Mar 12

Kirk returns from Long Island

Kirk Deeter just got back from a week in Long Island (the better of the two so named locations).

I just returned from a remarkable bonefishing trip in the Bahamas–Long Island, to be specific. It’s a stripped-down, do-it-yourself deal, involving big bonefish (a 5-pounder won’t bat an eye), unspoiled flats that most people don’t have the stamina to walk across in a week, let alone fully explore (I’m talking miles and miles of knee-deep water), great food and wonderful cultural experiences.

The story can be found at Fly Talk.

Truth told, this opportunity landed in my lap about the same time Cuba did and I had to decide which one to do, not being wealthy or idle. Long Island has long drawn my attention, so I’m fairly jealous I didn’t make the trip.  It still stands out as a pretty sweet DIY friendly location.

The place he stayed is the Long Island Bonefishing Lodge, a new place that is focused on the budget and DIY crowd.  The cost for a week is about $1,600, which is a fair deal.  You don’t get guides, but you get brought out to where the fish are and let loose.

The price is a good one and is probably value for money.  If and when I make it to Long Island, I’ll certainly look at this as a real option.

One option I had looked at before was staying at a hotel that was about $100 a night.  That didn’t include meals or transportation to the flats, so the $600 rate of lodging would probably easily get close to $1,600 without the certainty or pointing-in-the-right direction that this place would offer.

I love the coming together of cheap and bonefishing and while $1,600 isn’t “cheap,” it does get a bit closer to cheap than something around $4-5K.

Oct 11

DIY – A new resource

Well, I just found a new site on the ole’ interwebs and I thought it might be something many of the BOTB readers might find really interesting.

DIY Flats Fishing.

If you are a DIYer, this is certainly, certainly worth a perusal.

Do It Yourself Flats Fishing is your #1 source on the web for DIY fly fishermen who like to chase those magical fish found on warm water flats.

Our goal is to bring you current information on locations and conditions from around the globe so you can fish and explore on your own using the skills you have developed to catch bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish


We will provide up to date reports on where to go, the best places to stay, travel and fishing tips and a few tricks we have picked up along the way.

May 11

Rise in Acklins

The good folks from Rise went to do a little stick waving down in Acklins with Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters, owned by Vince Tobia, who has been interviewed here a while back.

My trips to Acklins Island was an interesting trip to say the least. Acklins is known for its “Do It Yourself” aspect. There are lodges to stay at but we decided to do it on our own and stay at Ivel’s B and B. Which I have to say is above and beyond anything you would expect. We booked through Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters owned by Vince Tobia. I highly recommend using them. He gives you maps and great instructions that even a novice fly fisher could use to catch fish.

via Rise Matters Blog.



Apr 11

A little Bahamian fantasy

I’m not going here… there is no airline ticket about to be purchased… I am not tying flies for this trip… I am not scouring Google Earth… but if I were looking to spend a month in the Bahamas right now… a full month… I might look to this place right here.

I could stay here...

You can stay there for a month for $1,800.  A month.

It turns out I’ve had a fantasy very similar to this in the past.  One day I’m going to have to actually do this.  I guess I’ll do it when I need to do it.

There’s also a place in Exuma for $1,200. For a month.  Like… 30 days…

How well would you get to know a place after 30 days of fishing?  I’ve begun to get a feel for some places after just a couple days.  Thirty days sounds pretty damn good.  Very good.


Apr 11

This River is Wild… Bonefish Movie

Go to the site… check this out.  Simply fantastic.

This River is Wild is a very, very fishy blog with a strong bonefish showing.

I know I usually give you more in these posts, but in this case, just go to the site and check it out… it stands on its own.


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Mar 11

This River is Wild… more bonefishy goodness

As I’m getting ready to head to Andros the This River is Wild blog has been spewing bonefishery as of late.  Basically… he had a really nice DIY trip somewhere in the Caribbean.  I don’t know where… maybe you do… if so, I’d keep it to myself (and then plan a trip there).

This was, easily, the best fishing I’ve ever experienced to date. In those two full days on the flats, I saw not another soul.

The This River is Wild bonefishology is broken down in three parts over the three days of his trip… Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Read them.  Read them all.


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Jan 11

Andros – Bonefish Capital of the World – FLYBOX.DK

DIY Andros from Flybox.dk.  A good trip with bonefish, sharks and a 12 pound lady fish.  Andros… I’m coming for ya!

At the breakfast table we decide to go up the creek and target the large schools of bonefish that is gathering there. After breakfast we go to the store and buy lunch and drinks and then return to Hanks were the boat is waiting tanked and ready to go.


That's a good size Ladyfish!

Dec 10

Belize Report – The Last Day

We woke up the last morning at El Pescador knowing the clock was running down.  We had to be back and packed by 11:45 before we took the boat to San Padro, flight to Belize City and then to Dallas before we’d go separate ways.  Since it was 5:00 AM, we still had some quality fishing time to get after and that’s what we did.

We got the canoe out in the lagoon and hit our favorite spot from the first DIY day.  When we got there the water was glassy smooth and, as you might expect, there were a few tails working, easily spotted from a couple hundred feet.   It was a nice scenario for our last day.


I got to the tails first and managed the first fish of the morning, which was nice.  Unlike the last time we had fished this spot we didn’t find large schools of fish, but smaller groups.  Shane stuck a couple more and then we moved.

In the transition the weather started to change… up came some wind, in came cloud cover and the threat of rain.  We came upon a clearing between mangrove chutes that looked pretty good.  Shallow.  Good bottom.  Spooking fish as we paddles.  We tied up the canoe and went to work.

Here, Shane managed one of the better Belizean bonefish we saw.  It was a single, cruising the edge of the mangroves.  Shane pulled some ninja stalking techniques out and the fish ate.

An honest 4 pounder... maybe 4 1/4.

Shane really came into his own here… seeing fish I couldn’t see and then casting to them and catching them.  I walked through the muck to get to another spot and managed to have a decent bonefish come unbuttoned.  I also managed to have THREE mojarra beat bonefish to flies… damn mojarra.  I managed a couple more bonefish, included one small enough to make me think I was fishing a creek back home.

This IS the other side of the rainbow... it ends in Belize.

Not a big fish... but pretty.

Shane ended up catching something like 15 bonefish just that morning before we paddled back.  I caught three.  This bit of ass-kickery kind of illustrated exactly how much the Grand Slam from the day before was up to fate and luck as opposed to skill.  I knew I wasn’t as good an angler as Shane and this re-enforced that belief.  The guy can flat out fish.

The release

Soon we were paddling back across the little lagoon, wind in our face.  We made it back with plenty of time for showers and lunch.  While Shane was eating lunch I took 15 feet of tippet and a small velcro crab out to the dock.  I had a hunch I wanted to test out about those dock bonefish.  I managed to convince a little snapper to eat the crab and then I saw a little school of 5 or so bonefish.  With the wind to my back I tossed in the crab.  One bonefish came right up to the little fly and ate it.  I tried to set the hook, lifting the head of the bonefish up, but the hook simply came right out.  Damn, I thought… that would have been a good end to the trip!

The trip had been a good one… a great one even.  I had caught my first ever permit and my first ever tarpon in a magical day that had landed me a Grand Slam.  I had caught my largest fish to date… a 25 pound Jack.  I had caught many smaller bonefish to add to my overall bonefish knowledge for future bonefish trips.  We had fished through crappy weather and good weather and some tense times with Katchu and fun times with Katchu.  I had shared the trip with a good friend in a kind of magical place.

I hadn’t caught as many bonefish as I had really thought I would, but then I hadn’t figured on chasing permit and a day on the tarpon flats, which were both great experiences.

Thank you El Pescador for having us.  You have a special place and a special fishery.

Nov 10

Skinny Water Culture: Monster Kayak Bonefish!

As I waited at the Miami Airport to get to Belize, I posted a picture from Facebook showing the bonefish sculptures there.  I got a reply that went “Hey, I work there, where are you?”  I ended up meeting and talking briefly with Chris, who immediately noticed my Skinny Water Culture hat.

Today, I looked on the Skinny Water Culture blog, and who is it but Chris with about a 12 pound bonefish.  Fantastic!  Way to go Chris!

I thought to myself, jeez…what am I going to do when I see a bonefish. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the unmistakable, unfamiliar sight of a tail pop up.

via Skinny Water Culture: Monster Kayak Bonefish!.

Nov 10

Belize Day Three – The Lagoon

The weather was set to continue being crappy and that didn’t seem like a good day to go out with a guide, so we decided this would be our DIY day.  El Pescador is on the beach, but in the back, it has a small dock that leads to a lagoon… in the lagoon are bonefish.  Instead of walking the beach, we set out by paddle.  El Pescador has a rough map with some spots marked and we used that as a starting point to get to the fish.

Stormy skies and the red canoe

The first shore we patrolled was devoid of anything resembling a bonefish, so we moved on.  Shane moved further down the beach and I stayed closer.  Twenty minutes on I saw a bonefish cruising out of some flooded mangroves.  I threw a brown gotcha in a #8 and the fish saw it and charged it.  I set, the fish was hooked and it started its run.  I tried to clear the line, but… well… the line still jumped up and wrapped around my hand. I was now 0/1.  Rumor has it that I dropped a couple of f-bombs at this point in the trip, but those reports are unconfirmed.  About 5 minutes later and Shane was hooked up… first fish of the trip was in the books.

The seal breaker.

One more move and my rod was finally bent all the way to conclusion.

Get bent.

Well, isn't (s)he cute?

Turns out what you’ve heard about Belize bonefish is largely true… which is they aren’t very large.  This little guy was about the size we caught.  We did see a few bigger fish and even caught some (mostly Shane), but there are a lot of smaller fish here.  They are still very, very fun and it does present an opportunity to down-size on your rod selection.  You could easily get away with a six and, ya know… maybe even a 5.  That means if you want to get into bonefishing and don’t want to go out and buy a new rod for one trip, you could grab your trout gear and head to Belize.  Just say’n.

Out in the lagoon for the rest of the trip we had a simple rule… before you dip into the cooler for a beer, you have to land a fish.  So, this was a nice beer.

Mmmm... good.

Belikin is the beer of Belize and we drank a fair bit of it… 58 of them according to the bar tab.  Here’s the thing about Belikin… they are a LIE.  The bottle is heavy… very heavy… the weight of each bottle is roughly 95% glass and 5% beer.  They are about 2 ounces each… or 9.6 ounces as it turns out.  You can grab and empty bottle and the weight makes you think it is full… but it isn’t.  That is a tragedy.  When you have a Belikin you are largely holding glass.  Someone said when you buy a Belikin you also buy a weapon… and I can see that.  In my totally imagined feud between Kalik and Belikin, I’m going to raise the Kalik on sheer volume.  Hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but really… a beer should be AT LEAST 12 ounces… AT LEAST.

I only managed a couple of fish that day, Shane had about 7, which was a sign that things were as they should be.  Shane’s a much better angler than I am since he’s a guide on the water about 200 days a year and he has about 350 days of bonefishing under his belt.

It seemed appropriate with it raining that hard... to have a beer.

The rain came and went… and then came again.  Our paddle back to El Pescador was a wet and windy one.  Just as we got to the mangrove chute we’d take to get to the dock Shane was mentioning that this particular environment looked ideal for baby tarpon.  Then I saw one roll.  So, we fished for some very small baby tarpon for a few minutes.  I cast from the canoe while Shane stood in the back of the canoe trying to locate the fish.  I had one eat, but didn’t hook it.

When we got back the light was failing and we were both wetter than seemed possible.  It had been a challenging day, but we had made it work.  The best time to go fishing, after all, isn’t when the weather is perfect.  The best time to go fishing is when you can.

wet, wet, wet

We made the right call and had a fun day under the Belizean clouds.

Small? Sure. Pretty? You bet.

The third day of the trip and the second day in Belize were done.  Dinner was fantastic… Lobster and Chicken Parmesan.   They treat you right at El Pescador.

The next day was going to be with a guide and a trip to the tarpon flats.