Monday, November 30, 2009

That Time of Year Again!

On Tuesday I am heading south to beat the cold weather coming in and will be attending the Fall Meeting of the TTA (The Transformer Association) at the PGA National Golf Resort, West Palm Beach, Florida. The TTA is a Trade Organization of North American Transformer Manufacturers and Suppliers, and my company Precision Inc, makes transformers. So what the heck is a transformer? Well, it is a very important electrical device that is in every aspect of your life. A transformer essentially transforms one voltage to a different voltage through the magic of magnetic theory. The obvious use for transformers are those that take high line voltages and step them down to 230 VAC for your house, those round things on the power poles, or like in my neighborhood the big green boxes sitting on the ground. Every battery charger has one, televisions, cell phone chargers, almost anything run by electricity in your house has a transformer. This industry, like many electronic products have seen many changes in the last 15 years. It was estimated that in 1995 there were over 3000 transformer manufactures in the United States. Today there are less than 700 as China continues to be the preferred place for electronic manufacturing world wide. Luckily there still is a need for good old American engineering!

Having been in the industry for 34 years now (I started when I was 10!) I have seen a number of interesting transformer designs related to fishing. My 2 more famous ones included a call I received from a design house doing work for a new depth finder model here in Minnesota. In most depth finder applications there is a transformer that steps up the voltage, in order to allow the transducer to generate a signal. The company had been working with a competitor of mine, however they were late in getting a sample. Time was running out as they needed to finalize the design for the upcoming Christmas season and Cabela's had ordered a bunch of them. Having the equipment, I made a sample while they waited and the rest was history. We eventually made about 20,000 units before it went to China. The transformer was for the new Clearwater Classic by Zercom. Today that transformer design is still being used. My second interesting fish project was a guy that had a unique idea for a new lure. It had a movable lip that could be controlled by a circuit inside the lure body. By programing the circuit, the lip would change causing the lure to either move deeper or shallower. I thought it was a great idea however at the time (probably 1988) I wondered how many people were willing to spend $30 on a lure! Notice any in the stores lately?

One reason we have our meetings the week after Thanksgiving is that few people or business conferences happen. This is usually super off peak time and can often book rooms and meeting places at 1/3rd the going rate. Lucky I don't golf because I hear the rates are $200 a round at the PGA. I will be going with my business partner Lyle Shaw and this year I am the Chairman of the meeting. At each fall meeting we have an economist give use his annual report and the guy is incredibly accurate, predicting this downturn over 5 years ago! Once the meeting is done Lyle wants to spend some time in Key West. Having never been there and taking advantage of some super over Saturday air fares, we are booked at The Inn in Key West, pictured here. Last year we were just south of Jacksonville Fl, and it was far from a tropical paradise. That Wednesday morning greeted us with an unFlorida like 32 degree temperature. I have been assured that Key West is the only city in the United States that has never had a frost, snow, nothing! The forecast looks like the mid 70's for a high and high 60's for a low. Either way I love palm trees and it looks great.

Of course Key West means just one thing to me.............Fishing! Lyle is not much of a fisherman however I talked him into joining me on a six hour charter with Spear One Charters. This should be a totally different experience than with Captain Dave, our guide from last year. (Here is the post if you are interested: Having checked out a number of sites I quickly learned that Key West fishing is either reef fishing, wreck fishing, or deep water fishing. E-mailing Captain Steve I asked him which would offer the best opportunities this time of year. To my surprise his response was, they are all very close to each other and if wanted we could do all three. That was enough for me! We are booked at 7:00AM on Saturday with the program to go out and catch our bait first, then fish. The different areas should provide me with a totally new fishing experience, with a number of species I have never caught before. I would really like to get a nice Mahi Mahi (also known as Dorado or Dolphin Fish) as they are simply beautiful as well as fabulous to eat. My biggest challenge is to figure out what to do with the fish once we catch them. Unlike Alaska where they have businesses designed to clean, pack, freeze, and ship your catch, Key West has no such establishments. I have some ground work to do, hopefully the hotel can freeze them for us and I have located a dry ice source just in case. It seems odd that such a well established fishing location has no facilities to assist the traveler. Maybe if I like it down there, well you never know. I may need a few days to recuperate but certainly stay tuned for what I hope will be a fabulous report from Key West! I added a couple new songs that better portray the up and coming events. Enjoy.


Dewey said...

Hey Dave - While you are down there, would you buzz over to Cuba and pick me up a cigar???

Anonymous said...

just pick me up a case or two of oranges, they should be just right this time of year, I will even buy you supper and meet in st croix

later and have a blast

Anonymous said...

Clearwater Classic? You are a legend. My first Ranger was a
680T and when I was rigging it out Marv Koep told me instead of using a Lowrance flasher I should try the Clearwater Classic. I did. I ran that boat for about 5 years and then sold it to a friend of mine. Fast forward to last weekend where I went out fishing on Gull with the buddy I sold the boat to. Wouldn't you know it, next to his new color Lowrance graph/gps was the old Clearwater Classic. He still uses the flasher for fishing and the gps for waypoints. Small world.

Keith Holtan

Dave Anderson said...


Interesting as I had a 1989 680T as well and then got the 2nd 620T in Minnesota, right behind Marv's.

John said...


John Flynn here, the computer guy that works for your company.

Quick question from a few past posts. Reading your column often makes me hungry as you obviously enjoy fine cooking.

Have you ever cooked with a ceramic cooker such as the Big Green Egg? I was at a buddy’s house and he had been cooking a cheap $10 large piece of pork on his ceramic grill/smoker overnight and it was one of the best and most tenderest pieces of meat I have ever tasted.

I am thinking of getting one but they are quite pricey in the $500-$1,000 range. I was thinking a guy like you or one of your bloggers might know about them and whether or not they are worth the investment?

Dave Anderson said...


The Big Green Egg is quite the cooker however like you I think they are pretty spendy! I would have one if I had the time to mess with the charcoal. I think they are great. Would be perfect to cook the yellowtail's we got today.

Anonymous said...

what about those oranges ???

Dewey said...

....and that cigar???