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, May 31, 2012

Hell's Bay Whipray Classic

Good Friday to you fine folks here on the Bonefish Flat.  It's been a short week, but a busy one for me.  I'm glad we made it to the weekend.  So start your Friday off right with a video from the fine folks at Hell's Bay Boatworks featuring the legendary Flip Pallot.

If you ever wondered "is Flip the real deal," checkout how my man is throwing a total mean loop in this video.  Plus, check out the deck on this boat.  This is one sweet ride.  I've really gotten a kick out of watching Hell's Bay build this boat. They did a lot of updates on Facebook as to how they put it together and it was absolutely fascinating.

Speaking of boats (no I don't have one yet and it's a sore subject here at bonefish flat HQ), I have a sweet interview coming up next week from one of the premier skiff builders around.  Be sure to stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sign the Petition, Protect the Bonefish

The twitterverse and the www are a buzz with a new petition that is circulating to protect Hawaiian bonefish from the likes of these gill netters.  It's time to take action and sign the petition.

The Dude will not stand for this aggression man.  

You can sign here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Great Deneki Video

I was working on some gear the other night and wanted to whip a loop into my fly line.  I have a 7 weight bass pro shop's rod that was my very first fly rod.  It is a three piece and has a medium action.  I keep it strung up in my garage for hitting the local ponds and I use it for smallmouth's, too.

I needed to add a new whipped loop onto both ends and so I googled whipped loop and came across this really great video from one of the best on the flats, Capt. Bruce Chard.  The video was added as part of Deneki's lineup of videos.

This is a great way to connect your fly line to your leader or to your backing.  Check it out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh Lawd' I Got the Shakes

The Alabama Shakes, that is.  I scored their CD, Boys and Girls, this week and it's amazing.  Go get it if you don't already have it.  Britney Howard, the lead singer, absolutely just wails. I'm not going to compare it to anything because it's a blend of a lot of sounds I really like.

I found this video on the youtube and thus far it's my favorite song on the CD, although it's a solid album all the way through.

I hope everyone gets out on the water for the weekend.  I'm planning on hitting Lake X and catching the biggest bass you've ever seen.  I also have an interview in the works for next week that should be stellar.

Happy Memorial Day everyone and a big thank you to our troops who keep us safe and keep us free so we can go fishing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flats Boat vs. Technical Poling Skiff

I've really been reading up on boats a lot lately, and I came across this video from Maverick Boatworks that explains the difference between a flats boat and a technical poling skiff.

Maverick makes some really well respected boats.  It looks like they have just reworked their Web site so if you haven't checked it out in a while, like me, then head over and spend a few minutes. Take a look and enjoy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This Just Ain't Right

Dr. Aaron Adams posted this picture on Facebook.  I was speechless when I saw it and saddened.  Bonefish are such a mighty fish that to see one like this is kind of humiliating to me.  It's how I feel when I see sharks or shark fins (now, really just in the papers, but I have seen fins before).

Photo courtesy of Capt. Terry Duffield.

Here is what Capt. Terry Duffield said about the situation:
Coach Duff and Captain Mike Hennessey have guided hundreds of anglers here in Hawaii, now help us stop seeing this in markets caught in gillnets. We want the bonefish to be made a "gamefish" at the very least in regulations. Go ahead, catch one on rod and reel and bring it home! Prepare it the way grandma did, fishcake or lomi style! We understand culture and traditions. But the druggie gillnetters, the vendors in Chinatown who buy anything you bring them legal or not need to be shut down. The damn things are protected everywhere but here. Hell, we have a Trout Unlimited chapter that raises money to plant Hatchery rat and completely invasive trout in Kauai rivers but looks the other way on protecting the world's biggest and truly native bonefish with simple "gamefish designation". This makes it illegal to sell bonefish commercially yet still allows the great people of Hawaii to catch, enjoy and harvest O'IO as traditions allow.

If you haven't already, it's time to join the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.  If I read it right, the cost of that fish is $4.97.  When I go bonefishing, I probably spend close to $100 per fish I catch and then let it go.  Imagine the great fishery that could develop in Hawaii with a thoughtful preservation plan.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Camera and the Weekend

One thing I learned from my last trip to the Bahamas is that I need to step up my game a bit when it comes to photography.  I'm not trying to become the next Brian O'Keefe, but I decided to get a new camera and have been spending time trying to learn how to use it.

For Mother's Day I spent the weekend on the water on the Chesapeake Bay and really didn't get to go fishing, but I did get to do a little sailing in the 10 foot dinghy and got to practice up on the picture taking.

Here's a few shots that I liked.

An osprey taking off.  The original fly fisherman.

Shucking oysters on the dock.

The boat on the far right is the sailing dinghy.  Lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lefty Kreh in the New York Times

I've had a chance to meet Lefty Kreh on a few occasions.  I live in Virginia, Kreh lives in Maryland, so he does several events in the area each year.  It's almost impossible to believe that he is 87 years old.  The is sharp as a tack and cracks jokes that you might hear at your favorite watering hole on a Friday night.

I can tell you that Lefty is a great guy, throw's a mean loop, and his favorite fish is a bonefish.  That puts him high on my list of favorites.

From a while back, an evening with Lefty.
If you want to learn more about this fly fishing icon, check out this article here by Chris Santella in the New York Times.  Chris has written several books including 50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die and is a really good writer.  The story is worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You Might Have a Flat's Fishing Problem If...

1. You chase your kids around the house wearing a buff.
2. Your four year old thinks every fish he sees is a bonefish.
3. When driving on I-95 near or north of Washington, D.C., you think "If I just drive South, I can be in        Key West in less than 24 hours."
4. Number three happens often.
5. You start stashing money away all over the house to save up to pay for the guide.
6. You start itchin' real bad when the Sunday morning shows are fishing for the big three.
7. Every word out of your wife's mouth seems to be bonefish, tarpon, or permit, as opposed to the usual Charlie Brown wah...wah...wah.
8.You fly cast to imaginary bonefish in your backyard...at 40, 50, and 60 feet.
9. There is no number 9, you were too busy thinking about going bonefishing.
...and number 10...
10. You honeymoon on the Grand Slam flats of Belize!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Seriously Cool Abel Reel

Guys talk about gear a lot in fly fishing.  And yes, I'm a sucker for gear just like all of you.  But there is one piece of gear that I really love:  fly reels.  In saltwater fly fishing, a good reel is a must.  I prefer old school cork drags that my salty fore fathers relied on.  Cork is smooth, natural, and really has an amazing feel when a bonefish (or a permit or Mr. poon) is making a blazing run.

I also like a little bling on my reels.  I love how Tibor puts your name on the reel and how you can get a fish graphic etched onto the reel (guess what I've got on mine).

I also LOVE Abel reels.  My Abel has stopped many a bonefish without hesitation.

So when I came across this new offering from Abel, the tribal pattern, I just about fell out of my chair.  

Check out this beauty. Courtesy Abel Reels.  
Not sure what it is about this reel, but I really think it looks good.  It's just got a cool vibe.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Must See Hells Bay T.V.

Most people who like to saltwater fly fish, at some point or other, are going to become infatuated with boats.  It's just a natural progression.  Right now, I'm in that groove.  I love the idea of a shallow water skiff that lets you get on a poling platform and sight fish for your target. Hell's Bay Boatworks has set a really high bar for these types of boats and really was a pioneer of the flats boat movement.

In this video, Flip Pallot goes back and describes Hell's Bay from it's humble beginnings as nothing more than a project for Flip and his friends, into the company it is today.  Soon the legendary Titusville, Florida boat builders will begin to offer a limited edition Whipray.  This is the boat that changed flat's fishing as we all know it.  If you didn't get a chance to read my interview with Hell's Bay Boatworks CEO, Chris Peterson (he's the guy on the left of the screen), check it out here.

This is a really great video I think everyone will enjoy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Andy Mill Chasing Chrome

It's Friday.  You made it through another week.  So sit back and check out this video.

We're used to watching Andy Mill Chasing Silver.  The 5 Time Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament Champion recently picked up a spey rod in hopes of landing a Steelhead.

Check out this video from Maui Jim.  There are some really great shots of Mill and the guide casting the spey rod.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crawlin' Home from Sloppy Joe's

A good fishing trip in Key West might get capped off with a good dinner at a Cuban restaurant.  After dinner, you might choose to celebrate catching a big Tarpon with a late night at Sloppy Joe's.

If you went fishing on May 5 and caught that big Tarpon along with a Bonefish, but missed that Permit because he wouldn't eat, you'd be in luck today because even though you didn't get your grand slam, you could celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Sloppy Joe's in Key West Florida.

Love the Sloppy Joe's.
If you're a fan of Papa Hemingway, then you probably know that Sloppy Joe's was one of his favorite watering holes.  Just imagine Papa bellied up to the bar telling stories of a days fishing for Marlin aboard the Pilar.  Perhaps he might even buy you a drink.  

Courtesy of Sloppy Joe's.

Sloppy Joe's opened right after prohibition ended.  Papa was a friend of the original owner, Joe Russell, who was a native conch and fisherman, among other things.  Hem often frequented this legendary Key West establishment.  Now, it's home to the annual Papa look-a-like contest each July and a central part of the Key West scene.  

No fishing trip to Key West is complete without a trip Sloppy Joe's and a few cold ones on Duval Street.  This article from Keys Voices has a little more history if you care for a look.  

Happy Birthday Sloppy Joe's!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cape Eleuthera Bonefish Flat's Group

First off, no I'm not kidding.  The Cape Eleuthera Institute has a Bonefish Flat's group that is conducting research on bonefish habitat.  Must be a cool group, right?

I came across this blog posting today sharing the good work that is going on at Cape Eleuthera.  The students are studying bonefish habitat and how climate change will effect bonefish in the future.

I never get tired of looking at bonefish.  Courtesy of Cape Eleuthera Institute.  
I got to know the head of the Cape Eleuthera institute, Aaron Shultz, on my trip to Long Island, Bahamas.  We roomed together a few nights and had some really fantastic discussions about bonefishing, conservation, and barefoot wading for bonefish.  

More on Cape Eleuthera coming soon.