Jan 14

When you want to get away, without totally getting away

Saw this review over at Fly Talk for the DeLorme inReach SE 2-Way Satellite Communicator with GPS. Kirk Deeter gave it glowing reviews and seems to have put it through its paces.

It’s an interesting idea… a little piece of mind for those really remote destinations. I think I might be a little more adventurous if I didn’t have to actually risk my life.

For this next trip I got the medical evac insurance and made sure my dad had it too. It’s great to have that, but what if you are stuck out there somewhere on some long run when things go down. What then? I do think about that. That DeLorme might help.


Jan 14

The DIY Bible

I recently received a nice package in the mail containing the book “Do It Yourself Bonefishing,” by Rod Hamilton  (with Kirk Deeter). I spent some time with it last night and I have to say, I wish I had this with me on a few previous trips to the Bahamas.

The risk, with this kind of book, is that the locations listed will get more traffic. The more traffic a bonefish flat gets, the worse the fishing. Bonefish visit the same flats relentlessly and if you teach one school of fish not to eat a Gotcha, that same school will remember it for the next angler… and the next angler… and the next.

Good Book Rod!

Good Book Rod!

The alternate view one could choose to adopt would be that by alerting the DIY set to the truly large number of possibilities, the few hardest hit flats might see less pressure. I also have to consider that really, there aren’t too many of us out there looking for a DIY bonefishing flat. It may seem like there are, but I think there are a far greater number of anglers who hope to take such trips than number of anglers who have wet their toes in pursuit of bonefish, on their own, in these far flung locations.

So, I say again that I wish I had this book prior to my earlier Bahamian DIY efforts. It would have helped a lot. The book is full of information and even gives cautionary tales when needed. I’d say it is a must-have if you plan to visit the Caribbean on your own, on foot, in pursuit of bonefish.

Just a little reminder… the more you fish a spot, the worse it is going to fish. If you find fish one day on one flat, don’t go back. Find a new spot. Explore. Expand. It’s the only way to keep the good spots good.

Mar 12

Kirk returns from Long Island

Kirk Deeter just got back from a week in Long Island (the better of the two so named locations).

I just returned from a remarkable bonefishing trip in the Bahamas–Long Island, to be specific. It’s a stripped-down, do-it-yourself deal, involving big bonefish (a 5-pounder won’t bat an eye), unspoiled flats that most people don’t have the stamina to walk across in a week, let alone fully explore (I’m talking miles and miles of knee-deep water), great food and wonderful cultural experiences.

The story can be found at Fly Talk.

Truth told, this opportunity landed in my lap about the same time Cuba did and I had to decide which one to do, not being wealthy or idle. Long Island has long drawn my attention, so I’m fairly jealous I didn’t make the trip.  It still stands out as a pretty sweet DIY friendly location.

The place he stayed is the Long Island Bonefishing Lodge, a new place that is focused on the budget and DIY crowd.  The cost for a week is about $1,600, which is a fair deal.  You don’t get guides, but you get brought out to where the fish are and let loose.

The price is a good one and is probably value for money.  If and when I make it to Long Island, I’ll certainly look at this as a real option.

One option I had looked at before was staying at a hotel that was about $100 a night.  That didn’t include meals or transportation to the flats, so the $600 rate of lodging would probably easily get close to $1,600 without the certainty or pointing-in-the-right direction that this place would offer.

I love the coming together of cheap and bonefishing and while $1,600 isn’t “cheap,” it does get a bit closer to cheap than something around $4-5K.

Mar 12

25 Things to Make You a Better Angler – F&S

Field and Stream  and Kirk Deeter had a piece recently on 25 things to make you a better angler.  A good read with lots of suggestions.

Things like…

1. Do it all. Bait fish, spin fish, fly fish… The more you are on the water, the smarter you get for all types of fishing.

2. Find the exotic, wherever you go. You don’t have to go to the end of the world to find adventure. Make something exciting happen on local water.

3. Keep everything in perspective. Fly fishing is only an “extreme” sport on television shows. It’s really a tradition. Respect that tradition.

The list is hit and miss with me.  I do some of it, I don’t others.  I haven’t really done spin fishing for ages.  I don’t use bait and I can see how that could hurt me understanding some species of fish. I still have trouble feeding big fish the fly. Ya know… I’m not perfect (by any stretch).

I have a few things to add to the list though.  So, here are 7 tips from BOTB for becoming a better angler:

  1. Learn more knots. Not every situation calls for a clinch knot. Knowing those other knots helps when you run into something “different.”
  2. Learn to Double-Haul. You don’t need it most of the time while trout fishing, but you need it almost every cast for flats fishing and once you know how to do it, it becomes just a part of your casting stroke.
  3. Learn to Spey-Cast. While most people think of spey-casting 14 foot long rods for steelhead, you can also single hand spey a 9 foot rod for trout and that skill can REALLY help you out.  Your traditional rollcast will go out the window.  It is a really, really good skill to have on pretty much any river or stream… even the little ones.
  4. Fish with people who are better than you and watch them fish, be open to advice. Fishing with my friends Shane and Drew have proven critical to my development as an angler. Playing with people above your level can be really helpful, if you aren’t busy trying to impress them.
  5. Share information when it won’t screw up something environmentally sensitive. Some streams or flats can’t handle the pressure, but most can.  If you share, others will share with you. Don’t give away a buddy’s secret place, but when you can help someone out, do so.
  6. Learn to tie.  Tying flies teaches you a lot about materials and fly mechanics and makes you a more rounded angler.
  7. When you can, get a guide and listen to them. Kind of like fishing with your buddies, sometimes guys want to impress the guide.  Don’t. Be humble and ask for advice and help where you need it. Guides know a lot and can shave years off your development as an angler, if you are able to take the lessons.

Those are a few keys I have tucked away in the back of my mind.  Do you have any keys you’d be willing to share?

Feb 12

Kirk heading for the tropics with winter on the ground

A story from Kirk Deeter over at Fly Talk about packing up to head to Long Island while winter is still around.  Now… in CA we’ve largely skipped winter this year, so that will make it easier for me to head to the tropics in a month.

Now, I did make one mistake: If ever you’re tying up “Gotchas” to prepare for a tropical trip you’re going on by yourself, and listening to Jimmy Buffett music while drinking a Red Stripe at your kitchen table during a snowstorm–I’m going to suggest that’s probably not the best time and place to ask the Mrs. if she remembers where your passport is.

Feb 11

NRX – A review from Angling Trade

I saw the review of the NRX in the latest email from Angling Trade (anyone can sign up for these emails, and you probably should if you have more than a passing interest in what’s happening in “the Industry”).  The rod got top marks from Kirk Deeter as he field tested an NRX down in Argentina.  The review doesn’t talk about what weight the rod was, but I assume it was a bit lighter than would be used out in the salt, and indeed there is an NRX Trout and NRX Saltwater, although I’m not sure what the difference in those rods is, action wise.

I got a chance to cast an NRX at the California Fly Shop back in November and I recall liking what I felt/saw, but 10 minutes in the parking lot doesn’t tell you a whole lot in any way that is useful.  My impression, casting the 9 weight, was that it felt like I was casting a 7.  It was light and crisp and bristled with power… or so it seemed.

I’m sure the NRX is a great rod and I’m sure it is comparable to the other great rods out there… the Helios, the Xi3, the BIIIx, the S4S.  If you got 10 anglers together and asked them which was the “best” you would likely end up with 12 answers.  So much in what makes a rod great is down to the angler.  I’d say it is easy to tell when you have a great rod, but sorting out something like “the greatest” becomes a very subjective affair.  Still… I’ll bet it is pretty sweet.

The price… the price is steep.  I know that these folks have done the research and figured out that there is a market for a rod that is $760.  I’ve cast some of these rods and caught fish on some of these rods, but I’m not “there” yet in my mind.  Maybe it is just too far from where I was when I first fell in love with fly fishing… when a ball-busting rod was $400.  Those were good days and I saw a lot of water and I caught a lot of fish (just none of them bonefish).

If you’d like a tour of the G. Loomis factory, you can check out the YouTube video below.