Welcome to The Bonefish Flat

There's a stiff wind in your face as you squint in the sun trying to see what the guide sees. "Bonefish at 12 o'clock about 90 feet, do you see it, mon?" You don't and keep squinting, your hat pulled low to keep the sun out of your eyes. "Bonefish at 11 o'clock 70 feet out. Come on man, do you see it?" As the guide is calmly shifting the skiff into position, this time you spot the fish, "I got, it," you reply.

"OK, Mon, Bonefish 50 feet at 10 o'clock. Cast when you're ready."

Cast when you're ready. And with that you drop your fly, roll out a cast, false cast once, and then...

Welcome to the bonefish flat.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Permit Numbers

As I sit here pondering why my family vacation involves the cruelest of jokes, an ocean with no fish, my mind wanders back to the bonefish flat and I think of the permit.  The tarpon may be the silver king, the bonefish the ghost of the flats, but the permit is like an enigma.  Many know that these fish feed on the flats and there wariness and level of difficulty to catch is legendary.  

But are permit really that difficult to catch?  Are permit a numbers game?  All it takes is one fish, one cast, and you can catch a permit.  So what separates that one cast from 20 or even 100?  

Take a deep breathe, focus on the fish, make your cast and try to hit that permit between the eyes assuming that he's tailing.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Marquesas

West of Key West there is a very special place called the Marquesas.  This atoll is group of protected islands and is where Jeffery Cardenas wrote his timeless classic, The Marquesas.  Although now out of print, this book in my opinion is the best non-fiction book written on saltwater fly fishing.  

In the book, Cardenas, the former owner of The Saltwater Angler in Key West and Key West guide, takes a few fly rods, his skiff and a kayak, and lives aboard his rustic house boat, the Huck Finn.   He parks the boat in the middle of the atoll and camps out for several week.  

Get a copy of this book and enjoy.  For those of us who work a 9 to 5, or 9 to 6 or 9 to 9,  this book is a great escape.  Cardenas lives simply and intently.  

By the way, the Marquesas is a special place for me too.  Here I caught my first permit.  Here he is.