019.
On Sunday, May 26, the PFBC will waive its license requirement, allowing anglers to fish within public waterways across the Commonwealth without possessing a fishing license. The second Fish-for-Free Day will happen on Independence Day – Thursday, July 4.
From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is required to fish, however all other fishing regulations apply. Complete fishing regulations can be viewed, downloaded and printed for free from the PF&BC’s website.
To make the fishing experience more convenient on Fish-for-Free Days, participants can borrow equipment from dozens of fishing tackle loaner sites across the state. Many of the sites are located at state parks, county parks and some public libraries. Go the PF&BC’s website to locate a fishing tackle loaner site near you. And the site also includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports and tips on fishing fundamentals.
At this time of year, wildlife is blooming with newborns be it song-birds, geese, ducks, foxes and deer fawns. The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks that people avoid disturbing or picking them up, especially deer fawns.
Most deer fawns are born in late May and the first and second weeks of June, according to the PGC. During this time, it’s best to keep your distance because the fawn’s mother is almost always nearby. When people see a small fawn alone, they often mistakenly assume it is helpless, lost or needing to be rescued.
Fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks, instead relying on camouflage and stillness to remain undetected. During these times, fawns learn critical survival skills from their mothers. Bringing a fawn into a human environment results in separation from its mother, and it usually results in a sad ending for the animal.
The PGC encourages people to resist the urge to assist wildlife in ways that may be harmful, and offers these tips:
* Deer nurse their young at different times during the day and often leave their young alone for long periods of time. These animals are not lost. Their mother knows where they are and will return.
* Deer normally will not feed or care for their young when people are close by.
* Deer fawns will imprint on humans and lose their natural fear of people, which can be essential to their survival.
* Keep domestic pets under control at all times. Dogs often will kill fawns and other baby animals.
And in this last respect, coyotes, that are becoming more populated in all suburban areas, even in the city of Allentown’s West End where they’ve been seen, are big killers of fawns.
For the safety of all wildlife, taking a wild animal into captivity is illegal. It’s best to maintain a respectful distance and help keep wildlife wild, reminds the PGC.
STRIPER FISHING REMAINS HOT ALONG THE NJ COAST
In southern New Jersey, striper fishing has been good with bass over 40 inches showing up from Brigantine to Manasquan. Most shops, says Striper Magazine’s Striper Migration Report, are reporting best bites from anglers trolling with bunker spoons and mojos.
In northern New Jersey, striper action slows a bit in Raritan Bay as the bass have gone up the Hudson River to spawn and spread out in the ocean where they’re being hooked on bunker spoons and mojo rigs.
The spawners in the Hudson River are in the 20-30-40-pound class up to Albany. Again, all being caught on bunker, mojos and bunker spoons.
Locally, Lake Wallenpaupack striper catches are increasing with bass ranging from 20-35 inches that are being caught mostly on live bait.
In this day and age, you don’t need a big, expensive boat to get to good fishing spots. Float tubes, pontoons and kayaks are less expensive to buy and maintain, plus they’re fun to fish out of, especially the newer ones that are outfitted with rod holders, bait wells, depth finders, even cup holders. There are ones that have pedal power allowing you to cast and move, use a trolling or small outboard motor, and there are inflatable kayaks that are the least expensive to buy.
But before going helter-skelter in buying one, there are some considerations. Is it going to be used on flatwater, moving water, white water or in the ocean? Would you prefer a sit-on-top or sit-in model? And what length would be suitable for your needs?
The best initial bet if you’re a first timer is to talk to an experience kayaker for their feedback before buying. If you don’t know of one, stop up at Leaser Lake most any weekend and you’re certain to find a kayak angler in the parking lots or wait until one comes ashore.
One of the first things to consider once you decide the type you prefer, is its cost. Starter or entry-level kayaks start at around $250. Ones equipped for fishing fetch $500 and more.
Then there’s the decision of a sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak. Experts say a sit-on-top is easy to get in and out of, which is especially helpful if you plan to kayak and wade. This model increases visibility and casting distance but leaves the angler vulnerable to splashing and waves.
A sit-in-side model protects the angler from waves and water and is more stable. It also offers inside storage (although some sit-on’s have sealed compartments) and is good for river, ocean or quieter ponds and lakes.
Now if you want a pure fishing kayak that has rod holders, you’ll find they’re around 30 inches wide for more stability. Because of that, they’re less tippy and will allow you to be able to cast, set the hook and land tough fighting fish without feeling like you’re about to take a swim. They also have more storage features, molded tackle trays and casting handles. Their drawback is they won’t cut through the water as quickly.
If the water is choppy because of the wind, you’ll need a lightweight folding anchor or stake-pole. The anchor works best in deep water whereas the stake-pole is better in shallow water. The poles can be bought or made from PVC pipe and stuck into the lakes’ bottom, often through the kayaks’ scupper holes.
Length and weight are considerations. A longer kayak will move faster and have more storage space. The drawback, they weigh more. The popular size is 10-12 feet in length that puts them around 50 pounds. Unless you have a pickup truck or trailer, hoisting one atop the car and onto special and expensive kayak roof racks, could be trying at the end of a fishing day. And if not using a kayak cart with wheels, carrying one over your head could be problematic and tiring if the waters’ edge requires a hike (like Promised Land’s two lakes).
A kayak’s portability allows you to launch anywhere you can stand, even 60-degree river banks, common on the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. Leaser Lake, however, now has a kayak launch dock that’s at the dam end of the lake and it makes entering the water considerably easier.
STRIPER ACTION HOT
According to On the Water Magazine, stripers in southern New Jersey are being caught along the beaches including a 30-pound cow that was taken on a fly from the surf. Stripers up to 30 pounds are being hooked off Ocean County and are migrating up from the south.
In northern New Jersey, stripers are hot in Raritan Bay and up into the Delaware and Hudson rivers. Smaller linesiders are showing up in the surf throughout NJ.
The Tackle Box in Hazlet reports bass fishing is fantastic throughout Raritan Bay and all the way into the back bay, near the Naval Pier, at West Bank and Old Orchard. Anglers are throwing shads, Mojo’s, bunker chunks and livelining. Loads of bunker are being reported in the rivers and bass have been right behind and gorging on them.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, on April 6, 2019, angler Jeff Bonawitz, 54, of East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County launched his boat from the Muddy Creek public access area located south of Lower Bear Island on the Susquehanna River in York County. Fishing in 22 feet of water, Bonawitz baited a live bluegill onto his medium duty 8-foot spinning rod and reel fitted with 25-pound monofilament line. The soon-to-be-record catch occurred at 2:30pm.
We had already caught several 30 pounders to that point, so it had been a good day,” said Bonawitz, who was fishing with his friend, Bryan Bruce of York. “We were running low on bait, so I decided to use the biggest bluegill we had left. I had a bite and let the fish toy with it for a few minutes. When I finally pulled, it just bent the rod straight down. I could tell it was big. It kept hanging down deep and when it finally came up to the top, we thought it might be a mermaid,” joked Bonawitz. “I’ve fished the Susquehanna for years and I’ve never caught anything quite like it.”
Following a 25-minute fight, Bonawitz brought the fish aboard his boat. After taking some initial measurements, Bonawitz suspected it could be a contender for the state record, which had been previously set in 2006 when a 48-pound, 6-ounce flathead catfish was caught in Blue Marsh Spillway in Berks County. Unable to immediately locate an operational certified scale on which to weigh the fish, Bonawitz kept the fish alive in an aerated container at his home until the following day. On April 7, the fish was officially weighed at Columbia Bait and Tackle located in Lancaster County, where it tipped the scales at 50 pounds, 7 ounces, unofficially setting a new state record for the species.
As is required for state record consideration, Bonawitz contacted PFBC law enforcement officials and arranged for an in-person identification and examination of the fish. Waterways Conservation Officer Jeffrey Schmidt conducted the inspection and verified the weight. A completed state record fish application including color photographs was reviewed by PFBC officials and confirmed. State record fish are judged only by weight and must exceed the previous state record by at least two ounces.
Upon weighing the fish, Bonawitz with assistance from his nephew, Dylan, 8, released the flathead catfish alive back to the Susquehanna River beneath the Wrightsville Bridge.
“It was such an amazing fish,” said Bonawitz. “I thought the best thing to do was put it back so that maybe the next guy could catch it. I have a feeling this record may not last very long.”
A list of current Pennsylvania State Record Fish, official rules and application can be found at www.fishandboat.com
In my opinion, there’s no bird as interesting and fun to watch as hummingbirds. And they’re on the way through the area right now as they’re on their way north, according to the Birding Wire. In fact, ass per Perky-Pet’s birding website, a Rufous Hummingbird was spotted on 4-29-19 in Media, PA, and on 4-26-19, a Ruby-Throated was seen in Nesquehoning.
If you share this interest in hummers, and maintain feeders, now’s the time to clean your hummingbird feeders if you haven’t already. Then fill them with fresh sugar-water nectar, either homemade or purchased. Then wait it out for one or more to appear.
Spring migration, says the Birding Wire, can be an exciting time at hummingbird feeders with migrating birds stopping by for a short visit while others may wait it out with the idea of setting up a territory for nesting. It’s interesting to study their behavior and appreciate the journeys these tiny birds make.
You can follow the northward migration of different species hummingbirds, including on a national level through the Perky- Pet migration map site at www.perky-pet.com/advice/bird-watching/hummingbird-migration. Here, you can zoom into the state and local level – even down to your street – to see when the first hummers may arrive. But, it’s suggested, don’t wait too long as they can literally appear overnight.
Since it’s still early in the year, it’s hard to plan to have your yard’s flowering plants ready to greet migrating hummers with the hope of attracting them to stay. But you can probably buy some greenhouse-grown plants as it’s easy to keep them in a pot and move them where you want to attract hummers, like near a window or windows where you can see them. Tubular flowers seem to be best, especially red, orange and yellow colored flowers. Trumpet vines, one of their favorite flowers to get nectar from, are about to bloom as witnessed by those in my next-door neighbors’ yard. There’s also bee balm, cardinal flowers, trumpet honeysuckles, salvia – even red petunias may work. From this choice, the hummingbird experts say you can always add, remove and experiment with different plants. It’s all part of the fun of watching these speedy, fascinating and attractive birds.
PGC WILL STUDY THEIR DECISION TO MOVE THE RIFLE DEER HUNTING OPENER TO A SATURDAY INSTEAD OF MONDAY
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, they will be studying their decision to move the deer hunting opener from the Monday after Thanksgiving to Saturday after the holiday.
This comes amidst much controversy from hunters who are against it while others are for it.
The PGC Commissioners will be looking to see if there’s evidence the Saturday opener increased hunting license sales and hunter success. And they’ll be gauging the opinion of hunters who have taken part of in the state’s first Saturday opener since 1963. Their findings will determine if their recent decision will provide the most benefit before they set an opening day for the 2020 firearms deer season.
Since the Pennsylvania Game Commission changed the annual firearms deer hunting season from the first Monday after Thanksgiving to the first Saturday for the 2020 season, there has been some controversy over the move. As such, and according to the PGC, members of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners met last week with state House of Representatives Game and Fisheries Committee Majority Chairman Keith Gillespie (R-York) and Minority Chairman Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny) to discuss the Saturday opener to Pennsylvania’s firearms deer season, which the board adopted earlier this month when it set seasons and bag limits for the 2019-20 license year.
Since 1963, Pennsylvania’s firearms deer season consistently has opened the Monday after Thanksgiving, and hunters clearly were split in their support of the change to a Saturday opener. Some who have been unable to hunt on opening day due to work or school commitments strongly supported the change. Some who travel considerable distances to their hunting spots, and now must do so earlier in the holiday weekend, strongly opposed it.
Hunter concerns over moving to a Saturday opener prompted Gillespie and Kortz to meet this week with Tim Layton, the president of the Board of Game Commissioners, and some other board members.
While the 2019 deer season will open on Saturday, Nov. 30, Layton assured the committee chairmen the Board of Commissioners in the coming year will be looking very closely at the potential benefits and drawbacks of a Saturday opener. The commissioners will be looking to see if there’s evidence the Saturday opener increased hunting license sales and hunter success, and looking to gauge the opinions of hunters who will have taken part in the state’s first Saturday opener in decades.
Layton also said that when the Board of Commissioners selects an opening day for the 2020 firearms deer season, it will take all of these findings into consideration to arrive at a decision that clearly provides the most benefit.
“Acting in the interest of the state’s hunters and the future of hunting in Pennsylvania, always are important components to decisions by the Board of Game Commissioners,” Layton said. “The board gave these factors careful consideration before voting to move the opening day of the firearms deer season to Saturday, and in the coming year, we’ll be drilling even deeper to make sure we understand what the majority of hunters want.”
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.