Aug 17

Bonefish and Tides with Dr. Aaron Adams

It is hard to keep up with BTT these days. They are just DOING so much. Good problem to have. I’m a member and I hope you are a member too.

Dr. Adams recently penned an article about bonefish tides. He’s someone you should really listen to.

Tides are one of those things most trout anglers aren’t going to be familiar with. What tides do you want to fish and how do you find those tides? This article is for you.

come out bonefish… where are you?

Mar 16

BTT in the spotlight

You have to love it when the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust gets into Forbes. The author, Monte Burke is an angler and he is a fan of conservation and throwing flies at fish, so it made sense he’d pen this particular story.

The story is an interview with Aaron Adams and I urge you to check it out.

BTT is an organization I support personally. I have talked to many folks there and believe in what they are about and how dedicated they are to their mission.

Go on… join BTT if you haven’t already.

Support BTT

Support BTT

Jan 14

Dark and Light Bonefish

I recently shared a picture from a Redington trip to Mexico that showed a nice Mexican bonefish. Someone remarked that they were amazed how dark the fish was. It was dark (below), but that same fish, feeding in a different part of its habitat almost certainly would have been lighter in color.

A dark backed bone.

A dark backed bone.

You see, bonefish can, and do, change color depending on their surroundings. They can’t pull a flounder on you and change their coloration to mimic precise shades of the bottom, but they can alter their color to better blend.

Bonefish have chromatophores which they use to control the pigment. That pigment can be concentrated to bring out those dark vertical bands on their backs and make the whole fish look green when feeding over grass. The bonefish can disperse pigment when feeding over white sand, making the silver fox look, well, silver, almost totally colorless.

The fish below was caught over white sand in Andros and, as you can see, it doesn’t have much color. It was blending in nicely.

Nice bone, tagged and ready to go. Photo by Cameron Miller.

Nice bone, tagged and ready to go. Photo by Cameron Miller.

They can’t do this instantly, however, which is why my favorite kind of bonefish is the bonefish moving in between dark and light bottoms. That dark backed bonefish stands out pretty nicely over a white bottom.

So, it isn’t that there are light populations and dark populations so much as there are bonefish, capable of adapting to whatever environment they happen to find their food in.

To understand more about the physiology of bonefish, I strongly recommend Fly-Fishing for Bonefish by Chico Fernandez. Dr. Aaron Adams handles the biology and does a pretty fine job of it.

Nov 13

Bonefish Awesomeness

Well. This is something you don’t see every day (or ever lifetime).

Go over to the Moldy Chum to see the details. This is a spawning aggregation. We knew this happened, but had never actually caught it on tape. Awesome site.

Jan 13

Bucaneers and Bones, Season 2

Maybe this got by you, or maybe your DVR is lined up already. The second season of Buccaneers and Bones is out and live and (maybe) coming to a TV/other viewing platform near you.

The location appears to be a return to Deep Water Cay in Grand Bahama.

Of course, this is done in partnership through the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, a worthy organization doing pretty awesome things for bonefish conservation (and tarpon and permit and the ocean in general).

I wish I could watch this show… but as of riiiiiiight now, I don’t get this channel, which seems nearly impossible given how much we pay a month for this damn cable.

(OK, I just added those channels to my lineup).



Nov 12

Trouble in Paradise

Islamorada is the Bonefishing Capital of the US. That makes the story I found by Sue Cocking about diminishing numbers of bonefish around Islamorada even more troubling.

“A lot of places where we used to find them, they’ve left,” Brewer said. “They’re just not around anymore. I lost a lot of days because of that. The ‘sportfishing capital of the world’ is not here as far as bonefish are concerned.”

A study published early this year by University of Miami bonefish researcher Mike Larkin and colleagues found the bonefish stock from Biscayne Bay through Key West is “bordering on an overfished status.” The last bonefish census in the region conducted in the fall of 2010 by UM and the non-profit Bonefish Tarpon Trust found a “substantial decrease” since guides and anglers began the annual count in 2003.

Well… this is not good.

The story goes on to talk about how researchers are going about trying to figure out what is happening so corrective action can be taken. It all starts with Science.  An interesting player, beyond the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (who are involved, as you might expect) is Audubon.

An interesting read if you fish there now, or plan to in the future.

Support BTT



Sep 12

Spending my own money

I had a birthday recently. I’m still waiting for your gifts to arrive, any tracking numbers to share?

Anyway, I had some gift certs to that little on-line marketplace called Amazon. I get a lot of gear on loan for trips, so I thought it might be interesting to know what I spend my own money on, and why.

The newest member of the family

First, I would normally try to buy from a shop. Getting the Amazon gift certs ruled that out. There are some shops around here, but they don’t sell through Amazon, so that was not where I was going to drop my money.  I had $300 to spend and on Amazon there really weren’t that many choices for saltwater appropriate reels.

My options were limited. The reel options were Hatch, Galvan, Ross, Hardy and Lamson, for the most part.  When you look at the right size at the right price, the pool was reduced further.  Would I like a Hatch or an F1 from Ross or a Nautilus?  Yes.  Would I have bought one of those if they were $300?  Yes. I would also buy a Tibor if it was $300, which they just aren’t.  So, confined by price, I looked for value.

I have to say that I know Aaron Adams and Davin Ebanks haves been fans of Lamsons and that did come into play.

I also put a Lamson through reel testing and it passed with flying colors.

It feels a bit like a modern consumer tale. It was vital I was not restricted by where or how I could buy the product.  Additionally, I was swayed much more by what I saw through my social network and through non-aligned social media than I was swayed by commercials, ads or any of the industry hype I have a habit of drinking like so much Kool-Aid.

So, that’s the story of my new Lamson Velocity 3.5. This reel is intended to take the place of my TFO 375, which has frozen up, corroded from saltwater exposure and is no longer fit for service. This will be my 7-8 weight bonefishing reel of choice (within my stable of options), until and unless it makes me regret that decision.

Jul 12

There’s the barb!

Before Cuba I dutifully went through and crimped barbs on my tarpon hooks.  I had heard, I thought, a crimped barb could better enter the tarpon’s notoriously bony mouth.  So, when I got to Cuba and opened up the box of flies I had tied and the guide said “oh… no barb.  No good.” I wondered if I had gotten the whole thing wrong (as I sometimes do).

After I got back and stewed on it a while I decided to ask Dr. Adams from the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

Turns out, I wasn’t off the mark. I was spot on.

So… crimp those barbs if you feel like it and fish the patterns you tie and if the guide gives you stick, just put it on when he isn’t looking and have at ’em (and if that doesn’t work, quietly go with the fly the guide wanted).

Simple and Sexy. Barb or not.

Dec 11

The goodness that is BTT, via Orvis

This gem is from Orvis News.

Over the last decade, the organization, now called Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, has grown into a many tentacled beast—providing funding for research, supporting conservation efforts, educating sport fishermen, working with regulatory authorities and legislators, and serving as “a repository of information and knowledge related to the life cycle, behavior, and well being of the species.” Such an effort requires a leader who understands the scientific concepts and the many different perspectives involved in any debate about the future of marine habitats. Since 2006, that man has been Dr. Aaron Adams, whose impeccable “street cred”—as a scientist, and author, and angler—have helped recreational anglers make the connection between BTU’s research and what’s happening on the water. (see the rest f the story here)

This piece profiles Aaron Adams and the work of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

Good stuff.

BTT's Aaron Adams scouting out El Pescador

Sep 11

EF Hutton talking tides

Aaron Adams is the bonefishing equivalent of EF Hutton from back in the day. So, when I saw that he was talking tides in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, I had to highlight it.

At any given time, only 10% of the fishable water harbors bonefish.  So figuring out how to eliminate the fishless 90% from your search area is half the battle. Understanding how bonefish use tides to their advantage will go a long way toward finding the productive 10%.