I was going to title this post ‘Endangered Species’ but I quickly realized that was incorrect. This is a photo from 1995 of one of the Cedar Key fishermen pulling up alongside the fish-house in his bird-dog [boat]. We no longer have net fishermen and we no longer, as far as I know, have any wooden bird-dogs in town.
In this photo you can see beautifully how the outboard is placed forward in the boat, and not hung on the transom. That way the boat can run in much shallower water, and nets can be pulled in over the transom. In those days they had not evolved into what the clamers do now with their fiberglass bid-dogs, cutting out the transom so that they can heave the heavy clam bags into the boat without having to hoist them over the gunwale or transom.
The net-ban was one of those pseudo environmental issues that crept up the Gulf Coast, starting in Texas. It was touted as saving the Gulf from being over-fished and most well meaning voters had visions of miles of drag nets, pulled by heavy trawlers, being banned. Instead it hit the small boat commercial fishermen, and put them out of business. The issue was not being pushed by environmentalists as much as by the sport fishing and outboard motor industry. Anyhow, it is all gone.l