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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pic of the Week

Not salty, but yonder there are the Blue Ridge Mountains behind those barns.  Some brookies in dem dere hills.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Success on the Gunpowder River

It's taken me a while to get around to posting from last week, but I had two great days out on the water.  And no, I wasn't on the flats, but on the trout streams.  I fished the famous Gunpowder River near Baltimore, Maryland.  The Gunpowder is famous for NOT being kind to me.  I was about ready to give up on it but the wife let me go up there on Thanksgiving morning before having dinner with some family.

I finally had some success.

A respectable Brown from the Gunpowder.  

On Saturday, I had a chance to go out again on the South River which is in Greene County, Virginia, near my home town of Culpeper.  This is a stocked trout stream that is a "put and take."  I have had crap all luck with stocked streams, but for some reason I keep putting myself through the torture of trying to catch a trout on one of these streams.  My luck on the South would prove no better this go around.  Even though the stream had just been stocked four days before, I didn't see, or spook, a single trout.  

I emailed one of my good friends, Tom Sadler who writes the blog Dispatches from the Middle River, and is an all around great fisherman, to get his take on trout streams.  He made me feel a lot better confirming my thought that the "locals" tend to fish out and harvest the majority of these trout as soon as they leave the truck.  Next time, maybe I'll just go for a hike instead.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flip Pallot Joins Costa Pro Staff

Well it's about time.  My main man Flip has joined Costa Del Mar's current pro staff.  If you are a regular reader of the Bonefish Flat, you know I'm a huge fan. The Walkers Cay Chronicles is a big reason I'm such an avid saltwater fly fisherman.

Flip won't be squintin' anymore with his new Costas.  

Flip is a great fit for Costa joining such other pro staff members as Chico Fernandez and Jose Wejebe.  He has a new show, Ford's Fishing Frontier which is on the Outdoor Channel.  The new season starts in January.

Maybe Costa will come out with a style of shades called the "Flip."  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Christmas Most Wanted

It's almost black Friday which means most of us should be out fishing the day after Thanksgiving.  But instead, many of us will get dragged to the store to give the economy a much needed boost.  While Oprah might have her "favorite things,"that's got nothing on the Bonefish Flat's Christmas most wanted list.  If you're wondering what gear you need to ask for, or what your significant other who is a saltwater fly fishing nut like me wants, than be sure to check out my list below.

1. Scott S4S 8wt- You're probably saying, wasn't this on the list last year?  Yep, it was, but I still don't have one.  This is my favorite saltwater stick out there today.  If you're a tarpon angler, try the 10 or 11 wt.  
2. Hells Bay Biscayne- This is the gift that separates the men from the boys and will solve the age old question, have you been naughty or nice this year.  The newest edition to the Hell's Bay lineup sends shivers up my spine.  What a beautiful boat and one that will have you chasing permit and tarpon around the Florida Keys.  Check back here on the Bonefish Flat on December 26 to see how good I've been this year and keep your fingers crossed.  The kids would love this.  
3.Costa 580s- If you don't have a pair of 580's yet, then I guarantee you there are fish out there you are missing.  Plus, if you're fishing without them, than you probably don't look good.  And who wants to get a great grip and grin shot of you and your bonefish with a pair of ugly shades.  I recommend the Zane model in Green Mirrors.  
4. Simms Tarpon/Hells Bay Long Sleeve- It's Simms, it's Hell's Bay, and its a fine looking shirt.  Make mine an XL please!
5. Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody in Camo - This is one I really want. Why camo?  Because they'll never see you coming.  
6. Scott S4S Poster- If you're a young buck, put this up in your dorm room.  If you're an old married guy, hang it above your bed.  I'm sure that a tailing permit will turn on your significant other.  Or you could just hang it in your man cave like I would do. 
7. Simms Saltwater Cap- Gotta have something to cover your noggin in the scorching heat of the flats.  This one has a poon on it, so you've got that going for you.  I recommend the light grey color.  
8. Buff Black Fly Edition- Vaughn Cochran's signature black fly turned into a Buff.  Everyone seems to be wearing one of these things now and why not.  You get to pretend you're a real live bandit.  
9. Cliff Beast Junior- You've seen those really cool yellow fly boxes that the guides have on their boats.  The ones chocked to the brim with beefy flies to help you catch your trophy bone.  Why not get your own and tie some flies this winter.  Order from the Uptown Angler in NOLA and tell them the Bonefish Flat sent you.  
10. Connect on Blu Ray- Last but not least, you're going to need a new video to last you through the cold winter.  Especially if you hung that Scott poster above your bed.  The folks at Confluence films put together some of the best fly fishing action available and Connect is there new film.  
11. Tapam the Movie: My friend Jan Bach Kristensen has put together an amazing film about fly fishing for tarpon from a float tube.  Jan is an amazing photographer who has been featured in several publications including Fly Fishing in Saltwater.  Be sure to pick up a copy of Tapam in Blu-Ray.  

So there you have it.  But as we head into the holiday season, let's try to remember the real reason for the season,count our blessings and try to get outdoors and do some fishing with our families.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes are Still better than Bananas

So I'm not going to lie, the fishing has been slow this year. I got out for one good trip to the salt in which I got skunked, but still managed to have a good time. Earlier in the season I got out to the local ponds and caught some small bass and pan fish on fly, but they were pretty small and I seemed to lose interest pretty quickly. Catching bonefish does that to you with the little guys.

Each year my New Years resolution has been to fish more, and this year is not looking good. Me and the family built a house and that seems to be consuming most of my time, plus the kids are at the age where they can't quite go fishing but certainly don't want daddy to leave them behind.

This predicament should bolster my argument for a "family" boat (Hells Bay, makes a family boat, right? I believe it's called a Marquesa :)), but all I get are strange looks when I bring that up.

The good news is that my trip for next year is booked and it's going to be tarpon in the keys. It should be a blast as I haven't been to the keys in several years so it's time to head back.

Until then, here's a pic from the grill last night. What good southern boy doesn't fry up home grown green tomatoes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cool Tarpon Story

Could it signal the end of times? Or could it just be coincidence? Whatever it is, imagine hundreds of tarpon leaping at once.You decide. Wish I could have seen this one.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Connect with Confluence

Just got a clip of the new Confluence Film movie Connect.  This thing is gonna be off the hook.  Drift was the first film from Confluence and I really believe that this movie helped to change how we watch new school fly fishing films.

Here's a preview of the film.

The film is another collaboration between director/cinematographer Chris Patterson and executive producer Jim Klug and features several vignettes from different exotic locations around the world.  One features Greg Vincent in Cuba and should satisfy your salty cravings.

Connect will debut October 7 in Bozeman, Montana at the Ellen Theater in a VIP event for retailers, media, guides, and outfitters.  The rest of us get a shot to see it on October 8 and 9.  Beginning November 4, 2011, it will be available for purchase for $29.95 on DVD and $39.95 on blu-ray at fly shops or online at Confluence.

Sponsors of Connect include Simms, Costa, Yellow Dog Fly Fishing, and Hatch Fly Reels.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Biscayne Bay Bonefishing

Friend of The Bonefish Flat Captain Raul Montoro recently passed along a Miami Herald article about an epic day on the water.

If you want to book Captain Montoro for a day, check out his Web site

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hell's Bay Boatwork's: The Interview with Chris Peterson

This is what writing The Bonefish Flat is all about for me.  Today I had the privilege of interviewing Hell's Bay Boatwork's CEO Chris Peterson.  If you know much about boats, and skiff's in particular, you know that Hell's Bay is the hottest skiff around.  And after my conversation with Chris, it's no wonder why.  I've followed Hell's Bay for a long time and love their boats, so this interview was really a highlight of writing this blog.  Enjoy!

TBF: Before you bought Hell's Bay, it seemed the company was just hitting its stride.  However, the company had slipped into bankruptcy and was having some issues.  What attracted you to the brand and what did you determine to do differently to obviously turn the company around?
CP: In 2003 I was involved in other businesses and was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer and the diagnosis was not good.  It looked like I would be a short timer so I got out of the different businesses I was in and focused on treatment.  Fortunately, the treatment worked and I ended up with a clean bill of health.  I had worked in startups in the past and wanted to invest in a company that was already put together.  I'm a 100 ton licensed captain and live in Orlando so, even though this is a 40 minute             commute, it sounded like a good opportunity.  

At the time, the company was headed toward bankruptcy and I tried to work something out then to come in, but it didn't work.  Then I chased it into bankruptcy and bought it at auction.  I had done my homework, so I knew what the issues with the company were.  There was never a thing wrong with the boats, but there were some things at the top that could be fixed.    

TBF: Flip Pallot and Tom Gordon were involved early and I’m assuming they left before the company ran into trouble.  How did you convince these guys to come back?
CP: Flip was one of the original owners of the company, but several of the original owners couldn't agree on the direction, so they sold it.  Flip still comes into the shop and gives out ideas on how to make improvements.  He loves boats and how they are built.  As for Tom, he worked his way up through the company and bought the mold for the 16 foot waterman and struck out on his own.  When I bought the company, it made sense for him to come back to Hells Bay.     

Part II: Boat Building

TBF: Tell me about the boat building process.  How long does it take to build a Hells Bay skiff and how many do you produce a year?

CP: We have a staff of about 20 people.  If we start a skiff and work straight through, it takes about three weeks.  However, we have a big slate of orders so if you order a boat it will take about six weeks to build. 

TBF: I was looking at some used boats online, and one thing that comes up is rebuilding a boats stringers, which I confess I had to look up.  Hells Bay uses components that don’t rot, so is this something I would have to worry about on a Hells Bay boat?
CP: We don’t ever have to rebuild stringers.  Everything is a composite so you never have to worry about a stringer rotting.  Many boats still use wood, and a lot of it.  If sealed properly, water won't get in.  But once it does, the wood rots and you end up with a lot of trouble.    

Part III:  The Hells Bay Boat

TBF: For someone looking to buy a skiff, what sets Hells Bay boats apart from your             competitors? 

CP: Hell's Bay doesn't compromise on ANYTHING.  We use the best available materials.  You can always cheapen things up, but we never take short cuts by using cheaper materials or cutting corners.   You won't see raw glass on a Hell's Bay, everything is sanded and finished.  Places on the boat you will never see will get a good finish.  This is a better way to build it, giving the owner another layer of protection.  Yvon Choinard, owner of Patagonia, was once asked why he doesn't make a product you could buy at Wal-Mart.  He responded, “Lots of people could build a cheaper product.  We build it the best way we can and we never skimp on quality."             

TBF: Tell me about the new Neptune and Biscayne fit into the picture and round-out your lineup.

CP: The Neptune is an 18 foot boat designed around a 150 HP engine.  It's a fast, far reaching tournament boat. It flat flies.  For it's size, it's also a great poling skiff.  It has a12 degree deadrise and drafts 9-10 inches.  The Biscayne is a 26 foot boat and it's not as wide or big.  It is designed around a 70 HP fourstroke Yamaha.  This boat is the ultimate permit boat for the lower keys.  Very             poleable and very maneuvarble.  But the V-hull gives it stability and maneuvrabilty. 

The Marquesa is a stable with a v hull.  The Guide ride's well but is more polable and the Glades Skiff is an 18 foot boat that, with 2 anglers drafts 2-3 inches.

Part IV: Buying a skiff

TF: So for me, my plan/dream is a Marquesa.  I have two kids that I want to get into fishing. I live in the mid Atlantic and want to fish the Chesapeake Bay, pole the Potomac for carp, bass fish in some of Virginia, Stripers on the Susquehannah River, and trailer down to Virginia Beach and North Carolina for redfish and False Albacore.  However, I don’t see a lot of skiffs around here.  Am I crazy or             ahead of my time!!

CP: Absolutely, I've fished the Bay many times and it has a close and sharp chop, but not huge waves.  The Marquesa is a great boat for these conditions and is perfect for kids. 

TBF: Who is the average Hells Bay customer?

CP: There is no sterotype. But anyone who buys a Hells Bay skiff is very passionate about shallow water fishing.  In fact, anyone who is a true enthusiast will eventually ends up in out boat.  You won't find someone who is looking to stick their toe in the water, who also plays a lot of golf or who does other sports.  You will find the enthusiastic outdoorsmen who knows that equipment is important in a Hells Bay. 

Part V: Hells Bay Odd’s and Ends

TBF: Flip Pallot is one of my hero’s in saltwater fly fishing.  What’s it like to be able to work with Flip and some of the other greats like Chico Fernandez and Andy Mill?

CP: Everyone who is on our pro staff is a true gentleman.  Each has a different flavor.              Each is a genuine person and not a celebrity.  Flip underestimates his own star power.  Deep down, he is just a great guy to fish and hunt with.  He's a true outdoorsman.  He’s got a thousand stories and is happy to share his knowledge with you.  

One funny story about Flip is that he still believes guava forks are the best forks for push poles so he will go out and fit his push pole with a hand made fork.  He's a great guy and great gentleman. 
TBF: Along these lines, what Hells Bay Skiff does Flip fish? 

CP: Flip fishes the Glades skiff.  He likes the tiller steering and doesn't like to fly on the water.  Flip is an observer and he likes to take in the scenery.  What you see in the shows is what you get.  Chico is the same way.  Flip and Chico are good friends.  They are both such great guys, but they're like the odd couple.  Their personalities are very different.  Flip likes country music, Chico is a Jazz officinado. 

TBF: You hear of people who merge hobbies with professions and they get no time to actually do what they love.  So how often do you actually get to get out on the water and where do you like to fish?

CP: More than I should!!  I have the luxury of calling it R&D.  (Doesn't that kill you guys) 

TBF: Do you have a model that you frequently use and what fish species do you usually go after? 

CP: When it comes to boats, I have luxury of picking the right tool for the job.  If I'm fishing the chop, I'll go out in a Marquesa.  If I'm fishing very skinny water, I'll take out a Glades Skiff.  I don't have a particular species that is my favorite.  

TBF: Last question:  What does the future hold for Hells Bay?

CP: You will see Hell's Bay continue to do what we do and do it very well.  Perhaps we'll make some technical changes to some of the boats.  We just spent a year and half on the Biscayne making sure it’s             perfect.  Many boat builders will bring a boat to market when it's 80 percent right.  We make sure it's 100 percent there.  You may also see a bay boat in the future, but we are still mulling that one over.  No matter what, we will continue to refine and improve our boats. 

I hope you enjoy this interview.  What a great company.  If you're in the market for a new skiff, be sure to get a Hell's Bay!!  A big thanks to Chris and Wendi Peterson for taking the time to make this possible.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Video: Mission

You've seen some of Captain Will Benson's videos on the flat before, so here is another stellar performance by Capt. Willy.  This is his entry into the Drakes fly fishing video contest.  Note the Hells Bay skiff, what a beaut, Clark!!

Mission... from william benson on Vimeo.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interview With Dr. Aaron Adams: Part Deux

Yesterday was the first part of an interview I had with Dr. Adams of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. Here is the second part of the interview.

8. I read a little about the Abaco roundup. What do we now know about bonefish migratory patterns?

This was a great event with participation from guides, lodges, anglers, and numerous sponsors. The roundup was a tagging program for bonefish. One of the goals was to figure out how much of an area you need to protect to ensure bonefish have suitable habitat for reproducing.

Most bonefish are caught within a few miles of where they are tagged. But sonic tagging, to figure out where they spawn, show that they will migrate a pretty long distance to spawn. In Andros, bonefish will travel 47 miles to spawn and in Abaco they went from the Marls to the south end which is over 30 miles. This means you have to make sure someone isn’t waiting with a gill net in between where they will catch the fish. The Bahamian guides have used the research to really step-up to put an end to illegal fishing.

9. As an angler, what's the most important thing I can do to make sure my daughter and son can catch a grand slam when they are older?

First, join BTT, there is no other group in the world working on the conservation of these species. Make sure your fisheries management agencies and your elected officials know how important these fisheries are. Do the same thing in other countries. Let fisheries and department of tourism know that killing fish will deplete the resources and that you are there to fish. Chico Fernandez said, "There was once a time where we could go fishing and go home and forget it about. Now we have to be involved."

Finally, take part in the research programs like Project Permit and the Abaco Roundup.

10. I just read an article in today’s Washington Post about dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. The same issue in the bay is happening in the Gulf of Mexico due to runoff on the Mississippi. Is this a big problem for the fish of the flats?

The Gulf does have an impact, but the Everglades are really having a major impact. The changing of freshwater patterns can effect ecology of the flats and the water quality in the Everglades has a direct correlation with the water quality of the flats

11. Care to talk about Buccaneers and Bones or Pirates of the Flats? Any funny stories to share and can we get Flip Pallot on the series next time?

On Pirates, you will notice you never heard any jokes from Lefty because he doesn’t have a clean punch line. Flip might be on next seasons show. He was in some footage but there is literally 100 of hours of tape. In November, trailers for next season will start running running.

12. When does the next season start, I follow you on twitter and it looks like you were just filming at Deep Water Cay?

Buccaneers and Bones will start next January on The Outdoor Channel.

13. What's your favorite fish to fish for?

Probably tarpon, but it’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is.

14. Why did BTT change it's name from bonefish and tarpon unlimited?
A trust is more encompassing. BTT is trying to identify information and threats, and to fund research. We then take this information and apply it to conservation efforts and to try and impact local, state, federal and even international law.

A big Thank You to Dr. Adams for taking the time to talk with me about Project Permit and Bonefish and Tarpon conservation. I strongly encourage you to join BTT and start making a difference today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview with Dr. Aaron Adams of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

On Monday, I had a unique opportunity to interview a true leader in our sport.  Dr. Aaron Adams, Executive Director of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust talked with me for 40 minutes about the expansion of Project Permit, made possible through a generous donation from Costa, and about habitat and conservation efforts going on at BTT to preserve the great gamefish of the flats.

What follows is the first part of my interview.  Enjoy

1. Tell me about Project Permit and what the addition of Mexico will mean for the program?

We still don't know much about permit.  In 2010 with the introduction of Project Permit in Florida, we just started tagging the fish.  But for such an important gamefish, we still don’t know how big their movement is or whether they move from Mexico to Florida.

We also don’t know how many people fish for permit or how many they keep.  Project Permit is the first step to learning this.  While all this is true in Florida, the same things apply in Mexico.  We don’t know the locations of the fish and in Mexico, we don't know what conservation and protection efforts are underway and what effect it is having.  In the Sian Ka’an Preserve in Mexico, there is no commercial fishing, just recreational.  But tagging could determine 50 percent of the fish migrate to where commercial fishing is a problem.

2. How many permit have been tagged so far and how many captured?

440 have been tagged, only 2 have been recaptured. While this may seem like a lot of fish, we need         to tag thousands of fish in order to get an accurate sample.

3. Since permit typically live in deeper water and visit the flats on occasion, do you think it will be more difficult to recapture tagged fish?

Florida is tagging everywhere, not just the flats.  In Mexico, most of the efforts is on the flats.

4. What have you learned about permit migratory patterns so far from Project Permit?

The first fish caught with a tag was in Biscayne bay about a month after being tagged and it was only  about a ¼ mile away.  The second fish was 40 miles away from its location.

5. Do you have any early ideas or permit perception changes based on findings from project permit?

In order to get accurate samples, we need to do more tagging.

6. Of the big three fish of the flats, which one is the most endangered?

None of the fish are necessarily endangered, but the threats are different for each one.  Permit is lack of knowledge.  There has never been a stock assessment.  We don’t know what is going on, and if a decline does take place, it would most likely be too late to do anything about it.

Habitat loss is a key issue for both tarpon and bones as well as permit.  Juvenile permit, only an inch or two long require sandy beaches.  Beach re-nourishment projects can literally wipe out populations of small permit because they need more coarse sand and these "new" beaches tend to provide fine sand.  They also tend to make the water more murky which has a negative effect on the fish.

With tarpon, these fish migrate long distances, which mean that all of the locations they travel are connected.  Florida does a good job of protecting the species and few tarpon are killed.  But in Mexico, all the tournaments are kill tournaments and in other areas of the world they kill the big fish, which tend to be the females and that's not good. Louisiana still has kill tournaments.

7. What is the one thing most threatening to that species?

There are common denominators that are a threat to all the species.  Specifically, water flows and habitat destruction.  Florida has done a good job in preventing development and protecting areas whereas in other countries, Belize for example, the development is really bad.  Developers have purchased big areas of mangroves, drained the area, and turned them into private islands.  This habitat loss can be detrimental to fish.

So there you have, part two to be posted tomorrow.  But I do know that, Drs. orders, I need to do more Permit fishing and tagging!!  The wife is going to love that one, but do you think she will buy it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Give me one more day

Last night I was out with the family until late so no chance to get the interview with Dr. Adams of BTT up. I can tell you it was fascinating and I learned a lot.

Until tomorrow, here's a pic I took last night of our nation's Capitol. A beautiful evening in D.C. listening to the Air Force jazz band.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tom's Tarpon

I just ran across this video from my friends at WorldANGLING and it is off the hook. Will Benson and his crew have really redefined the fly fishing film genre for saltwater fly fishing. Tom Bie of The Drake fame is going after his first big poon. Be sure to watch this and watch the fish charge and take the fly next to the boat.

I've gotta catch a tarpon.

Tom's Tarpon: Fly Fishing For Tarpon from WorldANGLING on Vimeo.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tarpon Time

I wrote a piece a while back called "The Traveling Fisherman" where I talked about how much I look forward to a fishing trip. It's great to have a local pond, which I now do, where I can go catch a few panfish or the occasional largemouth bass in the afternoon after work. But let's not kid ourselves here, this is The Bonefish Flat, and we all like to chase big saltwater gamefish. For me, I like to chase the big three.

I'm in the final stages of trying to get a trip together for next year that will be my annual trip. This year, with buying a house and moving, I just haven't been able to swing it. I haven't given up all hope yet, but its less and less likely. So therefore, it's time for me to get back into the game.

For those who have followed me, you know that I really like to chase the silver ghost of the flats.

Me with my first bonefish.

But the fish that started it all really wasn't a bonefish. I got a permit in the Marquesa's eight years ago and that fish changed my life. The way a fish like this fights, and bonefish do it and tarpon do it too, just makes you crazy. There is something about trying to control the power of these fish while your reel is just screaming that is like a drug. I won't even go into the hunt, because that's a topic unto itself.

Oh yeah, the fish that started it all.

So as I look to next year, there is clearly a fish missing here and it's a big tarpon. So I'm finalizing a trip now for next year to the keys to hopefully make my personal slam complete. More details to come here pretty soon as I get things more put together.

Can you see the tarpon? You'll notice I'm not holding it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bimini Bonefishing

I ran across this article on bonefishing in Bimini in the Miami Herald.  Sounds like a great place to fish.

I've mentioned Vaughn Cochran and Black Fly Bonefishing Club here before.

Check it out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Project Permit Goes To Mexico

If you're planning on pursuing the elusive permit anytime soon in Mexico, you now have an opportunity to help out with some critical research that could help save the  Trachinotus falcatus.  It's called Project Permit and it's a joint venture between the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and Costa Del Mar and the goal is to have anglers catch, tag, and release permit so that we can learn more about this great gamefish. 

The project was currently underway in Florida and the new announcement has the project heading to Mexico for the famous flats of the Yucatan. 

Check out the release from BTT and Costa below. 



Project Permit Expands to Mexico
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Costa research program to cover more ground

Key Largo, Fla. – July 21, 2011 – Project Permit, the permit tagging research initiative led by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Costa™ Sunglasses, is expanding into the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  Currently in its second year, Project Permit began as a research study to tag and monitor the permit fish population in Florida and the Caribbean.
Costa Project Permit 2011_3 low res.jpg
Permit are often referred to as one of the most elusive game fish of the salt water flats, inspiring anglers worldwide in a quest to catch them.  And yet, little is known about the mysterious species.  Scientists and regulators are interested to learn the permit spawning and migration patterns as well as the overall health of the fish population.  The collected data will help inform permit regulations and policies, to ensure adequate stock for future sport fishing generations to enjoy.

“Far too often we wait until a fishery is in trouble before we collect the information necessary to responsibly manage a fishery,” said Dr. Aaron Adams, director of operations for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.  “By expanding Project Permit into Mexico, we’ll gain valuable insight to the permit there – and that data will ultimately benefit the anglers who travel to the Yucatan Peninsula to fish, the guides who work there, their families and the communities that depend on the fishery.”

Costa Project Permit 2011_1 low res.jpg

Guide training on how to tag a permit is already underway, as the program spreads across the Yucatan region.  The program depends on recreational anglers to catch and tag permit over the next several years in Florida, the Caribbean and now Mexico.  A brief video demonstrating how to tag a permit can be seen online at www.projectpermit.com.

“Permit are called rock stars of the flats, and catching one has defined many an angler,” said Al Perkinson, vice president of marketing for Costa.  “But there’s still so much we don’t know.  If permit habitats are lost because of encroaching development or other factors, we need to know that now, rather than wait until an entire fishery is gone.  Project Permit will help gather scientific data we can use to make sound decisions to protect permit environments now, and so future generations can enjoy.”

Professional guides and recreational anglers interested in participating in the Project Permit tagging program can request free tag kits by calling 239-283-4733 or emailing bonefish@mote.org.  Instructions on how to tag the permit will be included in the kits, and can also be found at www.projectpermit.com.
Costa Project Permit 2011_3 low res.jpg 
About Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) is a non-profit, science-based, conservation organization dedicated to ensuring that bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations, and the fisheries they support, remain healthy, and helping to restore the fisheries that have declined.  BTT accomplishes this mission by funding conservation-focused research, working with local, national, and regional resource management agencies to improve regulations to protect these fisheries, and funding and conducting education of anglers and the public. For more information visit their web site tarbone.org, reach them by email at info@tarbone.org, or by phone 239-283-4733.

About Costa™
Still handcrafted today in Florida, Costa creates what has been referred to as the highest quality, best performing polarized sunglasses on the planet for outdoor enthusiasts.

For Costa, conservation is all about sustainable fishing.  Many fisheries that should be vibrant and healthy are all but devoid of native fish because they have fallen victim to poor fishing practices, unregulated development, lack of watershed protection or all of the above. Costa works with partners around the world to help increase awareness and influence policy so that both the fish and fishermen of tomorrow will have healthy waters to enjoy.  Costa encourages others to help in any way they can.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maverick Boats

I really need a boat. It just lets you fish a lot more water and it's part of the natural evolution of an angler. I also think I need a flats boat. It will let me sight fish with my fly rod which is what I really like to do. Add a trailer to the mix, and the options would be limitless.

One boat that can't go unnoticed is the Maverick. I really dig the 18 HPX V which is just a bad looking machine. I came across this video talking about what you really need in a poling skiff.

If you're in the market for a skiff, be sure to check um out!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christmas Island

I saw this article on the New York Times by Chris Santella about fishing for Giant Trevally, or G.T.'s (not Gin and Tonic). What a beast of a fish. Makes me want to go out and buy a 12 weight.

Santella has written some great books about Fly Fishing including one called Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before you Die. Check it out, it's a good read.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't Feed the Tarpon

Have a Great Weekend, and don't feed dem poons unless it's with a fly!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Updates to Deep Water Cay

I came across this article from The Freeport News discussing some new updates to Deep Water Cay. The club is legendary for its bonefishing and is located on the East end of Grand Bahamas near water that I like to fish.

Deep Water Cay

The place is pretty expensive, and the picture I took above is about as close as they let a guy like me get to the joint. It has its own runway for private jets to come in and out, so that should tell you something. My jet was too big so I had to land it at the airport like the other folks. However, the fishing is good and if you've got the cash, then definitely check it out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I often write about Flip Pallot and where he is and what he is up to. On weekend mornings , I still really miss The Walkers Cay Chronicles. There are a few good shows out now, but nothing like Walkers Cay. Flip just had a way of really speaking to people. His show was so well written and wasn't about just a grip and grin shot or use this or that product. The Walkers Cay Chronicles was a reflective and thoughtful show about the broader meaning of fishing.

The Man

To that end, I think the reason I'm such a big Flip fan is that he is just a true sportsman. To read about him is to understand his love to fish, hunt, and spend time outdoors. A one time banker, he realized he needed to get out of the office life and try to pursue his real goal as a flats fishing guide. While a big risk, he ended up with a big reward.

I ran across this article from my friends at Hells Bay Boatworks. Flip is attending the 65th birthday of Harry Goode's Outdoor Shop which apparently is a great fly shop, among other things. The event is this Saturday in Melbourne, Florida for those of you lucky enough to live in Florida. If I could get down there, I would certainly go and get an autograph and learn a thing or two.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Costa For The Ladies

My friends at Costa just gave me a heads up on a new line of shades made especially for her. Priemiering at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, or ICAST, Costa has four new styles made for women.

“We didn’t take one of our existing frame styles, paint it pink and call it a women’s sunglass,” said Chas MacDonald, president of Costa Sunglasses. “We built four entirely new styles, each with the performance technology Costa’s known for, but specifically designed with the progressive fashion trends happening now and engineered to fit women’s face shapes.”

The New Tippet

If you're interested, be sure to pick up a pair with Costa's 580 lenses. They are without question the best around and even if you or your lady aren't staring down a big tarpon on the flats, you'll definitely appreciate the 580 clarity.

Little Harbor


If you're at ICAST, Costa will have the new shades in booth #441. For more information, check out www.costadelmar.com.Join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/costadelmar.com, on Twitter @CostaSunglasses, or on The Watery Rave blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catch Magazine: Bonefish

Whoa. Talk about a salty adventure. The latest and greatest edition of Catch Magazine has a spectacular piece on bonefishing aboard a mother ship, appropriately named, Bonefish.

Catch remains, in my opinion at least, the best e-zine out there. Stunning photography and brief but informative interviews make for a great break from the workday.

The piece on the mothership Bobefish is one of the best yet. If this doesn't make you yearn for the bow of a skiff, themn be sure to check your pulse.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Degrees of Seperation

I just finished reading Dalva, by Jim Harrison, which is a really complicated book but I enjoyed how Harrison developed the story. My favorite Jim Harrison book is actually a collection of three novellas and it is Legends of the Fall. Be sure to check it out.

So Harrison was in the movie Tarpon directed by Guy de la Valdene featuring music by Jimmy Buffett and also starring Tom McGuane. McGuane, one of my favorite writers of all time, wrote 92 in the Shade which is an all time classic about a flats fishing guide. Incidentally, McGuane is married to Buffett's sister.

McGuane was also featured on Pirates of the Flats along with Bill Klyn of The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. The Executive Director of BTT is Aaron Adams who I'm "friends" with on Facebook.

Whew, I think I'm going to go watch Tarpon.

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone. I hope you are out on the water with fish boat side.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Inside Scott Fly Rods

You may know that I'm a big fan of Scott Fly Rods. They make my favorite rod, currently the S4S, which I don't have, but I do have an S3S which is just a beaut.

The rod's are handmade in America by craftsmen. That fact has really drawn me to the company and this new video from Felt Sole media really ties this fact altogether, to borrow a phrase from "the Dude."


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fly Shops I Dig: Black Fly Outfitters

So I haven't actually been to Blackfly Outfitters located in Jacksonville, FL, but I just got a new t-shirt from here for father's day, and Vaughn Cochran has pretty much everything a salty fly rod thrower could want. Vaughn, who is a former fly fishing guide and also a member of Jimmy Buffets Coral Reefer Band, combines a lot of his Black Fly Artwork into special items like Buff's, belts, and hats that really look great.

Nothing Says Bahamas Bonefishing Like a Cold Kalik

The Blackfly logo really has become synonymous with saltwater fly fishing so of course I had to add a sticker to my kayak.

The Blackfly Sticker Says my Kayak Likes the Saltwater

Blackfly Outfitters has been added to the Fly Shops I dig section. Keep up the good work Vaughn and thanks for all your contributions to the sport of saltwater fly fishing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dirtbag Diaries: Penance

I'm a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them on my way to work or at night when I'm winding down. One that I've really started to enjoy is The Dirtbag Diaries by Fitz Cahill. He talks about outdoor stuff and has a pretty good view on life.

From the Dirtbag Diaries

His latest podcast is a short one, just 12 minutes or so long, called Penance. It's a father telling the story of how he was a free spirit when younger and now his son, who has become his best fly fishing bud, is getting ready to leave the nest. I thought it was really brilliant.

If you're a dad, or a son or daughter, you should give it a listen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bonefish Spawning

I just came across this article where a professor at UMass, Andy Danylchuck, has figured out details about how bonefish spawn. It seems they spawn offshore in deeper water and actually jump out of the water to court. Pretty amazing.

My favorite picture of me and a bone.

There is a lot of work to be done to protect bonefish. To learn more, check out the article or check out Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saint Mary's Kayak Trip Report

So the fishing was good, but the catching was lousy.  Seems to be the running theme here on the flat the last couple of weeks, huh.  The weekend before Memorial Day, I had the chance to take a half day kayak trip from St. Inigoes Maryland to the College of Saint Marys.  This was about a three mile kayak trip and for most the wind was at my back so I had a pretty easy trip.

View from the Yak

I fished a Clouser on a Teeny 350 sink tip and went deep.  The water was 10 to 20 feet deep for the water I was fishing so by my experience, if they were biting I should have landed something.  But it seems it wasn't to be my day.  

The scenery was great though.  I saw a deer feeding on the shore and lots of osprey flying around.  

Can you spot the deer?  It took me too long to get the camera out.  

One thing that made this trip a lot of fun is that I encountered some large bait balls which usually mean that blues or rockfish are nearby.  But these seemed to just be holding together, perhaps they were spawning.  Whatever they were doing, I had a lot of casting into them trying to land something.  The kayak let me get really close to them whatever they were.

Bait ball from my kayak.

If you know what these are or what they doing, then leave a comment.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So I found a new Web site that I really like called microskiff.com. They have a great forum that deals with small boats and skiffs.

As you can guess, I really want a boat!!

If you get a chance, check out the site. It's great.

Fathers Day 2011

Loyal BFF readers, I hope all the dad's out there had a great day whether fishing, watching the U.S Open, grilling, or just laying low.  

I had a chance to get out on my local lake and caught two brim.  Most importantly, I was able to get out in the kayak with my dad.  We had a great time and saw some really pretty water.  

Dad and I by my Yak

I can't wait to get my kids out on the water, but they are still a little too young to go out in the kayak with me so we just slipped away for a few hours.  But not to worry, I was home by three and able to do story time with the kids.  

Story time, what makes Father's Day Great!!

I hope dad's hauled in a little something for the day.  My parents gave me a great t-shirt that I spied on my friend Vaughn Cochran's Facebook page available at his Black Fly Outfitters.  If you can't be fishing the flats, at least you can show some Bahamian love.  

New Black Fly Bonefish and Permit T-Shirt

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Outer Banks Trip Report

First the bad news, Peter Puppy Drum lives to fight another day.  But the good news, I had a great time with my dad using my kayak to explore some new water in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

We arrived on Friday June 9 around lunchtime and we camped right across from Oregon Inlet which is a famous location holding a charter fleet.  North Carolina is close to the Gulf Stream, so big charter boats go out for Marlin, Mahi, and other blue water species.

Yaks Loaded Up on Dads Truck

When we arrived, the wind was blowing about 20 knots and the sun was beating down, so we decided to make camp and get things setup before hitting the water.  Unfortunately because of the wind, setting up camp took much longer than expected.  As we looked at our watches, we realized it was still pretty windy and late in the day so we bagged fishing and instead bought a few steaks and drank a few beers out on the beach which was located right over the dunes from the camp site.  When we first setup camp, I have to confess that I thought the night was going to be miserable.  It was hot out there and who camps on the beach in June?  But as the sun went down it actually got cool and wind from the ocean pleasantly provided a nice, cool breeze all night long.  This also meant no bugs.    

Before dinner, we headed over to Oregon Inlet to look at the charter boats.  The catch was mainly Mahi of the boats that we saw come in, but man do those guys keep everything.  It seems they need a lesson in catch and release.  Or at least take a fish or two home and release the rest.  While walking around, I noticed a large center console called the "Flat Out" that I recognized as the boat of Capt. Brian Horsley who has written several articles in Fly Fishing in Saltwaters Magazine.  He happened to be on the boat and I asked if he was Capt. Horsley, to which he replied, "I am."  I told him I was a fan of his writing and appreciated what he had done for our sport so he was kind enough to share a few kayak friendly spots with us.  He was a really great guy and if you're in the area, you should go fishing with him.
I asked him about the local redfishing (this is the year of the redfish), to which he said, "We haven't had good redfishing here in 5 years."  Not a good sign.

To kick things off on Saturday, we went fishing at New Inlet. We rigged up the yaks and got out on the water.

 My Kayak with a freshly stuck Black Fly's Sticker for some bling.

Pop's Yak.  Yes, the Kitchen Sink is in back.

We fished the morning at New Inlet and the tide was out, so the fishing wasn't much.  The water was beautiful though.  Very fishing looking but a stiff 15 knot wind made it tough to keep a yak in position.  We had some early bites which we figured out were crabs, but at least there was some action.  New Inlet is shallow, so I got out and waded a bit flats style until I ran into a good sized ray I saw hanging on the bottom and figured it best to get back into the boat.  

Looks fishy, Right?
Having no luck, we packed up and grabbed some lunch.  The famous Sam and Omies provided a great meal.  I highly recommend their breakfast specials.  That afternoon, we headed to Bodie Island (pronounce Bo-Dee) to find the reds.  The water there is spectacular.  You have to walk your kayak into the water but it's worth it.  Again, we ran into some tough wind that made keeping the yaks and the fly on a desired path tough.  We fished hard for several hours but we didn't land anything.  I had one good bite, which could have been a crab, but didn't get anything.  

Pop and the Lighthouse.  

Pelicans flying over.  

A bird and some nice water. 

Camp was another good night after a fantastic meal in Nags Head at Sugar Creek of Shrimp and Grits and a Fat Tire, neither of which we have in Virginia.  We got up early Sunday morning, broke camp, and headed home.  Another successful father-son trip.  

Sunrise over Camp.  

The Happy Campers