10
Sep 19

Drakecast – Dorian’s Wake

I just listened to Elliott Adler’s “Dorian’s Wake” episode of the DrakeCast podcast.

You should listen to it as well.

Elliott was out there with me in 2018 and caught his first bonefish out of the East End Lodge. He interviews Rob, co-owner of East End Lodge about the state of the Eastern part of Grand Bahama. It’s bad. People are suffering. There are lots of ways to help (money is most in need).

Rob and Ceclie at East End Lodge

Places to give:

Yellow Dog Community Conservation Foundation

Dorian Relief East End Grand Bahama Go Fund Me 

Abaco Lodge Hurricane Relief Efforts Go Fund Me

H2O Bonefishing Hurricane Dorian Recovery Fund

You can also bid on a dozen flies I’ll be tying up through Josh Mills’ “#dozenfordorian” effort that has raised about $18,000 so far. Just put in a bid… it is currently at $75. To be clear… not the flies on the hat. New ones.


05
Sep 19

Memories of Abaco and Grand Bahama

This is the place I’ve spent the most time bonefishing. My first fish came from right near McLeans Town on a trip with my dad. I caught my first DIY bonefish on a little flat on the East End. My last vacation with my mom was on Grand Bahama, which is also when my wife and I began to suspect she might be pregnant. I fished out of Deep Water Cay and visited Water Cay Lodge. After my mom passed we went on a family trip to Abaco and got to see Abaco Lodge. I took my daughter down to fish with the only female guide in the Bahamas. I fished out of Abaco Lodge again before heading up to Little Abaco. I fished for a week out of East End Lodge and enjoyed rum and fishing with Rob and Cecile.

Damn… a lot of good times in that area just leveled by Dorian. Abaco Lodge was destroyed. No word on status of East End Lodge, but I’m not optimistic. Deep Water Cay appears heavily damaged. I understand that just about all the guides and staff are accounted for in most of the fishing lodges, so, that’s good, but they’ve all lost so, so much.

Go Fund Me for Little Abaco.

Go Fund Me for Abaco/Abaco Lodge folks.

Go Fund Me for the East End folks.


04
Sep 19

Dorian Recovery

It is bad… real bad… and the people of the Bahamas are going to need a lot of help.

Abaco Lodge is destroyed (Oliver says they’ll rebuild and most of their crew is accounted for).

No idea yet if East End Lodge is standing (seems highly unlikely) and Rob is in the same camp as Oliver re: rebuilding, but has less clear info on the fate of many of his people.

Cameron over at TFM has a good page going of ways you can help. Here’s a link to that page.

Only thing I’d add is the GoFundMe for the East End Lodge folks, which is here.

Some of the best moments of my fly fishing life have been on the waters around Grand Bahama and Abaco. Heartbreaking to see the destruction.

Rob and Ceclie at East End Lodge
Dinner at Abaco Lodge… it was good.

30
Aug 19

Thinking of Abaco and Grand Bahama – Dorian

Things don’t look real good right now for Abaco and Grand Bahama. Keep them in your thoughts.


04
Aug 19

Getting back home

It’s been hard to get up to my old rivers and childhood home. Life is just full of obligations and plans. Two of the last three weekends I did manage to make the trek. One trip with the whole crew and once with just my daughter and myself. We got to hang out with my old man, which was a very good thing to do, and, of course, we went fishing.

The first trip I had a goal of getting both kids into fish. We went up to the South Fork of the Upper Sacramento River and I managed to get the boy his first trout.

Oliver’s First Trout

I also managed to get the girl fishing, although her fish didn’t come until the next day.

The boy helped land a larger fish the second day and he told me we were a team, so it was kind of his fish too. It was pretty interesting to see his competitive juices flow when it came to beating his sister. Haven’t seen that before, but I guess he’s growing up. He wanted to point out “our” fish was bigger that his sissy’s.

The next trip the girl and I put in a good 6 hours (maybe her longest fishing day ever), although we were down a rod, as I fell hard and broke one about 5 minutes after getting to the water.

Beautiful water up there, including a trip to Mossbrae Falls. The girl again managed to get a fish on the board and had several other grabs. It was a good trip and she said she had a good time.

The girl with a wild rainbow trout

The girl is just growing up pretty fast at this point. She still will spend time on the water with her dad, which is great and I won’t complain about. She’s no longer such a little girl though. Just found a picture of her at 2.5 with her first fish. How time flies.

It had been a while since I brok a rod until these last two trips… where I managed to go 2/2 on trips/rods broken. So, I’ll be trying out some warranties.

I do miss the rivers up there and I do miss seeing my dad up in his natural habitat. We’ll see if I can carve some more time out and get up there a bit more. Seems difficult, but I’ll try.


11
Jul 19

Ban the Nets! Belize Edition

There is an effort underway to get gillnets banned in Belize. I can’t think of many places I’d rather see nets banned.

Saw this in an email from Yellow Dog, promoting the conservation efforts going on in Belize. Kudos to the folks at Yellow Dog for including that in their email marketing… a step they don’t have to take, but are.

The folks behind this could use a bit of a financial bump. Consider donating.

I love Belize and I’ll be clicking a few dollars their way for sure.

Awesome

10
Jul 19

A bad look for Louisiana

There’s no point to this… killing tarpon in tournaments.

Dumb.

Golden Meadow Tarpon Rodeo

06
Jul 19

Down the Path Podcast

Well… this was a recommendation from a reader. Yeah, this is now what I’m going to be listening to for a bit.

Ron Sheepstra goes missing in Xcalak.

This is a production of The Flyfish Journal.


28
Jun 19

Violence in Belize

You may have seen the story… a fly fishing trip that ends in a double murder. If you had told me that happened in the Keys, I would have thought it was a matter of time. Tell me that happened in Belize and I’d call you a liar.

A 53-year old cardiologist on vacation with his wife and three kids gets caught up in some crazy gangster/drug BS and ends up dead, along with the intended target, his guide.

Here’s the story.

I’ve been to Belize a few times. I love Belize. I’ve been to San Pedro and I’ve fished the same waters where they were killed. It all sounds crazy, but, these are crazy times, I suppose.

The permit. Not a big permit, but a permit.

I had my second honeymoon in Belize. I caught my first (and only) grand slam in Belize. I’ve vacationed on Belize with my daughter for a couple daddy-daughter Spring Break trips.

One of the highlights from Spring Break 2017.

Will this change your travel plans to Belize?


11
Jun 19

Getting to Cuba Just Got Harder

The Trump Administration recently announced some expanded travel restrictions for Cuba, because, ya know… they are super, super, super duper a threat to our way of life and, also, he’d like to keep Florida red in 2020.

Cuba

I talked with Kristen Tripp, Program Director for Cuba at Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures and I asked her what the impact of this latest news would be on their program.

First, Kristen expressed her frustration and sorrow for the people of Cuba who have been through a lot, make due with very little and are certainly being hurt by some of these very backward looking policies. There’s a shortage of just about everything in Cuba, including chickens, and people really are being put through unnecessary harm.

Awesome shot by Jim Klug in Cuba, 2012.

Second, Kristen explained that things have changes since I went to Cuba back in 2012. The whole operation has worked hard to make their trips legal (read, not just sneaking in from Mexico). This new policy makes that harder, but not impossible and they’ll be trying very hard to maintain above-board Cuban trips this year and into the future. Trips are still being booked to Cuba and any already on the books are grandfathered in. Still, there will be changes and the exact fall-out is a bit still to be worked out.

Cuba was a fantastic experience for me… one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was pretty obvious how bad the Cuban people were hurting back then and it hasn’t gotten better since. It is all a travesty and I hope some intelligence seeps into our Cuban policy that doesn’t revolve around Presidential politics.

Photo by Matt Hansen… me, seconds after losing a really, really nice fish.

For the latest developments, there are few people better suited to answer your questions than the folks at Yellow Dog and Kristen in particular.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea. So does Foreign Policy (that liberal rag). The Guardian thinks sanctions don’t work. Fortune seems to think it is a bad idea.

It is bad policy… a failed policy that didn’t work for 50 years. Let’s get past this.