14
Nov 17

How to Handle Bonefish

You want your bonefish to live long and prosper after you release it? Well, here are some thoughts. You’ll notice I’m not immune from making bad decisions. I do, from time to time, but I want to be better. That’s the goal.

The risk to the fish by our poor actions is not insignificant. Here’s a post from years ago about that very thing.

For best results, the angler should minimize two things.

  • Air Exposure – How long the fish is out of the water.
  • Handling – How much you touch the bonefish.

This is important because when you release a bonefish back into the salt, there are other things waiting to eat them. They don’t get a chance to catch their breath or recover. A bonefish survives because it can swim faster, react quicker than the sharks and cuda’s trying to eat them and if they are impaired when you let them go they stand a decent chance of becoming food for one of those predators.

Here are the grades of handling for bonefish.

A+ Handling

You have hooked the fish and fought it to the boat. You admire the fish while it is in the water, still swimming, on the end of your line. You reach down with your pliers and simply pop the fly out of the fish’s mouth (since you are fishing barbless).

  • Air Exposure = 0.
  • Handling = 0.

(This is WAY easier to do after you’ve caught about 8 fish.)

B+ Handling

You have hooked and fought a bonefish. Getting the fish to the boat you reach into the water and cradle the fish in your hands. Maybe you take a picture of the fish in the water, maybe even underwater. You unhook the fish and let it swim away.

  • Air Exposure = 0.
  • Handling = A little.

B Handling

You hook the fish, fight it in and you quickly bring the fish out of the water for a picture. The fish is out of the water for just a few seconds.

  • Air Exposure = A little.
  • Handling = Not that much.

South Andros Bonefish. Photo by Andrew Bennett

D- Handling

You hook that fish and get it in. You bring the fish out of the water and hold it, mid-air, out of the water, maybe sitting in the middle of the boat, while your friend or your guide snap a bunch of pictures.

  • Air Exposure = Too Much.
  • Handling = Too Much.

That’s an o’io.

F Handling

You hold that fish up with a boga, in the middle of the boat for a bunch of pictures.

  • Air Exposure = Too Much.
  • Handling = Way, Way, Way too much.

That green hat, my first decent bonefish and some horrible fish handling.

Here is what the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has to say on the matter.

We all can do better. As I looked through my own pictures I was bummed to see my picture from Hawaii, just recently, that was poor handling. I think it was faster than it looked like, but I could have done better. It is harder to always be in the A camp. I think as long has you have an A- average, you are doing pretty damn well.

Other considerations you should keep in mind are to limit the duration of the fight (get that fish in as soon as you can) and never touch a bonefish with a dry hand (or dry anything).

It really is about education and the more we spread the word and encourage other anglers to learn about how to do things right, most will opt to do things right.


12
Oct 17

BTT auction has some pretty awesome items

I can’t make it to the BTT Symposium. Wish that was on my calendar, but, alas, life has not put that in front of me (work is firing on all cylinders at the moment).

However, you and I can still browse the auction items for the symposium. It is pretty amazing. Check it out here.

Art. Gear. Get-aways. Guided days on the water.

It is all there and there for a good cause.

Pretty awesome.

Pretty sweet


05
Jul 17

Micro Film Competition – BTT + Nautilus

mmmmm

One minutes. That’s all you need to put together for the Micro Film Competition with BTT and Nautilus. Here are the details:

Nautilus Reels Micro-Film Contest

For Immediate Release

July 7, 2017 

Contact:
Mark Rehbein
Director of Development, BTT
mark@bonefishtarpontrust.org
786-618-9479

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is pleased to partner with Nautilus Reels to host the Nautilus Reels Micro-Film Contest, open to professional and amateur filmmakers. We encourage anglers of all ages and experience levels to submit their best micro-films telling stories from the world of fishing and conservation. The top videos, selected by BTT and Nautilus staff, will be played and voted on during the Nautilus Reels Art + Micro-Film Festival on Friday, November 10th at Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s 6th International Science Symposium in Weston, Florida.

Each winner will receive a *Nautilus reel* along with other prizes.

Rules:

1) Two Divisions: Amateur and Pro (anyone who has submitted videos to one of the film tours, is sponsored, or anyone defined as such by staff). 

2) Suggested Themes:

A. Conservation: What does BTT mean to you?
B. “I’d rather be bonefishing”: Open to all species and habitats – what do you fish for when you can’t stalk bonefish on the flats?
C. The Rookie: Fishing with the next generation.

3) Videos must be no longer than one minute. Each contestant can submit only one video.

4) To be eligible, the contestant *MUST* post his or her video to Instagram, tag Nautilus Reels and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and use the hashtag: #BTTSymposium

The filmmaker whose micro-film receives the most likes on Instagram between July 7, 2017 and November 10, 2017 will win a limited edition BTT Simms Headwaters Tackle Bag.

Submit your video to BTT Director of Development Mark Rehbein: mark@bonefishtarpontrust.org


20
Jun 17

Some good news from Florida

It didn’t escape my notice that something good happened in Florida last month.

Here is that news, from the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. 

Basically, this move should help with those horrid, toxic discharges from earlier this year.

And in case you are wondering why that matters…


25
May 17

There are no bonefish in Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay is about salmon and outstanding trout fishing and the wild Alaska of legend.

It’s one big flaw is a lack of bonefish. Lesser flaws include a lack of clear, warm, tropical water, a lack of palm trees and no conch.

Most bonefish aren’t even in the United States. They live, mostly, in other countries. They live in other countries with smaller economies, less robust infrastructure (which the Fyre Festival folks found out the hard way) and, in most cases, much less successful douchebags. The Bahamas, for example, are criss-crossed with ill-fated real estate ventures which spring up, only to be slowly reclaimed by the scrub after the investors have been sufficiently fleeced and the bankruptcy has been declared.

These bonefishful places tend to be tourist economies and since their main product is natural beauty, they tend not to allow their nature to be destroyed (too much) in the name of profit.

Bristol Bay is not so lucky. The Pebble Mine is again on the table, thanks to the Trump Administration.

Here is a link to the video, which won’t embed for me for some reason.

https://vimeo.com/122842334

The Video

Below is a movie put together by Mark Titus, along with some of his words. Check it out.

No Pebble Mine.

Friday, May 12th, news broke that the Trump administration paved the way for the Pebble Limited Partnership to restart its quest to dig North America’s largest open pit copper mine – directly in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s vast wild salmon runs.

The EPA and Pebble’s settlement agreement was a backroom deal brokered between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Pebble.  The EPA’s own peer-reviewed science was not taken into consideration, nor the requests from Bristol Bay’s Native Communities, fishermen, and hunters and anglers to uphold the EPA’s Proposed Determination.

Bristol Bay provides 14,000 American jobs and 1.5 billion dollars to the American economy with the 30 – 60 million wild sockeye salmon that return there each summer.

Please take action and call EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt to tell him compromising an irreplaceable ecosystem, a fully sustainable food supply and some of the greatest sport fishing on earth is unacceptable.

The Office of EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt:  202.564.4700

For a dive into what’s at stake in Bristol Bay, watch the award winning documentary The Breach  for the next five days for free through this link here:  THE BREACH

To take further action and to stay informed visit:  SAVE BRISTOL BAY

For the latest News:   LATEST NEWS

Join The Breach community by liking The Breach Facebook page here:

BREACH FACEBOOK


18
May 17

Joan Wulff honored by BTT

When I’m trying to explain casting in the salt to someone I often end up mentioning Joan Wulff. Most folks who are new to the salt want to muscle their cast into the wind. All they need is more brute strength, right? More cowbell.

But casting in the salt, in a 15 mile an hour wind, isn’t about muscle, it is about the proper application of power. I mention Joan Wulff, who, for all her badassery, I could surely take in an arm wrestling match. I’m stronger than she is, but she can out-cast me. Why is that?

It is about mechanics.

Joan Wulff has been an inspirational figure in the world of fly fishing. Now 90 years old, she’s been a teacher, an author or a conservationist for more years than I’ve been alive.

She was recently honored at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s annual New York dinner. Pretty awesome. 


22
Mar 17

Tarpon Genetics Reveal a Surprise

Martin tells me they also come in Men’s sizes.

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust wrapped up their tarpon genetic program and the results are a bit surprising.

You know those tarpon in Florida? And the ones in Louisiana? And the ones in Mexico and the ones in Belize? Also, you know those tarpon in West Africa? They are all pretty much the same fish, genetically speaking. That’s pretty amazing. All those fish and all those places are basically the same fish, genetically speaking. The fish in West Africa are basically genetically indistinguishable from the fish in Florida.

Read BTT’s blog post about it here. Pretty interesting stuff.


15
Mar 17

Help BTT get a new outboard

Related image

Hey folks… BTT needs a new outboard. Wanna help?

The sampling crew, which is supposed to be tagging tarpon and permit, has their skiff stuck on the trailer due to the dead outboard. Much thanks to the guides in the Lower Keys who have donated their time and boats to help out, but their availability is limited. And much thanks to those who have sent in donations to contribute to the costs. Any help appreciated. Needed: 60hp, 20 inch shaft, hydraulic steering.

If you want to lend a hand (or, ya know, buy them an outboard) send Dr. Aaron Adams an email (aaron@bonefishtarpontrust.org).


11
Mar 17

Odd happenings in Grand Bahama

Cruise ships. Not my favorite things, especially when it comes to dredging new ports and everything that comes with those ports.

So, news that a new port was going to be put in EAST GRAND BAHAMA is not good news (also known as Bonefish Valhalla).

Grand Bahama is kind of an economic wreck. The hotel market has been hit hard by the closer of the Grand Lucayan and some of the cruise ships that used to stop in GB are heading now to Cuba.

Grand Bahama is already a developed location, the second biggest city in the Bahamas is Freeport (at about 48K it is some ways behind Nassau at 240K), and the cruise ship facilities are already there. I know Freeport can be a challenging destination though. Good restaurants can be a challenge to find (although Pier One is AWESOME) and there are a lot of places that have a derelict feel to them. Casinos helped build Freeport as a destination back when only six states allowed gambling, but now you can efficiently lose your money in a game of chance in 30 states. The drain on the Grand Bahama economy has been drawn out with a combination of physical and financial hurricanes hitting every few years.

The Arawak Hotel, abandoned in the 80’s.

Still… Freeport is where the people are, where the workers are, where what infrastructure that exists can be found. The idea of putting in ANOTHER port, with all the environmental destruction that comes along with that, is… well… sad AF.

The story up at the top says the port with be on the North Side of the island, which makes zero sense to anyone I’ve talked to and it is generally seen as an error and that the port really will be on the South Side, which, as far as these things make sense at all, makes more sense. The exact location of the port wasn’t released and what is out there thus far still says the North Side.

A port on the South side is really unfortunate. A port on the North side is insanity. You’d have to dredge a huge channel and while the PM said the location was selected to have the least impact, there really is not place on the North that would not have a big impact if you were to put a cruise ship port and all the support elements you need for a port.

The other part of this story is… is this just politics? Elections are coming soon and these sorts of projects get announced before every Bahamian election, even if most of those projects don’t come to fruition. So… maybe this is just a YUGE campaign promise.

The idea itself, of a new port anywhere on Grand Bahama and even more a port on the North side of the East End… what a disaster for the Bahamian people.

UPDATE: I am hearing it is likely on the South side, although there is no update from the government on that.

Opposition to the plan has been in place for as long as word about the possible port was mentioned. This is from last November.


24
Jan 17

Tutorial on how to ruin a good thing – Belize edition

Honeymooners, Belize, 2012.

Belize is not a big country. It’s 330,000 people, plus or minus, makes it smaller in population than the city I work in, Oakland, which has some 400,000 residents. In terms of economics, the city of Oakland has an income per capita of about $32K, give or take, while the income per capita for the whole nation of Belize is just over $7,000.

So, it is easy to guess some of the things Belize does not have. There are some things Belize has in spades, however. Belize has in Mayan ruins what it lacks in Walmarts. The one big, big thing Belize has is a barrier reef. In fact, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It is massive. It is a treasure. It is probably the lifeblood of the Belizian economy, accounting for about 12% of GDP.

If you were to make of list of activities which could really mess up a barrier reef system, you might put offshore oil drilling high on that list. Cynics would be unsurprised to hear the government of Belize has moved in that direction,  giving the green light to start oil exploration off the coast of Belize.

I mean… why would you do that? That’s not a real question. We all know why. It is money and greed and the power someone(s) might be able to accumulate in a country with a population smaller than the city of Oakland.

Belize… I hope you don’t do it. I hope you build on your assets and don’t lose them under a slick of oily greed and shortsightedness.

Belize… I need you to be Belize.