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.



Feb 15

I’ve got crabs

I went out to try the beach at night… figured the bigger sharks and maybe something else might be feeding at night. Well… the babies were out and this guy.

My first crab from the Bay.

I named him Pinchy.

I named him Pinchy.

Feb 15

Things that are happening

I’ve shared before the research that shows you are actually happiest when planning a trip. So, I’m pretty happy right now. No, I’m not talking about my there-and-back trip to Dallas next week, or my trip to San Antonio in May… no, I’m talking about fishing trips.

I just booked tickets to Florida in June. I know what I’m doing exactly one day of the week I’ll be there. I’m fishing with my dad and Derek Rust on a Saturday to try and get my dad into a tarpon. Beyond that… I’m just going and I’ll see what I can line up in terms of fishing days.

Coming to see the #skinnywaterculture

Coming to see the #skinnywaterculture

I’m also in possession of some crazy expensive tickets for Abaco. That’s Spring Break with the whole fam. I’m hoping to grab a day or two to fish, but I’ll also have an 8 year old and 1 year old along. I plan to get the girl fishing too, maybe over at the Abaco Lodge off the dock.

The girl loved this part of the day.

In short, I have stuff to look forward to and I kind of love that. Now I need to open up the fly tying desk again and put some thread and sparkles on some sharp and pointy hooks.

Hope you have something to look forward to as well!

Feb 15

A victory for Belize and for us

This is what a victory looks like:

The Government of Belize through the Cabinet has approved the proposed expansion of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The decision taken to approve the expansion of the reserve was made on February 17th following the completion of minor adjustments made to the original draft proposal. The decision brings the project one step closer to fruition following years of lobbying by marine environmentalists on Ambergris Caye.

In this day and age of zero-sum politics where your victory is my loss, it is unusual to see something where everyone wins. The expansion of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the rare win-win. Maybe there are some developers out there who lose, but I really don’t mind that, not one bit.

Expanding protections around Ambergris is fantastic. It is a special place and deserves not to be exploited to death and then left to rot.

The people of Belize win by ensuring that their natural heritage stands a better shot at survival, of thriving. With that natural gift come the tourists and the jobs and livelihoods. And we, we the tourists, the anglers, we get a better shot at that grand slam and the peace and quiet and serenity that comes from the flats when it is just you, your guide and the wind.

Fantastic and congratulations to Belize!

Belize Bonefish

Belize Bonefish

Feb 15

The Real Bahamas – Abaco

Thinking about Abaco… where I’ll be in a couple months.

Feb 15

The FL Sportsman and Bonefish

My one Florida Bonefish

My one Florida Bonefish

There was a really interesting article recently in the Florida Sportsman about bonefish in the Keys. Bones have been in decline for years in the Keys. All the guides down there will tell you the same. The article talked to some of those guides but also had some signs of hope. Smaller bones are being seen and smaller bones turn into bigger bones and it is not totally inconceivable things might turn around.

When I was down in the Keys a couple years ago I remember hearing about the decline. One-time bonefish flats had become redfish flats and the bones just weren’t around.

The culprits for the decline are mostly the usual suspects. There are water quality issues and the devastating cold from a few years back. There has even been talk about netting in Cuba impacting Florida populations.

As always, I’d love to hear from the folks who live there and fish those waters. You see any hope or just a steady decline?

Feb 15

A follow on the beach

I went out on the beach today here in Alameda with a fly rod. Why not, right?

It was deeper and colder than a flat in the Bahamas and the visibility was only 3 feet… maybe 4.

Funny thing though… I saw some fish following the clouser I was throwing. Now, it wasn’t a big fish. It wasn’t a leopard or a striper, but it was a fish. It wasn’t going to eat the fly, so I did what you do as an angler… I went home (200 yards away) and switched rigs and broke out the bait.

Turns out those fish were probably jack smelt… which I can now add to my list of species.

Just getting out was nice. Throwing the 7 wt. was nice. Seeing a fish following my fly was nice. It was nice all the way up to the not catching them on the fly. I have to figure it is just a matter of effort and opportunity.

I’ll have a lot more opportunities to catch jack smelt than bonefish, and maybe I even will catch more of them, but I don’t really want that to be the math.

Fishing is fun, be it for bones, trout, bluegill or jack smelt, but we all have our favorites and my favorite is the bonefish. Our obsessions don’t have to make sense.

Feb 15

The second half of the haul

OK… this is a lazy post about casting as I’m not going to do pictures or a video, but this is an important post if you have issues with your double haul.

One thing I’ve seen a few times is an angler do the haul on the back cast just fine, but then the forward cast has almost no haul on it. What happens is the angler never recovers from the back cast haul. He/She ends up starting the forward haul with the hands far apart, already extended without anywhere to go.

Your forward cast should start with your line hand (for me, that’s my left hand) right next to the reel. If that’s where your hand is, you can haul. If your hands are close together, you can haul. If your hands are far apart, you have no where to go.

If you are out on the flat and your haul is falling apart, just remember that your back cast and forward cast should both start and and with your hands close together.

Casting... work on it.

Casting… work on it.


Feb 15

Florida Fall Back Plan

I was planning on going to the Bahamas. Inagua was the destination I was looking at. It’s remote, has bonefish and a few tarpon as well. It was a good plan.

And then… things had to go through the “child custody” filter. The flight back would be on Monday. Monday is the start of the next week. I have my girl signed up for a marine science camp that week and if the ex didn’t want to brave the rush hour traffic to get her to that camp, well, I wasn’t going to be able to get her there from one of the 4 or so planes I would have been on that day coming from Inagua, through Nassau, to Miami and then on to SFO.

Just like that, the trip blew up. Done.

On to Plan B.

Plan B isn’t a bad plan. Florida is the Plan B. The more I look at it, the more it sounds like a very solid plan. I may get to fish with friends and that’s a pretty good option. Maybe I’ll even get my dad down there to catch a tarpon.

I’ve been down to FL to fish a couple times now. I may still have some clothes that haven’t dried out from the trip in June of 2012. Man did it rain a lot… Sunshine State my ass. That trip was with fellow-bloggers Davin and Matt and Adrienne, fishing with Martin, Derek, Eric and Bill. I landed one baby tarpon, broke a rod on one adult (sorry Bill), caught the Key’s smallest bonefish and had a great time.

Shooting the shit... and learning.

Shooting the shit… and learning.

The last trip was with my wife and our baby son. I got a day of fishing in with Dan Dow and Derek Rust, which I thought was generous. I landed my first redfish, thanks the Derek poling into the wind for a few hours.

My first redfish, photo from Derek Rust

My first redfish, photo from Derek Rust

Now, I’m likely coming back and that sounds pretty good. Rain or shine, it will be good to be back. I’m looking forward to it.