Mar 15


As in, Derek Rust. Here’s a short little film by Dan Decibel.

I haven’t met Dan, but I’ know Derek and count him as a friend. We’ve fished together a few times and in June I’m going out with him and my dad to try and tie my dad into a tarpon of some kind.

Derek doing the driving

Derek doing the driving

Basically, Derek is good people and fun to fish with. He guides out of Marathon and will get after just about anything that swims, minus the dolphins that play in the wake of his skiff.

Derek Rust… Guide. 

Oct 14

A Lemon at Last

I’ve cast at a fair number of lemon sharks. Several times I’ve seen them light up on a fly, put on the gas, charge it, then put their nose right on the thing and decide they really aren’t that peckish at the moment. That’s been how it has gone time and time again.

Then, fishing with Derek Rust somewhere between the Everglades and Marathon, it happened. It was the last cast of the day and it was hoped the wake coming at us was a redfish. It wasn’t, it was a 2-3′ lemon shark. As I stopped stripping the thing just casually swam over the fly and ate it. I wasn’t even trying to catch it at that point.

I got him right on the lip and the fight was short. Got him to the side of the boat and got him released. We didn’t think Lemons could be taken out of the water, so you won’t see the typical trophy shots. This is the shot I got.

A starter shark, not a maneater.

A starter shark, not a maneater.

Still, it was a lemon, on a fly, even if it was mostly on accident.

Bonefish on the Brain: 1

Lemon Sharks: 15

Oct 14

A couple of cool things about my day with Derek and Dan

The gang

The gang

There were some really cool parts to my one fishing day there in the Keys with guide Derek Rust and Dan Dow from the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

First, as we were running from one of the many point As to Bs Derek spotted a pod of dolphins. We spotted at least three pods that day. This pod we approached in the boat and the dolphins turned and started following us, playing in the wake of the skiff. They jumped out of the water, gracefully slipping back below. They raced alongside the boat and seemed to play. I mean, you just don’t see that stuff unless you are out there.

Another cool thing to see was the Everglades. I was last in the glades when I was about 10. Thirty years later and here I am again, in the back country, looking for fish. It was so peaceful out there. Some of the flats had turtle grass so thick and lush it could have been a 70’s shag carpet of green. Really cool to see that environment out there. I want to go back.

Now that is purdy

Now that is purdy

Dan on deck. Everglades before us.

Dan on deck. Everglades before us.

Oct 14

The Keys, Day 2-ish

I got up early and met Captain Derek Rust and Dan Dow at the dock. We set off to go and try and find some tarpon at first light. What tarpon we found were coy and after a couple hours of playing hide and seek we switched it up to look for snook and reds.

Now, I’m the “bonefish” guy, right? So why look for reds or snook when I could go look for bones? I had never caught a red or snook before, so I was interested in giving it a shot.

Shots I had, and plenty. I had a couple good shots and snook before we went in search of the reds.

It turns out I still have plenty to learn and my bonefishing knowledge didn’t count for much when looking for the reds. I was casting in the wrong places and giving the fly the wrong action and my frustration level was slowly ticking upward.

Dan finally got a fish to stick and soon thereafter I managed the same. What a beautiful fish. I can see why so many folks have recommended going after the reds to me. It was a pretty good end to a good day on the water with Derek and Dan. We covered 90 miles that day in Derek’s boat and he worked very hard on what was a busman’s holiday for him.

Dan's Red.

Dan’s Red.

My first redfish, photo from Derek Rust

My first redfish, photo from Derek Rust

I am very much looking forward to the next time I can get to the Keys and see the Everglades again. I had not been to the Everglades since I was 10 or so, and even then I never got to see this side of the Everglades. What a beautiful spot and you really got the feeling of having the place to yourself.

Good stuff.

Oct 14

The Keys, day 1-ish

We are here, ensconced at Hawk’s Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, 3/4ths of us at any rate. The sky is remarkably sunny, the wind light, the temps high and the humidity likewise. A cool dip in the pool and a few cold beers and paradise feels like paradise.

There has been zero fishing, as of yet. The rods are still put away. The wading boots are dry. I’m trying to make this something my wife enjoys. She will not enjoy it if we get here and I take off, to be seen only as we are packing up to leave. That’s my natural inclination, so I’m fighting my nature a bit.

I did go down to see Captain Derek Rust at the docks when he got back from a charter. We sat there drinking a cold beer, watching nice tarpon swim lazily around in front of us, along with a school of mullet, some jacks, a couple nurse sharks, some mutton snapper and more, all next to signs telling you not to fish from the dock. We didn’t. We just sat in the heat, in the shade and had our beers and talked.

Dock tarpon

Dock tarpon

While I was looking at tarpon my son may have taken his first couple steps back in the room. A good reminder of what one can miss out on if one is not paying attention.

Tomorrow, I fish. I’m looking forward to it. Derek and Dan Dow and I are going fishing and the weather looks perfect. Can’t wait.

Jul 14

To the Keys in October

Well, the wife starts a new job in October and has a week off in-between gigs. I convinced her (it wasn’t hard) that she needed a little R&R between one gig and the next and that we should go somewhere warm with sand and saltwater.

Going to head to the Keys, specifically Hawk’s Cay Resort, in the first week of October. I’m looking forward to the trip. Maybe I’ll bump into Derek Rust, who guides out of Hawk’s Cay for Saltwater Experience.

I’m sure there will be some fishing, but I also know that is the second reason for the trip, the first is to get my wife some down time.

Should be beautiful, so long as there isn’t a hurricane.

Sep 13

Congrats to Derek for his Grand Slam

Awesome work, man. Awesome.

Derek Rust, guide out of the Keys, gets his Grand Slam.


Derek Bone Derek Permit Derek tarpon

Jul 13

Tarponing with Derek and Davin

Two guys I’ve wanted to fish with for a while. Derek Rust, Florida Keys guide, and Davin Ebanks, Cayman Islands guide (and author or Flatswalker.com).

This was our shot.

The day got off to what would become a bit of a signature start. I got us a little bit lost. I drove past our meet-up location and left Derek waiting for us for a half-hour while I took Davin on an unintentional tour of the middle Keys.

When we finally got there Derek was itching to get going. He had another trip later that afternoon. This was Derek taking us around and showing us the sights before he’d get out on the water to guide later… so… huge props to Derek for that.

Once we were on our way it really didn’t take long to get where we wanted to go. Up first were some shots at Baby Tarpon. I had a bunch, BUNCH, of shots at baby tarpon and just wasn’t getting anything to stick. I gave up the casting platform to Davin who, just about immediately, stuck and landed a nice little poon. I got back up and, learning from Davin’s fine example, I managed to hang on to my one baby tarpon of the trip.



Ah… that was nice.

Love the smile here. This stuff is fun.

Love the smile here. This stuff is fun.

We spent some time looking for a school of reds that were supposed to be nearby but Davin only saw one and it was 5 feet away. He actually poked it with the tip of his rod.

That was our cue to go look for the adults. It wasn’t far.

By this time the light was hit or miss. It wasn’t easy but we were starting to see a few fish. I got a few casts in and only one meltdown.

I was short on the cast and needed to recast quickly. When you feel like you need to speed up, that is when you need to slow down. In this case, I was feeling rushed and I didn’t take the time to strip in the line I needed to make the cast. I tried to pick all the line up at once. That doesn’t work. The physics of it are all working against you. I knew it, deep down, but I still found myself trying to correct things mid-cast. It was a failure… with an audience… with people who are better at this than me.

Davin has in on video. He says it isn’t too bad, but… I don’t want to see it. It wasn’t my finest moment.

I didn’t feed a fish and so I didn’t get an eat, a jump or a fish to the boat. I did get some shots, but the fish didn’t seem to be interested. In fact, they seemed to be actively uninterested.

Davin got some bow time, but it was getting tough and we didn’t see many more fish and just like our opportunities, the time we had available was gone.

Time goes by too fast out here.

Time goes by too fast out here.

It was hard not to feel a bit defeated, but it was also great to have a chance to learn and have a day on the water with people I have really wanted to fish with. I hope to do it again. There were good stories told and laughter and we even went in for lunch. It was, as corny as it sounds, a good day on the water.

Jul 13

The Keys

Derek Rust gets after it. I really enjoyed my day on the water with Derek on the recent Keys trip. He just put up a blog post at Skinny Water Culture reflecting on Tarpon Season, in photos, which is about way more than tarpon.

poon edit

OK, some of it IS about tarpon.

Jun 13

Florida’s memorable moments

I wanted to share a few memorable moments from the FL trip. Every trip has those little nuggets and they are what sticks with us.

  • The moment, fishing with Martin Carranza (website, blog) and Adrienne in Biscayne Bay that the cuda I had on the line came up to the surface and flared it’s gills like a tarpon. So awesome.
  • Being on Derek Rust’s (Captderekrust@gmail.com) boat with Davin, telling stories and hearing about Derek’s guiding experiences, and blowing some shots at big tarpon.
Derek and Davin, rocking the Skinny Water Culture

Derek and Davin, rocking the Skinny Water Culture

  • Hearing my rod tip buzz while wading a flat with Matt. Asking Matt if he was buzzing and him confirming it. (Next time, I’m going to GTFO of there instead of staying around, looking for fish)
  • Seeing my first meatball of tarpon raging down a flat while fishing with Bill Horn and Adrienne. Man… so. many. fish.
  • Listening to Eric Estrada talk about his permit paintings.

It was a good trip.