28
Aug 15

Damning

The MidCurrent story, both I & II are getting a lot of eyeballs. There are probably more comments on those two stories than all the stories I’ve written about the topic. It speaks to the authority MidCurrent has as a brand.

If you are still on the fence… I think these comments by our pal Prescott Smith about the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust really should help you pick a side. This is from the MidCurrent story:

BFFIA president Prescott Smith, who argues that BTT resists local input and is out of touch with ordinary Bahamians, says that BFFIA has no relationship with BTT now and no plans to work with the group on common cause conservation concerns in the future. Instead BFFIA works closely with Bahamas Sportfishing Conservation Association (BSCA), which Smith himself began in 1995 to address conservation issues he believed were of particular importance to Bahamians. According to Smith, BSCA has approximately 250 members; a request for the number of members with fisheries science backgrounds and/or advanced degrees in marine resources or natural resources management went unanswered. In any case, Smith asserts that locals know more about local fish behavior and patterns than do experts who visit the islands for a few months for programs like bonefish tagging.

Really?

Just to be clear… THIS is the organization Prescott won’t work with (and by the way, that is what actual conservation work looks like).

It is unclear if Prescott knew BTT has a Bahamian staff member, living in Grand Bahama, working every day on conservation issues (not weekends, really, working 5 days a week), getting in touch with ordinary Bahamians.

Instead of working with and supporting a world-class conservation organization like BTT, Prescott will only work with an organization he himself started and controls. This is the organization he’s talking about. Last news update on the website was from 2013. There is no list of staff. There is no list of partners or funders. Their facebook page was last updated in 2013. There is a Twitter account, started in 2008 with zero tweets. It is a ghost of an organization.

Incidently, this nearly non-existant entity is the only “Industry Partner” listed on the BFFIA’s website.

These are the partners of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

Which organization would a rational person choose to partner with I wonder?

I mean… is anyone still buying this stuff?

BTT & the Bahamas... they go well together.

BTT & the Bahamas… they go well together.


23
Aug 15

The best comments thread anywhere is on MidCurrent

One of the bones of 2014

One of the bones of 2014

The MidCurrent story on the Bahamas stuff was interesting, sure, but the comments… the comments are pure gold. You simply have to read this stuff, especially the very well reasoned and level-headed responses from Stephen Vletas (author, along with his wife, of The Bahamas Fly Fishing Guide).

I can’t do any better than he did… and I mean, I really can’t. He knows the history because he was part of it and his even-tempered replies are just fantastic reading.

You MUST READ THIS

I’m not so good at remaining civil in the face of the rhetoric. It’s a shortcoming of mine. Give me another 40 years and maybe I’ll make some headway on that. Stephen Vletas is the voice of reason that I sometimes am not. Read it. Now. Go ahead. I’ll wait here.

 


22
Aug 15

The blog turns 6

I started the blog on my birthday in 2009. Since I had another birthday on Friday that means the blog had a birthday too. Six years of Bonefish on the Brain.

Nice fish.

Nice fish.

As of late it is all about the Bahamas, but bonefishing is something that spans certain latitudes around the globe. The Pacific, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, even the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf have, so I’ve heard, bonefish.

Bonefishing is also about a lot more than just the fish. There are places and people to get acquainted with. There are drinks to be had, meals to be eaten. There are a whole bunch of fish you encounter out there on the flats as well. If you have love of bonefish, you likely also love tarpon and permit and jacks and cudas, I know I do (except permit, permit are jerks). Spoon bills and osprey and sharks, dolphin, turtles… so much to see and experience and I kind of love it all.

When I look on the facebook page for the blog it is very noticeable how many profile pictures have a fish in them (most). That always lets me know “these are my people,” even if my profile pic is of me and my son at the moment.

Bonefishing is about a lot of things to a lot of people. For me it is about the first moment of recognition, when the undulating pattern of water over sand materializes into a bonefish or a string of bonefish and you know you are about to get a shot. I love that moment. It is my favorite fly-rod-related feeling.

Thanks for sharing your moments with me and for allowing me to share mine with you.

Here’s to six more years.


19
Aug 15

Best looking boat on the water

When I was on that Florida tarpon hunt I had the distinct pleasure of riding around part of the week in the best looking boat on the water. If you’ve been out in the Glades or around Miami, you might have seen it. I’m talking about Eric Estrada’s Ankona.

Check it out.

That is a good looking boat.

That is a good looking boat.

Each boat is built for a purpose and this is built for the backwaters, the skinny stuff. We tried to make this into an ocean-side tarpon boat, but a little water over the gunnels and we thought better of it. It is a thing of beauty. The art, Eric’s original art, is a wrap around the hull, so it can be changed, but I just love the look of it.


16
Aug 15

The killing of a trout

I went camping with my daughter and brother this last weekend. It was beautiful up there, really beautiful. Huge bonus… there are trout. Lots and lots of trout.

Photo by Anna

Photo by Anna

This trip I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I harvested a couple trout. They were hatchery trout, made to be taken out of the stream they were dumped into. Still, these were good looking trout. They were bigger than a fish in that water should really be and they were clumped up together in the way hatchery trout do. I took both trout out of the same pocket about 2 feet from one another.

The girl and a couple of hatchery trout, soon to be smoked.

The girl and a couple of hatchery trout, soon to be smoked.

My daughter was there. She’d never seen me kill anything other than spiders. She was a little cavalier about it and I had to try to get across the seriousness of what I was doing. I talked to her about having respect for the fish, for the life I/we were taking. I don’t know if she got it or not, but it was an important conversation.

I remember, as a kid, maybe her age, opening up the stomach of a young steelhead, a half-pounder (we don’t harvest steelhead anymore), and having my dad tell me what the different organs were and showing me what the fish had been eating. I remember that well.

I don’t know if the same messages were passed down or if I did it as well (um… is that the liver?), but it was something important to do.

So, thank you trout, for your life.


12
Aug 15

First Trout of 2015

A couple weekends ago I went camping with my daughter up around Mount Shasta (my old stomping grounds). I was glad to see the whole place wasn’t totally dry and on fire. So, victory right off the bat.

The girl, breaking in her new rod.

The girl, breaking in her new rod.

We headed up to a little creek near the campground we were staying at and managed to catch some trout. There was a time I tended to catch my first trout of the year in January, but not this year. This year my first fish came at the end of July.

Not a trout, but cool anyway.

Not a trout, but cool anyway.

July… like, the end of July.

Part of me was just happy I still knew how (not really, I kind of pillage up there).

It has just been that kind of year. I’ve spent more days fishing in the salt than on my home waters. Two kids, a busy job, a busy wife… the fishing suffers a bit, but that doesn’t mean I’m suffering. I like my life… I love my life, and I have to think there might be some heavier fishing years down the road. Maybe I won’t hit 200 like that one season I guided, but, ya know, more.

I love camping with my kid. My first marriage did not involve camping and when that ended one of the first things I did was grab the girl and go camping. Now we make a point of doing it a couple of times every year and we both look forward to it all year.

My girl got a fly rod for her Birthday back in January and this was her first chance to use it. She got a starter kit from Redington, an 8′ 4 wt and it was just about perfect. She also got a pair of Redington kid sticky rubber wading boots. I think they’ll only get wet a couple more times before she grows out of them, but they worked really well.

Because bacon.

Because bacon.

This year I did screw up a bit and, in a fit of laziness (can you have a fit of laziness? That feels too active for laziness.) I left our little cooler out. I was awaken at midnight by the loud sniffing and snuffling sounds of an above average sized black bear. Said black bear made short work of the cooler and hung out a little longer than I would have ideally preferred.

Since the black bear at our breakfast, we went to the (original) Black Bear Diner and ate their breakfast.

It worked out.

This weekend I head camping for our second weekend. Looking forward to it, and I plan on hanging the bacon from a tree.


10
Aug 15

Connection short movie

Well, this is just cool. I don’t know if a 40 year old sales guy gets a vote on what is cool or not, but I’m calling this cool. It is a short video featuring some Glades fishing and it is why I’d head back to Florida… for that.

I approve… not that anyone is keeping score.


09
Aug 15

The Predator 12 Weight

Big rod... good rod. The Predator 12 weight.

Big rod… good rod. The Predator 12 weight.

Things got a little crazy on here after I got back from Florida and some of the stuff I wanted to write I didn’t get to, so I’m going to get back to all of that.

I went to go find the big ladies on their migratory journey. I found a few (very few) and they were uninterested in me (felt like high school). Since I was after the 100 pound plus fish I had a correspondingly heavy rod. In this case, I had a loaner Redington Predator 12 weight.

The Predator 12 is a big rod for big fish. It has the additional cork grip so you can really put the stick to the fish with out snapping the thing in more pieces than intended. I’ve never actually cast a rod with the second grip before and I thought might make things a bit heavy. That proved to not be a concern as I found the rod cast remarkably well. Davin put some casts out with the Predator and he liked it as well.

I can’t tell you how if felt on a fish because I didn’t hook a fish on the 12. I really, really, really wish I could tell you how it felt on a big, mature female tarpon, maybe 110 pounds… ya know, the stuff of dreams. Dreams they remain and not born from them on this trip.

So, what I can tell you about the Predator 12 is that it felt good to cast. It wasn’t too heavy and I’m considering adding that rod to the arsenal. At $249, it is a steal by half.

I like gear that is a value and this clearly is. You can spend anywhere from $150 to $900 on a rod these days and for me, every dollar spent on gear is one fewer dollar for the trip kitty. I like to find value for money and this is clearly that.

They make the Predator all the way up to a 14 (I assume for fishing for submarines).

I’m favorably inclined and I bet, if you were in the market, you might enjoy the Predator 12 too, especially if you don’t want to damage your bank account too much in the process.


06
Aug 15

The most expensive bonefishing trip on the planet

Where would you think the most expensive bonefishing trip in the world is? If I were going to guess, I’d say St. Brandon’s Atoll (which is my dream location) just because of the travel required to get there and back and the cost of making that all happen in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe the Seychelles? That’s pretty far away and hard to get to.

Well, if you guess like I guess… well… there would be no prizes. St. Brandon’s is about $7,500 and the Seychelles are about $7,500-$8,500.

To be clear, that is not Bonefish on the Brain kind of money. Still, those trips come in about 1/2 as expensive as the TOP (at least as far as I could find) most expensive week of bonefishing in the world.

That honor falls courtesy of the good people at The Nature Conservancy. For the record, I like TNC. They are a savvy group of Earth-savers and I like their rather capitalistic approach to saving the planet. They operate a research station on a far-flung American possession called Palmyra Atoll in the South Pacific.

They offer six trips a year to fish (mostly to dive) Palmyra where there are bonefish populations which know almost no pressure and even less commercial threat, as well as GTs in a similar state. The cost of a trip out to Palmyra is… get ready for it… $16,000 to $18,000 PER PERSON and these spots are offered to individuals who are considering major gifts to support the research work on Palmyra.

So… Bonefish on the Brain will NOT be heading to Palmyra anytime soon (ever… I won’t be heading there ever and neither will you).

There is something profoundly un-American about that whole thing (while at the same time being profoundly American… we are a people of great contradictions… and of no contradictions) and it is bothering me a bit. It might be possible to go without TNC’s blessing, but it seems doubtful. How they got to control a whole atoll that is an American possession is something I need to look into, although this story says they bought Palmyra to stop it from being turned into a Casino, something that sounds totally implausible to begin with.

The place looks AMAZING though.

Ah… to dream…


05
Aug 15

Protect Bay Bones!

From BTT. If you fish Florida, please take the survey!

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: Project Bay Bones Survey

Do you fish for bonefish in south Florida? If you do, then we need your help. Bonefish and Tarpon Trust has partnered with researchers at Florida International University to create PROJECT BAY BONES to investigate changes in South Florida waters and how these changes may affect the quality of bonefishing. We need your help to fill in critical knowledge gaps on how bonefishing has changed in south Florida over the years. In the absence of scientific data on the health of bonefish populations, angler knowledge is an invaluable source of information. Thus, public participation is vital to the conservation of bonefish and to ensuring high quality fishing in the future!

You can help us by filling in a 10-15 minute survey and telling us about your fishing experiences. This survey is different than previous surveys on the bonefish fishery because it is tied into a larger study that is examining environmental changes in South Florida over time. Bringing all of these data sets together should help us better understand bonefish.

Click here to take the survey

If the link above does not work, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser: https://fiu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1GplxUPVHqt5xtz

We are looking for bonefish anglers of all levels and years of experience, including fishing guides. Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated and we thank you in advance!

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact fishscience@fiu.edu