31
Dec 14

Wait… is it really New Year’s Eve?

How did that happen?

This year has been a blur and probably the least I’ve blogged since the thing started. There simply hasn’t been time with the new addition (who just turned ONE), the new job (which I’ve now been at a year) and everything else.

It has been a mixed year, in many ways. There have been some high highs and low lows.

One of the bones of 2014

One of the bones of 2014

The Fishing High Points

  • Long Island. I hosted a trip for Angling Destinations to Long Island. It was a great week and my only pure fishing week of the year. I had never been to Long Island before, so it was great to check that out, see a new fishery, get to know new guides and new anglers. I landed maybe my biggest bonefish to date at about 7.5 pounds and I experienced some things for the first time. It was a great week.
  • The Keys. A short trip with only one fishing day, but I got to go out with Capt. Derek Rust and Dan Dow and I stuck my first redfish (after many, many blown shots by yours truly).
  • Montana. Labor Day was an the in-laws on the Yaak River in Montana. My daughter had a 20 fish day on dries on a little creek, a magical experience.
  • The Pier. My daughter and I continued to dunk bait from our local pier and we had one day sans obligations that we fished there for 8 hours and caught too many sharks to count. A highlight for sure.
  • The Upper McCloud. My daughter and I went camping on the Upper McCloud again and she caught her first trout solo on a fly. A proud moment.
  • Fishing with my dad. When my mom passed away this year I went up to be with my dad and we did what came naturally and we fished. I don’t get to fish with my dad too often these days and it did seem to be cathartic. It was a special few days.

With all of that said, this was probably my lowest year in terms of fishing days. I had a fly rod in my hand maybe the fewest days since I picked up a fly rod in 1996.

It was a great year as I watched my boy grow from infant to toddler. It was a hard year with my mom passing away. It was a great year as I watched my wife excel at motherhood and in her career. It was a hard year as my daughter struggled to share time with her new brother and I went from week on/off to a weekend dad. It was a year full of ups and downs.

I’m looking forward to 2015. I’ll likely get fishing, somewhere. I’ll probably catch a bonefish, maybe a tarpon, certainly a trout and a shark. Beyond that, or where those activities will take place… I can’t say just yet. Time will fill in the blanks.

Happy 2015 to you and yours. I hope you it is a year full of personal bests.


30
Jun 14

The add-ons

I love bonefish. I think that is pretty clearly understood. I love fishing for them and being where they live and I’ve been fortunate enough to do some of it.

What has been a little surprising are all the other things I’ve come to love which come along with bonefishing. I’ve come to really love the sharks and rays and cuda. I’ve been surprised at how much I love fishing for tarpon, how much I love the humble jack.

I’ve come to love lobster and cracked conch and the Bahamian mac and cheese.

I love Kalik and Sands and Belekin, although probably more for the location than the taste.

What are the add-ons that you’ve come to love about bonefishing?

Just a cool environment.

Just a cool environment.


02
Sep 13

From the Archives – First Day of Bonefishing for Mrs. BOTB

(Originally posted September 20, 2012)

She’s a sport. This was our honeymoon, after all.  It was also her second day of fly fishing ever. That’s jumping into the deep end, pretty much.  Still, I figured if it was going to happen, it stood a good chance of happening here, out of El Pescador in Belize.

I would routinely say that what I wanted, out of the day on the water, was to share with her what it was that I loved, out there on the flats. It is an obscure concept if you’ve never been out there and maybe the selling of it is a bit challenging.  “Hey, let’s stand on a boat for a few hours, looking for fish that are really hard to see, in the sun without shade. Oh, and you can’t have a beer until you land a fish (OK, that’s really more my rule).”

She was kitted out for success. She came walking up for breakfast like she belonged.

Ready for action

We got out on the water and headed up to the park.  It is a nice ride up there and the day wasn’t too hot while we were running. Soon after we paid our fee at the park we went in search for baby tarpon.  This wasn’t maybe the best first stop. First, it wasn’t going to be something that would put her up on the deck and secondly, back in the mangroves it was stiflingly hot.

I was also having a case of the sucks. I couldn’t seal the deal on the baby poons. I swept the rod on the first fish. I cast on the head of the second. I cast behind the third. The fourth wasn’t interested. All the time it was really, really hot. She suffered through it all though without a complaint, which just goes to show what a trooper she is.

We went out into a slightly bigger lagoon, a place with a bit of a breeze, and I managed to blow one last fish. On this fish I made a good cast, got the take, set the beejeezus out of things and managed to just break the fish off. That was surprising because this same set-up had landed my 85 pounder in Cuba. Same knots, same spools of material. Go figure.

Me, casting.

We then left to find some bones and the Mrs. got up on deck. Cesar, our guide set about helping out with her cast.  This was her second day fishing, period. It is a tough place to start. Cesar got her up and running and put in into position to catch fish.  There is a lot to remember though, and it was tough for her to carry it all in her mind.  There is so much we carry in muscle memory and when you have to pick it all up and have to keep it in the front of your mind, well, things are going to get dropped, and plenty of things got dropped. She was unfazed though, mostly because of her awesomeness.

Mrs. BOTB actually hooked two bonefish, which I thought was simply wonderful. She got to feel the fish a bit, but put too much slack into things and both bones managed to get off. She did, however, manage to get a little snapper, so was not blanked on the day and got to enjoy a Belikin.

Earning the beer.

The day ended with Cesar and I out on foot chasing down several schools of bones. That was a fun time.

Another one in the books.

She got to see what I love out there and she understands me a bit better because of it.  That was the goal, so, mission accomplished. She may need a few more days of trout fishing before we head back to the flats, which I’m happy to provide for her.

She’s game, which is just simply wonderful.


01
Sep 13

From the Archives – My -2″ Cuban Grand Slam

(originally published May 9, 2012)

The tarpon was first and that was clearly the pig of the trip.  After we finally released that fish we went looking for some bonefish.

We found them.

Really, I think the guides could likely produce bones pretty much all day, but they like chasing the tarpon when they are in, since they don’t stick around all year and the window is about three months long.

The bones weren’t big, maybe 3 pounds, but they fought well and we even had one little cluster Fuque where I got a knot in my running line that went through the guides.  Jim worked on getting the knot undone and I hand lined the fish, which meant it had PLENTY of slack.  The thing turned around and started swimming leisurely back toward us. The thing came so close to the boat that I just figured I’d wait and pull it’s head out of the water. That’s exactly what happened and we managed to land the bonefish pretty much without the rod.

The next flat we went to was ocean-side and as I got up on deck Jim asked the guide “you ever see any permit here?”

“Sometimes” was the reply, although it should have been “Sure, in about a minute.”

There was Mr. Permit cruising right toward us.  No time to switch rods, the bonefish fly would have to do (a Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp). The fish lit up on the fly, started chasing it down doing a little erratic dance behind it. I SWEAR it ate, as did Jim, but I was tight to the fly and there was never any sort of resistance on the line. Just like that it bugged off and I was left, about 2″ from a Cuban Grand Slam.

Kind of cool to come so close.  I know it is mostly luck and “right time/right place” that gets you those Grand Slams and I was pretty damn close to getting it right.

That’s why we keep fishing.

Photo by Jim Klug, Tarpon by Cuba

Really… I can’t complain at all.

 

 


09
Feb 13

Redfishing looks kind of fun

I’ve caught a few carp and while I have seen them wagging tails like a bonefish, I have not experienced other bonefish-like qualities. They say they are there, but for me, those qualities prove elusive.

I have not been redfishing. However, my sense of it is more like bonefishing than, say, carp fishing. It seems like a mix between bonefishing and fishing for jacks.

I’d like to do it. Of course, I’d also like to go to the hundreds of places I could bonefish that I have yet to visit, so I’m torn.

The SWC guys recently went to NOLA for some Reds and… well… it just reinforces my interest in doing that.

Derek with a very nice looking Red.

Derek with a very nice looking Red.


08
Feb 13

How not to handle an 11 pound bonefish

I would love to catch an 11 pound (and 12 ounce) bonefish. I’d really, really love to. My largest fish is maybe 7 pounds (I was told 7.5, but that means it was probably 6). At some point I might actually achieve this dream if I keep after it and fish in places where hogs like this live.

I can imagine that this guy was really very happy to have crossed paths with such a magnificent creature, to have hooked it and to have landed it. I mean, come on… that thing is huge. It is the fish of a lifetime.

So, I was kind of bummed to see this fish held up by a boga grip.

Damn nice fish and damn poor idea to boga that damn nice fish.

Damn nice fish and damn poor idea to boga that damn nice fish.

Boga grips are bad news for bonefish. They should not be used.  It is likely an education issue. People see fish being gripped with a Boga and they think “well, this must be how things are done.”

It isn’t.

Knowing is half the battle. Spread the news.

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07
Feb 13

Winning Story at Deneki

Deneki had a contest where they asked for a story about bonefishing. They have a winner. (Have to say, I love this kind of  stuff)

 

We hadn’t expected him. I had called to cancel the bonefishing trip. The night before an intruder had robbed us. We had no money, no passports. I’d spent the last three hours cancelling credit cards.

Now Ansil Saunders stood before us – a wiry brown man with white, white teeth and strong hands. He smiled showing all of his teeth and brushed the events away with a swish of his hand.

“I will take you for free.”

Bone.

Bone.


31
Jan 13

Cast Again

A good little pearl of wisdom from Norman, an Andros South guide.  Basically, cast again after you blow a shot. Read the article here.

I know this to be true. On my first real bonefishing trip I was out with my dad.  My dad has been conditioned over 60+ years to trout set and trout set he did. One TWO occasions he trout set on a fish, missed the fish and in a wave of frustration waved his rod in the air. That motion actually RECAST the fly, where it was promptly eaten by a bonefish, which ended up getting landed.

True story.

Twice.

So, I agree with Norman. Cast again.

I fished with Norman down in Andros and I was a little worried before our trip. He was “serious,” they told me.  Turns out, he’s a great guide and a nice guy on top of it.

 

Norman tagging a bonefish for BTT

Norman tagging a bonefish for BTT


29
Jan 13

Milkies…

It has to be said.

The tail of a permit.

The flank of a bonefish.

The head of an asian carp.

This is just how I feel.

This is just how I feel.


28
Jan 13

The Cliff Crab Shack and Bjorn Fly Give Away

OK… I think I know what we are going to do to give away the Cliff’s Crab Shack box that Cliff Outdoors gave me. First, I need to fill it with flies. My target # is 24. I’ll update over the coming weeks to show you how the box is coming along.

Once it is all filled and ready for you to go catch some fish I’ll put up a new post with the completed box and you will need to comment with one thing that happened on a fishing trip (preferably bonefishing, but it doesn’t have to be). Just one random thing. Anything. Sticking to random, I’ll choose a random winner and send this box off to them.

So, in the immortal words of Eric Cantona, “Watch this space.”

This is where the flies go.

This is where the flies go.