Nov 15

Happy Turkey Day

Heading out in the Marls

Heading out in the Marls

Thanksgiving is a good holiday. It is all about family and being thankful.

I have many things to be thankful for this year. Here are a few.

First, the fishing. I managed to get to Abaco this year and enjoyed the experience tremendously. It seems a long time ago now, but it was in 2015. I got to go there with my wife, children and my dad. It was a special trip.

I’m thankful I’ve learned more about the fishery out my front door and can now add stripers and halibut to the list of potential targets and fly fishing as a potential method.

I’m thankful I got to get my daughter onto twenty trout again this year up in Montana, and that she christened her new fly rod with an Upper McCloud caught rainbow.

That was about it for fishing this year. This is probably the year with the fewest flyfishing days I’ve seen since I started fly fishing in 1996. It just worked out that way. Maybe 2016 will be better on that front. I bet it will.

Of course, I have much more to be thankful for beyond fly fishing. I have a wonderful, intelligent and beautiful wife. I have two great kids. My dad is still around to torment me with his tales of all the fishing he is doing. I have my brother and his partner and a great brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

I have a great job that I love, working with people I enjoy.

We are buying a house and should be in our new, permanent digs by Christmas which should put an end to my nomadic roamings (12 moves in 20 years and I’m not even in the military).

I have my health and my incredible good looks, plus my humility and sense of sarcasm.

I hope you all have plenty of things to be thankful for in your lives and I hope our paths may cross (but not our lines).

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 15

Bass Pro comes to San Jose

I managed to stop by the new Bass Pro Outdoor World in San Jose when i was down to pick up my daughter.

San Jose Bass Pro

This is not a small store. It is massive. It has a bowling alley (although I’m not sure I get the connection). You can find bait fishing supplies, boating supplies, camping gear, kayaks and canoes and, of course, fly fishing gear.

It is so odd to see all the tarpon and tuna and dorado up on the walls in a place that doesn’t have much of any of those things. Still, a pretty fun place to go and look around. There is a big tank with all sorts of fish I’d like to catch.

They even had some Mako boats there that looked pretty sweet, although where you’d fish a boat more suited to ocean-side tarpon fishing than whatever you are going to find in the Bay, I’m not sure (honestly, I’m not sure… where would you take one of these?).

Mako boat

The store is a great thing for those that crave outdoor/fishing gear, but it does make me think about the little shops, like the California Fly Shop, that will likely end up hurt by this, or little Mel Cotton’s. People go from owners to employees. It changes the complexion a bit and it removes a lot of the personality from the experience.

Nov 15

BTT being awesome

This is why I love BTT. They are just solid and they’ll continue to get my money for as long as I’m declared competent and able to make my own decisions.

Oct 15


I was thinking today, for no good reason, about how it is really hard to get lost around a river.



The river flows in one direction and is conveniently located at the bottom of the valley or canyon. Water that is above it will flow into it and it all just proceeds, predictably.

If the trail leaves the river and then vanishes and you find yourself in the woods with no compass, you simply need to listen for water or follow the contours of the land and it will point you, like a great big road sign, back to the river and home.

I was thinking how different that scenario is in a place like the Marls, where, unguided, I’m sure I would die. Every turn seems to strongly resemble the last turn, or the next, and what was flowing one direction once, will flow the other before long.

The vastness and unmappable nature of it would spell doom for me, directionally challenged with app open on my 6 mile commute to let me know traffic conditions.

You can’t just trace your steps by saying “OK, turn right at the mangrove,” because it is all mangroves. Mangroves and sand and water and more water and sand and mangroves.

There is a knowledge you develop if you know a place like that well, where you can tell the difference between the different mangroves, like a parent knows identical twins apart, but maybe not at first. To get that knowledge you have to put in the time, the hours, until it is all muscle memory and built in deep knowing.

I wish I had that. I wish I had some flat known like like. But the hours it would take to get to that point are already booked or spent or owed to someone for something, most of it for worthwhile pursuits and worthy people and so I find myself unable to mount much of a complaint… not a real one anyway.

I won’t get lost on a river. At least there is that.

Oct 15

Florida vs. The Bahamas

In that latest news story out of the Bahamas the comments section provides the usual entertainment in race-card playing and poor economics.

One comment seemed to say studies showing the economic impact of recreational fishing in Florida, valued at $800M, has to mean that the Bahamas industry is worth way more than the estimated $141M because the Bahamas has more flats.

So you do the math……Also really, only worth $141M from 5 years ago! What about Permit, Tarpon and Snook value? They say the Florida Keys flatsfishing is about $800M! Wow! Now take a look at Google and look at their flats to the Bahamas’!

This, of course, is idiotic. Yes… the Bahamas has more flats than Florida does. That is true, surely. However, Florida also has just shy of 20 million people vs. the Bahama’s 400K. That’s roughly 50x. There is also a vibrant fishing culture in Florida that allows anyone to fish in just about any way they want to. You don’t need a guide to go out and fish and the guides don’t own any spots that you, the out-of-state DIY angler, can’t fish if you get there first.

The idea that the Bahamian fishing industry has to be bigger than Florida’s, solely based on square-mileage is dumb. By that measure, the economy of New York City (304 square miles) must be dwarfed by that of Kazakstan (1M square miles). Guess what… that doesn’t work either. New York City has a GDP of about $1.3T vs. $231B for Kazakstan.

The Bahamian economy has a GDP of about $8.4B. Tourism accounts for about 60% of that amount.

Telling one whole group of anglers they, and their families, aren’t welcome in the Bahamas is a very poorly thought out plan and, luckily, it is all coming tumbling down. The odds these regulations are going to pass and become law diminish by the day as more and more people wake up to the economic disaster represented by these proposals.

Oct 15

People are paying attention in the Bahamas

The argument has always been economic. Sure, there was some noise about conservation, but the idea catch and release anglers were somehow a major threat to the entire Bahamian fishery was always a bit of misdirection. It’s the economy, stupid.

Folks are paying attention and they are starting to do their own math and that math reveals what so many of us have been saying for so long… banning DIY is a great way to cut a big chunk out of the Bahamian economy.

Ellison Thompson, Deputy Director-General of Tourism, said “The question is do you want to alienate the DIYs when you look at the economic impact. You can say everyone who comes has to have a guide, but I think you would be cutting off a lot of money.”


Read the whole story here

The thing we have to keep sight of is that this was never a plan embraced by everyone. There have been plenty of Bahamians who thought this whole business was a disaster from the get-go. That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the whole “boycott” idea. Why punish the people who saw this for what it was and fought tooth and nail against it?

Sure, you can catch bonefish in Belize and Mexico and Cuba and Hawaii, Christmas Island, Australia, the British Virgin Islands, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Cook Islands, Los Roques and more. Even if the Bahamas was shut down 100%, you could still go catch a bonefish. So, you could boycott the Bahamas, but that seems misguided to me. Go where you want to go. Fish the waters that call out to you. If you love Belize, go to Belize. If you love the Bahamas, go to the Bahamas. It looks more and more likely you won’t have misguided and unfriendly legislation to contend with.

Fingers crossed and thank you to all the Bahamians who have been pro-angler. We’ll repay your effort with days walking Bahamian flats and evenings of cracked conch and cold Kalik.



Oct 15

The Bay Keeps Her Secrets

I continue to be surprised by the SF Bay. Odds are if you live in the Bay Area, you don’t actually fish the Bay. You go other places to fish. You travel, often far, to throw at all manner of things.

Fish live here too.

Fish live here too.

It never occurred to me that anything lived in the Bay when I first moved here. I figured it was a dead-zone, polluted and killed off long ago. And… that would be partly right. The commercial herring and anchovy fisheries collapsed long ago. There were toxic salt ponds in the south and the steady stream of heavy metals from the gold mining days. It just never seemed like much was living here.

The Bay doesn’t really let you get to know it easily. Since I found out there were, indeed, fish swimming in the Bay I’ve been soaking bait for sharks with my daughter. You never see the sharks. The water is generally not clear enough to see much of anything. There aren’t schools of bait-fish blowing up. There aren’t rays flying out of the water.

Sure, there are the seals up around San Francisco, but I’m guessing they are there for the Blue Bottle coffee (although one did just get munched on by a Great White).

This weekend I walked out to walk the flat in Alameda with a spinning rod and a Kastmaster. The water was flat and glassy, which is a bit rare. The Bay is a windy place and the water is usually whipped up. With the glassy water I could actually see schools of bait-fish moving about in two feet of water. There were a couple of smaller swirls, but nothing major.

And then… there was a hit on the spinner and a small halibut was landed… and then a schoolie striper followed by another schoolie striper. These were on a spinner, but if I can find them with any consistency, a fly is going to be deployed in short order.

There are stripers swimming around just a couple hundred feet away.

I am starting to wonder what else I don’t know about the Bay.

Oct 15

Press Release from the Bahamas

Here’s a recent press release out of the Bahamas. Basically, they want to remind you that nothing has changed and that the Bahamas is still a fantastic place to visit, even after Hurricane Joaquin screwed a few of the islands up. Hard to argue with any of these points.

This press release should not be taken as a defeat by the BFFIA (Bahamian F-ed-up Fiduciary Insanity Association). This points in that general direction and may be a sign some of the people in positions of power realize the LAST thing needed at this point is a confusing and xenophobic message telling some tourists they are not wanted.

The Cliff Note version of my take on things is this… You want to go to the Bahamas, go ahead. You’ll be able to fish, DIY, semi-DIY, fully-guided, partially-guided, at least for now, and that won’t change abruptly or in the really short-term. Of course, I’d urge you to support those who have supported us, the anglers. And… you may also want to chip in to help those who got leveled by Joaquin to get back on their feet, which you can do here.


BAHAMAS, October 8, 2015 — The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) wishes to advise that all categories of anglers are welcome to fish The Islands Of The Bahamas this 2015-2016 season and that the vast majority of the islands are ready and open for business as usual after Hurricane Joaquin.

Anglers are further advised that no restriction on fishing, no new taxes, no across the board increase in prices or licensing fees have been introduced. In the event there are any changes, be assured that Ministry officials will notify the global fishing community well in advance.

Throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas you will find a mix of international and locally owned upscale, mid-priced and economy lodges with a range of affordable packages and options. Each bonefish lodge has its own charm and certified guides.

Local guides have been trained to provide a safe and customer friendly angling experience based on globally accepted sustainable principles. The practice of “Catch & Release” fishing is strictly observed.

The Bahamas continues to be the ideal flat fishing destination for avid fishermen with 100,000 square miles of the most renowned fishing flats in the world, and an abundance of fish species including bonefish, permit, tarpon and other tropical sports fishing species. The Out Islands of Abacos, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, and The Exumas are premiere flats fishing locales.

With close proximity to the Continental United States, just 50 miles from Florida and a 30minute flight via commercial airlines, and average winter temperatures ranging from 21°C to 27°C (or 70°F to 80°F), anglers can still make it for the perfect fall flats fishing experience. Visit http://www.bahamas.com/fishing for more details and to book your fishing trip to The Bahamas today.

About The Islands Of The BahamasThe Islands Of The Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone from Nassau and Paradise Island to Grand Bahama to The Abaco Islands, The Exuma Islands, Harbour Island, Long Island and others. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles withsome of the world’s best golf, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with pre-clearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas.

For more information on travel packages, activities and accommodations, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com.

Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Media Contact:Anita Johnson-Patty Bahamas Ministry of Tourism ajohnson@bahamas.com

Oct 15

Getting the Bahamas Back on Their Feet

Let’s get on board with this, OK?


The Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association (AFFGA) is spearheading a RECONSTRUCTION FUND to benefit fly fishing guides and the accommodating establishments that cater to fly fishing anglers that lost their ability to make a living because of the destruction in the Southern Bahamas from Hurricane Joaquin.

AFFGA is working with world-wide industry members and partners to raise funds and has organized a Bahamian Advisory Board to help get the word out to those affected.  The board will help gather relevant data regarding the requirements of those in the affected areas who are in need of assistance to rebuild their fly fishing businesses.

Once an assessment of the specific needs of the individuals affected by the storm are known AFGGA will reach out to our partners who may be able to help fulfill their requirements in order to alleviate some of the pain of the rebuilding process.  Your donations may pay for materials and equipment or be awarded as cash to recipients based on need.

Anglers and Industry partners, we need your help to make this happen!

You may make donations via PayPal at www.affga.org  Please indicate RECONSTRUCTION FUND or HURRICANE RELIEF as the purpose.  Or you can mail checks made payable to Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association to the following address:

Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association

c/o GB Express Exports Inc.

610 SW 34th St. Suite 107

Fort Lauderdale, FL  33315


Your generous donations will be distributed by the Board of Directors of AFFGA based on the needs expressed by those affected with the intent of helping as many people as possible.  A full accounting of donations and expenditures will be made within three months.


AFFGA Board of Directors:

Justin Sands

Cindy Pinder

Buddy Pinder

Patrick Roberts


AFFGA Reconstruction Fund Advisory Board:

Mr. Gregory Bethel, Senior Economist, Department of Marine Resources

Mr. Benjamin Pratt, Senior Manager, Ministry of Tourism

Ms. Cheryl Bastian, Vice President, Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board

Rev. Felton Rolle, Owner, Salina Point Bonefish Lodge, Acklins

Mrs. Arnette Chisholm, Owner, Chester’s Highway Inn Bonefish Lodge, Acklins *

Mr. Nevin Knowles, Owner, Long Island Bonefish Lodge, Long Island *

Shavonne Davrville, Owner, Gems of Paradise, Long Island *                      * still trying to make contact to confirm participation


If you need further information, please contact Cindy Pinder at 561-202-8575 or via email skeeterone@coralwave.com.  LIKE US ON FACE BOOK – ABACO FLY FISHING GUIDES ASSOCIATION to keep up to date on progress.  Please spread the word throughout the fishing world as we need your help to rebuild the fly fishing industry in the Southern Bahamas.  Thank you!


Oct 15

Permit are a-holes. Go chase a-holes with Hatch magazine.

I don’t like permit and I have a feeling it’s a mutual thing.

Permit.  Not a world record, but a frigging permit!

Permit. Not a world record, but a frigging permit!

I caught one in Belize in 2010. It was a small permit, but it was a permit. I almost hooked one in Cuba… but I didn’t. I’ve seen a handful, but I haven’t fished for them too much. I haven’t fished for them because I like fishing to a fish that wants to eat and isn’t such a jerk.

I know people get the permit sickness and those who have it have generally already let the bonefish illness run its course… maybe tarpon too. If you have it, there is no cure. It is a chronic condition that will rob you of your free time and spending money.

Now, if that sounds awesome, you should check out a hosted trip that Hatch Magazine has going on. The trip is in February down in Ascension Bay in Mexico, which is, like Belize, a place you can actually catch those bastards.

There are still some openings and that should be a good time, maybe easing the permit sickness just a tad for a couple of months.