07
May 21

New Threads

I was watching Ben at Huge Fly Fisherman and saw his shirt and I had to have it. Turns out it was from the Trailer Trash Fly Fishing podcast folks.

Luckily, I had the $25 in the bank to make the shirt mine.

Man… it is just a thing you have to learn if you are going to chase bonefish (or anything in the salt) and when you get it, when you finally learn how to do it, all things become possible.


24
Apr 21

The Palms of Alameda

I live on an island. It is a nice place. We have great neighbors and live in a great neighborhood. I love it here, deeply.

At the tail end of April it will be 61 here as a high and there are large swaths of the summer the high will be 68. We’ll get a week of 100+ heat at some point, but, it isn’t the tropics.

While this island, sitting on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, is worlds away from the Bahamas, we do have a palm tree we can see from our back yard and if you look at it real hard and actively exclude everything else from your vision, you can almost transport yourself to the Caribbean.

I just got my coffee and looked out the kitchen window to see if there was much wind out and saw the palm, calm and still. If I were fishing for bones today, I’d be comforted by that sight. I can remember other mornings on other islands where the sound of the wind through the palms was the first thing I heard when I woke and I would know from that sound that the day would be tough.

I can’t turn that part of my brain off. I don’t want to turn that part of my brain off.

I love this palm… this little bit of island mentality, or island memory.


14
Apr 21

Wil Flack knows permit

I don’t know Wil Flack. Let’s be honest, I’m very likely not awesome enough to know Wil Flack. Dude is super fishy and we all aspire to that title and few will earn it.

Wil Flack knows permit. Guy lives down in Belize, runs the Tres Pescados Fly Shop in San Pedro and is pretty much associated with catching permit.

I’ve caught one, small permit and the few chances I’ve had to cast at them generally end up with me thinking WAY too much about what I’m doing, which is usually a surefire way to screw something up.

So, in order for you and I to learn something from Mr. Flack, here are some videos of him talking about how to move the fly for permit. I never get this right. Maybe these will help.

Ready?


12
Apr 21

Lost Key

Years ago I tried to put together a trip to a lodge on Ragged Key in the Bahamas. I couldn’t pull it off. No regular flights in or out and charter companies to sort though and, yeah, never got it to happen. I ended up diverting to Long Island, which had regular flights, and had a good trip. But Ragged has always kicked around in the back of my head.

It is isolated. It is small (~60 people live there, maybe less). It looks juicy.

Flats on the west and deep water to the east looks like a very good big bonefish scenario.

So, I was excited to talk to Will Blair, who happens to be making a go of it at the newly opened Lost Key Lodge. He was just about to fly out there when I got a hold of him for a few minutes to chat. Seems he might have the flight situation more or less sorted out, which is good. He’s keeping the numbers low, four anglers a week, and there’s a lot of water to cover. Sounds a bit like paradise.

I just checked, and… well… it might be going well. I stole this pic from his facebook page. Holy bonefish.

Yeah, this place is going to be stuck in my head for a while longer.


10
Apr 21

The Road the the Fall

My 7 year old son is into wildlife. A lot of kids are at this age, but he seems REALLY into wildlife. Bugs, birds, mammals… he loves it all. It is fun, what can I say?

On our last morning in Central Oregon, on our way to drop me off for a couple of hours of fishing on the Fall River, we cam across a heard of elk stampeding across the road. The kid was elated. Fifty, or more, elk crossed before our eyes. It was the first time my wife had ever seen an elk as well. I had been trying to explain the difference between an Elk Crossing sign and a Deer Crossing sign without much luck, but now she gets it. Elk are huge.

A minute later a coyote crossed in front of the car as well.

That’s some Yellowstone-level wildlife viewing and all before we got to the river.

I was meeting Vinnie, a local guide, for two hours of guiding, some special presented through AirBnB Experiences. We found him easily at the Fall River Camp Ground and he led me to the river, which was a stunning little jewel. It was very easy to spot the fish in the totally clear water.

The fish were both large in number and in size. Deadfall gave plenty of cover for the fish, but it was clear whatever happened, I’d be able to see it all play out.

There was a midge hatch that started and then raged a bit and I decided to put on a #20 zebra midge, which fooled the first fish it encountered. It was a nice, healthy fish with a bit of mono extending from some deeply hooked fly (not this fish’s first rodeo). I got it on its way and looked forward to the next fish.

There was no next fish. The word was out and the fish shut their mouths and for the rest of the short session I just cast futilely at large trout who showed no inclination to eat and a very keen awareness of the artificial flies coming downriver toward them as they deftly slid out of the way of each presentation.

Really pretty place.

The highlight was the elk.

Then, it was the road home… back down 97 and by the grand lady of Mt. Shasta. That view never really gets old.

A good trip North. I saw my dad and gave him a hug for the first time in a year. Fish were caught. Memories were made. Old connections were strengthened. Beautiful country was seen and appreciated. Hard to complain.


09
Apr 21

Putting the “Ha” in Hatchery

The boy and I had a day of fishing on the books and so, we went fishing.

First, we went to a lake a neighbor told us about. The road in still had a bit of snow on it, but nothing that would keep you from getting there.

Pretty lake.

Now… I don’t fish a lot of lakes, but said neighbor had told me the general game plan and I followed it, complete with the fly he gave me to try.

Funny thing about the neighbor… we were staying at an AirBnB up near Bend and when I introduced myself to the neighbor it turns out he recognized me from a fly fishing message board that we were both very active on back in the late 90’s. So, that was fun. The old Northern California Fly Fishing Board was the source of a lot of knowledge, some lasting friendships and some great memories until the trolls took over and pretty much ruined the thing. Thanks trolls.

We managed to catch a couple nice rainbows under the watchful gaze of a bald eagle who was crying from one of the trees lining the lake. Pretty fun and a great bit of Central Oregon scenery.

Next we went to the Fall River (the Oregon one, not the California one) to the hatchery, where I was told there were fish in all the holes and, yeah, there were.

The hatchery is an odd place… people lined up at all the discharge pipes and fish (large fish) just kind of hanging out there. Unclear if any of these were wild or if they were all planters or what exactly the story is there. Someone probably knows, but I didn’t ask.

The previous day on the Metolius I had seen a guy who looked like he knew what he was doing fishing a large streamer under an indicator. I don’t know that I had ever seen someone do that and I watched him for a bit and I decided to try it out. I didn’t get any love on the Met, but then, no one else was catching either. I tried it out again on the Fall and, ya know what? It worked. Had this fish take on the first pass with the good ole’ wooly bugger. It turns out I rather enjoy big fish, even if they might, possibly be from a concrete river. I don’t know if this fish was wild or not, but it sure looked clean to me.

The boy and I had a good day fishing. Weather was nice. Fish were caught. We created some memories. He worked a lot on his casting and he got to reel in most of the fish I hooked. We were all smiles at the end of the day and that, I’m pretty sure, is what it is all about.


08
Apr 21

There are no fish in this river

I, a fly fishing expert, thought I should check to see if there were any fish in this river. I caught fish there years ago (a decade ago?) and thought I’d give it another go.

Turns out… there are no fish there anymore. See, if there were, I would have caught them, because I’m such an expert fly fishing angler. So, ergo, thus and so forth, there can’t be any fish here. You get it. Flawless logic.

This river is known by some, and by those who decide what things are named, as The Metolius and what it lacks in fish it makes up for in just jaw-dropping beauty. Man… this place is pretty. Of course, there are no fish. I checked… and there’s not really a way I can think of I could fish for hours and not catch a fish. I mean… that’s crazy talk, right? Ha.

I stopped by The Fly Fisher’s Place, in Sister’s, to drop some knowledge on them, to grace them with my experiences from 10 years ago. I think they were pleased to have been so graced (really, they were very nice and gave good advice and I dropped some coin).

It is a humbling place… beautiful and difficult. I didn’t see anyone else catching and there were plenty of anglers out. Blue, cloudless skies are great for bonefishing, but not as great for trout when you want a hatch to come off. Who knows… maybe the few fish in the river (about 600/mile) were frisky and had moved to other areas of the river to spawn. I don’t know.

I got skunked. I didn’t see a fish and I didn’t feel a fish and I didn’t hook a fish and I didn’t land a fish. Zero. Nadda. Nothing. Damn pretty place though.

This river is in my top ten of most beautiful places to fish.


27
Feb 21

Slime questions answered

A cool article from Fly Life Magazine lays out some of the findings when the question gets asked about what removes bonefish slime, does sun screen deter fish from feeding and more.

There is a lot of superstition around questions like this and not all of it stands up to rigorous examination. Ah… science.

Here’s something I know… keep those bonefish wet. Don’t pick them up if you can help it. If you are catching a bunch of cookie-cutter bones, no need for the 12th photo. It is a violent place out there if you are a bonefish, and a fish that is lethargic will simply become a meal for a predator.

This research was supported by the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. Join, support.


18
Feb 21

A little hope – East End Lodge Reopening

It seems a million years ago I was at East End Lodge in Grand Bahama. Rob, owner of the special piece of paradise, tried to kill me with rum, but was otherwise a perfect host. In-between here and there Dorian came through and smashed the lodge to kindling and then COVID settled down over the land stopping most travel and much commerce and generally throwing the world for a loop.

Well, today, there is a little hope on the horizon. East End Lodge reopens on March 1st.

It feels like the light on the horizon to see this happening. I know it is important to the folks out at McLeans Town, the guides, their families, and I find it being important to me as well.

Here’s what you need to know about travel to the Bahamas in COVID times.

I know many of you are old as dirt and hopefully you are finding that comes with some advantages when it comes to getting in line for your COVID vaccine. I’m one shot in, getting my second next month and looking forward to getting a little bit back to normal.

2021 for me is likely to not see me in tropical places doing tropical things, but I have my eye on 2022 and East End Lodge is on that list of possible destinations.

I’ve fished the East End of Grand Bahama more than I’ve fished any other single location for bonefish. I love it there. I can fly out of SFO on the West Coast at midnight and fish a flat in the afternoon in Grand Bahama (ya know, back when I went places). I love it more than is reasonable.

Rob and Ceclie at East End Lodge

I hope some of you make your way out to East End Lodge, catch some bonefish, have some cracked conch, maybe some of Rob’s very nice rum, and have an excellent time.

Be safe and may you have good light.


23
Dec 20

Eff You 2020

This is where I’d normally reflect on the year that has been and there would be maybe a couple saltwater trips in there… bonefish caught, memories made.

Not this year.

There was no trip to the salt (the warm salt) in 2020 as COVID-19 screwed up plans all over the place. I was going to be fishing Abaco with friends in May, but, alas… no.

Who knows what 2021 will hold? My wife will get her vaccine in the next couple weeks, as an MD. Last I checked I was about 260,000,000th in line for mine. There won’t be a saltwater trip until that happens, so, 2021 may, or may not be my return to the salt.

I hope all of you are safe, getting some fishing in, and that you get your vaccine when and if you are able to.

All that said, it has been a good year for me, considering. I got my boy into a bunch of trout on one trip and a bunch of sharks near our house. He’s been willing to get up at 6:30 to go fishing in the cold. His interest in nature is exploding and I’ve been able to feed into it.

I haven’t seen my daughter as much as I’d like this last year due to COVID, but she’s started surfing, which is her own thing, and makes me really excited for her. She got to fish with us a couple times as well, which was really, really nice.

Work has exploded on me. The lab I work for is doing COVID testing and I’ve pretty much sold 100% of our capacity, which is good and stressful.

We’ve been healthy. My 78 year old dad has remained healthy(ish). We’ve been hold up on our little street and have kept our world as small as possible and I feel confident we are going to get through this.

I hope you have survived 2020 and I wish you health and happiness and maybe a bonefish or tarpon in 2021.