Steven Becker

Archives

It all started in early 1982. With raised concerns over drug smuggling in the Florida Keys, the United States Border Patrol set up a blockade and checkpoint on Highway 1 at Florida City. The agents began stopping and checking cars, searching glove boxes, the spaces under seats and trunks. The only real result was the 17 mile traffic jam on the only road into the Keys. At the same time, the media… Read More

From sea to shining sea. That’s how America is described by some, and nothing says shining seas like the Florida Keys—sometimes called the “Conch Republic”—sometimes described as heaven. Many have discovered the Florida Keys, and few want to leave it. The Keys were originally inhabited by Tequesta Native American Indians. Later they were found by Juan Ponce de Leon in the early 1500s. De Leon had his own name for this paradise—he… Read More

For many centuries, people have practiced breath-hold diving. Evidence of this comes from many thousands of years’ old undersea artifacts that have been found on dry land. In Ancient Greece, breath-hold divers are well-known to have hunted and engaged in military activities under the sea. It took the invention of apparatus to help humans breathe underwater before many people could see the world underneath the ocean—before the apparatus, each dive was short,… Read More

Florida in the 18th century remained a lonely outpost of the declining Spanish Empire. Its most important mission was to secure the homeward route of the Spanish New World Treasure Fleets. These fleets had long funded Spain’s now-receding role in European and world affairs. The loss of the 1715 Fleet was another blow to the newly established Bourbon dynasties of Spain. Gold and silver in great quantities was homeward bound to King… Read More

It is unknown to many that the equipment used for Scuba Diving was actually originally designed for firefighting. Inspired by a fire accident two brothers saw, Charles and John Deane designed a “smoke helmet” that was to be used by firemen fighting fires in smoke filled areas. This early design was made up of a helmet made of copper with a flexible collar and garment attached to it. A leather hose was… Read More

Fishermen are Fishermen. The keys to success are the same. I don’t care if you’re fishing for bass in a local pond, fly fishing a world class river or trolling the gulf stream for marlin. Your still fishing – your tactics are different. A rigged ballyhoo used for ocean trolling is often as large as a quality trout from a small stream. It’s just a matter of scale. Most books, articles, radio… Read More

I fished the South Yuba river from a drift boat with a friend last week. We caught some small trout on nymphs using 5 weight fly line, indicators and lead weight. I started calling the indicator a bobber and the boat got really small.

I recently reread The Old Man and the Sea. My daughter, a junior in High School, recently was given the book as an assignment. I love this book and was excited when she came to me with questions. They started with “Why did he think the sea was like a woman.” OK, this could be fun. And yes, she laughed when I told her it was because the sea has moods. The questions… Read More

Looking at a chart is one thing. Flying over it in a helicopter is another. In October my daughter, girlfriend and I took a 45 minute flight from Marathon airport over the backcountry. It’s a great way to see things that are invisible from the water or on paper. There were several trenches that were visible, similar to where Mac found the nuke in Wood’s Reef. We saw bullsharks and large rays cruising… Read More

Tuna Tango comes from by background as a contractor. I took this job in 1993. With a reputation for taking on difficult projects, I was never one to turn down jobs that people said “couldn’t be done.”