Jul 17

The cost of getting there

There was a recent story that caught my eye talking about how the Bahamian tourism industry is losing out due to the high cost of getting to the Islands.

This has been my experience.

From Abaco, 2015.

A few years back I brought the whole family to Abaco for Spring Break. We found a great place and booked it and then looked at flights. WOW. Ended up costing us $1,400 a person to get to Abaco on the days we wanted at the times we wanted. $1,400 a person. That’s too high. This year I took my daughter to Belize and airfare was about $600 (and would have been $450 if I had booked earlier).

It costs too much to get to the Bahamas. I won’t take a family trip there if it costs me $5,600 just to plant my feet on the ground with my family of 4.

A quick look right now shows if I wanted to get to Abaco in September from the SF Bay Area it would cost $800-900.

With the same dates a trip to Cancun is just over $400.

Havana – $452
Honolulu – $504
Miami – $330
Puerto Rico – $691
Belize City – $630
Seychelles – $1,400
Cayman Islands – $616

Oddly… Congo Town (South Andros) from $493… but up to $700 when you want only one stop.

The travel costs are a barrier. I don’t know what has to be done about it, but I’d agree with the article. It doesn’t help and it doesn’t capitalize on the close proximity of the Bahamas to the US. Hoping to get back to the Bahamas in 2018… and hoping not to break the bank on airfare when I do.

Jul 17

Another fishing video… this time Mexico

This is three years old, but damn, it is really well done. This is fishing out of a place called Pesca Mahahual. I’ll be heading to Mahahual (although just the regular Mahahual, not Pesca Mahahual) here in a couple weeks, also with my dad. We are hoping to get into some tarpon (maybe getting my dad his first ever after a rather miserable failure a couple years back in the Keys).

Sooooo looking forward to it.

Jul 17

Bonefish Revolution (Cuba vid)

This looks pretty nice. Well done. Cuba remains one of my favorite trips ever.


Jul 17

Hawaiian Bonefish Exception

Hawaiian bonefish are super, super spooky. But… sometimes, they aren’t.

One fish that fell well outside the norm (the norm here defined by guide Kenny and from my own observations on the day) was a fish that I basically dabbed. (dab. verb. While fly fishing, to present the fly without casting by simply placing the fly in front of a fish)

I had just broken off a fish (something I did twice on strip-strikes) and Kenny was tying on another one of his flies I never would have selected (just totally different from what I cast at bones, not because they weren’t good looking). We were on a narrow little flat, maybe 30 feet wide and a few hundred feet long, connected to a larger flat. The fish were coming up on the flat from the deeper water on both sides and moving down the little flat towards us.

As Kenny was mid-tie, a bonefish of 3-4 pounds came towards us and about 15 feet away, it just stopped and milled around a bit. The wind was blowing pretty hard, so it wasn’t clear if it actually saw us or if it felt us more. Either way, it didn’t spook.

Fly attached, I simply put the fly in front of the fish and the darn thing promptly ate, right there in front of us.

Both Kenny and I laughed pretty hard at that as the fish sped away. What the fish lacked in predator detection it made up for in defensive maneuvering. Off the flat the fish fled and right around some coral, deeper than we could get to. The fish got off, but, it was hard to be upset about that one.

So, you need to lead Hawaiian bones by a country mile, until you find a fish that doesn’t mind at all (there aren’t many of those).

Jun 17

My Hawaiian Bonefish Skunk is Dead

It is a family vacation we are on, but, of course, there is a little fishing in the mix.

We are on Oahu and I managed to convince my wife to part with me one day so I could try and break my Hawaiian bonefish hex. I’ve been to Hawaii a few times and I’ve seen bonefish, but caught none, until yesterday.

I saw my first bonefish ever in Hawaii about 9 years ago. I didn’t catch any.

I spent four days on that same beach a few years later and I got 4 casts in the whole time. I didn’t catch those bonefish.

I went with a guide in Maui last year. There are bones there, but I didn’t catch any.

I had always heard the fish are big, but there are few of them and it isn’t unusual to get blanked. All that was in line with my past experiences.

This year on our family vacation I went out with Kenny from Hawaii on the Fly. He has a modern flats skiff, is from Florida originally and has been guiding out here for several years. He found, almost immediately, one of these elusive Hawaiian bones, known as o’io locally. He then found another, and another and another and… hey, wait a second… these things are all over the place!

He warned me these fish are particular. You have to lead them by 9 feet. Not 6 feet. Not 3 feet. And dear god not on their heads. I can tell you this is almost entirely true. They knew the difference between 9 and 6 feet and were out of there if a cast was anywhere near them. I made a LOT of casts too near the fish. Kenny can tell you.

I caught my first o’io and my second. I ended up hooking 7 and had maybe 40 legit shots out of the 200+ bonefish I saw on the day.

I had no idea you could see so many bones in Hawaii in a day.

While you can find them, you are not likely to catch them. Fly selection was very different from what I’d normally cast. In fact, I doubt a single fly out of my 200+ would have been appropriate. They just act differently. Presentations that would have gotten eats in Abaco or Andros freaked these fish out.

They make me think of the bonefish I saw at Crab’n Bay in Grand Bahama. An easily driven to and waded flat, the flat is full of bones, but they are epic in their toughness and that has everything to do with the same bonefish usually returning to feed on the same flats. These fish are trained. They are weary. They are wise to us all… unless you break out some top level angling.

It was windy, really windy (Hawaii is kind of known for that), but the shots were fairly close (some at redfish distances). The wind ended up being way less of an issue than I thought it would be.

Bonus was seeing about a 40 pound GT and a not-small milkfish, two fish I had not seen before (no casts made at either).

It was a great day on the water. Kenny was easy to spend time with. He’s not a yeller. He’s easy with conversation. He worked hard and he put me on fish after fish after fish (and didn’t complain when I broke off four of his flies on fish).

I have a whole new appreciation for Hawaiian bonefish. Thanks Kenny.

To book go to Hawaii on the Fly. (No promotional exchange for this post, I paid full fair, and would again.)

Jun 17

What do the new restrictions mean for Cuba fly fishing?

Well… don’t ask me. Ask Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures… because, those guys know.

They put out a detailed piece about the new Trump travel restrictions and what it means to you, the anglers who want to go sample what Cuba has to offer.

Here it is. 

I went with Yellow Dog’s Jim Klug back in 2012 and they had things buttoned down, even back then. Solid operation.

Jim + Cuba + Cameras

Jun 17

Ugh… Cuba Edition


Trump getting ready to make it harder for Americans to go to Cuba… because that makes sense.

Looks like he won’t get rid of all the gains we’ve made, but Trump is set to make it more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba and to do anything when they get there.

This is a policy straight out of the cold war that makes as much sense as rompers or vegan soul food. It doesn’t make practical sense.

I mean… come on.

Here are a few things our President has done to screw up fly fishing in his short time in office. 


May 17

Home Waters – Bay Area Style

It wasn’t too long ago I was lamenting the fact there were no fish in the SF Bay Area to throw a fly at. That “fact” turned out to be pretty much wrong. See… there ARE fish to cast a fly at in the Bay (as some of you rightly pointed out).

Stripers are my new trout. The SF Bay is becoming my new Upper Sacramento River. This is my new home water.

I looked on the tide chart and then I came up with a bit of brilliance. I PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR. You know… the Google Calendar that runs my (and maybe your?) life.

At the appointed time I found myself free to leave the house, with my fishing gear, and headed out to fish.

I’m going to have to do that again.

This Bay striper fishing is not full of crashing bait and running down.. well… stripers. You go out and you put in your casts, at the appropriate tide, and you see what happens. It is a little like swinging for steelhead (in this case, most like swinging for half-pounders).

I’m loving having a bit of water that I’m getting to know… a bit of home water. It isn’t full of bonefish and tarpon, but it’s not empty either.

Thanks stripers.

Thanks for playing.

May 17

Speaking of… Guadeloupe!

Seems like they had fun, anyway.

May 17

What happens when an exploratory trip doesn’t work out?

Exploratory trips sound awesome. Wouldn’t you want to be one of those guys who were first to break the story on river tarpon or the first groups to run down the man in Baja? Of course.

But… for every Costa Rican river full of 100 pound tarpon there is probably a baking hot beach totally barren of target species.

That seems to be what played out in this film. A team goes in search of bonefish in the Gulf of Aden, found in the totally pirate free waters between Yemen and Somalia.

The movie makes one long for, well, not being there. It looks hot and the fishing looks slow. The water off the beaches gets deep quickly and while there are a couple of bonefish caught, you have to think we saw both of them in the film (as in, it seems they only caught two bonefish). There was a decent unicorn fish caught and something in a deeper cut, but mostly… mostly it just looked hot. I can feel the ball sweat just watching this.

Reminds me of hearing about an exploratory trip my friend Shane took to a South Pacific atoll. The fishing was fantastic, part of the time. The rest of the time the water was too hot and the bonefish left the lagoon, leaving precious little to go after with a fly rod. It is a long way to go to maybe find fish.

Turns out it isn’t always so bad. Here’s a video from the same waters in 2013 claiming to be the first fly caught bones on the island. Also, check out the fish at 2:13… what is that??

This trip looks way more interesting.

Such is the nature of exploration though, right? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes those same results happen on the same waters on different days.