Jan 15

G & G and the guide list

Gink and Gasoline… they just keep putting out quality. They had the bit a while back about do’s and don’ts for your guided trip. That was a popular one. They just put out a list of do’s and don’ts for the guide. It is worth a read.

Of course… the obligatory disclaimer. I love fishing with a good guide. A guide who is tuned in is such an amazing way to spend the day on the water. You learn so much, about the fish, the water, the country. Every trip with a good guide leaves you a better angler.

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

Dwayne, calling out a fish to Jason Bourne (photo from Aaron Vanderwall) (Dwayne was a good guide, by the way)

Still… I’ve had at least a couple trips I was less than thrilled with, so I have a few pointers for the guides to add…

  • Don’t talk religion.

Sure, don’t talk politics. Don’t want to get into a debate with someone on the other side of the isle. While the US has two political parties, there are an estimated 4,200 different religions in the world. Time on the water is not time to tell me about your personal brand of salvation.

  • Don’t break out the homophobia or sexims

Maybe you go around talking about how women need to be put in their place or you want to share your strong beliefs that all gay people are going to hell. While those ideas make you kind of an a-hole (something you are likely proud of if you hold those views), you should totally not share your awesome ideas with your clients. If you get that one wrong and, let’s say, talk about how gays are going to hell to the guy who has a gay son… well… he’s not going to have a good time.

  • Don’t get baked, unless you get the green light

Could be your client isn’t down with the 420 lifestyle. Could be he doesn’t mind at all. Make sure you know before you break out the blunt.


  • Don’t poach someone else’s water

I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve had a guide get way too close to another boat. That boat happened to be from the lodge we were staying at and I apologized to the anglers from that boat at dinner. It isn’t the position you want to put your clients in. I’ve also been on the receiving side and had a guide motor up and put his client on fish I was working. That did not make me happy. In the Keys we had a guide come over and ask us if he was going to be in our way. Since we were just out for kicks and he had paying clients, Capt. Derek Rust told him to go ahead and go ahead of us. It was class all the way around. That is what you want people to experience.

A good guide cuts years off your learning curve. A good guide makes the trip, maybe even your year. A good guide is priceless. A bad guide can suck the joy out of one of the most joyful things humankind has yet come up with.

Jan 15

Tag some tarpon in Belize with Andy Mills

Adam Marton is back at it again. He’s organizing another trip, August 15-22, back to El Pescador in Belize. This trip is to tag some tarpon and the along on the trip will be Andy Mills, the guy who wrote the book on tarpon.

What a cool trip that will be, eh?

I love El Pescador. I’ve been there twice and get to go back on our 5th anniversary (my wife uttered those words and I have not forgotten them). It is a great base of operation and the hospitality and guides are hard to beat.

And… there are tarpon there. That’s where my first tarpon came from. It will always be a special place for me.

The final piece, the tarpon.

The final piece, the tarpon.

If you are interested, give Adam a call, or email.

Adam Marton
The Fieldworkers Club,
230 East Ohio Street, Chicago, IL  60611
312-440-1200/office, 312-213-2324/mobile

Jan 15


Well, the prospects of a hosted trip appear a bit thin this year and that has me thinking about maybe doing a little DIY somewhere or maybe heading back to the Keys to get spanked again.

This has been a crazy few weeks with the move up to Alameda, my daughter turning 8, a bunch of work and a near miss with the flu. So, the blog has been more-silent-than-normal. I’m still THINKING of bonefish all the time… just not posting as much.

In terms of hosting another trip… who would be in for a trip to, oh, I don’t know… let’s say Cuba, in 2016?

If there is the interest, I can put it together. Just say’n.

Cuba 2012

Jan 15

Shark Love

Maybe it is that my girl loves sharks, maybe it is that they are a fish and I love fish. Either way, I’ve found myself more and more interested in sharks. Sharks of all kinds. The local sharks we catch from the pier, the sharks I see on the flats and the sharks from far away I likely will never see, I am interested in them all. I think that is a growing part of what I like about fly fishing in the salt, seeing and sharing the water with shark.

My daughter turns, gulp, 8 here soon and we are having a shark themed birthday. I’ll be making a whale shark cake and shark fin cupcakes (not made with real shark fins). My girl has a decal of a whale shark in her room and shark teeth in abundance.

Sharks are an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. It is a sign that prey is nearby, and bonefish are prey. A flat devoid of sharks is often a flat you don’t want to be fishing.

Anyone else enjoy sharing the flats with the more toothy fish?



Jan 15

My new flat

We have relocated Bonefish on the Brain World HQ to the beach. That beach is on Alameda in the Bay Area. Just 100 feet away is a a hard sand flat… a massive flat, and there are no bonefish anywhere to be seen.

I have wondered if there is something out there, but it seems unlikely. Stripers come through, but I doubt they’d get that shallow, and this isn’t the season for them anyway. There could be some flounder, but I doubt they’d push much water. I went out this AM with my one year old on my shoulders just to see the water. It was glassy, dark, full of birds dipping up and down on the surface of the water. I don’t think I’m going to see a wake out there, the V of a fish moving.

I want to see it… I’ll keep looking for it. Who knows.

Alameda Flat

Jan 15

More on boat manners

Scott put together a list of suggestions to be an A-Class flats boat-mate. Included are good things to keep in mind, like:

5.) Center-up on the seat. If you are not in the center of the boat, it makes it harder for the guide to pole. If you want to stand and help search for fish, center-up then too. If it is very windy, ask the guide if it is OK to stand. It may be harder for him to pole in a stiff wind with you standing. If the guide is working harder to pole the boat, it may be more difficult for him to find fish.

See? Good stuff to think about. Check it out.

Cuba Bjorn Casting


Jan 15

My 2015, a Preview

What, oh what will 2015 hold?

In short… no idea.

There are some things I know…

  • Abaco for Spring Break. Yup… the family is headed for Abaco for Spring Break this year. Very much looking forward to that. There will be a little fishing, but it is mostly family time. Me, my wife, the kids, my dad and maybe my brother and his partner.
  • Exploring some new water. Moving to Alameda here very soon. The pier we’ve know for the past two years will be further away, but we’ll be living on an island, so we’ll find some new waters to fish.
  • Friends. There are a few people I’d really like to fish with that I managed not to fish with last year. I’d like to make that happen in 2015. This will be trout fishing, California, probably short, important trips.
  • Other… and this is wide open. I was going to host a trip to Water Cay, but the February trip was way too short notice and maybe too early in the season. So, that isn’t happening. I’m looking at some other options for a hosted trip, maybe Andros, maybe Acklins, maybe Mexico and maybe even a little baby tarpon fishing in Mexico. I need to move on this pretty quickly if it is going to happen, which I hope it will. Please, please, please let me know if there is somewhere you really want to go among the options listed above. We could make it happen.

So, that’s what is shaping up in 2015. Whatever it holds, it should be interesting.

Dec 14

Wait… is it really New Year’s Eve?

How did that happen?

This year has been a blur and probably the least I’ve blogged since the thing started. There simply hasn’t been time with the new addition (who just turned ONE), the new job (which I’ve now been at a year) and everything else.

It has been a mixed year, in many ways. There have been some high highs and low lows.

One of the bones of 2014

One of the bones of 2014

The Fishing High Points

  • Long Island. I hosted a trip for Angling Destinations to Long Island. It was a great week and my only pure fishing week of the year. I had never been to Long Island before, so it was great to check that out, see a new fishery, get to know new guides and new anglers. I landed maybe my biggest bonefish to date at about 7.5 pounds and I experienced some things for the first time. It was a great week.
  • The Keys. A short trip with only one fishing day, but I got to go out with Capt. Derek Rust and Dan Dow and I stuck my first redfish (after many, many blown shots by yours truly).
  • Montana. Labor Day was an the in-laws on the Yaak River in Montana. My daughter had a 20 fish day on dries on a little creek, a magical experience.
  • The Pier. My daughter and I continued to dunk bait from our local pier and we had one day sans obligations that we fished there for 8 hours and caught too many sharks to count. A highlight for sure.
  • The Upper McCloud. My daughter and I went camping on the Upper McCloud again and she caught her first trout solo on a fly. A proud moment.
  • Fishing with my dad. When my mom passed away this year I went up to be with my dad and we did what came naturally and we fished. I don’t get to fish with my dad too often these days and it did seem to be cathartic. It was a special few days.

With all of that said, this was probably my lowest year in terms of fishing days. I had a fly rod in my hand maybe the fewest days since I picked up a fly rod in 1996.

It was a great year as I watched my boy grow from infant to toddler. It was a hard year with my mom passing away. It was a great year as I watched my wife excel at motherhood and in her career. It was a hard year as my daughter struggled to share time with her new brother and I went from week on/off to a weekend dad. It was a year full of ups and downs.

I’m looking forward to 2015. I’ll likely get fishing, somewhere. I’ll probably catch a bonefish, maybe a tarpon, certainly a trout and a shark. Beyond that, or where those activities will take place… I can’t say just yet. Time will fill in the blanks.

Happy 2015 to you and yours. I hope you it is a year full of personal bests.

Dec 14

Being a good fishing partner

Gink and Gasoline had a great piece about being a good boat-mate and an all around good angler to have in the boat. This is their piece about Flats Boat Etiquette.

The gang

The gang

It is a good list for sure. I have one thing to add and one thing I’m actually going to, gulp, disagree on.

First, the addition. When you are not on the bow, and especially when it is windy, you have one very important task. Keep your buddy’s line from slipping out of the boat or from tangling on anything. You aren’t fishing, so help out. It is super appreciated and may just help your buddy convert and get you back up on the bow again.

Now, the disagreement. The “Don’t do the guide’s job” bit… true, you are not the captain, but your captain only has two eyes. Look for fish. Both on the bow and off the bow. Look for fish. Scan the water. Look where the guide isn’t looking (fish have a way of turning up in odd places sometimes). Always be looking. You should only be sitting down having a beer when the fishing is so good (or bad) it doesn’t matter. Look, pay attention, improve your own fish finding abilities.

Am I off on the disagreement? If you guide, do you really not want the angler to be looking for fish?

As always, feel free to disagree with me, but if you do, please explain why. It makes for a richer conversation.


Dec 14

Basically, I was good this year

I, once again, made out like a bandit on Xmas. Thanks the the wife (the new COSTA shades) and my dad (the new GoPro).

The shades are in a tint more suited to cloudy days, which is something I have found I could really use. The gray lens COSTAs I had got lifted from my car while parked in front of our house a couple weeks back, so I don’t have the dilemma of having to choose between the two.

The GoPro is a fun toy I’m still very much trying to figure out, but I’m having fun with it so far.

Anyone get anything particularly awesome? Or did you give anything particularly awesome?

Yup, it was a good Xmas.

Yup, it was a good Xmas.