Mar 13

Cliff Box and My Flies Give Away

UPDATE: The box was won by Colin from Naples, FL. Sorry all, the contest is closed.

Thanks to Cliff Outdoors for giving me this box to fill with bonefish goodness.

There they are.

There they are.

So. How do you win these flies and the Cliff box?

Simple. You need to answer the following questions in a comment below, on this page. Please number each of your replies so we know which question you are answering.

  1. Where are Cliff boxes made?
  2. If you have FB, go ahead and like Cliff Outdoors and tell me what it is they are trying NOT to do (from their About page)
  3. Name three sponsors of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.
  4. Name two lodges participating in BTT’s Angler Participation program.
  5. Tell me your favorite fly rod and reel for bonefish.
  6. What is your favorite bonefish fly?

Bonus Question (I’ll send a few flies to the first person to answer this correctly… and that is Jenn, who got it… the bar in the Belize City Airport):

  • Where is the picture on the “Our Team” page on the Cliff Website taken (Hint, I was there in 2010 and 2012)?

Bam. That’s it. The contest will go live as of now and it will conclude probably in a week’s time at which point I’ll declare a winner and send this damn fine box off to a new home.




Feb 13

Cliff Box Update

I’ve been slow getting back to the vice to fill up the box from Cliff Outdoors, but I’ll make some headway this weekend.

Today, just 4 of the hot nosed gotchas, tied on a #4 Partridge.

More to come.

Four, lonely flies.

Four, lonely flies.

I love these flies… long, orange nose. Guides tend to love them too. The orange is supposed to elicit the orange of a shrimp’s egg sack. I don’t know if it actually does that, but they work. So, maybe it doesn’t matter what it is supposed to do. Orange + bonefish = goodness.

Jan 13

Crab Shack

The flu is still with me and I hope that explains why I’ve been a little slow on the postings this week.

I got a package in the mail yesterday. It was mostly destroyed and it came in a plastic bag from the USPS with a note saying “whoa, totally sorry about destroying your package.” I paraphrased. Inside the ravaged package was a box from Cliff Outdoors and the box was, somehow, totally unharmed. Awesome.

The box was given to me (thanks Cliff) to fill up with my flies and give away to you good people.

With my brain full of flu, I put in the box what I think would be most useful.

My selection of Vics.

My selection of Vics.

I may think better of this in the morning. Stay tuned. I need to fill up the box and then figure out a good way to decide who to give this to.

Why a Cliff Box? Well, that is what I use myself.  Typically, I bring two boxes out, both Cliff Bugger Barns and any pack I take out needs to fit those two boxes, which are a little longer than most others and certainly longer than this Crab Shack. I like the boxes. They hold the flies well and it is easy to get the flies in and out. I also like that those boxes are made in Wyoming and not China.

Jan 13

Tying up a storm

UPDATE: Cliff is going to throw me a Crab Shack box to fill up and give away to one of you lucky SOB’s.


Sometimes I just seem to need to tie. There are nights when I can’t get my mind on the task and I find myself having tied 4 flies in an hour of tinkering and waffling about materials and patterns. There are other nights when I set out hooks and then more hooks and then more hooks and I just seem to be in the flow. I know what flies I’m tying and with which materials and I tie those flies. Those are the nights I fill up my boxes.

I’ve had a few nights like that recently.

Yeah... that should work.

Yeah… that should work.

It isn’t about filling the boxes anymore, really. The boxes are kind of full. I’ll need to remove some flies to make room for the new ones. I only bring two boxes with me on my hip pack and I’ll bring a box of tarpon/cuda flies if I’m fishing from a boat. Any more than the two boxes (I use Bugger Barn boxes from Cliff Outdoors) and it just becomes a little hard to manage.

If I can convince Cliff to give me a box I’ll fill the box and we can do a give away here on the blog. I don’t really do many give aways, but I’m not opposed to it and this kind of thing would be kind of fun. If I can convince them to give two boxes I think we should make it a communal give away with flies contributed from all of you fine, fine people. Anyone know the Cliff guys?  Let’s make it happen.

The bottom three rows are from the past couple nights.

The bottom three rows are from the past couple nights.

Jan 13

Something new – Eyes-N-Tubes

In all likelihood it has all been done. When it comes to fly tying and especially for bonefish, it feels like every “new” pattern is mostly an old pattern with one new material thrown in and a name slapped on it for vanity.

I like to play around at the vice a bit and most of that experimenting doesn’t turn out so well. Other times I look at it and thing “hmmm…. that might work.”

Looking good.

Looking good.

I recently had a bunch of Eyes-n-tubes sent to me to play around with  and they certainly do give a different look to my flies.

They look unweighted, but actually do have weight and they slide right on the hook, then to be anchored down. The eyes are on stalks which get them away from the body of the fly. Always funny looking to tie up a Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp and have the EP eyes right next to each other, no matter how I try to get them to separate. This solves that particular problem very well.

The more I tie with these new eyes the better I’m figuring out how to use them and I have to say… the flies are looking good and they have a very “new” look to them, almost like they are something new.

They are worth a look.

Oct 12

The Tying Season

Once the skies turn grey and the temps start to fall, many anglers start to think about re-stocking their fly boxes. Tis the season for fly tying (or steelheading, but let’s focus on fly tying).

Do you have a number in mind of flies you’d like to tie this winter?  What is on your list?

I need to restock the following:

  • #6-#4 Peterson Spawning Shrimp
  • #6-#4 Tan Gotcha
  • #2-#6 Glass Back Reverse Gotcha
  • #3/0 Cuda Flies
  • #2/0 light/tan Bunny Tarpon Flies

What do you need to resupply?

The desk.



Sep 12

The DD Shrimp from Maarten Bruinenberg

Cool looking little shrimp pattern.



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.

Apr 12

What I got right about gear for Cuba

While I got a few things wrong, I did make some good decisions and had some of the right stuff with me.


  • Having some of the super hair chartreuse flies for cudas was a really good call.
  • I had enough Gotchas in different sizes that I could have fished for bones for another three weeks.
  • The tarpon bunnies were good patterns and if I had them in a 3/0 I would likely have been feeding tarpon with them.


  • The leaders I tied were effective and worked for bonefish and for tarpon.  The 80 pound shock tippet was perfect on even the big fish and the bimini twists I tied didn’t fail.  I didn’t have a single leader fail or a single knot fail.


  • The reels I primarily used were the Ross F1 for the 8 wt, the Orvis Mirage for the 10 wt and the Redington Delta for the 11. I had along a Ross CLA and a Ross Momentum, but they had on specific lines that didn’t get selected by the guides.


  • The textured saltwater line for the 8 was a great line.
  • The Orvis line was different… it sounded like a textured line and it cast very well.
  • I cast a Rio clear sink tip for the 11 and the guides liked it, preferring it to the full floating line each time.


  • Both of the 8 weights were lovely rods. The Sage One is light and responsive and did all I asked of it. The prototype was just as lovely and I’d be glad to have either one as my go-to 8.
  • The 10, the Orvis Helios was a great rod. I’ve had that one before and I really like it.  It might have been a little heavy for Permit, but it would have worked well for that and it was a good rod to have rigged for barracuda.
  • The 11 Redington… it was heavy, but when it came time to do the business it got it done. That feels like a pretty important thing to judge by.

Something right got me that fish.

Mar 12

The Avalon

When I head down to Cuba in… like… a WEEK, I’ll be on a media tour heading out with some folks from Yellow Dog (they aren’t selling trips to Cuba, fyi) and we’ll be fishing with Avalon.

One thing that that Avalon is known for is their fly… the Avalon fly. This is supposed to be a permit-getter and while I think where I’m headed is less known for permit, there is a chance I’ll be throwing to one.

I tied up a few last night. I didn’t have the tan marabou so I substituted materials, but I think that I got the concept more or less right.

My Avalon... maybe it will work, maybe it won't.

A week from today I start the journey. Countdown in full effect.