Mar 15


As in, Derek Rust. Here’s a short little film by Dan Decibel.

I haven’t met Dan, but I’ know Derek and count him as a friend. We’ve fished together a few times and in June I’m going out with him and my dad to try and tie my dad into a tarpon of some kind.

Derek doing the driving

Derek doing the driving

Basically, Derek is good people and fun to fish with. He guides out of Marathon and will get after just about anything that swims, minus the dolphins that play in the wake of his skiff.

Derek Rust… Guide. 

Mar 15

Parks for the Bahamas

There is a push to get some new parks created in the Bahamas, specifically on Grand Bahama.

National Parks are created when a society decides it wants to protect its natural heritage. We’ve been very successful at this and our National Parks are crown jewels, special places.

I’m glad to see the Bahamas embracing what is special about their islands. I’m guessing that these parks would not ban bonefishing, as some of these parks are in the best stuff, especially the East End proposed park.

The site has videos you can watch with a bit more information about each proposed park. The East End park even has Flip catching a bonefish.


PS… If you’ve fished the East End, you’ve almost certainly been by the spot in the above picture. When I was last there I actually caught one or two bonefish right on this flat.

Mar 15

A Deliberate Life

There is a new movie out. It is a movie about life as much as it is a movie about fishing. A Deliberate Life is finally done and available for purchase.

This movie his close to home for me. I’ve fished with Matt and Rebecca, although both in the salt and not on the trout streams they are featured on. I met both of them as things were swirling either in my life or theirs. I remember telling Rebecca down in South Andros I feared my marriage was either done or nearly so, and the following week my premonition was largely fulfilled.

Photo by Cameron Miller

Photo by Cameron Miller

I finally got to fish with Matt in Florida, where we got soaked to the bone. This was as I had just learned I was going to have a son after getting a second shot at happiness. Soon thereafter it was Matt who was facing an ending marriage and going through the hard times. He’s come through it and it is possible I’ll see him again, in Florida, this summer.

You know where this is.

You know where this is.

I’ve thought a lot about their project in the couple years since I first heard about it. The idea of living deliberately is one that resonates with me. For me that is about getting after it and not being a passenger in life. For me it has not meant I abandon reason and buy a lodge in Andros, but it means learning to be truly happy where I am with what I have. I can be happy selling specialized coagulation testing. I know I can, because I am. I’ve chosen to be. I’m happily remarried and the happy father of both my daughter and my new son. I have not let setbacks keep me back. I’ve moved forward, deliberately.

The movie goes on that theme and is told by good people. The fishing is incidental, but it is well done.

I hope you check it out.

Mar 15

On Moby Dick, Extinction and Our Current Age

I’ve been listening to Moby Dick for the past several weeks (it is a long-ish book and takes some time to get through when I’m only driving for an hour a day now). I’ve been struck by a great many things about the book, not least of which was Chapter 105 where Melville ponders if whaling could possibly ever dent the population of whales.

Nor, considered aright, does it seem any argument in favor of the gradual extinction of the Sperm Whale, for example, that in former years (the latter part of the last century, say) these Leviathans, in small pods, were encountered much oftener than at present, and, in consequence, the voyages were not so prolonged, and were also much more remunerative. Because, as has been elsewhere noticed, those whales, influenced by some views to safety, now swim the seas in immense caravans, so that to a large degree the scattered solitaries, yokes, and pods, and schools of other days are now aggregated into vast but widely separated, unfrequent armies. That is all. And equally fallacious seems the conceit, that because the so-called whale-bone whales no longer haunt many grounds in former years abounding with them, hence that species also is declining. For they are only being driven from promontory to cape; and if one coast is no longer enlivened with their jets, then, be sure, some other and remoter strand has been very recently startled by the unfamiliar spectacle.

The argument is a familiar one. The sea is vast. We are small. We couldn’t possibly have an impact on such large a creature in such large a place.

Yet, populations of many species approached the low hundreds and some still hover there. Maybe Ishmael could not conceive of exploding harpoons or fast, diesel ships. He would have been shocked at monofilament nets and lines and sonar and tracking planes. Maybe he would have changed his tune, but probably not. When you are right up against it, sometimes you only perceive the grey wrinkled wall, and not the elephant.

In chapter 105 Melville writes about the buffalo and about how, even then, it was a cautionary tale, but he fails to see how we could, with a few tweaks, play out that same opera on the high seas.

I think of the buffalo every time I see a picture of an angler with 30 fish on a stringer or 20 fish nailed up to a board. But, you know, the oceans and rivers and lakes are vast and we are small. We couldn’t possibly have an impact.

Also, the earth is colossal and we humans are so small. We couldn’t possibly have an impact on something like the climate.

One day we are going to wake up, or our kids or their kids, and find our fish all gone, and, ironically, some of our favorite beaches well under water. More water, fewer fish and all of us poorer for it.

Seems like we have learned very little since Ishmael.



Mar 15

A day at Abaco Lodge

Part of the general “looking forward to things” is a day of fishing out of Abaco Lodge. I remember seeing Abaco Lodge back on the early episodes of Pirates of the Flats, before they had to switch networks and names to Buccaneers and Bones.

Always has had my imagination. And soon, I’ll see for myself.

I’ll be in Treasure Cay April 3-11. I’ll be the tall, handsome guy with the adorable children and beautiful wife with a grin on my face and as little skin showing to the tropical sun as possible.

Mar 15

Upon Realizing I’ll be in the Bahamas in Three Weeks

I just counted it up and realized I’ll be in Abaco in three weeks. This has gotten me a little riled up as I have much to do before we depart. Here are some of the various tasks which I will be hoping to check off over the next three weeks.

  • Find all the chargers for all the cameras. That’s my DSLR, the GoPro, the Nikon waterproof camera, my daughter’s waterproof camera and the Countour camera, which I also have to find.
  • Sunscreen… lots of sun screen.
  • Flies… I have sadly neglected my tying desk since the move. I’m guessing I have the right hooks… do I have the right chain eyes? I need about a dozen spawning shrimp and maybe 20 or 30 other patterns.
  • Get my daughter’s passport from her mom… yeah, shared custody.
  • Figure out the rental car sitch.
  • Try to arrange a day on the water for my dad and I and maybe a visit out to Abaco Lodge.

I’ve never been to Abaco and I’m looking forward to it. It is a family trip, not a fishing trip, although there will be fishing, of course. There will also be sand castles and snorkling and some cracked conch, reading and relaxing.

The countdown has begun.

Mar 15

Tarpon Fishing in the Keys

MidCurrent has a great piece up on helping you have a good Keys tarpon trip. You should read it.

One point the article makes is that the weather is often pretty bad in those most tarpony of times, May and June. On my one previous June tarpon expedition I experienced this firsthand. It rained, hard. There were brief respites, but mostly, it was wet.

I wrote a piece up for that trip. It didn’t get published, as these things usually don’t. One of the criticisms was my insistence that the Sunshine State wasn’t too sunny. I had a line like “It was wet, even for Florida…” that struck a reviewer as nonsensical. Even if it smacks of cognitive dissonance, the Sunshine State IS wet and June is particularly so.



I got that line wrong though… it wasn’t “wet, even for Florida,” it was as wet AS Florida in June. It is the fool who heads for Tarpon in the Keys during the peak migration with nothing but flipflops and sunscreen. Bring a light rain jacket, and your patience and your optimism. The latter two items are sometimes difficult to fit in the same bag.

I’m heading back to Florida this June. I expect to be rained on, hard, because it is the Keys in June. I hope also to get shots at some fish bigger than my 4’8″ 8 year old.

Taking a page out of that MidCurrent article… anyone have suggestions for cheap digs in Marathon around June?

Mar 15


Gink and Gasoline ran a story recently that featured Andros South guide Freddy (or Freddie, not sure which is right).

This made me happy because it made me think of my own trip to Andros South and my day with Freddy on the water.

This guy is fun to fish with.

This guy is fun to fish with.

Freddy was the biggest man with the smallest boat and was by far the most enjoyable guide I had that whole week. Freddy was just plain fun. He sang from the poling platform and joked and laughed and did all this while managing to put us on fish.

We ran into a bit of engine trouble that day while out on the West Side. That’s a long trip back with an engine that can’t get up on a plain, but Freddy was calm and smooth about even this. He suggested it was a good opportunity to troll for cudas, which we did and I picked up my first decent sized cuda.

The day was awesome and it does reinforce the idea that attitude matters… your attitude and that of your guide.

Thanks Freddy.

Mar 15

Lies and Statistics

There is a new-to-me on-line fly fishing magazine called Tail that I got turned onto to see an article by Michael Larkin (yeah, he’s a Ph.D.). The article is all about bringing statistics to break down the elements that influence if you are going to catch a bonefish or not.

Fishing is good.

Fishing is good.

It is an interesting read, looking at data from Keys fishing tournaments over a number of years. This may, or may not apply to your average day on the water, but it does provide some food for thought.

What are the elements that matter the most? Experience of your guide? Your own experience? Wind? Cloud cover? Moon phase? It all gets put into the mix.

Check it out. (I think you have to register to see it, but you can do so for free)

Feb 15

Nicklaus loves the bones

“I think that bonefishing combines hunting, it combines calculation of where the fish could be, what the tides are, what the moon is, time of day,” Nicklaus said. “It forces you to figure out what’s going on.”

Turns out, Jack Nicklaus loves bonefish too… and for many of the same reasons I do.

I’m not a golfer… in fact, I tend to think along these lines:

“I am not against golf, since I cannot suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout.” – Paul O’Neil

Maybe I’m just a hater, but it really isn’t my thing… and then there’s the runoff and the way people have of taking some bit of natural beauty and thinking they can improve upon it by putting in 18 holes and a clubhouse.

Maybe you fear what you don’t know and I don’t know golf, but I do know fishing and have fallen in love with bonefish over these last few years… OK, and tarpon a bit too.

Jack seems like a good guy… like for this –

Earlier this month, the foundation pledged $60 million to support the growth of the Miami Children’s Health System. In recognition of the grand gesture, Miami Children’s Hospital will now be known as the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Good on ya Jack… go get some bones.