06
Feb 19

Triggered in Christmas Island

I’m back from a week in Christmas Island on the trip hosted by my friend Shane through The Fly Shop.

It was a good trip with some good people and some tough weather. Conditions were overcast on our first few days of fishing and that’s one reason I was particularly pleased with the trigger fishing.

People say trigger fishing is like permit fishing. That is something I’m not sure I can totally agree on, as I’ve now caught three triggers and have only caught one permit (although I’ve had about 20X the trigger shots than I’ve had permit shots). I think permit get the edge in difficulty and I’m happy to let them have it because that leaves trigger fishing as more enjoyable.

Sure, I blew plenty of trigger shots, but they are pretty easy to find, even on overcast, windy, rainy days. They let you get fairly close, if they don’t spook when you look at them. Also, I had a good sense of what I needed to do when casting at one.

First fishing day greeted us with rain, wind and thick grey skies. My guide (ee went by “T”) and I found some bones, but we found many more triggers. I had caught one trigger in Mexico with Nick Denbow, but these triggers were more colorful and more plentiful. I was happy they were there.

I had maybe 20 good triggers shots on the first day and had three eats that I didn’t come tight to before it happened.

This is still my largest trigger. I was surprised by how hard he pulled.

Nice looking trigger.

I had heard the main thing you need to do is keep them out of their rocky/coral homes after they get hooked. That in mind, I put the stick to the fish, knowing I had 20 pound tippet to play with. S/He made a couple of nice runs (not to its hole), but we managed to get it in. Lovely fish. Cool eyes. I was stoked. Day was made.

Now… you’ll notice where my rod is in the picture above. So… when I lowered the fish to the water… well… this happened.

uh oh

It held on for probably 2 minutes.

Um… now what?

Finally, it let go. The rod, a Redington Predator 8 wt., was, to my shock, totally fine. It had bitten the ferrule, maybe the strongest part of the rod. No damage was done. Helped that the teeth didn’t get it bad at all.

So, that was day one.

The rest of the week I cast at several more triggers, but didn’t get any to seal the deal. I had some follows, some interest, maybe some eats, but no more triggers to hand.

On the last day we had GLORIOUS LIGHT. Despite the light I was having a crisis of confidence as I went 1/25 on bones in the morning. I was seeing them very well, often before the guide (thanks, 6’3″ frame) but I just couldn’t get it to them how they wanted it. I was dejected. After lunch, I had some redemption, going about 5/15 with two coming unhooked and one lost to coral. Then… the second and last trigger of the trip.

I loved it. One cast and it was on. The cast was perfect and I needed a perfect cast to help salvage some dignity.

Last trigger of the trip

(Yes, that’s what passed for great light on this trip)

This guy even ate a bonefish fly. Go figure.

Not really fishable any more.

I’ve grown quite fond of triggers. They’ll hold a special place in my heart for a while.

More to come on the trip.


26
Jan 19

I’m at that point…

I leave for Christmas Island in two days. I’m at that point where I have almost everything together for the trip and I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but I don’t know what that thing is.

I have… two eight weights, two ten weights, a twelve… three 8 wt. reels, three reels for the 10, one for the 12. I have leader material and tippet and about 300-500 flies, depending on how you count them. I have my boots and socks and pants and shirts and sun screen and body glide (for that chaffing you can get on the inner thighs). I have cameras and chargers and plugs and… the list goes on and on.

So… what is the one thing I’m forgetting??????

We shall see, and soon.


21
Jan 19

Dr. King in the Bahamas

A cool little story about Bimini and Dr. King. Reposted on MLK Day.

Ansil brought us to an open space in the mangrove. “They call this Bonefish Hole, but I call this Dr. King’s Creek of Peace because this is where I brought Martin Luther King.”

 

I first published a version of this in 2013 after finding out King had been to the Bahamas and been out with Ansil into the mangroves.


16
Jan 19

Beyond the Horizon video – Honduras

Well… that’s pretty damn interesting. Off the map in Honduras.

 


09
Jan 19

We need to Bahamas to be better than the US

I’ve had it in salad. I’ve had it in fritters. I’ve had it deep fried. I’ve had it in chowder. My daughter has even had it raw.

When I think of the Bahamas, I think of conch. But… there was a time when you might think of the Keys when you thought of conch. I have a vague recollection of my dad having a conch salad when I made my first trip to Florida around… oh… 1984. But, you won’t find conch for sale in the Keys these days.

From what I gather the Keys conch fishery collapsed in the mid 70’s and all commercial and recreational harvesting of conch was banned in 1985. To this day… 33 years later, the fishery still hasn’t recovered.

The Bahamas has shown signs of stress and it keeps getting more and more pressure heaped on it as the out islands gather conch to eat locally and to send to all those tourists in Nassau and export markets.

The whole show may only have 10-15 years according to a new study.

I can’t even imagine the impact a conch collapse would have economically on Bahamians. Something has to change and in this, I hope the Bahamians can learn from the mistakes of their Western neighbors.

Cracked


08
Jan 19

Shane goes to Christmas Island

This video from Christmas Island is from 2013… I’m headed there with Shane at the end of the month. CANNOT WAIT!


05
Jan 19

Why I’ll get back to Mexico at some point

Trigger Food

This fly had the misfortune to find itself in the mouth of a trigger fish. Man… those chompers are serious.

Guide Nick Denbow put me on this fish down out of Mahahaul, MX back in 2016.

A trigger, and Costas

I found other triggers, hooked a few, but found them tough to get to hand and VERY tough on flies. I fished for an hour with one of those bitters crimped by a trigger before I noticed.

As I head to Christmas Island here in a few weeks I’m thinking about triggers again and I’m trying to tie up some flies durable enough to get the job done. I’m using epoxy (really for the first time) and I’m working on things crabby.

That’s some heavy wire, man… heavy…

I don’t even know what these hooks are. Found them at Bass Pro and not in the fly tying section. This is some kind of bait hook and about 4x heavier than any other fly hook that size I’ve ever seen. That’ll do… that’ll do.

Look out triggers… I’m coming for you… wherever you are.


01
Jan 19

2019 – A Preview

When I look out at 2019 I can’t look much past what will happen at the end of the month. That’s when I’m going to be heading to Christmas Island.

I mean… Christmas Island.

Yeah…that’s a big one.

That’s my big trip for the year. Very much looking forward to that trip. My gear is in. Lots of tying still to be done, but it should be a very, very good time.

Spring Break with my daughter is still a bit undecided. Planning on camping in Kauai, but I need to get that reserved. If it is full, well… not sure where we’ll go. Planning on being somewhere fairly tropical. Trying to do something on the cheap, so we’ll see what I put together. Fishing is always a part of this, but not the main thing.

There is a planned trip to Hawaii, but we are going to the BIg Island this time, so I won’t get to fish with Kenny in 2019. I don’t know what the fishing is like on the Big Island, but I have the impression it’s a rare thing to catch a bone there.

Hope to get the kids back camping up in trout country.

I need to get my now 5 year old son into more fish in 2019 and I’m suspecting Jack Smelt might be the way forward. They are plentiful and they are close. These are two key attributes.

I’m hoping to get a trip up to the McCloud in there somewhere too. It is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world and there is some thread that ties me to it. Each year I don’t fish it I feel some pang, some faint discordant twang on that thread.

Where are you fishing in 2019?


30
Dec 18

Obligatory Review of 2018

Another year is in the books. Let’s see how it went.

I got three distinct chances to chase bonefish in 2018.

Spring Break in Caye Caulker, Belize.

Family trip to Oahu.

Week at East End Lodge.

Spring Break turned out VERY different than planned. I caught bonefish off the dock and managed one with Heywood before I got sick. Sick I stayed for 2.5 days. It wasn’t how I wanted my daughter to spend her Spring Break, but… ya know… things happen. My girl got her first snook… so, there was that. I love Caye Caulker and I’ll be back.

Heywood with my daughter’s snook

Oahu and I managed to get another day with Captain Kenny. He’s a great guide and I enjoyed my day. Managed another Hawaiian bonefish, which is a feat that haunted me until Capt. Kenny banished those demons in 2017.

A nice o’io on a cloudy day in Oahu.

The trip to East End Lodge was, in a word, fantastic. The weather in July, the last week they were open, was hot, but the winds were low. The fishing was first class and the guide was brilliant. Food was on point. Rooms were comfortable. Ya know… I kind of liked it there. I have a real fondness for that part of the Bahamas. It is where I caught my first bone a decade ago. It is where I caught my first DIY bone. I love it there and I love it more now.

That’s a pretty good year. I have to say. With family and job and lots of adulting going on, getting in the salt three times is damn fine work.

I didn’t get camping this year. Smoke and fires kept that from happening, and so my son and daughter didn’t catch a trout this year. I’ll fix that in 2019.

I didn’t fish the McCloud this year. I only fished the Upper Sacramento for about an hour. I didn’t fish the Truckee or the Carson or the Walker. I didn’t fish Montana. I didn’t fish Oregon.

I didn’t fish Florida. I didn’t fish Mexico.

The list is nearly endless of places I didn’t fish… but I’m happy with where I managed to wet a line in 2018.

 


27
Dec 18

Well Wishes

Second Christmas is coming… about a month out. Some gear still left to acquire and about 100 flies left to tie.