Apr 16

Everything Fly Fishing TV Should Be – MOTIVFISHING on Animal Planet

Fly Fishing doesn’t always have to be the quiet sport. There is a lot of adventure in the game, depending on how you play it and no one has played it in a more adventurous way in recent years than the MOTIVFISHING crew.

I like flyfishing fishing shows because… well… fishing. However, even one of my favorites like Buccaneers and Bones is a bit stale. OK, that show is like week-old-beer stale, but it is still at least filmed in places I love and there are bonefish. That’s not nothing.

One of my big complaints about Bucs and Bones is it takes something inherently exciting and makes it dull. Piped in reel sounds and iffy casting and a celebration of the good things that come in the greying years. I’m sure Lefty is a great guy and all, but that doesn’t need to be the punchline of every season/episode. I couldn’t even tell this season from the last. It’s like watching golf, but in a really pretty place… and with bonefish.

Enter the MOTIVFISHING crew. Adventure and excitement and suspense and guys younger than 50 and a whole new take on what travel and fly fishing even means.

Fly fishing TV might never be the same again… and here’s to hoping that is true.

I’ll be watching.

Apr 16

Just for some perspective

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

The proposed fines for fishing without a license in the Bahamas of $5,000 (not to mention the possible 3 month jail time) is, to put it bluntly, nucking futs.

Here’s some perspective:

For Florida – According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission website which by the way is very detailed and confusing….. fishing without a license is a level one violation and is a non criminal infraction. The fine is $50 plus the cost of a license; the saltwater license is $17.00 however non resident is $47.00. – A la Google


The California DFG has hundreds of regulation pertaining to sport fishing (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).  To to keep it simple, we focused on violations and the associated fines, which affect bass anglers. To start, fishing without a valid license will cost an offender $100 ($25 if that person can provide proof of a license in court).  Catching and keeping an undersized fish will cost $100 and an additional $20 for every fish under the size limit the game warden finds in your possession.  Having caught and kept more than a limit of a specific species will run an offender $100 (this fine various by species).  For example, a white sturgeon violation is $500 and another $20 for each fish over the limit.  Fishing with two poles, without the $13 validation stamp will net a $100 fine. – http://aaronlesieur.com/bass-fishing-articles/the-department-of-fish-and-game-know-the-law/


And… let’s talk about a three month prison term for fishing without a license. It doesn’t sound like a great place.

I’m sickened by all of this.

There are many kinds of fishing that won’t be impacted at all, of course. Taking a party boat out to fish a reef, or trolling for Wahoo, those are fine. If you want to fish a lodge and do nothing else, you are fine, just have to pay a bit more. Lodges might see some drop-off, but not much. Deep sea folks shouldn’t seem much of a dip. The independent guides should be worried and the sectors of the economy that cater to the DIY and family trip anglers should be furious.

I have to say, one of the most striking things for me, and more striking than the $5,000 fine, is that these regulations would prevent local Bahamians from walking out their front doors to fish. It makes the whole thing elitist to a striking degree. How many simple Bahamians have $100 to throw at a license. There was a recent story about how a shocking number of middle class Americans could not find a way to pay for a $400 emergency. In the Bahamas, where the minimum wage is $4.00/hour, that situation has to be worse.

These regulations would take a national resource, a birthright for Bahamians, and would restrict it to well-to-do tourists.

The only way the average Bahamian is going to be OK with this is if they have no idea it is coming, and I have to think they don’t.

Apr 16

Fish the Bahamas, Go to Jail

It pains me to have to write this, to keep having to write these posts about what everyone should know are just horrible, horrible ideas.

There is a new draft of the regulations out, this time put out by the Ministry of Fisheries and since they have pretty much had a monopoly on the worst ideas, you can imagine where this is going.

This does not ban DIY, so if that’s all you care about, you are in the clear… kind of. However, if you mis-calculate and end up committing an “offense,” well, the fine is up to $5,000 with the added possibility of three months in Bahamian jail. Doesn’t that feel welcoming?



You can still rent a boat to go fish, as long as you are the only one on it. A boat with two people required a guide, or, $5,000 and 3 months in jail.


Native Bahamians are required to buy a license to fish the waters right in front of their own homes.

Everything is catch and release with a limit of one in possession, which, of course, is not catch and release.

To make matters worse, the proposed regs enshrine the place of power of the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association, run by Prescott, who should be disqualified from being 100 feet from anything involving fly fishing based on how poorly he’s handled this whole thing.

I’m hearing stories of independent guides really hurting as anglers just go other places. This isn’t going to help. This is the dumbest bunch of regulations in one place, at one time, in the modern history of the Bahamas.

I cannot imagine that the average Bahamian has any idea of the power play going on here, or how their lives and businesses would be impacted by this. The place I visited on Abaco earlier this year would be pretty much shut down and that family would lose at least 50% of the income they get from tourists, if not more. I bet they haven’t been consulted here. They would be blind-sided.

You can’t promote your industry by threatening your primary customers with three months in jail. Who does that?

I’m not sure who you can write or complain to at this point. I’d urge you to maybe give a call to your Bahamian friends, the places you stay, the business you frequent, and tell them that something evil this way comes and the hurt is only just beginning.

This would be a disaster.

stakeholders and Interested parties

Please see the attached draft regulations for the
Fly Fishing industry.
I am directed to forward the attached draft for your
views and/or comments (if any).
I am to request any response on or before 19 May, 2016
Angela Albury
Michael T Braynen
Department of Marine Resources
P O Box N 3028
Nassau, Bahamas
To help ensure that I get your email messages, copy to michaelbraynen@yahoo.com

Apr 16

Cool boat for sale. Memories not included.

I saw Eric was selling his boat, an Ankona 17′ that is super unique.

I got to fish out of that boat with Eric last year. It is a great boat for the back country and I wish I were on the thing right now looking for snook or reds or, god forbid, tarpon. Florida haunts me a bit. This boat was one of the best parts of that last trip.

It just doesn’t get much better looking than this thing.

eric boat

Apr 16

Long Island on the cheap

A couple years ago I went to Long Island for a hosted trip. It was a good time and has led to friendships I still have. It also did a good job of filling up the memory bank with plenty of bonefishy goodness.

This is, sadly, the best picture I have of that fish.

This is, sadly, the best picture I have of that fish.

Long Island got hit pretty hard by the hurricane and is in the process of recovering. The guiding operation I fished with, Bonefish Paradise, run by Dwayne Knowles and his brother, are offering a pretty sweet deal for April and May. This deal, and I haven’t seen anything like it, is $250 a day for a fully guided trip on Long Island. So, you and a buddy could fish for 4 days for $500 each. Really… where else are you going to find something like that? I’d go, were it not for the very real prospect of losing my job and marriage if I tried.

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

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

If you need a trip, jump at this. You aren’t likely to find a cheaper trip and you’d get competent guiding in a wonderful place. You’d also be giving some business to some good folks who could use it and would be appreciative.

Not a sound.

Not a sound.



Hello Long Island Bonefish

Apr 16

When you feel like you need to speed up…

One of my all time favorite quotes about fishing, and I have no idea who said it, is this:

When you feel like you need to speed up, that’s when you need to slow down.

Panic is your enemy. No good decisions come from that place. You are taking your skill and your knowledge and throwing them up in the air and hoping they land you a fish.

Take a breath and figure it out.

True in bonefishing and true in life.

Photo by Matt Hansen... me, seconds after losing a really, really nice fish.

Photo by Matt Hansen… me, seconds after losing a really, really nice fish.

Apr 16

Tis the season

Right about now, things are kind of perfect on some flat somewhere…somewhere you and I and the people who know whose Facebook photos are full of fish and not their kids.

The wind is manageable. The clouds are fleeting. At least when I imagine it, that’s what I see.

The water isn’t too hot, or too cold and the fish want nothing more than to roam their local and slurp up a crab, spooked and scuttling for cover in the mangroves. .

It is prime time, right in here. A few weeks on other side of the right now time and your feed is full of fish, bones and the rare permit and the tarpon are coming.

Even from the sidelines, the armchair or the couch, it is still a pretty awesome time of year.

Where are you going?

Looking forward to the next trip.

Looking forward to the next trip.


Apr 16

Permit to be demoted from Grand Slam pedestal.

Well, the IGFA looks set to demote Permit from its Grand Slam place of preeminence. Impending rule changes would put permit along side any fish from the Jack family. Permit would still count, but so would a Horse Eyed Jack, Jack Crevalle, Bluefin Trevally or a Lookdown.

An unnamed IGFA source said “Look, permit are assholes. Why have we elevated this moody and uncooperative fish to a place of honor? They are like cats. They turn on and off their affection at will, totally ignoring the efforts of the angler. Is a cat even a real pet? We’ve had it with permit. We are going to include some fish that actually eat for a change. We think this rule will help preserve the sanity of many an angler and at the end of the day, let’s face it… permit are jerks.”

Total jerk of a fish

Total jerk of a fish

This certainly is going to change the record books.

The rule looks set to take effect on April 1st 2017.

Apr 16

California Launches First Bonefish Hatchery in SF Bay

1 April 2016

Bonefish Hatchery Operation to be Established in San Francisco Bay Area

ALAMEDA, Many books about bonefish agree that the northernmost range of the bonefish extends up to San Francisco Bay. The last known catch of a bonefish happened back in the 1910’s, but with the arrival of global warming, the time seems ripe to bring bonefish back to the San Francisco Bay.

Building on the extremely successful Steelhead and Salmon hatchery programs, the State of California will bring industrial hatchery operations to the former naval ship yard on Alameda. The hatchery will aim to release 300,000 juvenile bonefish into the Bay every year near the mud flats of Alameda and Sausalito.

“We think the time is ripe to bring bonefish back to the Bay.” Said Jim McBoatface, Director of Inshore Hatchery Operations for the State of California. “We are tired of seeing the Bahamas, Cuba and Belize rolling around in all that bonefishing money and we thought the Bay Area should diversify our tech-heavy economy with some recreational fishing.”

McBoatface added that the State expects 5 or 6 jobs to be created by this effort, which has an estimated price-tag of $300M.

“We’ve been running a pilot program for the past few years, seeing how bonefish would survive in the Bay. To date, all the fish have died, but with temperatures rising every year, we have faith next year will be the year one or two of these fish survive.”

Local anglers are excited. Bjorn Stromsness lives in Alameda and also writes a blog about bonefishing. “I love bonefish, but they live so far away. As a Californian, I believe it is my right to go out and catch a bonefish when I get home from work. I’m glad the State is finally solving this problem and I totally agree that other issues like crumbling infrastructure can wait a little bit longer. I mean, what could be more important than this?”

Governor Brown, upon signing the bill authorizing the ambitious hatchery program, said “Look out Islamorada and Andros. California is coming for you. In two to three years time, I’m confident the San Francisco Bay Area will be crowned the Bonefishing Capital of the World.”


Mar 16

The Kayak, the Girl and the Bay

So, Grandpa went a bit over the top at Christmas and got my daughter a kayak for the Bay. This is nicer than my own kayak with a nicer paddle.

This week, Spring Break for the girl, we finally got out on the water. Here are some things I’ve learned.

  • Don’t head out on the last hour of the falling tide. Kind of tough to get back in the 5 or 6 inches of water. Yeah… that was tough.
  • The girl is not so into paddling. She enjoys being out there, but not so much in, ya know, helping.
  • The fish are not in. They aren’t supposed to be. But, ya know, I had to check.
  • Kind of cool to be out there, on the water, getting to know the feel of this fishery/environment.
  • That kayak is about, and this is an estimate, a million pounds. There is now a kayak trolley. We’ll see if that helps.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes (and of getting a fish in that thing).