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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Flies, Why Don't the Weeks

I spent last night tying flies for the weekend. I'm switching gears from the bonefish flats of the Bahamas to the saltwater spray of the Chesapeake. I'm hoping to land a few Rockfish (Stripers for everyone outside Maryland and Virginia) on the fly.

I've got a few fresh Clousers for the weekend, which is really all you need...for just about anywhere. The Rockfish love the Clousers and I've had success before. Hopefully we'll discover some breaking fish, but if not I'll throw on the sink tip and go deep and try that way.

Here's a few pictures of the new flies. I made another tying video and will get that up for next week. Clousers are a great fly to learn to tie on.

Here's a picture of my fly box for the weekend. Clousers, Deceivers, and Poppers along with a Sea Ducer.

The plan also involves me getting the kayak out and doing some kayak fly fishing. I'll be sure to put together some information for everyone on that, too, but I use a Wilderness Ride and really like it. Hopefully this year I can get it out more.

Happy Memorial Day to the Bonefish Flat Fanatics. Thanks for reading

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Hey Bonefish Flat Fanatics (BFF's??). Thanks for reading this site and being a fan. If your on Facebook, be sure to give T.B.F. the thumbs up.

I thought I would pull out a few pics from the Bahamas that I really enjoy. I hope you do too.

Also I want to give a big shout out to my friend Cameron at The Fiberglass Manifesto. I'll be sporting my new T.F.M. shirt around the Nation's Capital. Be sure to check out his site. He writes about fiberglass fly rods which I'm sure must be killer on South Carolina Redfish. Cameron is also the newest member of the William Joseph Pro Staff.

Back in the day the old salts in Florida used glass to land those 150 lbs Tarpon. Those guys were truly pioneers of saltwater fly fishing.

Also, T.B.F. is now on Twitter and I have no idea what I'm doing, but sign up and follow the site there.

If I won the lottery, I'd buy a big boat to carry around my little one :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shark Catch & Release Tournament

I ran across this article last week in The Washington Post about shark tournaments. For some reason, I've never really been that interested in fishing for sharks. I look at sharks as one of us. They're out there looking for fish too, so I just can't get jazzed about fishing for them.

Here's a shark I saw on the flat in the Bahamas.

You may remember a few years back there was a shark tournament of TV. It was on Versus or ESPN2, and it was just disgusting. Guys would "catch" sharks and then hall them in and kill them in order to be weighed in. That's just ridiculous.

It looks like Guy Harvey has put together a catch and release shark tournament that will give anglers a chance to go after sharks and then let them go.

Hopefully this will lead to an increased awareness about shark finning and by-catch issues with sharks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FIB Fest

Wow. What a cool event. Deneki Outdoors, which has fishing destinations around the world, including South Andros, got a group of Fishing Industry Bloggers (hence the FIB) to do some bonefishing in South Andros.

Looks like a really cool event and I'm sure a lot of great fish stories were made.

Deneki also has a great blog they update daily giving trip reports, gear reviews, you get the picture.

Check out their site, or one of their sites. Either way, you'll have fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nicole Ralston on the Costa 2-Fly

Before I headed out fishing, I had a chance to talk to Nicole Ralston of Costa Del Mar about Costa Del Mar’s 2-Fly tournament. The event is part of the 2010 Teva Mountain Games and will be held on Saturday and Sunday June 5 and 6 in Vail, Colorado and sounds like a fantastic time.

The event is open to 80 anglers. Saturday morning will consist of a skills competition focused on accuracy and target casting. Saturday afternoon will be more casting competition to narrow the field down to the top 8 men and 2 women.

On Sunday, the finalists will compete for a grand prize of $1,000. According to Costa, “The Finals will consist of a timed float trip on a yet-to-be-named river with two competitors per boat, five boats total. Anglers will be able to use two fly patterns and winners will be awarded based on quantity or size of their catch. The location will be determined based on river conditions and announced the morning of the competition.”

Besides the 2-fly event, the Teva Mountain games will feature live music from Julian Marley and a film festival featuring, among others, the very cool film Currents of Belize.

Nicole also said that Abbie Mairin and Lincoln Westby, both featured in the Currents of Belize film, are slated to compete in the competition this year. This should be an interesting competition for them since they are used to fly fishing in the salt waters of Belize.

Unfortunately I’m tied-up with a work commitment during this weekend, but it’s definitely worth a trip to Colorado for this event if you can make.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jonesin' For the Pull Part 3

Yesterday taught us a lesson. Fish hard until you go home because the best fish of the day can come in the last five minutes of the day. Besides, it could be 30 minutes or 30 seconds before you see your next fish. You have to stay at it.

Stanley had his tea and he was ready. We headed out in the truck with the Dolphin skiff in tow. We went to the same launch site and headed out.

My dad started fishing with Stan Man and I headed out on a different course. After about 15 minutes, I spotted 3 bones coming at me but they refused the fly. I noticed that my dad and Stan Man weren’t casting, which means they weren’t seeing fish either. The spot looked fishy and we saw feeding spots where bones had been feeding recently, but no fish.

We met up and headed out again to another flat. This time I was more confident. I had seen three fish and the wind was down. Again, dad and Stan Man headed out and I took a path along the mangroves. Sure enough, 5 minutes after getting into position, I saw a bone. I made my cast, stripped once, and fish on.

This was an important fish for me because although he wasn’t huge, it was the first bone I saw, cast to, and caught by myself. That’s a good feeling.

I continued hunting the bones down the mangrove shoreline when I heard a splash in the next cove or creek. I waded slowly and surely focusing on where I heard the noise. Sure enough, tailing bonefish right around the corner where I heard the noise and where I thought I would find fish. I cast once, stripped, and set the hook. Fish on!

The rest of the morning went this way. I caught four bones total and had blew about three more shots. But I had my confidence.

We then found a creek where the tide was going out and had a chance to walk in looking for fish leaving the flat for deeper water. This time Stan Man came with me. We found a single working his way right toward us. I made the cast and hooked what would be my biggest bone of the trip. A 7 ½ lbs. fish that made a screaming run tearing line and then backing off my reel. By this point, I was able to switch to my 8 weight because the wind was down. This means I was fishing my Tibor so I could hear that famous Tibor "song."

Not soon after landing and releasing the fish, a five foot shark was making his way up the channel right toward Stan Man and I. “Don’t move,” said Stan Man. I stood still and thought the fish would swim between Stan and I when Stan suddenly stomped his foot about two feet from the shark.

The shark darted off. I looked at Stan Man. “Nurse shark,” I asked. “No mon. Dat’s a blacktip. Dems a mean shark mon.”

I nabbed one more bone that day for a total of six fish. Dad ended up with five plus a really nice one he caught with Stan Man.


What a great trip! The wind the first two days made the fishing really tough. But what we lacked in numbers, we made up for with big fish. I also feel like I learned a lot about the bonefish game. Wading with Stan Man allowed me to start seeing fish myself and to learn how to play the fish and make the hook-up.

Even better, I had a great trip with my dad and we had a lot of fun together.

And yes, as I write this, I’m jonesin’ to catch another bonefish. As I rode home from work today on the bus, I couldn’t help but think about the grey ghost hiding next to the mangrove and making a cast, one strip, and the set followed by that famous bonefish pull which will show you your backing.

The fisherman in the airport was right. “They just don’t understand these fish at home.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jonesin’ For the Pull: Grand Bahamas Bonefishing Report 2010

Perhaps the best way to describe bonefishing is how it was described to me by a fellow angler that I ran into waiting for my flight home at Grand Bahamas airport. “People at home just don’t understand it,” he said. He was referring to the whole bonefish experience. The hunt, the take, the pull, the fight, and the release. “I don’t even want to go fishing when I get home,” he added. “It’s just not the same.” This is coming from a guy who gets to do a lot of sight casting to redfish in Texas.

Day 1
My dad and I arrived at Grand Bahamas around 11:30 and rented a car to do a little exploring on our own. The car was a Chinese Cherri which is a total heep and but all we needed to cruise around for a bit. We drove to Fortune Beach and did some wading and exploring. What a beautiful beach.

Fortune Beach is a public beach about 5 or 10 miles from Our Lucaya, where we stayed. I think we ran into about 5 people while walking the beach and wading the crystal clear waters.

We didn’t see any fish, but that was OK. It’s hard to find bonefish on your own and with the tide being out, it’s even harder.

For dinner, we hit the famous Wednesday night fish fry at Smiths Point. Ton’s of locals and tourists mix together for fresh caught snapper, conch fritters, and cold libations. It’s definitely worth checking out as locals fry up the fish on the beach. There’s local music (via a DJ) and dancing.

Day 2
We woke up a bit groggy from the fish fry, but ready to go. We could tell that it was going to be a windy day and that’s not good for fly fishing. A little wind is OK. It can cover up a few mistakes. But a lot of wind makes the water choppy and then, consequently, it’s tough to see the fish.

Captain Perry Demeritte picked us up at Pelican Bay at 7:00. Perry fishes out of McLean’s Town which is a world away from the tourist center of Our Lucaya. The ride out gives you an opportunity to decompress and start thinking about your day.

At the McLean’s town dock, we ran into several other groups of anglers. We also saw lots of locals on their way to Abaco. One local was smoking a Bob Marley behind the entrance to the dock. I’m sure for medicinal purposes.

Perry dropped us off and went to get his boat. He picked us up at the dock and we were off. He was able to fish an area that was a little out of the wind. Fishing first thing in the morning is always tough. The sun isn’t fully up so it’s harder to see the fish. I was first up on the deck and we were on the hunt for a while but Perry finally spotted one and I was able to hook up with a really nice fish. Man is it great to hook into that first bonefish. The reel screaming and fish pulling, I found what I was looking for. The bonefish jones was answered.

We continued the trip and hooked up with several fish. The windy conditions made it tough. There were several fish where I could only get 40 feet out and the fish was at 50. That’s always frustrating.

Later in the day, I had a chance to do some wading and my dad stayed on the boat. Wading for bonefish is a different game. I’ll talk about this a little bit more later.

Needless to say these were the highlights. On the way back to the dock, Perry tried one more flat just outside of McLean’s Town. Unfortunately, the wind was just too tough. Dad and I had each landed about 5 fish which was pretty good considering conditions.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Bonefish Flat is Back!!

Got in late yesterday afternoon after a great fishing trip. In fact, it was the best trip I've ever had. My dad and I had a chance to fish three days on Grand Bahamas and we caught some truly great fish.

I'm working on a trip report for this week. The fishing was tough. The conditions were really windy and partly cloudy meaning we really earned every fish we caught. The number of fish we caught was down, but the quality was up. I don't think we caught a small bone the entire trip.

It was just great to be fishing with my dad, too. It doesn't get any better than that.

Here's a few pics to hold you over until I get a full report up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gone Fishin'

In the airport now en route to Miami. From there, a short hop to Grand Bahamas.

Looks like good weather but a tad windy.

I'll try to post an update or two, but if I can't/don't, everyone have a great week.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Here's the seen as I try to get my gear together for the trip.

I'm leaving in just 48 hours. Last night I cleaned 2 fly lines. I always wash mine with Dreft detergent and water, rinse, and then apply Glide.

I had a tough time finding my flats boots, but low and behold they were right where I put them.

Weather is looking bright and sunny. Hopefully the wind will be OK.

Gotta run.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Flats Fiction

As I sit in my chair looking out the window, I wonder about what life is like to be a saltwater fishing guide. Here's a glimpse of my thought:

It's 4:00 PM at night and I just dropped off my clients at the hotel and am trailering my boat back to my house in the keys. I get home and wash the boat and spend some time eating dinner with the kids. Once the kids are in bed, I start working on my gear. I tie up a few tarpon leaders for tomorrow and I get my rods and reels washed with some fresh water. I may even tie up a fresh fly or two. Probably a toad. I'm tired, so I crash.

It's 6:00 AM and I roll out of bed, grab coffee and hop in the car. It's time to do it all over again. As I drive to the launch, I look out the window and see a gorgeous pink sunrise. I'm a little sore from poling the boat into the wind yesterday, but my excitement builds.

I launch the boat and head out to pick up the days clients at the marina. I see myself driving my boat with a big smile on my face. It's 7:00 AM, I'm in a skiff, and I'm going tarpon fishing.

I hope you're going fishing today. Happy weekend from The Bonefish Flat.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Catch Guadeloupe

If you haven't checked out the latest issue of Catch Magazine, you really need to take time to peruse it. Truthfully, the whole thing is good, but one particular piece I wanted to bring to everyone's attention is the Oakley HD Polarized Brian O'Keefe Slideshow on Guadeloupe.

I've blown smoke at Brian before. He had a must hear podcast on bonefishing and another on baby tarpon. But Catch Magazine is his production, along with Todd Moen, and the photo's are top notch.

The piece of Guadeloupe is a must see. I really had never thought about this area as a destination, but it seems to have it all. Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Snook. It looks like a great laid back atmosphere and only one fishing guide available.

This is the kind of atmosphere I like. Laid back where people are focused on things in life that really matter. Enjoying family, doing some fishing, and taking time to just enjoy life.

Speaking of this kind of atmosphere, this is what you will find once you get out of Freeport on Grand Bahamas. One week from today, the "Gone Fishin'" sign goes up on the Bonefish Flat!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Bonefish Flat Odd's & Ends

If you've signed up to follow us on Facebook, thanks very much. Be sure to suggest the Flat to a friend, or better yet, two friends. Or, sign up to follow me on Google. Or, sign up with your email address to get a daily Bonefish Flat update. I'm working hard to make sure we have daily content, so feel free to recommend the site to your fishing buddies.

In sale news, Tibor is having a sale on t-shirts and the like so hop over to their Web site and pick one up. Sorry, no sale on Everglades Reels or I would have picked one up myself. You can never have too many reels.

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to get ready for your bonefish trip is to get your stomach acclimated to the local cuisine. So to make sure I'm ready to go bonefishing next week, I broke out a tall boy when I was grillin' on Sunday.

Sorry, no Kalik or Sands around here, but you will find Red Stripe in the islands so here you go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making Sense of the Louisiana Disaster

As I'm sure a lot of y'all are, I'm really disturbed by the whole situation going on in the gulf. The redfishing in the gulf, not to mention all the other resources there, will no doubt be pushed to the brink.

To make things even more depressing, I read a story which can be found here on how the spill could significantly impact Tarpon in the Gulf and across the Atlantic, for that matter.

I found this story on the New York Times which I think explains what is going on and what needs to be done to fix the situation. It isn't pretty.

Finally, here is an AP video talking more about how the fishermen are coping with the situation.

Lets all continue to keep the Gulf Coast folks in our thoughts and prayers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Monday From The Bonefish Flat

It's Monday and I didn't get to go fishing this weekend.  I did change the title picture on the site and I hope folks like a little change up.

I did get to work on some casting practice and I want to talk a little about wind.  When you're fly fishing, whether on a trout stream, a river for smallmouth bass, and especially on a saltwater flat, you're going to run into wind.

Today I was practicing with my 8 weight into a 10 mph wind, and I did pretty good.  I was able to reach 65 pretty consistently and still hit my target.  I'm feeling ready to hit the bonefish flat.  I could boom a few casts to 80 feet, but couldn't do much more.

To show you what wind can do, I decided to turn around and see what I could do with a 10 mph wind behind me.  I nailed 100 feet on the first try.

So practice your casting into the wind.  You can bet whether you're on The Bonefish Flat, or on your favorite Montana trout stream, that you're going to be casting into the wind.

I also got a little time at the vise.  Here's a pic from my tying adventure.

I tied and trimmed up a few Merkins, a gotcha with orange thread (as suggested by my friend Pete), and a Kwan, which I may call a GLOK, for Griffin's Love on Kwan, which is a Kwan fly but I'm using red crystal flash for the butt.  So, how much do you have to change a fly before you can name it??

Finally, let's remember to keep our friends in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in our thoughts and prayers.  This oil slick looks like it could really ruin a fantastic fishery.  Of course, along with it, the lives of some people who really deserve a break.  I was scheduled to go to New Orleans later this year and go redfishing, not sure if that will happen now or not.  This disaster should trouble us all.