01
Apr 17

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.


20
Mar 17

The Flip Flop Fly – One of my favorites

This makes me happy.

This may be a second favorite…

Andros South from a few years back. Hammerhead chasing a little lemon shark.


05
Mar 17

The right mentality

My trips are almost within sight. April. May. June. Only one of these trips is straight up fishing and I figure there will be 5 days of saltwater fishing in the mix.

Still, I can see myself trying to set the tone for each trip even now.

Belize… a trip with my daughter. I know I won’t get to fish as much or as hard as I’d like. I need to make the trip more about her, keeping her happy, making it a good experience for her and getting her into some fish.

Florida… three days of trying to find an intersection of my physical presence and the migratory tarpon run. There will likely be weather… hard, driving rains, wind, cloudy water. Florida can throw a lot at you when you are trying to find the fish. So, I’m going in with low expectations to match my actual experiences up to now.

Hawaii… I don’t know exactly what day I’ll be fishing on this family trip, but I’m going to grab a day. Still… it is Hawaii and if my previous Hawaii experiences have taught me anything it is that Hawaii doesn’t give up its fish to easily… so… setting expectations accordingly.

I could end up after these three trips not having caught very much of anything. But that’s how it goes and having that knowledge ahead of time could help cushion the blow of getting some skunk on me.

Belize… smallest fish of my 2010 trip.


25
Feb 17

The show goes on

I always like going to one of the Fly Fishing Shows. Today I managed to steal a couple hours to hit the show in Pleasanton, which I think is the last of the US shows. It is a chance to see some old friends and have some good conversations. I also managed to cast a few new rods.

Not Lefty.

Yellow Dog was there and it’s nice to see those guys out there at these shows. Had some good conversations about the Bahamas with East End Lodge and saw lots of grip-and-grin shots all over the floor from Cuba and Belize and Christmas Island.

Gear makers were there including Redington, Sage, Rio, Galvan, Thomas & Thomas, Hardy, TFO and Patagonia. I grabbed a few new stickers for the car.

I stopped by the Cal Trout booth and renewed my lapsed membership. They do good work.

I got to cast the re-cast Predator rod from Redington, and I have to say… it was pretty sweet. I also cast the X from Sage in a 10 weight and it made me wish I was on a panga with rolling tarpon to cast at. I also cast the new T&T and was surprised to see they were the only rod maker (it seemed) who weren’t cheating a bit by up-lining their demo rods. You over-line and you make novice casters feel like they are 10 feet better than they likely are. Sneaky.

A couple hours of talking fly fishing and drooling over gear… what’s not to love?


23
Feb 17

Unfulfilled Promises

The Bahamas are full of unfulfilled, if not outright broken, promises. An arial view of almost any island will confirm as much. So many folks have blown through and made grand promises of economic security and revolution. Every paved road in a fantasy real estate development tells the tale.

Exuma

Andros

I have to wonder if the International Development Bank sees something similar when it looks at its own investments in the fly fishing community in the Bahamas.

Turns out they invested in a program, to be led by the BFFIA, to “Support the economic empowerment of fly fishing guides.” The project was approved in December of 2014, although very little, if any, of the project seems to have been carried out.

Oddly, this BFFIA project was focused only on Andros, coincidentally the home of BFFIA President and Head Bahamian Snake-Oil Salesman.

Goal:
The general objective of the project is to enhance the skill sets and business acumen of the Andros fly fishing guides and their families while sustaining the island’s natural ecosystem.

There was about $140,000 available for the project and only about $34,500 was reported to be spent.

This project was supposed to include a market survey… ya know… like BTT did, and it appears the BFFIA at least made a go of it, as they inflated the value of the industry from 2x-4x to suit their politics, but the report is not available on the website.

Maybe some of the projects milestones were met, but it sure doesn’t look like it. I don’t have a crystal ball that reveals such details, just the project page, but it sure looks like the IDB’s 2014 investment produced some shite returns in 2017, the year their project was supposed to be wrapped up.

Go to the Bahamas though… just go to one of the places that fought for all anglers.


14
Feb 17

A love note to bonefishing

South Andros Bonefish. Photo by Andrew Bennett

Dearest bonefishing,

It has been too long. I know it. On this Valentine’s Day I wanted to pen my heartfelt affection for you and to do so out in the open.

It is true you were not my first love. As a kid I had a crush on panfish and steelhead, although they were immature loves. Later, just as I was leaving college I fell in love with fly fishing for trout and I fell hard. First loves are like that. There was one year I was on the water 200 days. It was a feverish thing, frenzied.

Later, a decade on, that is when I met you and despite the fact we came from different worlds, I knew it was going to be special. Since that first day there is hardly a day that goes by I don’t think about you. Our infrequent reunions are full of anticipation and the memories are savored, sustenance for the long stretches I am forced to endure without you.

Today, I love you more than other pursuits. I love you more than trout, which are reasonably near. I love you more than sharks, which are, even now, likely swimming by within a couple hundred feet of me. I love you more than permit, because, let’s face it, permit are assholes. I love you more than steelhead, despite their deep roots of my branching family tree.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but that isn’t true because there is no lessening of my love for bonefishing when I’m there. Indeed, there are few joys, few experiences I’d rather wrap myself up in than when I’m calf-deep on a sandy flat, scanning the water for silent, silver shapes gliding through the thousand shades and shifting lights of the flats.

Bonefishing, know that you are loved. You are forever in my thoughts.

Bonefish Bjorn


06
Jan 17

Getting the double haul down

Belize is about 100 days away at this point and if I achieve one of my life goals and watch my daughter smack a bone on a fly, she’s going to need a double haul. We worked on it a bit last weekend.

 

But since Simon is better at this than I am…


01
Jan 17

How to be great at fly fishing

Davin, taking a shot.

I am not sure which coach said it, might have been at a basketball camp when I was in high school, but the coach said “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

That resonated with me a bit.

A second concept that has stuck with me is the idea that outcomes are not coincidental. That means if you want to improve a particular thing, you have to work on that particular thing with the goal of improving it… your main goal should not be a coincidental outcome, it should be an intentional outcome.

These sorts of things float around in my head, popping up from time to time and even sometimes getting applied to my life.

I was recently listening to the Freakonomics podcast and they talked about “How to Become Great at Just About Anything” where this idea of deliberate practice was discussed. This is where the 10,000 hour rule comes from, meaning to become elite at anything you need to devote a considerable amount of time, you need to put that time in with the goal of improving and you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

The application to fly fishing is pretty clear. Your casting won’t improve if you only pick up a fly rod 5 or 6 times a year and it won’t improve if you practice in the best conditions only and only at distances you feel comfortable with. Your casting also won’t improve if you don’t have a mechanism to elicit feedback. If you come to understand what you are doing wrong, you can’t fix it.

That same sort of thing goes for writing and for singing and for parenting (probably, right?) and for surgery and for selling and for… everything you want to be good at.

Take a listen to the podcast and thing about what aspects of fly fishing you could apply this to… and what areas of your own life might stand to benefit as well.


28
Dec 16

2017 – A Preview

2017 should see me back in the salt. Here’s what I have in store (so far as I know).

From Abaco, 2015.

Belize
I’m headed back to Belize, this time with my 10 year old daughter for her Spring Break. We are going to Caye Caulker. There will be fishing and snorkeling and general hanging around and enjoying Belize. I’m hoping to get into a tarpon of some kind and to get the girl into some fish without her getting too bored, cause, ya know… 10 year olds. Should be a great trip though.

Florida
May sees me at a conference in Ft. Lauderdale and I’m going to tack on a few extra days and try, once again, to get one of those big ocean-sided tarpon. Previous trips have not gone well, so maybe I’m due? I know the odds are the odds and it doesn’t work that way, but I’m hopeful. Could be much of the same crew I’ve done the last two trips with will be back. We’ll see.

Hawaii
Location unknown, but the wife, son and I will head, most likely, to Hawaii in the summer and there, again, I’ll try to catch an O’io. I’m 0/3 when it comes to Hawaii and bonefish… so, again, we’ll see.

Louisiana
Five work trips in 2016 seems an indicator that I’ll be going back some in 2017 and if I am, I’ll likely sneak in a day or two of fishing. Had a great time on my last, very short trip. Looking forward to seeing more of the marshes.

The Bay
There are stripers in the Bay. I plan on catching more of them.

The Mountains
I hope to get up North for one or two trips in 2017 to catch some of those beautiful rainbow trout. Not salty, but home.

That looks like 2017 and I’ll be lucky if I get it all in. Life, as it does, gets in the way of a lot of fishing plans and at this point I’m fortunate to get in as much as I do.

Missing, in 2017, is a trip to the Bahamas. I love the Bahamas deeply, but this mess with the regs has me thinking I may just need some space from it all. I may need to explore a bit more, see what else is out there.

I’m already thinking about 2018… maybe that’s when a Christmas Island trip could happen. Maybe I’ll finally make it to Puerto Rico. Maybe finally fish the bonefishy side of Mexico. There are so many places I’ve yet to dip a toe.

 


27
Dec 16

2016 – A Review

Redemption

Ah, another year in the books. This one will be notable for many things, but I’m hear to talk about the fishing, the blog and blog/fishing related happenings.

I started off the year early on with a trip to Abaco with my we-don’t-talk-politics friend Aaron. We stayed at Abaco Lodge for a couple days and then went in search of our own luck. The fishing was of the highly enjoyable kind, even if it got noticeably harder once we left the lodge behind.

The second part of the trip, the DIY part, is something that would be illegal in 2017 with the new regulations. We rented a skiff and used it to get to and from the flats. There are no guides where we were fishing who have their own skiffs, so those waters just won’t get touched going forward.

My most memorable fish of 2016 came from this DIY portion of the trip.

From there I got a trip with the family to Maui where I failed to connect to a Hawaiian O’io, yet again.

The summer was full or promise, as summers tend to be, but the fishing didn’t really happen too much. I did get one trip up with friends to my home waters, but didn’t make it back. Probably the least freshwater fishing I’ve done in a year since I started fly fishing in 1996.

That was looking like all I’d get in 2016, beside a few locally caught stripers in the Bay.

At the very tail end of the year I got a surprise work trip to New Orleans (my fifth of the year) and decided this was the trip I was going to stick a Louisiana Redfish. It happened, with guide Capt. Ron Ratliff. Fun times.

And that pretty much is a wrap for 2016. What an odd year it has been.

The year was also just funky with all the Bahamas stuff going on. To fight hard against a slew of bad ideas only to see it slide by on an inside political fix, and knowing it will do so much damage to the Bahamas… well… it has kind of sucked. The Bahamas has been a really special place for me and now, I’m not sure where I am with it.

Next up… a preview of 2017.