Brian O’Keefe is a name you have probably seen often if you like looking at well taken photographs of wondrous landscapes and the fish living there. Brian is one of the photographers behind the e-zine Catch Magazine and continues to be one of the preeminent fly fishing photographers clicking a shutter today.
It has been said that the fish that gets away stays much longer and clearer in the memory of the angler than all the fish landed. Along those lines, is there a bonefish that you didn’t land or connect to that you still think about?
Yes. I was fishing in the Berry Islands in the Bahamas and a friend wanted to cast my rod and made a dozen long casts to check out the action, line, etc. Well, my first cast afterward was to a huge tailer. The fish ate and off it went across the flat. Then, the leader broke with very little pressure. On inspection of my leader, there were several wind/casting knots in the leader…
Is there a picture of something on the flats that you didn’t get that you still think about?
Yes. I was wading a flat in Bonaire when I saw an adult couple wading in the shallow water. From a distance it looked like they had on matching red swimsuits. When I got closer I noticed the red was sunburn. I had waded into a nudist resort!!!
We often picture bonefishing as happening on clear, sunny days. However, things don’t always shape out that way… what are the worst conditions you’ve ever caught a bonefish in?
In the Seychelles a storm blew in. A typhoon, actually. We were sitting in the water as the storm raged overhead. The bonefish still took the fly. Only 10 feet away. Our sailboat was blown off anchor and drifted far, far away. We were barely able to find it with our little zodiac. That was a close one. Several people died in the storm on nearby islands.
Is there a place you haven’t been yet for bonefish that you’d like to get to?
I would like to fish the new destination – St. Brandon in the Indian Ocean.
Do you have a go-to fly pattern, and if so, do you think it is really the fly or the confidence you have in it that matters?
I have found the fly to be important several times. Saying that, I should also emphasize that size, weight and presentation are all important at the same time. An orange colored fly has been super hot a couple of times in the Caribbean when there were very selective, spooky fish.
Do you have a tip for aspiring photographers for getting a good shot out on the flats?
A polarizing filter can help on bright sunny days. It makes skies more blue and reduces glare on bright fish.
Thanks Brian. We are all looking forward to watching your adventures appear on pages and screens for years to come.