We have just put up a new atlatl fishing video from this year’s trip to Florida. Bob takes his atlatl and harpoon out to the piers near Dunedin Causeway in Tampa Bay to fish for Sheepshead – a type of shellcracker fish that eats the barnacles that grow on the piers. Bob uses his new “Canoe-Maran” boat made with Expand-A-Craft pontoons that we purchased on this trip.
Thanks to our talented son, Peter Berg, for the amazing video work, and friends, James Mead and Charles Bracken, for all their help on the fishing expeditions.
We are looking forward to spring weather. It has been a long winter in New York even with a break for the Florida shows. It is a great time to start planning your atlatl adventures for the next few months. The best way is to check out the atlatl events on the World Atlatl Association page. You and anyone in your household can join the World Atlatl Association for $15 annually. It is easy to join by going to this link. We hope to see you at an atlatl event.
Thunderbird Atlatl will be escaping the Northeast cold for a couple of weeks and will be attending two knapins in Florida.
We will be at the Silver River Knap-In Saturday, Feb. 17 & Sunday, Feb. 18 at Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, Florida. There will be International Standard Accuracy Competitions on Friday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m. For further information contact Silver Rivers Museum at Silver Springs State Park at (352) 236-5401. The museum is located at 1445 NE 58th Avenue · Ocala, Florida 34470. It is located within the Silver River State Park. The park is situated off Baseline Road (CR 35) and one mile south of SR 40.
1445 NE 58th Avenue · Ocala, Florida 34470
Ochlockonee River State Park is located four miles southwest of Sopchoppy off of US Highway 319, 429 State Park Road, Sopchoppy, Florida 32358. For further information contact Kristin Ebersol, park manager, at 850-962-2771 or email: Kristin.Ebersol@dep.state.fl.us
It’s cold in upstate New York but you can warm up at the indoor Spencer-VE Sportsman Club Day in Spencer, NY on Saturday, February 7, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thunderbird Atlatl will be one of the many exhibitors. The school is providing an indoor range if you want to try the atlatl indoors away from the minus degree weather outside. Bob Berg will also be offering informational sessions on flintknapping and building atlatls and darts next to our exhibit. We will be working next to the Primitive Pursuits program from Tompkins County Cornell Extension.
Looking to get away from the winter weather, Thunderbird Atlatl will be at two Florida events in February. Bob Berg will be offering workshops at both events. You can sign up for the workshops by contacting us at our 800 number – 800-836-4520 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Information about the events and workshops are below:
The annual SILVER RIVER KNAP-IN AND STONE AGE ARTS FESTIVAL will be held at the Silver Springs State Park on February 20th, 21st, and 22nd (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Expert flint knappers, archaeologists, potters, hide tanners, bow makers and other specialists in prehistoric skills will gather from across the eastern U.S. to demonstrate and sell their arts. Vendors will offer reproduction stone tools, raw stone, flint knapping tools, unique crafts, food and more.
There will be archery, tomahawk and atlatl dart throwing demonstrations each day. A flint knapping competition and on-going prehistoric skills demonstrations will also take place. Besides the knap-in, visitors can explore the Silver River Museum, hike or bike the trails of the state park, take a tram ride through the woods, or canoe and kayak on the pristine Silver River. Please note: Friday is a student day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program is open on Saturday and Sunday to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
International Standard Accuracy Competitions will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the atlatl range. All are welcome.
Thunderbird Atlatl will hold two workshops on Thursday, February 19, at the museum. Information is below:
Event Title: Atlatl (Spear Throwing) Morning Workshop.
Event Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Presented by: Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatls
Details: Atlatl Workshops at the Silver River Museum Morning Workshop: Make a modern atlatl and three darts from Thunderbird Atlatl kits with Atlatl Expert Bob Berg from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, February 19, at the Silver River Museum in Ocala, Florida. The goal of this workshop is for each participant to finish an atlatl and 3 darts. Participants will learn how to straighten and fletch darts. This is a great way to get into the sport. Students may choose from four different Thunderbird Atlatl Kit styles. Other benefits of taking Bob’s workshop are the background information he passes along, as well as teaching you how to use atlatls. It is a great way to have all your questions about the atlatl answered. The workshop fee is $65 per participant and is limited to 10 participants. For further information and to register contact: Thunderbird Atlatl at 800-836-4520 or email@example.com.
Event Title: Atlatl (Spear Throwing) Afternoon Workshop
Event Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Presented by: Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatls
Details: Atlatl Workshops at the Silver River Museum Afternoon Workshop: Make a primitive atlatl and three stone pointed darts from natural materials. Atlatl expert Bob Berg will lead participants in making their own atlatls and darts from a variety of locally available materials. Bob will bring bamboo dart blanks. The goal of this workshop is for participants to take home a traditional or primitive atlatl and three stone pointed darts. They will learn how to use stone tools in making the atlatls and darts, natural fiber cordage, fletching, the use of hafting resins and more. Materials will be provided. The workshop will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Silver River Museum in Ocala, Florida. The workshop fee is $65 per participant. (Take both workshops for $110). The workshop is limited to 10 participants. For further information and to register contact: Thunderbird Atlatl at 800-836-4520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the 8th Annual Stone Age and Primitive Arts Festival. Come and enjoy bow, atlatl and flintknapping competitions, demonstrations and how-to workshops. New at this year’s festival is a dugout canoe display and hands-on demonstration. There will be a lot to do, see and participate in at this year’s festival. Free with regular park admission.More Information:Park Services Specialist Jason Vickery, 850-962-2771, email@example.com Located in the Northwest region at: Ochlockonee River State Park, 429 State Park Road, Sopchoppy, FL 32358
Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl will be offering workshops on Thursday, Feb. 25, prior to the event.
The sun turned the sky to brilliant red as it sank beneath the tree line along the western shore of the Rainbow River. In the evening calm the clear water was glass smooth. I held my atlatl and harpoon dart ready in hopes I would get a clear shot at a fish. We could see occasional ripples cross the water around us, telling of fast moving small fish attempting to escape the clutches of some of the larger predatory species. But the sun reflecting off the top of the water kept everything below the surface hidden from view.
We talked for a while, waiting for the darkness to settle in. In the distance vultures coming in from every direction landed in a giant cypress tree that grew out of the shallow water of the flats. A symphony of alligators chortled in every tone belying their various sizes from small to very large. Earlier that day we had seen several large alligators sunning themselves on fallen logs. We weren’t here for alligators but anywhere you see gators you will see gar.
To spear gar with an atlatl you have to be able to see them well and they need to be in reasonably shallow water. At night with the Colman lanterns we have rigged to the bows of our boats you can see the gar as deep as twenty five feet swimming along like submarines barely wavering from their characteristic straight line course. You can see the inverted crossbows that we just purchased, they are great bows. The skin of a gar is like armor with the texture of rough sandpaper. To get a dart through this you need sharp points and enough energy to break through a quarter inch of bone like skin. It can be done with a bow but the arrow looses energy much faster than a harpoon dart. The added length and weight of the dart allow deeper penetration of the water, with enough energy left to penetrate the thick hide of the gar.
Leggs spotted the first giant gar as we entered a lagoon. He was not ready for it but I was. I had to cast at just at the right time to make the shot. I hit it right in the middle of its five foot long body and it took off. I let the line go as it retreated until I had nothing left but the float at the end of my line. I hung on as the fish dragged the boat several hundred yards. As the fish tired I pulled it closer to the boat. Leggs, being the bravest of us gaffed it into the boat. It slashed with its razor teeth just scratching the back of Leggs’ hand. He stowed it under the deck where it could not hurt us after we took several pictures.
It is an annual event for us to go to Florida in the middle of February to enjoy our atlatl adventures. We meet at Payne’s Prairie Campground where the annual Knap-in occurs. The park has great facilities and is perfectly situated for us to be able to go to the various places in North Florida to hunt and fish with our atlatls. Also Florida’s fish and game laws allow the use of the atlatl.