Marshall Cutchin is the editor and publisher of the website MidCurrent, which sits firmly in the middle of the flyfishing-meets-web world. He was a Lower Keys guide, so he’s no stranger to bonefish. Marshall recently agreed to answer a few questions about his bonefishing life.
Marshall, where would you say you are on the arc of the bonefisherman?
As in all my other fishing, I remain an adequate bonefisherman. I’m on pretty good terms with them — they do all the things I expect them to do, like run up and eat flies that land 20 feet away and reject all of my absolutely perfect presentations. It’s pretty hard not to like them.
I saw you had flies included in Aaron Adams’ book A Fisherman’s Guide to Saltwater Prey. Is there a bonefish pattern you are particularly enjoying tying these days?
One of my favorite bonefish flies is still a small Merkin. They are very easy to tie and cast, and they work in almost every part of the world that I’ve fished. Not to mention that they are handy to have on the line when a permit, mutton or small tarpon shows up.
Do you have a favorite bonefish rig (rod/reel) these days?
I’m using an Orvis Helios 8-weight and Tibor Everglades reel almost all the time now, though I also carry my old Sage III RPLX nine-weight and Abel 3N, both more than 20 years old now — that’s a mojo thing.
Through your blog, Midcurrent, I’d imagine you are paying pretty close attention to what’s going on around the industry. What’s the biggest bonefishing story you’ve seen in a while?
We get a ton of fish pictures, but honestly I think the best stories I hear are from the real experts — people like author Carl Hiaasen, who told me about a week of spring fishing when the fish wouldn’t eat anything… until they did. Just catching one difficult tailing bonefish on a place like Islamorada’s Shell Key or Buchanan Bank is worth a week’s frustration. And they don’t have to be 12-pounders.
Do you have a bonefish that stands out in your memory more than others?
Probably a 10-pound fish that Del Brown caught with me after we had already caught a couple of permit. He was annoyed that the fish had garbaged one of his perfect flies and that I had to retie his leader.
What are the toughest conditions you’ve experienced out on the flats?
I’ve fished four or five days when the wind was blowing 30-35 knots. A couple were permit fishing and the other two were tarpon fishing. Every time the fishing was fantastic, if painful.
When I think of bonefishing, I also think of cracked conch and a cold Kalik. What associations do you make when thinking of chasing bones?
I think of not eating lunch because the fishing was so good. Crystalline light. Getting in the water with a dying sperm whale while at the end of an evening trip for tailing bones. And the first time I ever caught a bonefish, which grabbed a pink streamer I was throwing to baby tarpon beneath the Boca Chica (Key West) naval air station runway. It’s the unexpected that’s easiest to remember.
Thanks Marshall. Much appreciated.
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