Wednesday, May 2, 2012


     Many mistresses tempt an angler's passion. Some are tantalized by the bright chrome steelhead that skulk in the mysterious coastal rain forests of BC. For others it may be the big 'bows that lurk in the slate blue waters of Alaska or the big browns that live near the rodeo towns in Montana and Wyoming. 
    In the salt, many anglers are seduced by the lure of airborne tarpon suspended over the dark green waters of the Yucatan. Others hear the siren's call of permit that haunt the turtle grass flats of Belize. Here, they obsessively follow elegant black tails as they cut through the cloying humidity of an incandescent tropical summer. Passions turn to obsessions, obsessions turn into life quests. They tell their wives at least it's better than alcohol or other women. Their wives remain unconvinced.

     But for some anglers, a year is not a year without going bonefishing. For them, it is not only the sleek chrome beauty that brings them back year after year, but the spectacular places that these fish inhabit. They savor each new destination like a fine wine, yet return to familiar tropical haunts as often as time and money allows. They are torn then... not only by other species, but also by the myriad of wonderful destinations available within the sport. From the Bahamas to Christmas Island and from the Seychelles to the Yucatan, they seek a slippery rocket with a serious overbite.

     For these bonefishermen, this hardcore group who have learned the ropes, invested too much in gear and spent way too many hours eating, sleeping and thinking bonefish, there is bonefishing, then there is BONEFISHING. While they will settle for cruising fish in knee-deep water or school fish holed up in a gorgeous turquoise pocket at high tide, what they learn to seek is tails... then BIG TAILS!... then BIG TAILS IN SKINNY WATER! 
     Their game is to stalk bonefish when they are the most alert, the most nervous and the most visible. This is when sight fishing takes on an added meaning. These diehards will wade for hour after hour staring into the hard glint of a hot high sun to get the shot. They'll endure long boat rides, sunscreen dripping into bloodshot eyes and fishless days all for the chance at a big, glassine tail slinking seductively upwind seemingly determined to beach itself. When it happens, the glittering fin is quickly transformed into a rooster tail that pulses magically towards deeper water. Long, still waits become explosive moments that carry all the strength and ancient power of the sea straight down the line directly to the heart of the angler.
   Tails... big tails... big tails in skinny water... there simply is no substitute. Because of this, family holidays have been missed, girlfriends have walked out the door, budgets have been destroyed and businesses have been ignored. You either understand this or you do not. 


  1. "Mistress' temptations; tantalization; seduction; siren's call; obsession...". Yeah, I understand. In my case I think it's a genetic addiction in my DNA because I can remember being in first grade and my family would head up into the Rockies for a picnic and a little fishing. As soon as we left Golden and entered Clear Creek canyon my nose would be glued to the window watching the stream. At each fishy looking riffle, run or pool I'd say "There's a good spot and no one's in it, let's stop here." By the time we reached Idaho Springs I could hardly talk because we never stopped.

  2. The big question is:
    "Did your Dad or Mom like to fish?"
    If so, they understood.
    If not, it must have been worse than "Are we there yet?" repeated endlessly!

  3. They both fished. Dad was more serious about it and poor Mom was usually left stranded helping my brothers and I get hooks out of trees and ourselves, putting salmon eggs on hooks, and once in awhile actually landing a fish. But I think I still drove them nuts until we finally reached our picnic spot for the day. To this day I can barely stand bypassing fishy looking water anywhere.