Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tre Boston trying out a Hobie

Tre's "No Secrets" Video

In his rookie season, Carolina Panther Tre’von Boston proved he is one of the best Safeties in the NFL. Taking over the starting slot halfway through the season, Tre made several big plays including an interception returned for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons, and another game clinching interception the following week against the Arizona Cardinals in postseason play. 

Tre Boston of the Carolina Panthers - Charlotte Observer

I was making arrangements to interview Tre, a Ft Myers native and avid angler, when we began talking about kayaks. “Man, I’d like to try out one of those Hobies you are always riding in” Tre confessed. In a couple of minutes, the conversation turned to planning a demo day for Tre and his mom, the beautiful Iris De Hoyos. A quick call to Jim VanPelt and our local Hobie dealer, Estero River Outfitters, and we had a date.

Interview at the Launch - JVP

 The morning we chose proved to be a little chilly and windy. Along for the trip was Professional Photographer Doug Stamm. We chose Pineland so we could fish a little while Tre and Iris tried out the Revos. One thing Tre was interested in was the fishability of the Revo in terms of stability and room for gear, so I brought plenty of gear for the day. 

Tre on the Revo - Doug Stamm

 We launched into a negative tide on a Pine Island flat. It was a difficult undertaking to say the least as we pulled, and then poled the kayaks to deeper water. Iris was trying a new Revo 11 and Tre was in an older Revo 13. As soon as it was deep enough for the mirage drives, Tre took off! He was tearing up the flats while calling back to us about the great ab workout he was getting. It was all very comical and in short order they were pedaling around like pros.

Demonstrating the Fishability - Doug Stamm

 It was pretty windy so fishing was limited to casting at potholes as we blew by them. I took the opportunity to remind Tre that our fishing guide was Jim, thus taking the responsibility of the lack of fish from me. I also asked Tre how he felt about Jim VanPelt having more sponsors that he does. After a few hours joking around and getting to know the kayaks, we made our way back in. I talked to Tre about living in North Carolina, his college days and about living in Southwest Florida. He struck me as a very genuine person and a hell of a nice guy. My guess is a lot of that has to do with his mom, Iris. According to Tre, she made him play football when he was younger which left him no time for making trouble. I told him my mom made me eat brussel sprouts which didn’t help me at all! 

Tre returning an interception for a touchdown - Yahoo Sports

Back at the launch we did our interview and Tre even did a funny video with me. His love of the water is infectious. I would have called it a bad day due to the wind but Tre loved every minute of it. Come to think of it, it was kind of nice being out on the water watching the ospreys and having good conversation with good friends. Besides, I got a great interview and probably sold a couple of Hobies as well. Follow Tre’s exploits on his Facebook page as well as on the Official Carolina Panthers website.

A new kayaker

The beautiful Iris De Hoyos - Doug Stamm

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Papa’s Pilar

I don't know much about alcohol. My old college friends would tell you I was somewhat of an aficionado of fine, inexpensive tequilas. Not the sipping kind. I also liked rum, but never liked to mix anything with it. Nowadays I occasionally enjoy a malted beverage and maybe even a distilled one from time to time.

 A sample of Papa’s Pilar rum made its way to my door recently. The effort expended on the packaging of the samples was impressive. Two small corked bottles were nestled in a custom wooden cigar box. Even the name, Papa’s Pilar, after Hemingway’s 38 foot Wheeler custom fishing boat, has a lot of thought behind it. This blended rum is said to be for those with a “spirit of adventure”. 

Beautifully Packaged

With my limited knowledge of fine liquors I decided to enlist the help of the most interesting person I know. This gentleman is an adventurer and has pretty much seen it all, in fact its easier to name the places he hasn't been. He also has much more experience than me when it comes to the finer points and nuances of rum tasting. My dad, Bill Bramblet, is a retired Army Colonel, World Traveller, Outdoorsman and an all around awesome guy.

Eager to Begin

  We began with the Pilar Dark. The color is a deep, clear caramel tone. As we gently inhaled the aroma of the rum, we noticed sweet vanilla notes followed by hints of coffee. Swirling a little in the glass, we could see it had good legs and was not thin at all. Taking a small sip and allowing the rum to slide over the tongue, we noticed a variety of subtle and not so subtle flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, pear liquor and a lingering spicy finish. Also, notes of caramel throughout. It finished clean with no aftertaste and was surprisingly smooth. The best word I can come up with to describe this rum would be exotic, and it would best be served neat, like a good bourbon.

Next, we set our sights on the Pilar Blonde. The color of this rum is as advertised, a little on the yellow side of clear. The nose of the blonde was a little less complex and while the Colonel detected a strong lemon citrus note, I thought it was more of a subtle tropical fruit aroma. The overall nose of this rum was less sweet despite the fruitiness. The taste was much smoother than the dark, with traces of cinnamon and nuts, maybe almonds. The finish was less spicy that the rum’s darker counterpart and lingered less as well. This would be an excellent cocktail rum and possibly dangerous in a mojito. 

I don't really remember this part

 Maybe it was the rum, but the conversation turned to our travels in the Caribbean and adventures yet to be experienced. I hardly noticed when we began tasting different distilled spirits, comparing one to the other. My dad has an extensive collection and soon we were tasting scotch, bourbon and anything else with a nice label on the bottle. Apparently I must have been exhausted, because the next thing I remember was waking up from a nice midday nap. One thing I do remember well is that I like Papa’s Pilar rum. Check out their website at for more information on how they blend their product and a lot of cool information on the history of rum and stories about the rum’s inspiration, Ernest Hemingway. 

It was just a nap