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, 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.