Jan 15

More on boat manners

Scott put together a list of suggestions to be an A-Class flats boat-mate. Included are good things to keep in mind, like:

5.) Center-up on the seat. If you are not in the center of the boat, it makes it harder for the guide to pole. If you want to stand and help search for fish, center-up then too. If it is very windy, ask the guide if it is OK to stand. It may be harder for him to pole in a stiff wind with you standing. If the guide is working harder to pole the boat, it may be more difficult for him to find fish.

See? Good stuff to think about. Check it out.

Cuba Bjorn Casting


Dec 14

Being a good fishing partner

Gink and Gasoline had a great piece about being a good boat-mate and an all around good angler to have in the boat. This is their piece about Flats Boat Etiquette.

The gang

The gang

It is a good list for sure. I have one thing to add and one thing I’m actually going to, gulp, disagree on.

First, the addition. When you are not on the bow, and especially when it is windy, you have one very important task. Keep your buddy’s line from slipping out of the boat or from tangling on anything. You aren’t fishing, so help out. It is super appreciated and may just help your buddy convert and get you back up on the bow again.

Now, the disagreement. The “Don’t do the guide’s job” bit… true, you are not the captain, but your captain only has two eyes. Look for fish. Both on the bow and off the bow. Look for fish. Scan the water. Look where the guide isn’t looking (fish have a way of turning up in odd places sometimes). Always be looking. You should only be sitting down having a beer when the fishing is so good (or bad) it doesn’t matter. Look, pay attention, improve your own fish finding abilities.

Am I off on the disagreement? If you guide, do you really not want the angler to be looking for fish?

As always, feel free to disagree with me, but if you do, please explain why. It makes for a richer conversation.


Nov 14

Scott is back from Water Cay

Scott just returned from Water Cay and again, it was a great trip. In a pretty interesting post, he talks about the “Water Cay Method.”

Fishing at Water Cay is a learning experience for even the most seasoned of anglers. All three of the guides are analytical, good at communicating their methods and have some of the best bonefish eyes I have ever seen. But a warning, if you are the know-it-all type that doesn’t want to try something new, don’t go to Water Cay. But if you want to get better and put some new arrows in your angling quiver, Water Cay should be near the top on your bucket list.

I really do enjoy being out with a great guide, learning new things, putting old things in a new perspective.

Never stop learning.

Jul 14

The going away shot

The line is flying.

The line is flying.

Let me paint the picture for you.

You are on the flat. The fishing has been maybe a bit slow. The shots are few and far between and the fish are not happy fish.

You see a fish, it is coming closer… maybe you get a shot in, not dice, the fish turns, slowly, not spooked, but now headed away. Maybe it is turned 45 degrees away. Swimming slowly.

In this situation… do you make the cast?

Points to consider.

1. Bonefish really hate it when flies move toward them. Prey does not sacrifice itself to the predator and a shrimp does not swim into the mouth of a bonefish. A bonefish that gets an uncomfortable feeling is a bonefish that swims away very, very fast. Sometimes, bonefish turns again and comes back if he isn’t freaked out. So, best to not fire off the Hail Mary and wait and see if it comes back around.

2. Things happen. A bonefish might, just might turn and pounce on the fly and gobble it up. You can’t catch the fish if you fly isn’t in the water and if the fish was moving away, it probably was going to be a shot you weren’t going to have again anyway.

Where do you come down on this?

Jun 14

Casting Further

The good folks over at Deneki have an article all about how to get a little more out of your casting.

Always a good thing. Never stop learning. Never stop trying to get just a little bit better.

Casting... work on it.

Casting… work on it.

Feb 14

Flatswalker goes to Acklins

Flatswalker is good stuff. Recently, he went to Acklins and, luckily, he wrote about it.

I reach the hotel bar: dry, plainly furnished, with a quartet of anglers drinking in the corner. In place of a bartender there’s a ledger with a number of hash marks. Ah. The honor system. There’s a picnic cooler with an assortment of beer. A little digging surfaces a Kalik and after the first swig I feel my hopes rising. Surely the weather will clear to the east, right? Bound to. Surely.

Feb 14

Good Content

Deneki is the content king when it comes to bonefishing. They just put out a mountain of good information. With that in mind, you might want to check out the list of their top ten bonefishing related posts.


Andros South… I have some very fond memories of that place.

Nice bone, tagged and ready to go. Photo by Cameron Miller.

Nice bone, tagged and ready to go. Photo by Cameron Miller.

Sep 13

My Mistakes. Sunburn.

Day one, it isn’t much of an issue. Day 3, day 4… 6… it’s an issue and it can really put a dent in your experience.

My “problem areas” are:

  • The spot below my cap and above my buff on the side of my head
  • The backs of my hands

I’ve thus far avoided a bad burn on the tops of my feet, but I can see how that would be an issue. I think it is a matter of time before they make sun gloves for your feet for boats (if you make this and sell it, I want a %).

The backs of my hands is the part that has gotten bad on some trips. I simply don’t re-apply sunscreen enough and have a habit of leaving my sun gloves back at the lodge. I noticed one trip where I was constantly trying to hide my hands from the sun with my body. It meant I was distracted and it meant I was probably not paying as much attention as I could have been to the fishing.

Don’t do things that take you out of the moment. Getting the right gear to keep you covered and sunburn free is key.

Finally... wearing the gloves.

Finally… wearing the gloves.

Sep 13

My Mistakes. Tarpon Hook Setting

I have a feeling I’m not done making mistakes when it comes to setting the hook on a tarpon, but I have a few choice mistakes that are top-of-mind.

I didn’t have a lot/any knowledge about tarpon when I went fishing for them for the first time in Belize in 2010. So, when I got my first eat and I set the hook and the hook stuck I cleared the line like I would for bonefish.

Well… that was a dumb thing to do, as it turned out. The fish was off, and with it my best shot from that day. You keep tight to the tarpon. I didn’t do that. I haven’t done that particular bad move again, but I have pretty much re-trod the tarpon mistakes that most folks make.

Derek Rust's grand slam tarpon. #skinnywaterculture

Derek Rust’s grand slam tarpon. #skinnywaterculture

Mostly, there is just a tad too much trout set in my tarpon set, regardless of efforts and intentions to get that out of my game.

The Gink & Gasoline guys have some good tarpon pointers.

What tarpon setting errors have you made?

Sep 13

My mistakes. Line clearing.

Often times the mistakes we make stand out more than the successes. It is an evolutionary driver. If our ancient relatives made a mistake that almost got them killed while looking for tubers out on the plains, well, they needed to hold on to that mistake and learn from it. We function the same way today, even when it comes to fishing.

The first day I caught bonefish in the Bahamas I was with my dad and a guide. Toward the end of the day the guide dropped me off on a flat that had a couple tailing bonefish and he worked with my dad. I was all in favor of this move.

I positioned myself well for a shot at the tailing bones, who were going on about their business rather eagerly. I made the cast (a few, as I recall) and, somehow, the fish ate. I strip set (a minor miracle) and the fish hit its “Warp Speed” button.

What happened next will be ingrained in my memory for a long time. The line flew up and wrapped itself around the reel handle. The fish popped off about 2 seconds after I hooked it. I was left flabbergasted and broken hearted.

There is a proper way to do it and you can bet I do that every time now. One the fish is hooked, your line hand should move the line out and away from your rod until all the slack is taken up and the fish is on the reel.

Go to 2:53.

You ever wrap your line around the reel or rod and lost a fish?