Hot Holiday Gifts

Hot Rods

I write about some pretty interesting and diverse things, and for some subjects I try my best to describe the products and their capabilities, while keeping the technical stuff as simple and understandable as I can. None of that is necessary for one of the articles I wrote for All At Sea Southeast in the December issue (you can download a copy at ). These rods speak for themselves.


I was fortunate enough to meet with Captain Mark Laws of Sick Custom Rods. He is an artist that produces some incredible custom rods that are equally at home hanging on a wall as decorative art, or battling a fish of a lifetime.

Working out of a small shop in Tarpon Spring, Florida he produces incredible custom rods built from the blank up. He specializes in full-on, high-end custom rods for all kinds of fishing from bass fishing to specialized one-of-a-kind tarpon rods. The complexity of the build and the materials he uses are mind-blowing. You can pick up any of his rods and it is clear to see how much work goes into them. It is evident he is a very patient man putting in hours to create a fishing rod that will last a lifetime. Using materials as diverse as Abalone shell and snake skins (see the photo below) along with the latest hardware, he spends hours at his bench putting together a rod that is not only nice to look at but is also functional due to the selection of components that best serves his customers specific needs.


The detail in his work is what really struck me. Every rod is flawless and feels perfect in your hand. Each eye is mounted perfectly and the “spine” of the rod bends without twisting in your hand. The finish on them makes it so that you just want to hang it on a wall and admire it, although Sick Rods have won many tournaments and are used daily by hard driving charter captains.


Interviewing Mark and shooting his rods I learned a lot about custom rod building and it was obvious that his years as a charter captain help in his designs. He confers with other experts and develops cutting edge rods such as the rod below. The eyes are mounted in a spiral to stop the rod from twisting when under a load from a heavy tarpon. This has proven to be an innovative and very effective rod design that is catching on both with recreational and tournament fishermen.


So jump over to the online article at  or download a PDF version and read how he creates his art pieces and how you too can get one under your tree this holiday season.





Thanksgiving is a day that we eat far too much (along with a libation or two) and after watching a great game we reflect on what we are grateful for. Comfortable pants and a soft couch come to mind initially. Of course, most importantly we are always grateful for our family, our friends and our good health but as a waterman, (my definition is a person passionate about being on the water, no matter what the venture) there is so much more to be thankful for. I’m not just talking about the paradise waters of Florida that I get to enjoy, but also the things that help us all enjoy our time on the water all the more.


I am certainly thankful for the Lifeproof case on my iPad protecting it several times in just a few weeks from drowning in Sandy’s wrath or from the splashes from a recent trip to one of our local barrier islands. I know I’ll be purchasing one for my new iPhone, as I am sure without it the phone (and my savings account) would plummet to the depths of Tampa Bay. I am not only thankful for the products that protect our technology but also for the technology that makes our life on the water easier. With apps that give us tides, weather and navigation charts our phones have become an important part of planning our time on the water. I know I use mine for every trip on the water.

When the cell phone is on the water and doesn’t have a signal I am grateful for the reliability and dependency of hand-held VHF such as one of Icom America’s newest models such as the M92. It has a built in GPS that not only will give you your position but also can send an automatic distress signal with your position via DSC (digital selective calling) Should I have to use that DSC call on my VHF I am extremely thankful for the brave folks of the USCG that would respond and get me out of a bad situation and return me to the safety of land. They are always there and always ready to serve and protect.

I am especially thankful for the opportunity to photograph and write about the world of those passionate about the water and their time on it. I am thankful for being able to bring my discoveries and education to readers of on line ventures and several fine publications such as All At Sea (The photographs above are from an article of holiday gifts I wrote and shot for the December issue of All At Sea Southeast I thank you for taking the time to read this blog and I hope you gain some valuable information by doing so.



Today I would like to welcome you to my blog site.
As a freelance editorial writer and photographer, I hope to share with you my experiences and share the knowledge I gain from the stories that I write, and the photographs I create. Even with the decades of experience I have within the photography and marine industries, I find that the more I learn the more there is to learn. So please feel free to check back often. Go on assignment with me and join me in having fun while experiencing new places, ideas, images and gaining knowledge in an ever-changing and progressing world.
Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.