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, February 25, 2010

Why Do I Write the Bonefish Flat?

How can a guy who lives in Virginia, works in DC, and is not a fly fishing guide write a blog called The Bonefish Flat?  First off, the bonefish flat is about saltwater fly fishing.  It’s rockfish in Virginia and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, Redfish in North Carolina, Texas Tarpon, and yes, Bahamas Bonefish. 

One of man’s key instincts is to hunt.  Ask any guy this and many of us who haven’t been corrupted by a desk will tell you we long to live off the land.  We want to raise and grow our own food and not be bothered by governments trying to run our life. We want to survive because of hard work. 

If you take this as I do to be fact, I would tell you that God has instilled in me a need to fish and at the top of my list are hunting bonefish with a fly rod.  If not a bonefish, I’ll settle for anything that swims in salt water.  But since the world has changed, I sit at a desk for most of the day.  Next to my desk sits a picture of me holding a permit which sits right next to a picture of me holding a bonefish.  My computer’s desktop picture is, you guessed it, me holding another bonefish.

I research destinations relentlessly looking for information on how to succeed.  When is the best time to go bone fishing?  What should I expect from the weather?  Is it a full moon or when is the rising tide?  I ask around as to what flies work best and then I tie them.  For nights and nights at a time I sit and tie flies for the next trip.  If you’re a fishing guide and you’re going to take me fishing, I’m going to ask you what flies to bring and I’ll tie those too.   

When I’m not working or fishing, I read and write.  Mostly read, but read voraciously about fishing and, in particular saltwater fly fishing.  I read how-to books by Lefty, Chico, and Dick Brown.  I read literature about fishing by McGuane, Hemingway, and anyone else I can get a hold of.  I love McGuane’s essays about the Meat Bucket, or M.B., a Zen like stage of fly fishing where everything comes together and you know life will be OK.  I treasure Hemingway’s accounts of fishing for big game and I understand Santiago’s struggle with his marlin.

I also love to fly cast.  I setup cones in the park and practice casting for distance.  I use a camcorder to tape myself so I can learn from mistakes and get better.  People look at me like I'm crazy, and I am.  I read books on the casting, too. Mel Krieger, Lefty, and Borger (the younger, not the elder). 

At night I look online for Web sites that give me more information on where to go.  I read trip reports from others who have taken saltwater fly fishing trips for inspiration on future adventures.  I listen to podcasts about bone fishing, red fishing, tarpon fishing, permit fishing rooster fishing, and so on.  You get the idea.   

When I fish, it mean’s I’m fly fishing.  I am a fly fishing snob.  I don’t want to use a spinning rod or a bait casting rod.  It’s fine if you do and I won’t laugh at you.  In fact, you’ll probably catch more fish than me.  But to me, there is a real challenge to catch a bonefish waving a stick back and forth in a 15 knot wind.  It’s hard to cast a sinking line off a boat with a big 2/0 Clouser hoping to bag a giant Rockfish that may or may not be there thanks to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. 

I look-up to the legends of our sport. including Stu Apte, Chico Fernandez, Flip Pallot, Lefty, Ted Williams (the fly caster, not the baseball player), Del Brown, and Steve Huff, just to name a few. 

I write The Bonefish Flat since I can’t go fishing everyday because there are higher priorities than fishing, namely a wife and two kids.  But I assure you that when it comes to fly fishing, in particular saltwater fly fishing, even more specific flats fishing, I am a fanatic. 

The Bonefish Flat, its all about to happen. 


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