Sep 16

Rethinking Rethinking Belize

I was toying with the idea of taking my daughter on a daddy-daughter trip to Belize for Spring Break to snorkel and fish and to take her somewhere she hasn’t been before.

Then… then we had a horrible weekend with her behavior being so amazingly poor I had to rethink the whole Belize plan.

But now I’m rethinking rethinking the trip. Spring Break is in April, a long time from now, so making a decision based on her behavior now seems pre-mature. Also, she’ll be 10 by then, in the 4th grade, and she won’t be my little girl much longer. The idea of a trip, alone, with her dad, might not sound so good in a few years and this is a great chance to make a life-long memory.

So, the trip is back on.

The plan, for now, is Caye Caulker. A short-ish trip. Arrive Monday, leave Friday. A day of fishing, a day of snorkeling, a day of lounging around and seeing the town.

It gives me something to do some tying for and will almost certainly be my next tropical fly fishing outing (although, it is possible I’ll get some redfish involved in one of my now frequent New Orleans business trips, but I’m not counting that just yet).

They grow up fast. I’m back to thinking I should maximize the memory making while I have a chance.

The girl and her dad

The girl and her dad

Sep 16

Interview with Captain Perry, Grand Bahama

(Posted in 2010. Recently it was announced that Captain Perry had passed away. I always wanted to get back to fish with him. He was a great guide and a very decent person. It was an honor to fish with him, even if I only did it once.)

This last January I had a few days of fishing in Grand Bahama, one of those days I got a guide and the others I went on my own.  I mostly had my arse handed to me on the  self-guided days, but had a great day with the guide I booked, Captain Perry, out  of McLeans Town on the East End of Grand Bahama.

I recently called up Captain Perry and asked him to do an interview and he agreed.  Because of this know I need to get some sort of recording device, as I missed a couple comments (at least) and didn’t catch some of the local flavor of his remarks.

If I make it back to Grand Bahama, I hope to see Captain Perry again from the bow of his flats boat… wouldn’t mind being there for a day to equal his most memorable from below.

Captain Perry, Grand Bahama Guide and Good Guy.

Do you have a favorite place to eat on Grand Bahama?

I go to a place in Port Lucaya, Le Med.

Being out on the water a lot you see odd, interesting or strange things.  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen?

The shark eating the bonefish is pretty interesting, the speed of the bonefish is amazing, but the sharks hunt them down.

Do you have a guided trip that stands out in your memory?

Back in 2002, caught 127 bonefish in a day, wading. I’ll never forget that one.  It was all to do with the weather.  We’d had had some messed up weather before that, but that morning, the weather was nice.  We fished for 8 hours and fish were everywhere.

The following year I went out with the same guy about the same time of year and we saw one fish all day.

What do you think makes GBI a destination that bonefish anglers should check out?  Give me the top one or two reasons.

You can take almost a direct flight from the East Coast.  That’s it right there.  There is no need for a charter flight, no need so spend the night anywhere.

What’s your favorite tide to fish, or does it matter?

Around here, the incoming tide is good, but we have two tides, so we can get to find an incoming tide on one side or the other of the island.  A low incoming tide is really good.

What’s your favorite month to fish?

You can fish year round as long as there isn’t a cold front.

Do you have any lodging ideas for anglers looking to stay and fish the East End?  Freeport is pretty far away.

There’s a place called Ocean Pearl in High Rock, it is half way. That’s a good place.

On my trip with you in January, I landed 12 bonefish… I’m guessing that a more accomplished bonefisher might have had 20.  Sound about right?

Yeah, I think that’s about right.

I was impressed with how careful you were in handling the fish, never even taking them out of the water. You certainly are up to speed on the best practices for handing and releasing bonefish.  Are you seeing more anglers and guides being conscious of bonefish handling or is there still a lot of ignorance out there?

There is some way to go, for a lot of the guides, a long way to go…   a long way to go.  I think it will take some real knowledge about what’s going on with the fish.  They need to experience it themselves. If you tell them, they don’t get it. They need to get the knowledge themselves.  I see two or three guides that really get it, but there are still a lot that have a long way to go.

Drop the Grip and Grin and the fish will live to fight another day.

Thanks Captain Perry.

Sep 16

An Adventure, maybe

So, I’m looking at maybe having an adventure with my 10 year old this coming Spring. Sure, it is hardly even Fall at this point, but I’m trying to be a long term planner.

This would be a trip with just she and I. I’d do Yellowstone, but most of it would be under snow at that point, or could be, which would make planning hard.

I’d do the Keys except those are American prices and can be high.

I’m aiming low, in terms of price.

So, I’m thinking about maybe doing Belize. Belize can be expensive, but it doesn’t need to be, and Southwest flies to Belize. Planned out far enough, it isn’t so bad.

Thoughts? Ideas? Inspiration?

Aug 16

Maui fly fishing and the continued lack of an HI bonefish

I went out with Captain Jon Jon today in his two person kayak to hit some spots in Maui on my family vacation.

One of Capt. Jon Jon's two man kayaks

One of Capt. Jon Jon’s two man kayaks

Sadly, there was no bonefish hooked.

Still, it was a good time. I learned a lot and I can see the potential.

We started off with spinning rods, trolling flies, as we made our way out to where he wanted me to focus. We picked up a couple jacks/trevally (little ones) this way, which was fun.

When we got started actually fly fishing, it was blind casting in spots Jon Jon knew held fish… educated blind casting, if you will. Some of this was in water that was a bit deep as I had a few swells come up to my armpits (my double haul starts falling apart in water that deep). The bones just weren’t with the program though. Captain Jon Jon said he saw several, but my eyes have never been good at spotting deep bones and I didn’t see them.

We finished the day on a spot where I had excellent vision into water that was maybe 3 feet. If a bone had crossed within 60 feet of me there, I would have seen it. Alas, it was not to be.

As we made our way back in I was trolling a fly with my fly rod and managed a nice bar jack, which may be my first such fish.

My Maui Bar Jack

My Maui Bar Jack

The whole thing started at 6 AM and was over at noon, giving me time to get back to the family without my wife being left on her own too much. It was a good excursion and Captain Jon Jon was knowledgeable and personable.

If we come back to Maui, I’ll be looking him up again.

Aug 16

Grab Bag from 30K Feet

I’m in the air right now on my way to New Orleans, where I’ll primarily be sweating, as well as doing some work. Fishing is not on the agenda, sadly.

So, a few things I’ve seen bouncing around to share with you good (I’m guessing here) people.

First. The Double Haul. Here’s a video about doing it. If you are at the beginning of your bonefishing journey, you really, really need to pick up this skill. It is key. I’ve seen otherwise great anglers fall apart in a boat with bonefish in front of them, the will to make it happen, but lacking the casting ability to cast into a 15 mph wind. Don’t let that be you.

Here’s a story about tarpon fishing in the Washington Post. I love to see our sport go mainstream.

That’s all for now.

Aug 16

Blog Birthday

Abaco Bonefish

Abaco Bonefish

The blog, this little thing I do, turns 7 today. I know perfectly when it has a birthday because it also happens to be my own birthday.

This last year has been dominated by the Bahamas regulation debate and has been a bit skinny in most other regards.

There is a lot more going on, both in bonefishing, and in my own life, than is reflected in the pages and posts of the blog, of course. There are bonefish caught around the globe from the Cook Islands to the Gulf of Yemen to the middle of the Indian Ocean and the Florida Keys. There are so many wonderful places and people to experience around the world of bonefishing and we’ve only just scratched the surface.

This next year we’ll hopefully meet a few more of these people and see a few more of these places.

We’ll also hopefully follow me back to the Keys as I look to finally land an adult Keys tarpon. If everything goes really well, we’ll also see me fish for bones (and maybe tarpon) in Mexico for the first time (family trip, but I’m hoping to grab a day).

I don’t have the kind of life where I can just go and fish all the time. Maybe those people exist, but it is a little harder to pull off if you have kids and a wife you’d like to stay married to and fishing isn’t your job.

And… fishing isn’t my job. It is something I love (need?) deeply and something that makes me feel alive. But it isn’t my job. It isn’t a responsibility. It is a joy and I hope to share some of that joy with you in in the blog’s 8th year.

Aug 16

Things on my mind: Tarpon

This video kills me… that big, nasty, beautiful, wonderful school of good sized tarpon and the shot goes begging… which is pretty much true to form.

Yeah, I’m thinking about tarpon and about next May when I’m going to make it back to Florida and back down to the Keys for a few days of tarponing, which is to say a few days of dodging storms and failing to see fish and fishing hard and maybe, if I’m lucky, getting a follow.

Tarpon are just cool. No way around it.

Aug 16

Importance of genetic testing for bonefish explained

A recent blog post from BTT explained why they do genetic testing on bonefish. I know that many of you have collected fin clips and this will tell you why.

I got a few fin clips back in Andros in 2011 as part of FIBFEST II.

A few Androsian fin clips from 2011

A few Androsian fin clips from 2011

Aug 16

There is a difference

Tosh Brown is a photographer, among other things. A really good one. He just revamped his site and it is kind of fun to poke around.

Check it out here.

There is a huge difference between what he’s doing and what I’m doing when I’m taking a picture of a fish out on the flats. I’ve seen good photographers (Jim Klug, Cameron Miller) out on the flats and they don’t fish, they shoot. They are looking for the picture when I’m looking for fish. It is kind of like how guiding isn’t fishing. Being a fly fishing photographer isn’t fishing either. You can’t really do both at the same time.

Here is his picture of a bonefish, underwater. 

Here is mine.

All is well... not to worry.

Yeah… not the same.

Tosh is kind of better at this whole thing… and that’s as it should be.

Aug 16

Yellow Dog gives Hurricane Earl Update

This link from Yellow Dog Fly Fishing gives a rundown of fishing operations in Belize and the impact Earl had.

Some operations were impacted more than others, but no one lost their life and no one was totally leveled, so that’s good news.

Belize is a special place for me. I got a Grand Slam fishing out of El Pescador in 2010 with my friend Shane and I honeymooned here in 2012.

Glad to hear operations have mostly made it through the hurricane.

Honeymoon Bonefish

Honeymoon Bonefish