I will be going to Sarasota, Fla., for a few days in late December and want to catch a marlin. Where can I charter a boat? How much would it cost?
You're fishing off the wrong pier. Charter-boat operators we contacted said that while a marlin might be found in the deeper parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the fish is more like the baseball team that has adopted its name: It lives closer to Miami, in the Atlantic.
But that doesn't mean there aren't some challenging angling opportunities off Sarasota.
Jim Klopfer, who works on the Freedom II, a 40-foot sport-fishing boat that leaves from Venice, suggested you try fishing for grouper, which average about 5 to 8 pounds and can get as big as 20 pounds, or trolling for king mackerel, which can reach 40 pounds on average. Cobia, which average 10 pounds but can get up to 100 pounds, are another popular gamefish.
Klopfer said that the Freedom II charges $575 for an eight-hour excursion and can take up to six passengers; a 12-hour trip is $750. That includes equipment; just bring your food. Call him at 941-923-2605.
Mel Caple, who operates Fisherman's Wharf Bait and Tackle in Venice, said that there are seven boats operating off his pier, and they charge about $295 for four hours of fishing, $395 for six hours and $495 for eight hours. Once again, all equipment is included, and the boat (and costs) can be shared by up to six people.
Both men suggest you call as soon as possible, since late December is busy. Caple also said that if you called him early enough, at 941-485-2030, he would try to find other anglers who wanted to go out the same day so the cost could be shared.
My wife and I plan to spend about five days in London in early spring and would like to visit Highgate Cemetery. Is there a bus from, say, Trafalgar Square that could get us there?
An attendant at London's 24-hour transit information line, (44-171) 222-1234, suggested that from Trafalgar Square you could take the No. 24 or 29 bus to Camden Town, where you would pick up the No. 214, which would leave you within walking distance of the cemetery.
As for the fare, you would be better off with a one-day Travel Card, good for unlimited travel on day of purchase and available after 9: 30 a.m. each weekday at any rail station or newspaper stand. The pass now costs $6.40 (at $1.77 to a pound), rising to $6.72 in January. Routes can change, so it might be wise to call before you go.
The cemetery, north of central London, is divided into two sections, Western and Eastern. The Western Cemetery is famous for its landscaping but can be seen only by guided tour, which lasts about 25 minutes and costs $5.30. The Eastern Cemetery can be seen without a tour; admission is $1.77. The information number is (44-181) 340-1834.
Those buried in Highgate include Henry Gray, of "Gray's Anatomy" fame; Michael Faraday, who discovered electromagnetic induction; Karl Marx; novelist Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot); and actor Ralph Richardson.