My own picture taking

I’ve noticed a real trend in my own picture taking when it comes to bonefish.

My first bonefish pics were pretty much the standard bearer for what not to do.  Long air exposure, excessive handling.  Those fish probably didn’t do well.

Yeah... I cringe a bit seeing these pictures.

I didn’t know better and the guide on that particular trip didn’t seem concerned in the slightest. It was kind of a big #fail, even if I didn’t know it yet.

The next trip (same island, different guide) was a big change. I knew better and I was glad to see the guide knew better too.  Captain Perry was my guide and he was very, very vigilant when it came to handling of fish.  The whole day with him we didn’t take a single fish out of the water for pictures.

My last trip to Cuba I found that I was often foregoing the photo-op.  Maybe I’d take a pic of the fish underwater, but often times I would just let them go at the side of the boat and not even snap a single picture. The pics aren’t too glamorous, but I’ve found I’m a bit less concerned about that now.  I do like having a nice photo and I have a few, but I don’t need a hero shot with every fish, or even most of them.

Let those fish swim.

Maybe not the sexiest pic.

Here’s advice from BTT about how to handle a bonefish and how to practice good C&R.


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  1. Good Show!

    Your going through the natural progression to a steward of nature.

  2. Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for your positive comment regarding my flies on Dan Blantons board.

    I don’t begrudge anyone having a “hero” photo snapped of folks holding exceptional/memoral fish. I do begrudge folks who don’t practice proper fish handling techniques and/or use jaw holding devices of any kind and even coarse nylon landing nets. Did you ever see how much spunk/slime is removed from a bone with one of those nets ? (as a good number of bonefish guides are want to do). It’s equivelant to at least 100 times the snot left on your tippit after landing a fish. Bare wet hands is best with no fish contact on dry clothing etc.

    BTT by it’s own practices must handle bones in order to tag, scale sample and measure fish. Far more handling of a fish than a quick “lift…snap, snap…release” requires. I admit though, that I have seen videos of tagging etc. being done in the water; boatside and the process seems to impart very little stress on the fish. Cudo’s to those that do that.

    I return to past photo’s of my bonefishing adventures time and time again to re live the whole experience. Much in part due to the fact that I don’t to get to do it as frequently as I wish. Perhaps both will change for me at some point in the future but until then, I’ll grab the odd hero shot all the while handling the fish as gently as possible.

    Glad you liked the fishing in Cuba. Just imagine, The JDR is only one portion of excelent bonefish/tarpon/permit habitat the island has to offer. The north shore also has endless miles of pristine fishable water. I predict that once Cuba opens up for unrestricted travel for US citizens, there will be price crashes for lodges and guided fishing throughout the Carribean, Bahama’s, Belize and Mexico as they try to regain their market share.



  3. Cameras & Boga Grips kill fish. Wet release is the best method.

  4. When I started fishing I’d go for those hero shots because that was expected -just like grandpa had and what your admiring non-fishing public expects. Can you imagine a future where your descendants or future viewers of todays photos and see you handling fish only in the water? How often do you see photos today of people lifting by the gills?

  5. Thanks for the comments. Photos are a personal thing and some folks get right pissed if you suggest not doing the classic hero pose. I don’t mean to be harsh to anyone on that, I just want to try and spread the word about how to best care for the resource.

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