Aug 14

New Mug

A gift from my birthday yesterday.

I do love bonefish, but I have also really grown to love the other things one finds swimming on the flats like cudas and sharks. It is something that happens, I think, when you really start looking around. You start to see the beauty in everything that is there, not just the thing you came there for.

I'm going to need a bigger cup.

I’m going to need a bigger cup.

Aug 14

The Blog Turns 5

Fishing is good.

Fishing is good.

I started this thing five years ago today. Hard to imagine, but true. In that time I’ve seen some pretty fantastic places and shared a lot of stories. I’ve gone on my own physical and metaphorical journeys and I’ve brought you lot along with me. I’ve met a few of you and fished with even fewer, but I feel like I know a great number of you, at least a bit.

It has been fun and I look forward to the fun continuing.

I’m posting a bit less these days, but that’s not because I’m not thinking about it as much, I just have had a harder time finding the time with the new baby in the mix.

I don’t know what the 6th year will bring. I know I’ll be in the Keys here in a couple months, so that’s nice. I’m also hoping to do another hosted trip in 2015, maybe to Andros, maybe to Grand Bahama. It remains to be seen.

I look forward to it all.

Thanks for reading and sharing your own stories as well.

Aug 14

My first trip to a Bass Pro Shop

I understand for some places in the country the BPS where the action is. I’ve just never had one close and I haven’t gone out of my way to visit one, so I’ve never visited one, until today.

My first time

My first time

I had a business trip to Fresno today and on the way, my boss and I stopped by my first Bass Pro Shop.

Good God Man. That place was HUGE. The size of the place was just amazing and the interior was as impressive as the exterior.

I got by boss (he is my boss, but he’s also my friend) set up with a rig so he can go catch sharks with his son in the SF Bay like I do with my daughter. Then I got some hopper flies I can throw at little trout in Montana next week. There were boats and guns and bows and atv’s and more and more and more and more. There was a fly shop inside the BPS, small but serviceable. They had the hoppers I needed.

So much goodness

So much goodness


It was Man/Redneck Disneyland.

It was fun.

So, now I’ve been to a Bass Pro Shop.

I’ll go back, but I’ll also still try to support smaller, local shops when I can. I value the little shops too much.

Aug 14

Shark Day at the Marine Science Institute

Over the weekend I took the girl for the first time to the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City for “Shark Day.” Kind of tailor made for my shark loving kid.

It was a nice little event, starring the beauty of the Bay, the Leopard Shark. We get to see and handle a fair number of these sharks out fishing from the pier, but it was nice to see them swimming around the tank and to see other kids get a chance to get up-close and personal with them.

Tag, you're it.

Tag, you’re it.

All of the Leopards were tagged and will be released and it sounds like they are considering allowing other anglers to tag and release these fish as well. That would be fantastic for us and exactly what my girl has been longing to do. I hope that goes through.

All the kids got a chance to touch a leopard.

All the kids got a chance to touch a leopard.

Jaws, of a sort.

Jaws, of a sort.

I hope to get out here again for future events and maybe a trip out on their research vessel.

Aug 14

Interview with Abaco Guide Thomas Albury

Thomas Albury is a guide working the waters of Abaco. Seems like a pretty nice place to take folks out. He has Ondafly Charters.

Looking for the ghost

Looking for the ghost

You guide out of Marsh Harbour in Abaco. What do you love most about your office?

We live on a small island named Lubbers quarters about 4 miles from MH. I pick up from all over Abaco depending on my customers needs. My office view is always great, a lot better than fighting traffic on any highway.
When you are out on the water a lot, you see some crazy things, things others just don’t see because they haven’t spent the time out there. What’s something odd, funny or scary you’ve seen out there?
Schooling of fish, rays, sharks, bait, etc.  It always catches my eyes and enjoying watching nature at its finest. Couple years ago on Dec. 22nd I saw a giant school of bait being herded by 2 doz. mutton snappers close to shore and could have easily thrown a fly to them. But as usual, when you see stuff like that you never have a rod near by!! It is always great to see stuff like that!!
It seems no matter how many really sexy flies I tie, when I open my box for a guide he picks either a tan Gotcha or a Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp. Is it that easy? Do you have a favorite fly for bones out there?
I wish it was here!! These fish on the ocean side see people!! So sometimes you need to challenge yourself to a little more variation. Try more crabs!! But I enjoy to use anything that is a little different, that is not seen like the gotchas,  and charlies. I like chili peppers, veverka mantis shrimps,  Blackfly outfitters  has a nice pattern they sell named “sifter shrimp” that turns fish on the east side also. In the marls you can throw spawning shrimps all day long. When they turn you down just try something else. Those fish are a lot easier to please!!
A client and a tagged fish.

A client and a tagged fish.

What is the state of the ecosystem around Marsh Harbour and are there any threats to that ecosystem (netting, illegal fishing, over development)?
At this time our eco system is healthy but always fragile. Unfortunately there is still minimal netting on both sides of Abaco. The over development is also a problem in Abaco as it is very popular site to visit in the Bahamas. Please check out this proposal for our east abaco creeks.
What’s your favorite bonefish rod and reel at the moment?
Wow that is a good one!! Well most of my customers are shooting with sage and orvis of course. I always like one piece models like gl loomis 9′. While at I cast 2014 I got to play with  a clutch one piece and four piece 9′, nice rods!!  I need to try  the new sage salt!!

Reels Nautilus by far.
Often times we have a fishing mentor, someone who put in the time and really helped us grow as anglers. Is there anyone like that for you?
You know I can’t put just one name down as an answer. There is a lot of good people I’ve met within this industry that have helped myself and other tremendously. I think you should always try to mentor with every situation to grow and learn together. But someone that really touched me would have to be Flip Pallot. Three years ago while at Abaco Lodge my wife and daughters came by the lodge to say hello. Once he saw my girls, he politely excused himself from the group of anglers at the lodge and came and talked to my two girls that were 4 and 6 years old. And to this day my oldest still says daddy there’s “Mr flip” every time she see his face. Now that was cool!! And he is a great teacher too!!
Where’s the best conch fritter in Marsh Harbour?
Honestly I go all over Abaco and the best one I have had lately would be at Pinnaples in Green Turtle Cay.
Why, with all the many options anglers have, should someone consider heading to Marsh Harbour? 
Well if you looking for a lodge option we have that. If your looking for a guys vacation, rent a house, get some independent guides to carry you out for a couple days each, then possibly try a day on your own, we have that!! Our if you are coming with family and need that 1/2 or full day to break up the craziness, we have that too. Plus It is a very friendly, great scenery, great water, great people. You can fish on Abaco for 30 days and never fish the same flat twice!!
Thanks Thomas!

Aug 14

BTT Artist of the Year, Al Barnes

I do dig some bonefish art. The good stuff catches your eye just for a second while you are on about your non-bonefishing day and just for a second you can hear the sound of the wind through the mangroves and feel the deck sway on the current under your feet… just for a second.

Al Barnes is the 2014 Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Artist of the Year.

His work does just that.

hail mary-1

Aug 14

What makes the Bahamas Special

I recently came across an article about some resort developer talking about what makes the Bahamas special.

It just goes to show how far apart two people can get when looking to find value from the same object.

When I think about what makes the Bahamas awesome I do not thing about jet skis, dolphin encounters (except when you actually encounter a dolphin, like, out in the wild), golf or horseback riding.

Those might actually be things I find distasteful about the Bahamas. They are the sorts of things and places I actively avoid in the Bahamas.

Here are a few of the things I find awesome about the Bahamas.

This guy is fun to fish with.

This guy is fun to fish with.

1. The Vibe

The Bahamas, I’ve found, are very welcoming. They want you there. They want you to have a good time. They want you to get to know and love what they love, their home. I have not felt resentment or anger at being a tourist. I have only felt warmth. The smile seem genuine for the most part. The pace of life is a bit slower, but that is why you are likely there in the first place.



2. The Ecosystem

From the massive mangrove nurseries of Andros to the the Marls, the Bahamas is, for the time being, still a very functional ecosystem. The predators are still there. The prey is still there. You see turtles and osprey and cudas and sharks and permit and tarpon and jacks and blue crabs and so on and so on and so on. It might not stay that way, but it is that way right now. It feels very in-tact.

3. The Food

Cracked Conch, Conch Fritters, Conch Salad and some lobster thrown into the mix. Yes please. Yes and yes and yes again. I love the local cuisine and the care and love with which it is served.



4. The guides and the fishing

Watching a Bahamian guide work the water is a thing of beauty. The deep knowledge they have in their bones, the eagle eyes, the flawless and effortless casting… it is an experience to be out with a good guide in the Bahamas and one I relish and look forward to every time. Even guideless, the fishing can be exceptional and you are almost certain to have your shots. You may not convert, but you’ll get shots and some days… some days are magical.

Dwayne, calling out a fish to Jason Bourne (photo from Aaron Vanderwall)

Dwayne, calling out a fish to Jason Bourne (photo from Aaron Vanderwall)

Those are a few reasons I love the Bahamas… not because of Atlantis or jet skiing.

Aug 14

A good, selfish reason to join or renew with the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Things I like… conservation, bonefish, tarpon, Bill Klyn and El Pescador in Belize. Compelling reasons to join or renew. Be entered in to win a trip to fish with Bill at El Pescador.

Aug 14

The winners from the big show

I didn’t go to the IFTD show this year. Hard to break away when the day job is kicking like it is. I made it to one of the shows a few years back and it was a good time.

Some other bloggers did go and they posted some write-ups you can check out.

Gink and Gasoline had a write up. Written by Johnny Spillane, no less.

Hatch Magazine has a write up as well.

Sage’s SALT rod won best in show. That’s a rod I haven’t cast, but might like to.

Nautilus picked up honors for their reels for both salt and fresh water. The Silver King Black is the saltwater reel.

Nautilus Silver King Reel

RIO got the nod for top saltwater fly line with a line for Permit. If permit weren’t such jerks, I might be interested in this line.

Another year, another lineup of good stuff. Of course, the old stuff wasn’t so bad either.

Aug 14

Camping and then into misery

I got to go camping with my girl again last weekend. We met up with an old college friend of mine up at Pinecrest. It was a lot of fun and the girl enjoyed herself. I wanted to get camping twice this summer and I did. When you have split custody, your summer is only half as long and it can be hard to fit everything in. You blink and it is gone. Glad I got this on the books and glad my wife was OK with me taking off and leaving her alone with the 7 month old.

The girl, in her natural habitat.

The girl, in her natural habitat.

There was, of course, a little fishing, this time on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. As with most kinds of fishing, we just had to get away from all the people and then got into the fish. They weren’t big, but they were pretty. Most were 5″ to 9″, but I lost one at the very end that was maybe 15″. They were pretty fish with vivid coloration. It was a great little river and perfect for the 4 wt.

Little, pretty trout.

Little, pretty trout.

Toward the end of the trip I started having some tooth pain (not my favorite kind of pain) and by the time I got home, I was pretty miserable. Things went from bad to worse and now I pretty much look like I lost a boxing match. I’m about to turn the corner on this little abscess, which is good… because I’m not a fan.

Not awesome.

Not awesome.

So, the blog as has been a little light lately due to the camping and the tooth, but I’ll get things back going. Not to worry.