13
Feb 17

A firehose of fishing advice

Over at EpicWinderness they put together a bazillion bits of fly fishing advice. Yes… even a few nuggets from yours truly in there.

Check it out.

Soooo many folks dishing on the advice. Could take you a while to get through it all.

Me, casting, in Belize.

 


06
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.


05
Jan 16

Gink & Gasoline and some Bonefish Knowledge

This post from G&G went up yesterday. Of course, it is a pretty good read and makes the old brain juices start to flow a bit.

Long Island bonefish2

I have to say, several of these situations for me have been big zeros in terms of success.

I know, theoretically, that traveling fish or fish who are running can be caught. I have yet to count myself among the people who have caught fish with that mindset.

I used to bomb out hero casts trying to entice those fish, but I don’t do that anymore. For me, I’d prefer to stir things up less. Maybe that long bomb spooks some other fish I haven’t seen yet. Maybe that fish making a B-Line will settle down if I don’t mess with it. Maybe these are theories I hold because I haven’t gotten those fish to eat yet?

I just need to see it happen with my own eyes before I really can take it to heart.

How about you? You find success in those situations?


17
Jun 15

When the first cast falls apart

On this FL tarpon trip every shot gained in magnitude and importance because there were so few of them. So, each flub was a massive failure, bringing down the skies and ripping out a bit of my soul (to be dramatic about it).

One of the problems I had was on that first cast to really close in fish. Conditions meant we didn’t see fish from too far away. Often we’d see the fish 30 feet away, maybe 20, sometimes 10. Always they were coming at us, closing the distance fast. Trying to get a cast at a 100 pound fish 20 feet away is harder than it sounds on the face of it. The rod is 9 feet. The leaders were were fishing were between 10-13 feet. That means your cast, if you can call it that, was basically the length of the rod and the leader.

Ever try to load a 12 weight with no fly line out? Or even just a couple feet? It doesn’t work so well. You can’t load the rod and you can’t make the cast. On the first cast, everything would fall apart and then… oh calamity.

Trying to correct from a bad cast, that hurry, that rush… nothing goes right when you find yourself in that mode of “trying-to-recover.”

In retrospect, I should have shortened the leader so I could have more line out, so I could have loaded the rod for the super-close-in shots we were getting. A 13′ leader is a clear-day luxury we didn’t have, but tried to insinuate into the situation. It was the wrong call.

The second lesson, which will be learned and re-learned a hundred times over an angler’s life is simple… when it feels like you need to speed up, that’s exactly when you need to slow down. Take out the panic and get methodical with it. Think mechanics, not fish, and concentrate on the movements of your hand, your arm, the rod, the line, and not the movement in the water of that shot evaporating in front of you. If you don’t get it right, it doesn’t really matter if you had a shot or not and you won’t get it right if you panic.

I heard or saw this in some military show or movie… the infantryman’s proverb of, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

Truth.

Speaking of casting, here’s Davin, aka Windknot, aka Flatswalker, talking about another bit of casting that he diagnosed me with and that I tried to get right on my last couple days.

 


12
May 15

Flatswalker and Casting and More

It had been a while since I had wandered over to Flatswalker and what do I see when I get there? All manner of goodness.

Example? Sure. How about this post, with some casting tips. Really, he’s got loads of casting tips on there and you should check it out.

Davin will be in the Keys here in a month and we’ll fish together again and that is good.

 


04
Mar 15

Lies and Statistics

There is a new-to-me on-line fly fishing magazine called Tail that I got turned onto to see an article by Michael Larkin (yeah, he’s a Ph.D.). The article is all about bringing statistics to break down the elements that influence if you are going to catch a bonefish or not.

Fishing is good.

Fishing is good.

It is an interesting read, looking at data from Keys fishing tournaments over a number of years. This may, or may not apply to your average day on the water, but it does provide some food for thought.

What are the elements that matter the most? Experience of your guide? Your own experience? Wind? Cloud cover? Moon phase? It all gets put into the mix.

Check it out. (I think you have to register to see it, but you can do so for free)


07
Feb 15

Because, wind

Before you take that trip of a lifetime… spend some time getting your cast straight. Pity to go allllll that way and then have the wind kill your trip. There is wind. Almost always and even if there isn’t wind, there will be and it will blow so hard and you’ll think “I can’t cast in this!” and you’ll be right if you don’t work on it. Maybe you can lay out some line when throwing that caddis out on the lake or that 30′ cast on the big river, but the flats are not like that. The wind is sometimes unrelenting and sometimes right in your face as the fish are coming at you.

The wind can be your friend. The chop makes the fish feel a bit more comfortable. It can mask your movements and your noise. A windless day is tough, sometimes tougher than a really windy day.

Wind is a reality. Learn to cast in the wind. It is a skill you can pick up and you can remove that from the list of limiting factors.

So… Mr. Windknot, take it away.


06
Jan 15

More on boat manners

Scott put together a list of suggestions to be an A-Class flats boat-mate. Included are good things to keep in mind, like:

5.) Center-up on the seat. If you are not in the center of the boat, it makes it harder for the guide to pole. If you want to stand and help search for fish, center-up then too. If it is very windy, ask the guide if it is OK to stand. It may be harder for him to pole in a stiff wind with you standing. If the guide is working harder to pole the boat, it may be more difficult for him to find fish.

See? Good stuff to think about. Check it out.

Cuba Bjorn Casting

 


29
Dec 14

Being a good fishing partner

Gink and Gasoline had a great piece about being a good boat-mate and an all around good angler to have in the boat. This is their piece about Flats Boat Etiquette.

The gang

The gang

It is a good list for sure. I have one thing to add and one thing I’m actually going to, gulp, disagree on.

First, the addition. When you are not on the bow, and especially when it is windy, you have one very important task. Keep your buddy’s line from slipping out of the boat or from tangling on anything. You aren’t fishing, so help out. It is super appreciated and may just help your buddy convert and get you back up on the bow again.

Now, the disagreement. The “Don’t do the guide’s job” bit… true, you are not the captain, but your captain only has two eyes. Look for fish. Both on the bow and off the bow. Look for fish. Scan the water. Look where the guide isn’t looking (fish have a way of turning up in odd places sometimes). Always be looking. You should only be sitting down having a beer when the fishing is so good (or bad) it doesn’t matter. Look, pay attention, improve your own fish finding abilities.

Am I off on the disagreement? If you guide, do you really not want the angler to be looking for fish?

As always, feel free to disagree with me, but if you do, please explain why. It makes for a richer conversation.

 


03
Nov 14

Scott is back from Water Cay

Scott just returned from Water Cay and again, it was a great trip. In a pretty interesting post, he talks about the “Water Cay Method.”

Fishing at Water Cay is a learning experience for even the most seasoned of anglers. All three of the guides are analytical, good at communicating their methods and have some of the best bonefish eyes I have ever seen. But a warning, if you are the know-it-all type that doesn’t want to try something new, don’t go to Water Cay. But if you want to get better and put some new arrows in your angling quiver, Water Cay should be near the top on your bucket list.

I really do enjoy being out with a great guide, learning new things, putting old things in a new perspective.

Never stop learning.