11
Jul 19

Ban the Nets! Belize Edition

There is an effort underway to get gillnets banned in Belize. I can’t think of many places I’d rather see nets banned.

Saw this in an email from Yellow Dog, promoting the conservation efforts going on in Belize. Kudos to the folks at Yellow Dog for including that in their email marketing… a step they don’t have to take, but are.

The folks behind this could use a bit of a financial bump. Consider donating.

I love Belize and I’ll be clicking a few dollars their way for sure.

Awesome

10
Jul 19

A bad look for Louisiana

There’s no point to this… killing tarpon in tournaments.

Dumb.

Golden Meadow Tarpon Rodeo

06
Jul 19

Down the Path Podcast

Well… this was a recommendation from a reader. Yeah, this is now what I’m going to be listening to for a bit.

Ron Sheepstra goes missing in Xcalak.

This is a production of The Flyfish Journal.


28
Jun 19

Violence in Belize

You may have seen the story… a fly fishing trip that ends in a double murder. If you had told me that happened in the Keys, I would have thought it was a matter of time. Tell me that happened in Belize and I’d call you a liar.

A 53-year old cardiologist on vacation with his wife and three kids gets caught up in some crazy gangster/drug BS and ends up dead, along with the intended target, his guide.

Here’s the story.

I’ve been to Belize a few times. I love Belize. I’ve been to San Pedro and I’ve fished the same waters where they were killed. It all sounds crazy, but, these are crazy times, I suppose.

The permit. Not a big permit, but a permit.

I had my second honeymoon in Belize. I caught my first (and only) grand slam in Belize. I’ve vacationed on Belize with my daughter for a couple daddy-daughter Spring Break trips.

One of the highlights from Spring Break 2017.

Will this change your travel plans to Belize?


11
Jun 19

Getting to Cuba Just Got Harder

The Trump Administration recently announced some expanded travel restrictions for Cuba, because, ya know… they are super, super, super duper a threat to our way of life and, also, he’d like to keep Florida red in 2020.

Cuba

I talked with Kristen Tripp, Program Director for Cuba at Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures and I asked her what the impact of this latest news would be on their program.

First, Kristen expressed her frustration and sorrow for the people of Cuba who have been through a lot, make due with very little and are certainly being hurt by some of these very backward looking policies. There’s a shortage of just about everything in Cuba, including chickens, and people really are being put through unnecessary harm.

Awesome shot by Jim Klug in Cuba, 2012.

Second, Kristen explained that things have changes since I went to Cuba back in 2012. The whole operation has worked hard to make their trips legal (read, not just sneaking in from Mexico). This new policy makes that harder, but not impossible and they’ll be trying very hard to maintain above-board Cuban trips this year and into the future. Trips are still being booked to Cuba and any already on the books are grandfathered in. Still, there will be changes and the exact fall-out is a bit still to be worked out.

Cuba was a fantastic experience for me… one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was pretty obvious how bad the Cuban people were hurting back then and it hasn’t gotten better since. It is all a travesty and I hope some intelligence seeps into our Cuban policy that doesn’t revolve around Presidential politics.

Photo by Matt Hansen… me, seconds after losing a really, really nice fish.

For the latest developments, there are few people better suited to answer your questions than the folks at Yellow Dog and Kristen in particular.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea. So does Foreign Policy (that liberal rag). The Guardian thinks sanctions don’t work. Fortune seems to think it is a bad idea.

It is bad policy… a failed policy that didn’t work for 50 years. Let’s get past this.


02
Jun 19

Costa Rica Tarpon

I don’t think I want to go for a swim in here, but the tarpon look FUN.

I really need to get into another tarpon.

I’m just going to say this… there is usually no point to just casting your fly back and forth more than, oh, twice. I call that “casterbating” while you may use another term. Whatever it is, it isn’t shadow casting from a river runs through it, which isn’t a thing anyway.

In that video the angler is doing two things I’d change. First… cast closer to the shore. If you are as short as he is, so frequently, that’s not doing you any favors. Put the fly in front of the fish. Second… get that fly out of the air and into the water.

Costa Rica… yeah… on the list, but the list is too long.


29
May 19

The Story of Oliver White

Few figures in fly fishing right now are as compelling as Oliver White. Owner of Abaco Lodge (and I think Bair’s Lodge) and co-founder of IndiFly, Oliver is the kind of guy you’d want to spend a day on the water with.

Here’s a well done video (the Felt Soul guys) with some of his story.

(Looks like they took this video down… not sure what is going on there, but it is no longer on the Felt Soul site)


26
May 19

The picture, the bonefish and you

I think I’ve been pretty upfront with some of my own bonefish handling mistakes. The first bonefish I ever caught I had out of the water maybe a minute. Same goes for all the fish caught that day. The guide told me the fish would be fine and that they were hardy fish.

That green hat, my first decent bonefish and some horrible fish handling.

That was pretty much bullshit and the science shows just how wrong that is. Bonefish can and do die frequently post-release. It isn’t the exhaustion, like might kill a trout caught in water just a tad to warm. The bonefish will usually swim away just fine and you’ll think “A perfect release.” However, that fish may very well end up in the belly of of cuda or shark within the next few minutes (sometimes seconds).

I mean, yeah, there were a couple of podcast episodes on this very thing due to a fish I had eaten post-release in Grand Bahama.

You have to minimize handing and air exposure for that fish to have a fighting chance. That means your photo taking has to change. Keep that fish in the water. If you are sitting in the boat with the fish in both your hands, that fish stands a substantially higher risk of predation (being eaten). Here are some tips from the folks at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust on good C&R habits.

The truth of the matter is, after a couple pictures, the fish pretty much look alike. You don’t need to photograph each and every one.

Abaco Lodge and Bair’s Lodge do a great job of showing good handling. Their fish pics are of fish in the water. That’s great. Modeling good handing really helps. The clients look to the guides for how things should be done.

One place you really might be more OK with a fish out of water pic is Hawaii, where natural predators have been greatly reduced. There are simply fewer things to eat those fish post-release.

So, let’s all try to be better. I know I still have work to do, but I’m up for trying to improve.


02
May 19

Oh Bahamas Regulation mess, I didn’t miss you

Sounds like these got dropped off in Eleuthera recently and are being distributed around the island.

Eleuthera is a DIY location for the most part. Guides are scarce and many anglers have been heading there for years to ply the waters on their own.

A permit there would be hard to come by (I guess you go to Tracy Auto Parts?). The process isn’t exactly working, really anywhere, and there’s no real sense of who is enforcing this sort of thing. If there IS enforcement for this, why not for gill-nets?

So many questions… so many questions.


24
Apr 19

Big bad ideas in South Abaco

Here’s a story you should check out. The Abaconian paper put out a really well done piece about the latest in a LONG parade of bad development proposals for South Abaco.

. The Abaconian paper put out a really well done piece about the latest in a LONG parade of bad development proposals for South Abaco.

Kakona appears to have similar plans to the now-maligned Valencia Group from 2007. Of course, Kakona is just the latest in a string of development companies to attempt a project in South Abaco.

In 2007 it was “Valencia.” In 2012 “The Resorts of South Abaco” came knocking. Followed in 2015 by “The Ranches of South Abaco.” Finally, in 2018, “Kakona” is making a play.


http://www.theabaconian.com/2018/12/12/proposed-south-abaco-development-latest-in-poorly-planned-projects/

It feels a bit like I heard Florida was back in the day… a haven for frauds and con artists selling dreams.

What pipe dreams look like.