Jun 15

How to destroy the Bahamas, a Guide

There is some really frightening proposed legislation floating around the Bahamas and they’ve given us about a week to let our opinions be known. I’ve looked at it and it does not make me happy, and except for a few people, I wouldn’t think most Bahamians would be too happy with it either.

Let me just say plainly I think the proposed regulations are a misguided money-grab by a few Bahamians. I think if these regulations are adopted it would be a very bad move for the Bahamian economy, especially with the possibilities of increased competition for flats fishing anglers from Cuba on the horizon.

The stated aims:

The aim of this initiative is to prepare legislation that will regulate this part of the fishing industry providing rules to govern those who participate in it, whether as fisherman, guide or lodge operator, and to ensure that the marine environments upon which the fishery is based, are protected. It is further expected that changes will result in the further development of the sector and of its contribution to the economy of The Bahamas.

The proposed regulations would eliminate foreign guides in Bahamian waters, but more than that, it also seeks to eliminate foreign owned flats fishing lodges.

(4) A person eligible to apply for certification as a fishing lodge operator under paragraph (1) must —

(a) be a citizen or permanent resident of The Bahamas; and

(b) satisfy all criteria established and published by the Department of Marine Resources.

I’m all for Bahamian guides for Bahamian waters. That seems to make sense and is generally the way it goes from what I understand, with a few exceptions. Permanent residents, folks who live there all year, they would be eligible to guide, from what I understand. That makes sense to me as well. But by attacking foreign owned lodges the proposed regulations go from “let’s get a handle on things” to “let me figure out how to reduce competition so I can make more money.”

Imagine the Bahamas with no Deep Water Cay, no Abaco Lodge, no Andros South, no Bair’s Lodge. These are foreign owned operations and they are some of the best in all the Islands. They invest heavily in their lodges, they market, they hire well, they manage well and they are the types of places we think about when we think about fly fishing the Bahamas. There are a number of great Bahamian operations as well, don’t get me wrong, but they are as good as they are because they are competing with the foreign operations.

Fly fishing brings something like $141M to the economy of the Bahamas each year (probably more now, as those numbers are 2010 numbers). It seems, with these regulations, someone wants more of that pie. It is a short-sighted path to destruction.

Those foreign owned lodges buy a lot of goods. They employ a lot of people. They contribute a lot to their local economies. Take them out of the picture and sure, some lodge may get a few dozen more bookings a year, but the net impact will be negative. It will mean fewer visitors, fewer anglers and less income for Bahamians.

Also, while I’m at it, let’s talk about what these proposed regulations will NOT do. They will not “ensure that the marine environments upon which the fishery is based, are protected.

I’ll remind you… the photo below is of a new lodge going in near Treasure Cay. This is a Bahamian owned operation and, from what I hear, they used local political connections to skirt environmental regulations prohibiting the type of dredging seen in the photo. Mangroves ripped out, the flat dredged and by Bahamians, not by some villainous foreign owner.

Well... isn't that ugly!?

Well… isn’t that ugly!?

If the flats are going to be preserved it will be done by addressing over-development and over-exploitation. How does limiting who can own a lodge address this? How does making it harder for a guide to guide address this? It doesn’t.

I’d think if they wanted to preserve the flats it would be more about limiting development in critical places, especially around nursery areas and those places bonefish aggregate before spawning. You might throw in rod/angler/boat limits for certain sectors as well, if you want to reduce pressure, and there certainly are some places that need a bit less pressure. However, a newly dredged marina and a couple acres of ripped out mangroves probably has more of an impact on the health of the ecosystem than who owns a particular lodge.

One other aspect of the proposed regulations I don’t much care for is the vagueness surrounding exactly why an angler or guide could be turned down for a permit to fish or guide. It seems very subjective and in a place a small as the Bahamas, I would worry the authority to deny someone the ability to fish or to make a living could be abused. This might not lead to FIFA levels of corruption, but if you recall the photo just above of the new lodge with the ugly newly dredged channel, corruption and abuse already occur in broad daylight.

So… what to do about it all? Write. Let them know what you think of these proposed regulations. (you can find the regulations here)

From Cindy Pinder:

Interest persons and organizations are urged to review the Draft and provide their comments thereon to the Department of Marine Resources. This would be best done through email to fisheries@bahamas.gov.bs and should be received before Friday 26th June 2015.


Apr 13

Spearfishing… for tarpon. It is happening.

There are things that are not illegal, but are still immoral. I’d say that spearing an adult tarpon just so you can show it off a bit before throwing it away is, in fact, immoral. I guess this is happening in federal waters in the Gulf and it is pretty disgusting.

Fly Life Magazine broke this story.

Hundreds of tarpon are being legally killed and trashed every winter, spring and summer by spearfishermen in Gulf coast states. This issue is important and needs to be addressed. These guys aren’t harvesting tarpon. They just kill them and boast – large females to be dissected and sampled and then thrown in the garbage!

This is not good. We need to figure out a way to keep this from happening.

That just sucks.

That just sucks.

Nov 11

Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 Review

Pros: Waterproof, shock proof, capable of taking good pictures

Cons: User interface, time from button pushed to picture taken, overall usability

I have this camera.  I bought it off Amazon after my Pentax (I think it was the W90) went missing. This is the second Olympus waterproof camera I’ve owned.

Let me just say… I dislike it.  It takes a while to boot up when you turn it on (you better not be whipping your camera out the second you want to take a picture) and the software seems bound and determined to be set on the wrong settings every time I want to take a picture. Trying to take a landscape picture, you’ll find the camera trying to focus on something 2 feet away and the shot comes out blurry. I have to go through the options every time to select the right setting.  It is time consuming.  The software just isn’t very friendly.

It can take some good pictures… it does have that capability, but the thing is just so user unfriendly, that it kind of defeats the purpose.

I loaned the camera to my ex to take pictures of Halloween and the results were telling.  My daughter had left the frame in most of the pictures or they were very blurry.  The delay on pressing the button is too long and the software seems unable to focus well half the time.

The price was right… but what the Stylus Tough 6020 has in price it looses on functionality and utility.

Don't do it, bro.


Jun 11

Vegas Baby!

I am in Vegas today for business.  I arrive at 8:30 and leave about 12 hours later.

I should be clear about this… I am not a Vegas lover.

There are lots of reasons to like Vegas for lots and lots of different people.  I am not one of those people.

When your perfect places look like this…


or this…



well… Vegas doesn’t have much to offer me…

Nope... no thank you.

I dislike that the only green is on the golf courses and the fact that there even ARE golf courses in the desert. I dislike those one-star casinos full of blue hairs/no hairs sitting like zombies in front of slot machines… like a voluntary version of the Matrix.  I dislike that some folks actually believe the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” line.

All that said… I almost moved there.  It was for a girl.  It didn’t work out.  That last trip lasted about 12 hours too.

I know my dislike of Vegas puts me out of the mainstream.  People who don’t gamble like it for the shows and the shopping and the whores.  I don’t really gamble, I don’t shop much and I’m not into whoring… so… what’s left?  Buffets?

If I were offered a Month in Vegas or a day in Andros, I’d take the day in Andros… or Belize… or Grand Bahama, or Hawaii or… well… anywhere warm with (natural) palm trees and wagging tails (bonefish tails, that is).

Oct 10

Uff da

Uff da.

I try really hard to keep things here slanted toward the world of bonefish, even if my every day existence is really not too bonefishy.  Sometimes I fail.

Today, my trusty Xterra blew a head gasket.

This car has taken me to many, many fishy places, mostly in California and Oregon.  A 9 foot rod can be put in the car without being broken down.  The roof in the rear is full of flies broken off before I put the rods away and stored there, just in case.  This car could make the trip down the dirt road to Ah Di Nah in 15 minutes, regardless of road conditions.  It had great clearance so I could go over rocks, not around them.  This was a great fishing vehicle.

More recently, the right side passenger window has accumulated a rather impressive layer of Trader Joe’s stickers.  There are very small socks strewn about the floor of the back seat, along with discarded Goldfish crackers, wet wipes, hair clips and used tupperware containers.

The car, like myself, has lived many lives.  This, however, may be the end.

When the bills start coming in, I tend to think of them in terms of trips, rods or plane tickets.

This little adventure through automotive hell is likely going to = 4 plane tickets.  Four plane tickets = 2 trips to Belize = 4 new 8 wts = 8 less expensive 8 wts.

Having said all that, I’m going to go tie some flies… I’m filling up my fly boxes for Belize and El Pescador.  I’ve got a lot of Legless Merkins and need to add several more regular Merkins.

I could buy flies… but I really enjoy catching fish on flies I’ve tied.  There is something immensely satisfying about that.

Jun 10

F*CK BP – Skinny Water Culture Style


The guys over at Skinny Water Culture have a message that I think most of us would agree with.  A portion of the proceeds ($10 a shirt) from these shirts will go to folks helping with the clean up and recovery from this clusterfuque of an oil spill (Mobile Bay Keepers).  The shirt is $24 and should be available today.  I’m ordering mine now.

Skinny Water Culture

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust BP Spill Updates

May 10

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust on BP Spill

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is keeping an eye on things and they have a page devoted to BP Spill news.

Back when I was in high school a train derailed just north of my little mountain town.  The two cars ended up in the river, one of those was full of a biocide. The poison killed everything in the river for about 45 miles or so… devastation.

This reminds me of that, just on a much larger scale and impacting more than just the residents of a tiny town with a pretty river.

Mar 10

Andros South

Well… it is 12:30 AM, I am home from a long journey back from Vallarta.  My 3 year old let loose with a full fledged ninja barf attack on the Bay Bridge around 9:00, which is just about as much fun as that sounds  (actually, much, much less fun).  I’m going to put “Daughter barfing in car while driving on the Bay Bridge” on that list of “Things That Suck.”

So, with barely two firing  synapses working in my otherwise bonefish-ful brain, I’m going to direct you today to Andros South and a trip report put up by the good folks over at Deneki Outdoors.

I’m a fan of Deneki although I’ve never been to Andros South and likely won’t for the next few years at least.  Looks like a great operation though and the Deneki website is all full of bonefishing goodies and tid bits.  You can follow them on Twitter, sign up for their newsletter or just make them a regular stop.

Mar 10

Things That Suck… Sharkskin Lines

I’m sure there are some people out there that loves these lines… they may even have a fan club with a special handshake and membership cards.  However, everyone I’ve ever talked to that has fished them thinks they suck.  A good friend was telling the story of bonefish in a location that were so spooky they would scatter if they heard the fly line being stripped against guides and would run like hell if they heard someone casting a Sharkskin line.  Those are some spooky fish.

I found this bunch of reviews and thoughts on FishandFlies… after the first few good words it got bad for Sharkskin.  Avoid this product, I’d say.

Don’t do it.

Oct 09

Records are funny… 2 lb. test bonefish

I came across this story in the Fort Myers Florida Weekly about a new record being set… records are funny, really… this record fish was 2 pounds 6 ounces.  The record that was set for for woman angler and 2 pound test.

Now… should you really be trying to  catch a bonefish on two pound test?  Isn’t that going to tire the bonefish out too much?  Is that bonefish going to be able to recover or evade predators?

Joanna seems like a nice lady and I’m sure she’s a great angler, worthy of a record and all, but I just have to question this sort of record making. I’ll actually go on the record as saying this sort of thing sucks.

The record 2 lb test fish.

The record 2 lb test fish.