Jun 17

What do the new restrictions mean for Cuba fly fishing?

Well… don’t ask me. Ask Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures… because, those guys know.

They put out a detailed piece about the new Trump travel restrictions and what it means to you, the anglers who want to go sample what Cuba has to offer.

Here it is. 

I went with Yellow Dog’s Jim Klug back in 2012 and they had things buttoned down, even back then. Solid operation.

Jim + Cuba + Cameras

May 16

Now Boarding

Based on a fictional story.

We will begin boarding soon.

We will first welcome our Super Elite Diamond members,

Followed by our Golden Elite Ruby members,

Our Silver Elite Sapphire members

Followed by our Bronze Semi-Elite Visa Card Holders

And then our Tin Chalice members.

We will then board families with children under two, members of the military, Nobel Prize Winners and Survivor Winners.

We then will board our Super Special Semi-Special members,

Followed by C-list celebrities, then D-list celebrities.

Then we will board those in Group 1.

After that… if we must… we might let the rest of you jerks on the plane who didn’t pay us extra money to board early. If we have room.

I’m not making any promises though.


Jul 14

The hardest part is getting there

International flights… they eat up a seriously large portion of the budget, even if the hop from FL to Grand Bahama is pretty short, it adds up.

So, some good news on that front. Southwest is adding flights to the Bahamas. By “the Bahamas” I’m only talking about Nassau, nothing to Grand Bahama and certainly not the out islands, but Nassau is the gateway to the Family Islands, so that’s a good thing.

southwest airlines logo

Hopefully, the “Southwest effect” hits the flights from other carriers and they allllll drop a bit. That’s what happens in the US when Southwest enters a market, so it is hoped the same thing happens for flights to the Caribbean.

Currently, the only Bahamas flight is from Baltimore to Nassua, although other US cities are being looked at as well.

I tried to reserve a flight to see what it all costs and couldn’t get a flight from SFO (or other Bay Area flights), but if I played with the dates I could see a flight from Baltimore to Nassau for about $275, which isn’t bad. Room to improve.

Who do you fly when you go to the Bahamas?

Apr 12

The Journey Begins… kind of.

You hear about all those tornadoes in the Dallas area?  Yeah, me too. I was flying through Dallas but figured a) American would let me know well in advance if there was a problem and b) They’d probably clear the planes quickly to fly again.

a – fail

b- not so much

Somehow, it is all going to work out.  I’m now going through Chicago, where I get to sleep on the floor tonight, and tomorrow I’ll arrive in Cancun at 11:25.  I need to meet the crew at the Cancun airport at noon.  So… see? It all works out.

Other good news is that my bag is 48.5 pounds (a whole pound and a half to spare!).  All my reels are in that bag, so that’s good.

If my luggage doesn’t make it, I’ll at least have the rods and reels.  Beyond that I’ll be a bit screwed, but, that’s just a part of travel and life and at some point you have to be optimistic.

Life’s an adventure.

I think I'll take earthquakes over these things.

May 11

Yellow Dog Dishes Some Travel Tips

The more time you spend preparing for your trip prior to departure, the more you improve your odds for a successful and enjoyable saltwater adventure.


Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures has a blog on their site and that is where I found their 8 tips for saltwater travel.  Check it out.



Apr 11

Rent the Rod?

This business appears not to be in operation anymore. I can understand why. Decent idea on paper, but I’d think it would be hard to make it work.


I saw a little link on The Trout Underground to a new business that is renting rods and reels.  This is one of those things that is hard to see how it plays out.  It could be that someone rents an Xi3 and takes a trip to Belize and realizes that he/she needs to do this every year and they go back and buy that rod.  It could be that the angler who has a once in a lifetime trip to the Bahamas rents that Xi3 and never fishes the salt again.  Does the “industry” come out ahead or does it lose out?  I don’t know.  My crystal ball is in the shop at the moment… can’t wait to get that thing back!

You can rent a Sage 6000 series reel for $15.  That reel is normally $600-$700.  That sounds really reasonable as the rental is for a week.

You can rent a Sage Xi3 for $100 for a week.  The rod normally $725 (for the 8 weight).  That sounds a bit high, really.

Xi3 – a great stick.

In saltwater the rod is kind of important, but the reel… that’s where your trip falls apart really, really fast if things go wrong and there are way more things that can go wrong with a reel than there are with the rod (me thinks).  Am I off base on this?

For the consumer, it offers you another choice… you can rent a rig for a week and see how you like it (so long as that rig is either a Sage or TFO rod and one of two Sage model reels).  You could take that trip without dropping $1,400 for the reel and the rod… what you’d pay for that Sage rod/reel combo.

If it means fewer sales at your local fly shop… well… that’s bad.  Enough fly shops are shutting their doors these days.  Each local fly shop is a gem and each time one closes, we are poorer for it, as anglers.

Apr 11

FIBFest… the travel back

It was always going to be a long day of travel to get from South Andros back to San Jose, CA in a day.  If I was an East Coaster, it would have been easier.  It took four flights, one airport sprint session and the slowest van ride ever (he drove 50 in a 65) to make it back… but I made it, about 11:30 PM (also known as 2:30 AM on Andros Time).

My bag… not so much.  It should get here later this morning so I can give my girl the shells I bought from the Shell Man.

While FIBFest is now very much over… the memories of the week will last a long, long time and the friendships I’ve made this past week will last even longer.

That said… it isn’t too bad being home either.

One reasons to be home.

Mar 11

Andros, Day 1.5… travel and getting here

Well, I made it to South Andros.  I also have a nice cold that is gunking up my lungs and nose pretty well, but I made it and I’m sure a few hours of sleep will get me back to fighting shape for Androsian bonefish tomorrow.

One little surprise I had was that the trip from SFO to Miami turned out to be 1st Class.  I book with miles and that was the only fight that got me where I needed to get when I needed to get there.  I didn’t realize it was 1st Class. I’ve never sat in 1st Class before.  There is a WHOLE lot more leg room up there!

I didn’t get to enjoy the added that much as I was coughing and weezing for a lot of the flight, but thanks to a NyQuil, I was able to get a couple hours of shut-eye.  When I got to Nassau I pulled up the only bit of carpeted ground to get some more.  Andrew Bennett (owner of Andros South) came and got me to meet the rest of the FIBFest folks and the two paying clients also here this week. In short, it is a great group.

You can follow all the goodness on the Deneki blog.

Checking out Andros, waiting on the bags

Tomorrow… the fishing.  Needless to say, I can’t wait.

Aug 10

Help BTT, Spread the Journal

This from the most recent Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Newsletter.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is constantly looking for ways to expand its coverage to reach new members and lodges.  The annual journal has been a big hit, and we use it as a major outreach tool. A large expense to BTT is international shipping , which makes it difficult for us to distribute the Journal to lodges. The next time you plan a fishing trip to your favorite lodge, contact BTT in advance to receive copies of the BTT Journal to take with you on your trip and leave behind for others to read.  Contact bonefish @ mote.org

The Journal is great.  I loved mine, until someone swiped it at the Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton.  I was working the booth for BTT and had it to show folks, but someone must have thought it was a give-away since they walked off with it.

So, if you are going to Andros, Exuma, Abaco, Belize, Mexico, Los Roques or to the mythical/fictitious bonefishing lodges of San Diego Bay, take some of their Journals with you and help spread the word (or, just cut them a big, fat check so they can pay the shipping).

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust

Jul 10

Interview with Scott Heywood

Scott Heywood is one of the founders of Angling Destinations, a fishing travel company that books trips to just about every place I want to go, including a few places they don’t even advertise.  It is nice to see that Scott still gets excited about fishing, whether that is chasing a bonefish in the Bahamas or fishing his home waters around Sheridan, WY.

That's no carp.


Being in Sheridan, Wyoming, did you start your company to get away from the winters?

No, you know, I always tell people we started this company purely legitimately, we started booking trips for one little resort on Abaco in order to get a free week of bonefishing every year, so we started with the purest of motivations.

It kind of blossomed from there.  We’ve been doing this a long time since the late 80’s, early 90’s and there wasn’t a lot going on with bonefishing then. It became quickly apparent that there was a real need for people with good information about where to go and the company grew very quickly and has grown every year and it has been a really interesting thing.  We haven’t gone “mainstream,” we don’t do the glossy brochures and all that stuff, we just deal with a very dedicated group of anglers and we are kind of like your blog, we are for the dedicated.

We have four customers in Wyoming. There are 400,000 people that live in the State and we don’t have that many bonefisherman in Wyoming.  We love living here, its great fishing and a beautiful place, but it does mean you have to take longer flights to get to the bonefishing, but we all bonefish 6, 7, 8 times a year, so we are traveling a lot.

Do you have one bonefish that really stands out in your mind?

I was thinking about that and it’s a really difficult question because there has been so many weird and strange moments in bonefishing.  I’ve actually been bonefishing since my early teens, so almost 50 years of bonefishing and when you get to fish some of these places when there has never been anyone fish it you get some weird things happen.  The place that comes to mind immediately is the Seychelles because I was lucky enough to get to go there in the mid 90’s before anyone had really been there and I got to go to St. Francoise when we were the 6th, 7th and 8th people ever to get out there to bonefish.  This was before Larry Dahlberg did his TV shows and we were lucky to get out there to see it.  We had so many strange things happen with bonefish… we could get close enough to bonefish to tap them on the tail with our rods, we could catch them on grasshopper flies, but one series of fish really stands out.  We were walking around the island and the bonefish would tail up into the surf to chase crabs and you could actually cast your fly on dry land in the surf and you could pull bonefish up out of the water, up to about their anal fin, they would chase these crabs up out of the water and get them.  That just sticks in my mind.  When  you do anything long enough in fishing you see some truly odd behavior and if you’ve ever seen the nature shows where you see the Orcas surf in to get the seal pups, that’s what it was like to see these bonefish come in, charge in, and try and get these crabs right off the beach. Our goal was to catch a bonefish without ever getting the fly in the water and we were actually able to do it.  The bonefish would sort of nip at the crab and they would grab a little section of it and they would pull it back into the water and then they’d pin it and eat it.  That was a pretty cool experience.

That could also be the second question too, which is something odd or unique that you’ve seen out there.

I don’t even have to go that far back for that one.  I spent a week doing one of our DX trips and we had two very, very strange things happen.  You know, I’ve watched bonefish on the backs of just about every conceivable animal from dolphins to rays to sharks, bonefish I think are prone to follow other animals around because they can turn around and veer of if something turns around to try and eat them.  In one day I watched bonefish do two really weird things. One was, we saw a cormorant colony and the bonefish would wait below the colony and when the cormorants would fly off their nests and swim on the flats the bonefish would follow the birds and when they’d put their big webbed feet would puff up a bunch of marl on the bottom the bonefish would get in there and see if anything came out.  So when we found a cormorant that day we’d follow the cormorant and without having to wait very long, we’d find a bonefish on the cormorant’s tail. They’d follow the cormorants and we’d just cast off the tail of the cormorant and the bonefish, often 8, 9, 10 pound bonefish, would eat our flies in a heartbeat, just suck them right up and we caught a few fish right on the backs of these cormorants, which was really cool.  The only thing that the bonefish would veer off the cormorants to do would be to follow a mangrove leaf. We’d watch them leave the cormorants and go over to these leaves and eat them and we were very confused as to what was happening, why a bonefish was eating a leaf. You’d see the leaf go in the mouth of the bonefish and a second later it would be spit back out and we finally went over and picked up some of these mangrove leaves and there were little tiny crabs that were clinging to the leaves as they got blown out of the mangroves and these little crabs were just hanging on.  These bonefish had learned to pick up the leaves, crush the little crabs, swallow the crabs and spit out the leaves.  That’s pretty memorable.  You don’t forget that soon.

Some of those DX trips seem not for the faint of heart… off the grid, off the map… away from room service and gourmet meals.  What are some of the trade offs when you head out there.

We do so many types of DX trips, everything from nice hotel accommodations to camping on the beach, but generally the two things you sacrifice doing a DX trip, you lose the amenities, be it good food or nice accommodations, especially if you are doing a camping trip where you are sleeping in a tent and cooking on the beach, and there can be bugs and it can be hot.  We always try to have a cooler of cold beer, because who can live without that, but generally, that’s what you give up.  Second, and this isn’t always true, but when you go to really remote places, places where there isn’t a lot of mainstream bonefish activity, there often aren’t qualified guides and the guides that are there are often just local fisherman and they don’t have the skills to be bonefishing guides.  Guides get good by guiding and if they aren’t guiding, they are just local fisherman. I’ve always said I’d trade good guides for stupid bonefish any day.  That’s generally the trade off.

The Ritz it ain't.

Camping + Bonefishing

Those DX trips sound so fascinating.  Are there really that many places out there left to be discovered?  In this age of Google Earth it feels like everything that can be discovered has been.  Are there places out there truly off the map?

There are places that are still very hard to get to, or they are not serviced by existing operations. Let’s say there’s an area 30 miles from an existing lodge, that’s not a realistic place to fish every day for those lodges and it might be a small area, it might be a small fishery, it might not take the impact well of a full season of bonefishing, but a couple of weeks a year it can be a fantastic fishery.  The logistics of getting to it can be difficult.  That’s what we do with our DX trips, we either go to areas that are tough to get to or smaller areas that aren’t often fished and couldn’t handle consistent lodge pressure and do them only for a short period of time. For the people that are the real die-hard bonefisherman, they are willing to make that sacrifice to get into those areas. This isn’t to denigrate anyone that does the traditional bonefish trips, I do them myself, everyone does them, but there are limitations to traditional trips.  Often times, traditional trips just can’t get into those remote areas.

We don’t really do our DX trips as money makers.  They are a labor of love. We do them with people we know and clients we’ve had for a long time and they are just a lot of fun.  They are really invigorating and very cool. They are for hardy souls.  If you don’t like bugs and like air conditioning, they probably aren’t for you. But if you live and breathe wild places, they are really fun trips.

Do you have one fly that you never leave without?  When you go some place that is seldom fished, does it even matter what you throw?

No, probably not. I have to admit, a Crazy Legged Gotcha is probably my number one fly.  I’ve caught bonefish all over the world on that fly.  You can tie it more flashy or less flashy, but it is a pretty good pattern.  Sometimes I tie it reversed with the eyes in back because most of the prey species face the animal they are trying to get away from.  If I had to have one fly, it would probably be a  light, small crab, just a generic tan crab, or a silly legs Gotcha.  If you asked about Los Roques, I’d give you a different answer.   Then you get to those islands in the South Pacific where all the fish eat is worms and you can throw a Gotcha all day and it won’t work.

Are you personally looking for big fish or do you like days with a lot of fish?

I think the answer to that question is that I love the classic bonefishing moments. Certainly, big fish get your heart going much more than a 3 pound bonefish. When you start to see fish in singles and doubles… that is certainly a lot more enthralling that throwing to a lot of school fish.  What I like is when you tier the skills you’ve worked so hard to acquire, from finding the fish and hunting them to making a good cast and then good presentation, making a good enticing strip and then a good strip set.  That’s what I seek are those moments.  You can go and catch 20 fish in a day and then you catch one and you think “That was cool,” and you know, that is what you are going to remember. That’s what I look for.  Many times I’ve walked away from schooling fish to head to a place that looked promising for a bigger tailing fish, but a bigger fish isn’t the end result I’m looking for, it’s those really cool moments.

What’s your favorite reel/rod right now?

I use an Able Super 8, that I really like. My rod of choice is a Loomis GLX.  Loomis was kind enough to give me a new GLX after my old GLX kept breaking and they gave me a Crosscurrent, the same one that Shane had in his interview. That’s my rod of choice and I love my Able.  It’s so easy to service, you can take some parts with you and totally repair them in the field.  You don’t have that issue with the closed drag that starts to squeak where you have to come back and send it in, but you can’t fix it in the field, so that would be my choice.  The old standard, heavy weight Able Super 8.  I’ve taken it all over. Take a couple springs and a couple spare parts and you can fix it and make it work anywhere in the world.  The Loomis GLX is a great rod as well.

The Super

Since you travel so much… what are some things folks should consider when it comes to what to put in their luggage?

Here are some things I think are critical to have.  I first look at e things you can’t afford not to have. Those are, beyond the obvious, you’ve got to have good sunglasses and you’ve got to have good wading shoes that are broken in and you know will not chew your feet up.  If you are going to do trips where there’s a lot of wading and your are going to be on your feet all day, I’ve watched people get a new pair of boots and their feet are just a little different and they end up with horrible blisters and they are in pain the whole time, so I’d say that is the number one thing you’ve got to have.  Other than that, the things I’ve seen people forget are a good day pack or fanny pack and a rain coat.  I’m amazed how many people I’ve seen go fishing on the flats without a rain coat. You’ve never been so cold and you’ve been in a good thunderstorm if you don’t have a rain coat.  It’s really important.

The one thing I thought of that I’ve watched more people ruin trips over is when you get that little chaffing between your legs. The number one thing I’d recommend to people would be to get some anti-chaffing cream, I think Vaseline makes some, and to put it on the first day of your trip so you don’t ever get that started.  I’ve literally watched people walk frog style across flats where they have to put their legs about four feet apart because they have that chaffing from the salt water between their legs.  That is what first came to mind.  If I can give someone a good hint, if you are going to do a trip with a lot of wading, put it on early, before you have a problem, and you’ll never have to deal with it.

Ya know, I’ve had that experience down in Mexico and what I found that works, because I travel with a small child, is Desitin, for diaper rash.  It works well.

Being that you’ve traveled all over the world in search of bonefish… what’s the craziest thing you’ve had to eat?

Oh man… I have had some odd, odd things.  I was on one atoll in French Polynesia that they served a mollusk that was kind of like a cross between blubber and petroleum jelly.  It wasn’t so much that the taste was horrible as much as the consistency and they literally gave me a serving that was the size of a 20 ounce porterhouse steak. There was a huge amount to eat and of course it is bad form not to clean your plate and… I am not a finicky eater, but honestly, I couldn’t eat it.  It was like eating floor wax.  I tried… but it is the only thing that has made me gag.

Mmmmmmm.... beer....

Kalik, beer of the Bahamas.

Great interview Scott. Thanks.