Vol 7 No. 44 - July 25, 2007

Local fisherman’s website offers taste of reality

Anna Maria Island Sun Feature Story
Brian Ibasfalean, a Cortez fisherman and independent filmmaker, films video diaries and aquarium videos.

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

CORTEZ – It’s reality television, Cortez-style.

Bryan Ibasfalean, a Cortez fisherman and independent filmmaker, has posted mini-documentaries on his Web site, http://ez-fishfinder.com, showing everything from the life of a commercial fisherman to the life of a coquina.

His video diaries, which he calls "The Cortez Beacon," let viewers in on what it’s like to catch shrimp at night in the Gulf, to race with dozens of commercial fishermen during a mullet run at the Longboat Pass Bridge and to struggle to make it home in a rough sea.

You can follow local stone crabbers as they haul in their traps on the first day of season or see a world-record hammerhead shark in a freezer at a Cortez fish house.

In the "Cortez Aquarium" videos, Bryan features critters he catches in area waters and films in his aquarium, then releases.

There’s a shrimp/stone crab standoff, a baby barracuda, baby blowfish, baby octopus and baby cowfish (they’re so cute, you might actually hear yourself saying "awwwww") and a pigfish burying itself in the sand for camouflage.

Things you’ll seldom see include a cross section of a coquina digging down into the sand, a sand dollar, brown in its living state, burying itself with its bristly hair, and another "hairy" creature, the sea hare, which crawls along the bottom like a snail.

You’d expect scary stuff from the co-producer of Blue Blooded Terror, a horseshoe crab science fiction flick that Bryan is filming with his brother, Mark Ibasfalean, and there are the obligatory sea monsters, like the green moray eel and poisonous blue Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish.

There are also some laugh-out-loud film shorts, like a funny artist’s rendering of a boat collision reminiscent of Saturday Night Live’s Mr. Bill, and a slow motion replay of a jumping sand flea.

Most of the videos are fully scored with music, some similar to "Jaws," one of his favorite films, with others backed by salsa, Cajun, classical and rock and roll.

The Web site’s initial purpose was to provide a free, local fishing guide - you can click on a species that you want to catch and learn what bait to use, what gear you’ll need, where to find them in any given month and how to hook ‘em. Maps of artificial reefs and land-based fishing spots are handy, as is a listing of fishing guides, marinas and bait shops.

There’s also storm footage for weather aficionados, an up-close look at red tide devastation and historic still photos of the Cortez fishing village.

If it all leaves you hungry for more, visit http://bluebloodedterror.com. The next Blair Witch Project could be in the making just over the bridge in Cortez.

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