11
Jul 24

Going fishing

I’m headed up to my old headwaters this weekend with the boy.

He’s excited to go.

I mean… does it get any better than that? My kid wants to go fishing.


07
Jun 24

On the passing of Chris Santella

Kirk Deeter wrote this personal tribute to Chris Santella, and from the looks of it, he knew Chris well and counted him among his people.

Chris was a fishing acquantance of mine and our paths really only intersected once, but that was a memorable experience as it involved fishing the waters of Cuba.

It was a long time ago now, right about 12 years from my count, and I got brought to Cuba by Yellow Dog to fish with a bunch of really interesting guys. Chris was one of those guys and I know I shared a skiff with him one of the days we were there, although the details of that day’s fishing have faded. The fishing was awesome, in general, but I don’t recall a specific fish caught by or with Chris. He caught many, as happens in a place like that.

I do remember him brining something like a guitar and playing at various points, including in the airport.

What I recall of Chris was he was humble and kind and interesting.

Godspeed Chris.


23
Feb 24

Will’s Flat in Belize

The dredging has been temporarliy suspened on Will’s Flat (named after Will Bauer), aka Angelfish Cay, but the fight goes on.

Such a bummer when “eco” operations overlook the horrible effects of dredging. You can’t paint yourself in eco green and destroy the flats at the same time.

Check out this good write up by the folks over at Flylords. There’s a link to a petition there.

There’s this post from the folks over at Yellow Dog.

Belize is just a fantastic place full of natural wonders and there will always be those who want to break just a little piece of it for their own. The problem is that this IS a zero sum game. They aren’t making more Belizes. This is the only one the Belizian people have. Screw this up and it is gone for good.


21
Feb 24

Anini wins again

If I’m going to Kauai, I’m going to get some time at Anini.

This is not because the fishing is fantastic there. It isn’t. It is horrible fishing. It is one of the only places you can sometimes, maybe, almost see bonefish in Kauai. It is also the first place I ever saw a bonefish, back in 2008.

This place has kicked my butt more than any other place I’ve ever fished. It just doesn’t give up its fish easily… at least not to me. Maybe there’s an angler out there who just crushes here, but I don’t know that angler (and if real, I kind of jealous-hate them).

The flat is big… really big… and is a rubble flat of old coral. There are dips and holes and things to trip on and my body this morning is speaking loudly… mostly saying “slow your roll, old man.”

I might have seen 2 bonefish, from about 10 feet away in 3 feet of water. Whatever they were, they were out of there fast and I had eyes on them for about 3 seconds. Still… not sure.

Spooked a couple of schools of smaller blue fin trevalley.

Caught a cornet fish (not photographed) and one blue fin trevalley.

I wonder why they call them blue fin…

This is what Anini offers… humility, beauty and the faintest hope at a bonefish. I’ve fished it 10 or 11 days and have yet to even hook a bonefish here.

If I get back, I’ll fish it again.


20
Feb 24

Coral Hawkfish

Another day in Kauai and another day of me casting at anyting that might, possibly, eat a fly.

The tide was a little bit lower and I think that meant the Christmas Wrasse were not available, but… BUT… if I cast near structure with a larger fly, I might just get a Coral Hawkfish to dash out, smash the fly and try very hard to pull back into it’s crevice or hole. They were surprisingly fun, even if they weren’t huge.

They acted like a mini version of the triggers I so loved in Christmas Island.

So pretty… and look at those spines.

These aren’t O’io, but they are fish and they are beautiful and they take a fly. That checks a lot of boxes.

I do enjoy the Islands.


19
Feb 24

Christmas Wrasse

Aloha!

I’m in Kauai for vacation (kid is off school this week) and of course I brought a rod (two, actually) along.

I decided to pass some time right in front of the resort and was rewarded with a few Christmas Wrasse.

I mean… how are these even real? Look at those colors!

This fish didn’t put me into my backing and barely put a bend in my 8 wt., but… I could look at this fish all day.

This is one thing I love about these kinds of places… the fish are often glorious.

I had to drop down from a #6 to a #8 for this guy. Otherwise they couldn’t fit it in their mouths.


11
Feb 24

One Year Count Down – Christmas Island

Well… it is booked. The deposit is paid. This thing is happening. I’ll be heading back to Christmas Island Feb. 11 of 2025.

I can’t wait to be back out there.

It is just such a cool environment. I really enjoyed it when i was there in 2019, before the world shut down for a few years.

I loved the trigger fish, the GT shots, the bonefish, the BFTs and all the wierd and beautiful stuff you’d catch near the Korean Wreck.

I just loved it. And I’m headed back.

We’ll be at Christmas Island Lodge, which seems a good operation.

Here’s to the days and hours of anticipation. Get out there.


09
Feb 24

Godspeed Cathy Beck

I never met Cathy Beck, but I certainly knew of her, and her husband Berry. Word came out earlier this week that Cathy passed away while they were fishing down in Argentina. Condolences to Barry and all those who knew and loved Cathy, and that seems like a lot of people.

Here she is talking casting and hauls.


07
Feb 24

The Helios 4 is announced

Years ago… many years ago… I had the Helios 2 sent to me to bring on a trip (Cuba, maybe?).

I fell in love with the thing. It was my go-to rod for bones and I caught a lot of fish on it. I liked it so much I kept it… I traded some ad space on the blog for the rod. That was back when someone would actually give you someting of value for a banner ad on your niche fly fishing blog (oh, those were the days).

Recently, I was an idiot. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last. My idiocy, in this case, manifested with my snapping the tip off the rod. The good folks at Orvis are going to take a crack at a repair. They don’t make the H2 anymore, so I’ll see what they say when they get it.

Today, it felt like Alexa was listening to me on the phone with Orvis Rod Repair and in my feed popped some posts about the newest Helios coming out.

I’m usually a bit skeptical about 90% of claims of products of any kind. That said… I loved that H2. It was magic.

Maybe you have a special relationship with a rod… something that just comes alive in your hands.

I’m looking forward to getting that H2 back, even if Christmas Island is a year away.


30
Jan 24

Broken Links

The site has a LOT of broken links… hyperlinks pointing to the ghostly remains of “something” that once was, but is no more.

The blog has been going so long there are a lot of markers in the graveyard… companies that never got off the ground, blogs and websites that shared something important once and have faded into and then out of memory.

There are lodges that folded, some that were swept away, guides who have passed on or retired. There has been a lot of water under the bridge.

Heck, even this site has had several near misses with demise. I don’t write much on it these days as more of my time is spent on the youth soccer pitch than on any form of flat or doing any kind of fishing. I still have the itch. I still have the love. I just don’t have the committment to it, as I have other things I love that require tending and attention, like my marriage and my job, parenting and coaching.

It occured to me I was maybe something like an “influencer” back in the day, before that was a way you made a living, back before you got paid for it. I got some trips and some gear and some stories out of that era, but then came short-form social media, which I didn’t put the time into to figure out and when that faded in preference to more photo-driven and video-driven modes, well, I was two formats behind.

Today, no one really cares too much what I have to say on much of anything, and rightly so. But, I still have some stories to tell and thoughts to share on the pursuit of silvery fish in shallow waters with a fly rod in hand.

I can also still recognize some of the cool stuff floating around out there… like this very well written profile of Flip Pallot by Sarah Grigg. It is worth a read and will get you thinking.