Second Christmas is coming… about a month out. Some gear still left to acquire and about 100 flies left to tie.
The Cliche of Gin
The water, most days, in most of the places I love being is gin clear.
It is as clear as water, but you just can’t say that, right? It’s like you aren’t even trying.
It is as clear as stale 7-Up.
It is as clear as simple arithmetic.
It is as clear as a bag of IV solution
which is usually saline, which makes sense.
It is as clear as the nose on my face.
It is at clear as the rumbling, booming Dolby hi-def deafening audio at the movie theatre.
It is as clear as a clear day.
It is as clear as a dive in the box.
It is clear as clear.
That’s how the water is in the places I love on a good day when the wind isn’t up too much and there’s no churn from a cold front.
It is only the part in the middle that is clear.
The surface has ripples and currents and is seldom still.
The bottom is a jumble of refracted light and swaying grasses which confuse and trick the eye.
But the medium in the middle, the domain of the fish, it is clear as gin.
Here’s something for you to check out if you want to know what Irma did to the Keys.
A story by Dr. Aaron Adams in This is Fly about what impact Irma has on the Keys, which should give you a pretty good idea of the shape of things.
I like Yvon Chouinard. The business he founded, Patagonia, has an ethic I dig and gear I cherish (I better cherish because it is damn expensive, but you get what you pay for).
Here’s a link to his op-ed in the LA Times about the challenges facing our public lands.
The Jackson Hole News and Guide came out with a really great story about long-time/monumental guide Bill Curtis, who passed away last year. Good read.
I never met Bill Curtis. Wish I did. Sounds like he was a really interesting guy.
And… because Florida… someone stole Bill Curtis’s ashes from a pick-up truck.
Oh Florida… you work hard to earn your reputation.
Some bad news for Belize, Mexico and Honduras… Earl is coming and he likely will become a hurricane some time tomorrow.
Thoughts are with those in the path of Earl.
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust is an organization I hold in high regard. They are the stewards and watchers on the wall for the species we love and the places they live. They are, as the saying goes, “good people.”
Being that they are good people and they do a lot of work in the Bahamas and have developed many relationships there over the years, I was happy to see their more detailed recommendations for regulations to protect and preserve Bahamian sport-fishing in a sustainable way for the long haul.
In fact, it is so well reasoned and well crafted I am nearly 100% positive that these points of recommendation will be rejected, probably in whole.
The fundamental reason these points will be rejected (or, more likely, just ignored) is that the move to regulate flats fishing has little to nothing to do with conserving the fisheries. Sure, there is a lot of talk about how these regulations are designed to ensure the fishery will be there for future generations, but this appears to mean “it will be here for future generations because we are going to get rid of all the anglers.”
The government has made noise about “consultation,” but they have selected the most radical people to take their advice from and have ignored the input of so many important stakeholders.
The government would do well to listen to this bit of advice from BTT if they want to find a sane way to regulate the industry and preserve the fishery for future generations, as they say they do.
I have no confidence Minister Gray or Prescott Smith will take any of BTT”s suggestions because their true motivations do not appear to align with passing sane regulations.
I’d love to be proven wrong.
I have friends who love to give me crap about fish feeling pain. They send me stories and pictures about poor fish in pain. I have long countered with my standard line “I can’t tell you fish don’t experience something, but they don’t experience pain like you and I do.”
They have not believed me. Actually, maybe they did, but they just like giving me crap (that sound more probable).
I was glad to see that the argument has been settled WITH SCIENCE! I like science.
“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
You can find the story about the science here.
Day four saw Davin and I deciding to camp out in Tav and just wait it out. If you are trying to move around to find a fish that moves around, you stand some chance of missing the fish every time. If you wait, so the thinking went, the fish will have to come to you.
It was a good theory.
The weather was grey, the water was hard to see anything in, the wind was up. In short, not ideal.
This proved to be the closest I would get to my oceanside tarpon. Davin, it turns out, sold his soul (at least a part of his soul at any rate) to gypsies in return for super-human vision. He was calling out fish for me on a day when I couldn’t see a damn thing. He must have seen 100 fish that day, I saw about 8. I was making casts to fish I couldn’t see, but Davin and I were working like a team and we were working well.
Three follows. That was the grand tally for the day.
“Tarpon fishing is a game of incremental victories,” said Davin, and that is certainly true. The fish you see. The fish you cast at. The fish that follow. The fish you get to eat. The fish you jump. The fish you land and release. On a bad day you count it all. On a good day? I’ll let you know when I have one.
At one point we got chased off the water by a wall of watery darkness, managing to run under the protection of Nate’s awning just as the squall hit. We went back out, but the tides had changed the fish stopped moving (or moved further out where not even Davin’s gypsy purchased vision could find them).
Davin got to cast for about 5 minutes and had one shot in that time. He let me stand up there for hours, willing me to connect, but the fishing gods had other plans. Either that or this was the fishing gods’ plan and they are a bunch of jerks.
Another day, another smack down, but a good day on the water. I felt like at least I was in the game and that was more than I had felt the previous few days. Funny how I could feel mostly content on a day when I didn’t touch a single fish, but I did feel content. I took the small victories and was happy with them.