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This might be better on salty dogs, but thought more might read it here.

I want to do a column about glass fishing floats found on the beaches or in the ocean this spring. It's been a bonanza. I have a photo (of mine) and an interview of an expert who lives near Salem, but need some anecdotes?

Thanks...
 

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Bill- My mom and dad found one on the beach this month. My dad used to commercial fish at the coast, the old fashion way, one rod and reel per person, just a license to sell more fish. Anyway, he's spent a lot of time at the coast and on the water in 50 years and this is the first one he found! Probably not article material (this perticular anecdote,) but exciting anyway!

TOC
 

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When I was stationed on Okinawa we'd tow a cooler filled with ice and beer and snorkel around the Karauma (sp) Island just west of Okinawa. Between shooting fish and getting shells, we'd find little coves and hunt for the glass balls. Found a few small ones (2-4 inches) and a couple big ones (8 -12 inches). When I was sent back to the states, the box they were packed in "tinkled" when it came out of the truck. Broke most of my shells, too. Military paid me 80% of the replacement value, which having no idea, I put down as $100. Might have to go look for some now that I don't live in the desert.
 

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Spent about 2.5 yrs working and living on the northern coastal area of Olympic National Park in the mid-70's.

Remember how addicting glass float hunting was with everyone I knew in the area - and how competitive people would get in this regard.

I didn't get hooked right away since at first it seemed like I'd never find one even though I hiked hundreds of miles on those beaches, day and night, and in some of the most miserable weather you could imagine.

Finally, I found my first float and the skunk was dispatched! :grin: It was almost as if a "curse" had been lifted because after that I found floats with some regularity. I became one with the floats :hoboy: ...even went so far as to search out books on the subject in the local libraries. Yes, I was hooked bad. :wink:

I was living in a small trailer at the time, and my collection of floats was slowly taking over a substantial part of the living room. It became a local attraction of sorts with folks stopping by to see the collection and talk "floats". I don't know if they were so much interested in seeing the huge pile of floats, or simply to meet the whacko who had become obcessed.

I remember fondly the my last winter there, for it was surely a collector's winter in terms of numbers to be found, and a wide variety of shapes, colors, and styles. Floats from golf-ball sized on up to massive ones you could barely fit your arms around. Beautiful bluish greens to amber in color. The "rare" rolling pin shaped ones were being found more often than in the past, and for the first time friends had found a few siamese type floats - two basketball sized floats bonded together by their makers.

During one of my last "recreational" beach hikes on a day off I hit the jackpot. I hiked out from Ozette to do the 9+ mile loop trip covering the 3+ mile stretch of beach between Sand Point and Cape Alava. The previous night an incredibly nasty storm had hit the coast and was continuing through the day. No one in their right mind would be out on the beaches as I would find out. It was deserted, save for me and my empty backpack.

I had never seen anything like it, and never would again. The beaches were littered with floats of all discriptions, and as I collected them new ones would occassionally wash up in the surf. The backpack was quickly becoming filled, but I has a couple large plastic garbage bags that would help should my luck and obcession continue. As these bags also became filled I thought from time to time that I could always stash some and come back for them later. That thought was quickly set aside as I remembered a mint condition hatch cover that I had lost to others when I thought I had hiden it in a good spot.

As the burden continued to grow almost unbearable I promissed myself not to look back over my shoulder for any I had missed....just get this hike over without suffering a hernia, or worse. As I approached the Cape Alava area, and the trailhead that lead inland to my home I felt some relief - I had pulled it off. A record setting day's find, and I was still able to walk - tho' somewhat stooped over from the burden. I couldn't believe that as I approached the trailhead, one last float should come in on the surf. It was the mother of all floats - a mint conditioned monster ball, the likes of which I had never laid hands on. I quickly looked in fear at both the trail head and over my shoulder to see if there was anyone else in the area. Fortunately there wasn't because there was no way under the weight of the filled backpack and garbage bags could I have beat them in a foot race for this prize. When I got to it all I could do was wrap my arms around it in a big bear hug and announce to anyone who may care that "enough is enough you damned fool!"

I remember that 3+ mile walk back home on that narrow elevated boardwalk trail was sheer agony. I promised myself "never again", and as if the glass float Gods were listening that was pretty much the case. Continued storms through the winter provided much collecting enjoyment for those who visited the beach. I, on the other hand, had almost lost interest in any more collecting. I had hit my payload, had my moment of glory. And couldn't possibly take up any more space in the trailer.

The next summer I transferred a new job in Pennsylvania. Realizing that I couldn't take my entire collection with me I gave many away to visitors and acquaintences - seed stock to get them started. On a couple trips on the ferry to Seattle I took several with me to seed Puget Sound. Some ferry riders at first thought I was crazy for tossing them from the boat, but then admitted that it'd be a nice surprise for someone walking the local inland beaches.

The few I still have are collecting dust but bring back some great memories.
 

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Bill,

Here is a link to a collector friends page. Connie's Floats She is one of the top collectors in the country. Send her an email... she has found floats all over the Pacific.

PS... tell her Marsha sent you. She has no idea who AuntyM is. :wink:
 

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Thanks very much, Marsha...I'll email her...And to the others, too, thanks...check your emails.

[ 05-26-2003, 06:15 PM: Message edited by: Bill Monroe ]
 

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Bill,

I lived in Sekiu, WA for a brief period as a kid.(mid 70's)
We used to take family trips to a beach near where the Pacific hit the Straits of Juan de Fuca and would find the glass floats on the beach. Many of them were wrapped in rope, some were over 12" diameter.
Our other passion was to find bits of sea-weathered broken glass in the sand and commit them to an old Ball jam jar which is still in possesion of the family.
The floats were usually a deep green color and/or slightly faded.
I guess it varied from year to year depending on the currents, some years sucked, others we brought home a half dozen at a time.
Anyhow, thanks for the memories...... :cheers:
 

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Bill:
A neighbor found a volleyball-size float on the beach south of Newport a few weeks ago. Also, this has apparently been an unusual year for messages in bottles. Newport News-Times ran an article recently about a third bottle found on the beach with a message from someone in Japan. You could find the article on their website.
 

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This isnt currrent for this year, but does show the irony of the whims of the ocean.
Several years ago i was razor clamming near Seaside, lousy clamming back then so the crowds werent an issue but the one other fellow out working the tide starts wandering the sand towards me. Eventually we were 10 feet apart (apparently 10 feet is personal space on a beach) and exchanged good mornings and the classic "nope, not showing too good", I notice he was using a garden shovel.

Now remember, we are the only 2 people for a mile and as we stand there, a wave washes up and brings a glass ball the size of a basketball literally between this guys legs, I'm not kidding here. He spread his legs to let it go through, then looks at me and says "what was that?". Maybe i was feeling generous or maybe I'm just slow, so rather then telling him it was a sarin gas globe or a squid testicle I stammered....Jjjjjjapanese glass float!!!!! He responds, "gee, its a pretty green color, guess I'll take it home". It was so big he couldnt continue clamming, so he carried his prize up the beach and probably home to Ohio.

I stood there for maybe 10 minutes staring at the ocean, I looked up and down the beach, I had just witnessed a huge glass float touch the sand after years of travel across the Pacific and it missed me or I missed it by 10 feet.

I'm still waiting my turn.
 

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BrownTrout.....I feel your pain. :wink:
 

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Bill,

I found four large sized (basket ball size) glass floats off Depoe Bay
about a month ago while commercial fishing for salmon. I saw several
somethings on the water about a mile away from me and decided to motor on
over and have a look. What I was seeing was several large plastic floats.
The fishing was slow, so I thought I'd go pick them up to use as decorations
in the yard at our Pacific City house. Wilst snagging the plastic balls I
found the four big glas floats! Since then I have been watching the "rip"
lines for signs of more plastic floats with the hope of finding a couple of
more large glass floats. I've only found about a half dozen of the small
(orange sized) floats since that day.

On Sunday (the 25th) my youngest brother was fishing with me about 8 miles
off Depoe Bay in a large patch of "Blue Sailor" jelly fish and spotted a little
(itty bitty teeny weeny) one that would fit in the palm of your hand. We threw out
one of the big plastic floats that we had found earlier as a marker and circled
around and got it! It was the first glass float that my brother had ever found,
and he lived at the coast with my folks every summer for the first 16 years of
his life!

We have found soooo many of the plastic floats this year that my wife has
told me to quit bringing them home!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

-assAssin-
 

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I have a family friend that has roughly 150 floats he's found over the years. By far the most I've seen. Another guy here recently went out during the West winds and found 67 in one morning cruising the shore with his 4-wheeler. Some people have all the luck.

tc
 

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Bill, I recently found a used copy (through Amazon)of the out-of-print "Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats" by Amos L. Wood. $20. More than you ever wanted to know.

[ 05-27-2003, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: moman ]
 

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A teacher friend grew up in Alaska working as a canner and on several boats . He said that the currents were just right where he lived and that they had glass floats drifting in all the time. He wouldnt even look at them ,, they were so common. id. p.
 

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Bill, looking forward to reading your article in this Sunday's Oregonian.
 

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Bill, I find this to be a topic of interest for all those that have walked the beaches of Oregon. I have heard that it is best to search the beaches after a storm.

I was a scout master and took a bunch and I mean a bunch of boys to one of the beach camps and we found three after one stormy night. I also have three or four of the large greenish glass ones with some sort of Chineese symbol on them. Perhaps the name of a family or something like that. You might consider checking into the symbols to see if they were the family or a company name on the balls. It would be interesting to know.

I also was working on Kauai after hurricane Iniki and found numerous famalies that had stacks of them at their homes. I asked about them and they said they find them all the time. One family offered me some but I had not way to take home so I declined. Now I wish I had three or four more for the family room.

Keep us posted on what and when you will go to print on this. I for one, look forward to your report.

*Fish only bite wet hooks*

Ray
 

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Snapshot, word I got from Bill was that the article would be in this Sunday's Oregonian.

In response to some of your other comments, a book I found in a library many years ago was very informative - wish I could remember the title. At any rate I remember it said that the markings/symbols found on some floats were actually the trademark of the company where they were made, and it gave several examples with manufacturer names.

In addition, it spoke of there being literally hundreds of thousands of these floats that had since broken away from their nets or long lines and were captured within the Japanese current [if my memory serves correctly]. These floats are carried in a circular motion in that current for years out in the Pacific and on occassion, when storm conditions out at sea are right, some break away from the grasp of the current and make their way eventually to some distant shoreline. As such I was never certain how critical our localized storms along the coast were to this cycle or made much difference but I tend to think so because of all the other treasures [translation = junk to some :wink: ] that seem to start showing up on the beaches after these stormy episodes.

Ahhh, beachcombing - what a wonderful pasttime.
 

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Hi Bill,

I took a friend deep sea fishing from Garibaldi on Monday 5/26/03. He mentioned that a lot of glass floats were being found recently. He found 3 plastic ones of various sizes.

The next day I took out two other fishermen. We were trolling along about 5 miles out when I looked out along side the boat about 25 ft away, spotted one, and said, "hey, a Japanese glass float". I didn't want to interrupt fishing so I made a wide turn, trolled along side, and another netted it. Basketball size with a net and 10 lbs of barnacles hanging off it. Since neither salmon nor bottom fish were hooked, it was the "Catch of the day"!!! :dance:

Cheerio'
Skipper

Ps. Also caught were 3 more plastic floats, a tightly rope macrame'd 20" rubber float with 50 lbs of barnacles (which we did not keep), and 13 crab.
 
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