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, August 30, 2012

Third Time the Charm?

...Not on Wednesday night. I snuck out to the pond again to try and get another bass but still no luck. Some of you gave some good tips in the comments section so I tried a few. I started with a nymph but the grass is pretty heavy where I've seen the fish action so that was difficult. I then tried to go small with a micro popper (not sure if that's a real term, but if not, you heard it on the Bonefish Flat first) and no love. Then I went big with a large popper but no love there either.

This picture stinks, but it's the moon and the moon shining in the water.

Admittedly I got to the water late and ran out of time before I could really get into a rhythm. But it was good to get out nonetheless. Everyone needs a local spot where they can toss a fly rod in the back of the truck and just go.

Stay tuned, I've got a feeling tonight's the night!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cracking the Code

I went back to the pond tonight and tried a deer hair popper tied up like a frog. There was definitely a lot going on. Fish were jumping everywhere. Water was swirling and bugs were flying. Unfortunately the fish weren't eating what I had for dinner. I had a quick flashback to my Florida trip where the tarpon seemed to just be messing with me.
These bass were messing me.
I'll be back, though and hopefully tomorrow, and keep trying to crack the code.

Not a bad way to end the evening.

Dem Bones Ain't Cheap

...But, they do provide a significnt boost to the economy. My friend Tom Sadler over at Dispatches from the Middle River is trying to spread the word about how much we anglers spend on the outdoors and therefore how important it is to protect it. A new report out by the Outdoor Industry Association estimates that each year the outdoor industry:

  • Creates 6.1 million jobs
  • Generates $646 billion in consumer spending (talk about a stimulus)
  • Generates $39.9 billion in federal taxes
  • Generates 39.7 billion in state taxes.
Go ahead, you know you "need" a new one.
To make the case here for The Bonefish Flat, think about what you're going to drop on your next trip to the flats. $500 a day for a guide. $350 for a plane ticket. $150 a night for a hotel. I'm not even going to guess your bar tab and I'm sure not going to post how much you spent on your new Scott S4S with the Tibor reel with the engraved bonefish (because bling is important on the flats).

All that adds up to the fact that we anglers spend a heck of a lot on the sport we love. It would only make sense for the government to pass laws that provide us with both access to good fishing and good conservation laws to ensure there are fish to catch.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Night at the Fishing Hole

There's a smallish pond near my house that I've fished a few times without any luck. It's one of those places that you just know has fish, but you've got to crack the code. It's a great spot that I can walk too or, if I'm in a hurry, throw the rod into the back of the truck and drive two minutes to reach.

Tonight I finally got proof that they're in there. They being bass. But I still have some work to do. I was throwing a blue popper tonight but I think it lands a little too hard. I'm thinking I need to switch to a deer hair popper that might land a little quieter.

Stay tuned for more from the fishing hole.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Conch Fritters

There are two new blogs added to the conch fritters list that I really dig. Gink and Gasoline is the work of Louis Cahill, one of my favorite fly fishing photogs and Kent Klewein, who I must confess I don't know a whole lot about. The blog has some really good how-to info and some expert photography tips from Cahill.

Cahill takes some amazing photos that you've probably seen before (although maybe you didn't realize it). He's done some really cool stuff at Andros South that I've seen on the Deneki site.

The second is a big batch of southern fried goodness served up as an ezine/blog called Southern Culture on the Fly. Their slogan is "Fly Fishing with a Side of Grits." Being a good southern boy myself, and a fan of all things southern, how could I resist a Web site like this. I've highlighted some of their work here before, but they are pretty active on Facebook as well and definitely worth a follow.

I don't recommend ezines lightly. In all honesty I feel like many of them are boring. But SCOF is different. The stories are just the right length and well blended with some stellar photography and cool videos to keep my interest. There is a good mix of salt and freshwater action and that is a good thing. Regional touches from what else, the south, are very relevant for a guy like me living in Virginia. The latest edition of SCOF can be found here.

Be sure to check out Gink and Gasoline and Southern Culture on the Fly. You won't be disappointed.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

The New Marquesa

I'm writing this from the bus on the long slog into the office. I had hoped to be home today, but alas, the powerball tickets I bought last night didn't hit so I still can't quite quit the day job.

As I was going through my life changes that said powerball ticket would have brought, the first would undoubtedly be a trip to Titusville, Fl to buy a Hells Bay Marquesa. So when I saw yesterday that a newly redesigned model was on the way, I thought the powerball stars might align.

I don't have any details yet, but when I get them I'll be sure to post them here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Florida Keys Guide Association

I came across this link for the history of the Florida Keys Guide Association and I found it fascinating.  It really gives a lot of detail on some of the great saltwater guides who revolutionized first flats fishing and then saltwater flats fishing.

One thing that is really neat to read are the early prices.  In 1957, a price of $25 per day was established to go flats fishing.  Imagine paying $25 today!

The Florida Keys are just an amazing place.  The fishing is tough, but if you bring your "A" game, the payoffs can be huge.  Organizations like the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association have really helped to raise the bar among Florida's flats guides and hence have helped make our sport what it is today.

I just reread 92 in the Shade.  Reading this history makes me want to go back and read it again.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Legendary Bonefish Folley Passes

Legendary bonefish guide Israel Rolle, known as Bonefish Folley, passed away at his home on the West End of Grand Bahamas Island last week.  You can check out his full obituary here.  Bonefish Folley was born on Andros and made a name for himself fishing on Bimini with people like Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Richard  Nixon.

The Legendary Bonefish Folley
Anytime someone earns the "Bonefish" moniker before their name, you know they are a good guide and have earned their stripes.  (No, I'm not known as Bonefish J.T. ...yet)  I was supposed to fish with Bonefish Folley's son, Tommy, a few years ago but it didn't quite work out.  I actually talked to Bonefish Folley when I was trying to setup my trip with Tommy but he had long since stopped guiding.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bonefish Folley's family.  I'm sure he's fishing on that big flat in the sky right now.

Jonesin For the Pull Part 2

Day 3

“I’m Stan. Stan the Man,” said our fishing guide Stanley Glinton as we prepared for our day fishing.Stan is the head guide at North Riding Point Club, which is located 20 miles east of Freeport down the Grand Bahamas Highway.

The North Riding Point Club is a fantastic resort located on a beautiful, secluded property right on the beach. Last year, we fished with Captain Bully, creator of the famed “Bully Fly.” This year we fished with Captain Stan.

Stan likes to wade for bones and this is a big difference from fishing from the boat. Fishing from the boat gives you a height advantage on the fish so you can see a lot further out in the water. It also gives the guide a bigger field of view.

Stan trailored the boat down the Grand Bahamas Highway East from North Riding Point. We launched at a secret location and made about a 20 to 30 minute run before Stan said put on your boots.

The upside of wading is that if you’re fishing with a partner, you get to continuously fish whereas fishing from the boat you have to take turns. Wading also allows you the opportunity to fish water that is shallower and more protected. This was very helpful while fishing in winds blowing 10 to 20 mph.

I should point out here that the wind was really blowing making the conditions very difficult. We had a couple of difficult shots early that we missed and then the fishing got a little slow. About two hours after we started wading, dad hooked the first fish and got the proverbial “skunk off the boat.” Soon after, I hooked into a nice 4 lbs. er fish with Stan Man’s help. A shark decided to swim right between Stan and I at a distance of about 10 feet.

Sharks indicate that the food chain is at work on a flat. No sharks or rays or turtles, you probably won’t find bonefish either. We continued to fish for the next couple hours and finally had lunch about 3:00.After lunch, the wind kept blowing so we headed back toward the truck.

I was feeling a little discouraged at this point, I must admit. The wind was blowing a gale. Wading can be tough. And our next day was calling for more wind. Then, Stan Man powered down the boat and looked at my dad and I. “Let’s try one more flat,” he said.

This lifted my spirits. We got out and I pulled on my mask and put my bonefish game face on.

Not long after we started wading, I had a 40-foot shot into the wind at a fish. I took it and nailed a cast hooking up to a nice fish. He took off across the flat burning line and pulling me well into my backing.  I soon landed what would be one of, if not my biggest, fish of the trip. This was a 7 lbs toad that was a great fish.

My dad had the next shot and shortly after I released my fish, he was on to a small group of fish. He made a great cast and landed another pig of a fish that took him well into his backing too. He hung in there and landed his biggest fish of the trip.

Even though we had a tough day, it was a good day. We fought the elements and landed two big fish.We persevered, and our guide persevered and gave us some extra time, to get us fish.

We loaded up and headed back to the boat each of us with big smiles on our face.