Jan 14

Grand Slam – Bucs and Bones

I watched the “Grand Slam” episode of Buccaneers and Bones last night. It was great to see the show back for another season and it was great to see the familiar cast of characters at El Pescador in Belize.

I’ve been to EP twice, once in 2010 with my friend Shane and in 2012 with my wife for our honeymoon. What can I say? I love that place.



The show itself was fun to watch. Yvon Chouinard gets a grand slam, but gets the finish (the bonefish) out of a mud, something he says he was not very proud of. His permit was a thing of beauty, caught after three casts and complete with the spool falling off his reel. Pretty classic awesomeness.

The permit. Not a big permit, but a permit.

My El Pescador Grand Slam permit. Not a big permit, but a permit.

El Pescador continues to be the best place to get a Grand Slam of any place I’ve heard of. That’s where I got mine, featuring my first ever tarpon and first ever permit. Hard to beat.

There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to flyfishing shows, so it is especially nice to have a show like Buccaneers and Bones featuring people I respect in places I hold dear.

The show is intended to raise awareness of conservation issues and supports the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which I am very much in favor of.

Jan 13

Bucaneers and Bones, Season 2

Maybe this got by you, or maybe your DVR is lined up already. The second season of Buccaneers and Bones is out and live and (maybe) coming to a TV/other viewing platform near you.

The location appears to be a return to Deep Water Cay in Grand Bahama.

Of course, this is done in partnership through the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, a worthy organization doing pretty awesome things for bonefish conservation (and tarpon and permit and the ocean in general).

I wish I could watch this show… but as of riiiiiiight now, I don’t get this channel, which seems nearly impossible given how much we pay a month for this damn cable.

(OK, I just added those channels to my lineup).



Jan 11

Patagonia Sling Pack – A Review

When I went down to Belize in November I got to bring along a new sling pack from Patagonia.  The pack isn’t out yet, but it will be in Patagonia’s offerings for 2011, so it should be available soon.

The loaner pack, a little battle worn.

Previously, I’d used a waist pack to hold all my “stuff” for flats fishing.  That had been a good option, but after using the sling pack, I’ll likely be looking to buy one when they become available.  Here’s why… the sling pack could be shifted to your back with ease, which kept it out of the way when you didn’t need it.  When you need it, just slide it in front and there is all your gear.  Because it is higher, you don’t have to worry about drying out all your flies if you happen to wade up to your waist.

When down in Mexico in December I was back to my waist pack (I had to send the sling pack back) and routinely I was up to my waist, which meant airing out flies every night.  The sling pack solves this issue.

There was a fair amount of room in the pack, although the compartment for the fly boxes was just a tad short to hold two of the longer Cliff boxes, which is what I use.

Basically, I’m a fan of the pack and I’m a fan of Patagonia, a company that keeps walking the walk (read the interview with Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder and Pirate of the Flat and Buccaneer).

The pack in action.

Jul 10

El Pescador, Buccaneers and Bones

More news on Buccaneers and Bones from the filming down in Belize and El Pescador.

…this past week Ambergris Caye was host to some heavy weights in the entertainment industry as they filmed “Buccaneers and Bones”. El Pescador (Lodge) was chosen from three locations in Belize to host Orion Multimedia, Michael Keaton actor/director, Tom Brokaw news anchor/author, Yvon Chouninard founder Patagonia, Bill Klyn director Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, Zach Gilford actor, Thomas McGuane acclaimed author, Lori-Ann Murphy director of fishing at El Pescador, and Aaron Adams, scientist, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. According to Ali Flota of El Pescador, this was the “Coup de grace of fly fishing”, and truly an honor.

via El Pescador hosts Stars, Belize News, San Pedro Sun.

Don't you wish you were there? (photo from San Pedro Sun)

Jun 10

A Pirate By Another Name

If you watched Pirates of the Flats last year on ESPN you’ll recognize some of the names… Yvon Chouinard, Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton and Bill Klyn are all there.  New are Zach Gilford and Lori-Ann Murphy.

A new show is in the works, basically Pirates of the Flats 2, but renamed, expanded and moved from the network  that no longer supports angling, to a network that does… the Outdoor Network.

The cameras are moving from the flats of Abaco to the flats of Florida and Belize and the target species are expanding from bonefish to include permit and tarpon.  The new show films this summer and will broadcast in early 2011.

Once again this will be done in conjunction with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, so conservation will be a cornerstone of the program.


This, but a little different.

May 10

Interview with Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard has led a pretty interesting life.  He founded Patagonia, sure.  But he’s also lived the life that Patagonia has supported… he climbs, he surfs and he fishes.  He fishes for  Atlantic Salmon in remote reaches of Russia, he fishes for Steelhead on the Babine River in British Columbia, has been seen at Three Dollar Bridge on the Madison and he’s been seen wading the muck in the Marls of Abaco on the series Pirates of the Flats.

I would like to work for Patagonia... just say'n.

Yvon co-founded  1% for the Planet with Craig Matthews and is a committed supporter of wild places and the wild things that live in those places.

Is there an aspect of bonefishing that stands out for you when contrasted with the other species pursued with a fly rod?

Both Lefty Kreh and I think it’s our favorite fish because it’s like a  combination of hunting and fishing. It uses up all the senses especially if you don’t fish with guides, which I have stopped doing. The working out of tides and spotting them on your own is one of the most satisfying parts of the experience.

With bonefish habitat spanning the globe along predictable latitudes, do you find yourself drawn to the same waters and the same flats again and again, or do you seek to explore?

I like to fish different places. My favorite is to go to the Tuamotos in Tahiti with my surfboard and fly rod, and fish the flats near the lagoon entrance. Trouble is these flats small and the fish are big and even with 30lb tippet they break you off on the coral.

Great anglers have great teachers.  Have you had any particularly influential bonefishing mentors?

Yeah, Lefty. He is the best teacher there is. Also, Moana on Christmas Island, who has only one eye, but is unbelievable at spotting fish. He just says “fish coming over there” and nothing else and looks for the next one while you deal on your own with it. Why can’t there be more guides like this?

While one might be able to catch bonefish along the popular beaches of Los Roques, most bonefishing is done in a wilderness setting.  In the wilderness things are, well, wild.  Is there anything you’ve seen out on the flats that stands out as remarkably wild, interesting or unusual?

Some of the flats in the South Pacific are so full of sharks that sometimes I’ve been driven off the flats because they are so aggressive. I have to carry a long pole to fend them off.

Pirates of the Flats was a great series.  What do you hope viewers take away from it?

The most important thing is to get the fish in quickly and leave it in the water. Forget the hero pose.

Pirates Casting

When I think of bonefish I also tend to think of Kalik and Cracked Conch.  Are there other associations you make when thinking about bonefish?

I just love walking the flats and observing all the life around.

Thanks Yvon.  Appreciate your thoughts.

Mar 10

Stuff I Like – Guidewater Pants

Before I went to Grand Bahama inn January I picked up a couple pairs of Patagonia Guidewater Pants.  People of my Nordic heritage don’t wear shorts in sunny places unless they are going swimming.

I like these pants.  They dry quickly, they are comfortable and they stand up to several days of saltwater without a trip through the wash.  I’m a fan.  I’m also a fan of Patagonia in general and of Yvon Chouinard specifically.  Everyone I’ve met with that organization has been top shelf.

Good Stuff

In action in Grand Bahama

Dec 09

Pirates Are Here!

Update #1: Pirates are HERE.  Just watched the first episode.  Love it.  Wish it were longer.  Wish I was there.  Still, love it.  Great to see Lefty out there showing Brokaw the ropes.  Neat to see a bonefish being tagged.  Loved to see Abaco and tails… love the tails.  Looking forward to #2.

Original Post

No, not the Seychelles pirates (well, I guess they could be, but that’s not what we’re talking about here).  Pirates of the Flats is set to launch on Dec. 27th.

From BTT:

Pirates of the Flats – You Will Be Impressed!

Check out the newest – a slide show and narrative about what the Pirates series is all about. Photos by Val Atkinson, narration by Bill Klyn. Enter the Tin Shed (click on the door) and move over to the box of flies to see the Fishing films. Click on Pirates of the Flats. Here you will find the promotional trailer and the new narrated slide show: http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/tinshed/index.jsp?ln=240

Go straight to the trailer on YouTube: See the new trailer!

A bonefishing show on ESPN2.  Love it.

Modern day Pirates, with graphite and camera gear.

Aug 09

Pirates of the Flats

No, not the Disneyland ride or a blockbuster movie. This is a new TV show, a bunch of legends, idols and… well, and an actor, out on the Flats fishing for bones, talking ecology, talking about their amazing lives… this is going to air on ESPN of all places, starting 12/27/2009 in January 2010.  ESPN is starting to air more soccer and now fly fishing… now if we can just get Yvon Chouinard on Sports Center and Jim Rome eaten by a Bull Shark.

Check out the Tin Shed at Patagonia.com for all the goodies (they seem to have taken that down)!  You not only see the trailer, but also photos by Val Atkinson (who is simply bad-ass at what he does, check out the link, as it is his own website and slide show of the Pirates).

The show has even linked up with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, so they are really hitting on all cylinders.

Tom Brokaw quoted about the project in USA Today:

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, in doing his first TV fishing series, says he “didn’t quite know what I was getting into, except it was a chance to go fishing with my friends. … I belong to an informal fishing posse, kind of an aging boys club. You end up in these fishing camps where the emphasis is on good fishing, good wine and lots of good storytelling.”

In Pirates of the Flats, an independently produced series that ESPN will announce today and will debut in January, the posse — including actor Michael Keaton, mountaineer Yvon Chouinard and author Thomas McGuane — went to the Bahamas in search of the elusive bonefish. And don’t get the wrong idea, says Brokaw, just because bonefish can weigh just 3-5 pounds: “It’s not just blind casting. You’re stalking the fish. … They’re ghostly, quite primordial.”

Update – turns out this is filmed mostly in the Bahamas.