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.
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.
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.
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.
I went out for stripers again on Sunday, fishing pretty much the same tide as I did on Saturday. This is a game I am still trying to figure out. I have a hunch about ideal tides and a notion about what role the wind might play, but these are guessed at things.
The fishing was slower. I caught less than half as many fish, not including a snagged ray that I thought was a monster striper for a few minutes. I don’t know why it was slower, although I do have half a guess.
At one point, I had a gut feeling that the fishing was done and that there would be no more fish caught. I knew it, but had no reason for knowing. The water here is opaque. You can’t see the fish and they don’t give themselves away. It isn’t like bonefishing where you can damn well see the fish are gone and it isn’t like what I imagine striper fishing to be on the East Coast when you might actually see feeding fish. This SF Bay striper fishing for me at this point is just all gut feelings, limited personal history and vague ideas.
I kept fishing though. I wanted to see if my gut feeling would be proven true. I wanted to test it a bit. I put another 100 casts in and had not one fish, not one grab. I fished it the same way I had fished it for the previous hour and a half with opposite results.
Sometimes, you just know.
I remember other days like that on other bits of water. I had one day on the Upper Sacramento when I had all day to fish, but 30 minutes on the water and I knew I wouldn’t catch a fish that day and I didn’t. This is water I normally do very, very well on, but there was a gut feeling I had that the fish weren’t going to eat.
I don’t know how that sort of information gets transmitted or by what, but it does get received and understood by the angler.
Sometimes the water talks to us and sometimes we understand.
Until Saturday I had not caught a striper on a fly in 2016. I had caught a few with hardware, even one on a plug, but they just hadn’t turned on for the fly for me.
Now, I’ve reestablished the striper connection and it felt fantastic.
The water is a bit murky, so this is blind casting. There are no boils, no bait to follow, no birds crashing bait balls. This is just walking out there with a plan and a bit of faith and flinging a fly out there to see what happens.
It would be just as easy to do this without a fly on and you could have the same results if the fish aren’t in, which is to say nothing.
Saturday though… Saturday it worked. Casting out the clear int. sink with a lead eye synthetic clouser and just stripping it in when there was a big pull and a schoolie striper came to hand. That is just fun.
A little schoolie striper..
It reminds me of fishing for steelhead half-pounders. There certainly are bigger fish out there, but a half-pounder pulls hard and there are more of them around than the big fish. That’s how this striper fishing is too. The fish aren’t huge, but the are fun and the pull harder than their size would dictate.
I fished for about 2.5 hours and managed just over a dozen schoolie stripers. This is about a 5 minute drive from my house.
I am a dad, a husband, a blogger, a fly fishing angler, a fly tier and a writer.
My profession involves getting the fastest turnaround times for coagulation lab testing to the hospitals and doctors who need them. I love my work.
I believe life is learning. I laugh. I enjoy the beautiful game and nut brown ales. I love bacon, but not more than is reasonable. I have a passion for fly fishing for bonefish which defies both geography and economics. I have less hair than I used to and more scars. I am a sarcastic optimist.