Daily Archives: March 3, 2009

Why would they anchor up in rough seas?

Search narrows for NFL players off Fla. Gulf Coast

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A missing man found clinging to an overturned boat was rescued Monday off Florida’s Gulf Coast, but the search continued for two NFL players and a third man aboard who didn’t return from a weekend fishing trip.

Survivor Nick Schuyler, a former University of South Florida player, told rescuers that the 21-foot boat was anchored when it flipped Saturday evening in rough seas and that the others got separated from the boat, Capt. Timothy M. Close said. Since then, Schuyler, who was wearing a life vest, had been hanging onto the boat found by a Coast Guard cutter 35 miles off Clearwater.

The boat belongs to Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, who along with free-agent defensive lineman Corey Smith and former South Florida player William Bleakley, remained missing. The search area is now “substantially smaller,” based on where they found the boat and Schuyler, Close said. Searchers had previously covered 16,000 square miles of ocean, and the Coast Guard said it did not receive a distress signal.

Coast Guard photos showed Schuyler wearing a yellow jacket and orange life vest and sitting on the hull of the capsized boat as a rescue cutter approached. A helicopter lowered a basket to haul him aboard.

Schuyler was conscious but appeared weak as he was being taken off a helicopter at Tampa General Hospital and placed on a stretcher. His father said his son was in serious but stable condition and that he “looks OK.”

“He’s got some cuts and bruises. He’s dehydrated,” said Stuart Schuyler.

Schuyler’s mother, Marsha Schuyler, said her son told her that he survived by thinking about how he didn’t want her to go to his funeral.

The family’s joy at him being found alive was tempered by the search for his friends.

“We still have three men missing, and we’re not going to talk too much until we find these guys,” said his father, Stuart Schuyler. “We’re all praying for them. These guys are all very close friends.”


Close said the Coast Guard would search for the men for “quite awhile.”

Ray Sanchez of Tampa, a cousin of Cooper, said he was told the men were together “for a good period of time” after the boat flipped. He said the family was confident the Coast Guard would find them.

“My cousin’s a powerful swimmer,” he said.

The water temperature in the area was 68 degrees. After 18 hours in 64-degree water, hypothermia will set in, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class James Harless. How long someone can survive depends on how big the person is, he said. Cooper is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, and Smith, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds.

The four friends left Clearwater Pass early Saturday in calm weather, but heavy winds picked up through the day and the seas got heavy, with waves of 7 feet and higher, peaking at 15 feet on Sunday. A relative alerted the Coast Guard early Sunday after the men did not return as expected.

The men were aboard an Everglades-manufactured boat, which is built with compressed foam encased in Fiberglas, making it difficult to sink. The weather had improved, with waves subsiding to 6 to 8 feet, National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Barron said.

However, Bob Zales, president of National Association of Charter Boat Operators, said waves that high can capsize a boat the size of Cooper’s.

“A boat that size, personally, I wouldn’t get out any farther than 20 or 30 miles offshore,” Zales said. “But I see people all the time 40, 50 miles offshore.”

Cooper and Smith, who were teammates with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, have been on fishing trips before, according to Ron Del Duca, Smith’s agent.

The 29-year-old Smith of Richmond, Va., had 30 tackles, including three sacks, and an interception in 12 games last season for the Detroit Lions. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and was a standout at North Carolina State.

Cooper, 26, played college ball at Washington, and has spent five seasons with five different teams, appearing in 26 games with the Buccaneers in 2004 and 2005. He’s played sparingly since. He grew up in Gilbert, Ariz., and his father Bruce is a prominent sportscaster for KPNX-TV in Phoenix.

Associated Press Writer Mitch Stacy contributed to this report.

I just don’t understand why they’d be out so far in such a small boat AND on top that be anchored up?  Its a sad story of a fishing trip gone bad.  PFD‘s only work when they are used!

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Nailed it on the head!

I read another fly fishing blog recently and this pretty much summed up my life experiences growing up in Colorado as a teenager. Tonite I had a blast from the past, with a call from an old buddy from 25+ years ago. I’d met Mark in 7th grade, little knowing that through his friendship would a Goliath would be born. He called up and indicated that he was in town for business, so we made plans to have him over for dinner to catch up. Mark and I always had a special friendship as kids, we were hardcore skiers and best friends throughout high school. Once we parted ways through the college years and there after, our conversations slowed and in the last few years, we wouldn’t talk for years. But I don’t hold it against him, because we both grew up and went our separate ways. When I picked up the phone today, everything felt like we were in High school again and it all came back to me through this memory. I knew Mark’s father was an avid fly fisherman, and I was at the point in my life where I was ready to explore fishing and take it to another level as the whole bait and gear thing was something my dad and grandfather did. I remember Mark’s dad showing me one of his Boron rods and Hardy reels, and then invited me to cast, at that point I was hooked. Little by little practicing with a piece of yarn tied to the tip top of a gear rod, he taught me the basics of how to cast, then came the practice casts in their estate like backyard in the surburbs or Denver. From then, I would be instantly hooked and have never looked back. I started off as a hardcore skier, street style skateboarder and BMX freestyle biker, went through the punk rock phase and drank plenty of Mountain Dew. We did some crazy stuff as teens, driving down to the Sand Dunes national monument to ski in the middle of summer, hiked big passes to get 700′ of a strip of snow that was barely wide enough for the 205 Blizzard GS skiis. Playing pranks on the teachers and getting into mischievous trouble, but who didn’t do that as a teenager? I guess this stuff all faded away as I got older, but something stuck and nutured its way to my passion for fly fishing. I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about the next trip, the next bug, and the next pull of a fish. Growing up it was testosterone and caffeinated sodas and bit of tomfoolery, but every time I suit up my waders and take that first step it makes me feel like a kid again and all the memories point to the moment in time when everything clicked in the backyard of my best friends house throwing that fly line in tight loops. I’ve got alot of respect for Mark and his family, they took care of me when I was growing up and his father gave me the best gift of all 22 years ago. Mark’s dad always wanted to get him into fly fishing, but something didn’t stick as it did with me. When I make it back to Colorado, I always look his dad up and together we pack up the car and head to those rivers he showed me as a teenager and I feel like theres never been a skip of time thats passed. God bless you Mr. and Mrs. L.

Here is that excerpt from Ryan Peterson’s site the Big Pull that hit it on the head:

“On Friday nights in high school my buddies and I would gather in one of our basements and watch and re-watch ski movies. There was always Mountain Dew and Doritos involved. As the punk soundtrack queued, scenes of utter inspiration flowed straight from the TV into the part of our brains responsible for saying WOOO outloud. Scott Schmidt, Glen Plake, cliffs, chutes, crevasses, avalanches, powder, moguls, helicopters, out-of-bounds, double-daffies. The off-kilter sensation of palms sweating, heart racing with adrenaline as choppy edits and fast pacing brought us deep into the Rockies, the Sierras, the Alps and the Chugach. They made us really, really want to go skiing the next day.

As fishing came to take over my life, it too felt like something of a lawless pursuit. People shouldn’t be allowed to just go out and do nothing but have wierd, pointless fun, but that’s what we were doing. It felt pretty punk rock.”

As I watched this video which won The Wet West Film Festival it so reminded me of those ski videos of Scott Schmidt taking a death defying cliff jump or thinking how cool it would be to have a 12″ mohawk like Glen Plake’s. Here is the video for your viewing pleasure, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Poyekhali! from ryan peterson on Vimeo.

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