Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Method to Calculate a Tarpon's Weight

Get a more accurate read of a Tarpon's Weight
This is pretty cool!
Researchers come up with a new, harmless and more accurate method to calculate the weight of tarpon:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ads That Feature Fly Fishing: Good Lord!

If you're an advertising agency (or an advertiser that has hired an agency) that has chosen to show your actors fly fishing in your "life-style" type ad (which usually include either grandkids and/or buddies), you should pay attention to the following rules:

1.) Hire a good looking guy who is a fly fisherman!
Get rid of the actors who don't know jack about fly fishing... you know, the ones with the graying temples, the chiseled jaws and the limp-wristed casts. Some of these dreamy actors suck so badly you know they picked up a fly rod for the first time the morning of the shoot. Here's an idea: If you can't hire a fisherman, pay some expert to TEACH your actor how to cast. If you want authenticity and to connect with your audience, some dude in a silly hat throwing a huge, wide, sloppy-ass loop with his arms stretched out as far as they will go in front of him doesn't work! It looks ridiculous!.  

2.) Get real fly fishing gear! 
Don't use a 40's style thick-as-a-broomstick spinning rod mounted with a fly reel on a small trout stream and then throw it with a bobber! Are you listening Symbicort? It just looks absurd. Again, these ads probably cost a fortune to make, so HIRE SOMEONE!!... anyone: hire a guide, a shop owner, a guy you drag off a river. Anyone who fly fishes could help you. Who the hell are your technical advisors? Make one call to a fly shop. It would cost you virtually nothing and their help would make your ad 100% better. Stop embarrassing yourselves!

3.) Don't portray the actors in your advertisement to be of questionable sexual orientation!
Don't put a bunch of gorgeous actors shoulder to shoulder on a river and have them smiling at each other like they just buddy-bonded while they limp-wristedly make 2000 false casts... especially if you're telling us they have to pee really badly because of an enlarged prostate. 

4.) Don't make your ads so bad that at the end of my criticism of fly fishing ads I just start ranting!
If your selling an anti-depressant, maybe your actors are actually depressed because they cast so poorly. Sure they are getting paid for this ad, but if they couldn't dribble AT ALL, would you put them in a basketball commercial. It would be depressing to make such a fool of yourself! Think of your actors. They have to go home. Are they being made fun of by their fishing friends? The message to the consumer is: I'm depressed because I look like an idiot. Maybe, instead of considering an anti-depressant, you should CONSIDER A CASTING LESSON!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Barracuda: A Couple Techniques for this Great Gamefish!

Tosh Brown Photo
Tosh Brown Photo

Many flats fishermen behave as if barracuda were a second rate species. They might deign to cast to a 'cud a with a spinning rod or troll for one with a fly rod when the bonefishing is slow, but flats fishermen rarely target barracuda. I'm not sure I understand why.
Barracuda are awesome critters and a very underrated flat's species. They are faster than bonefish (that's how they catch them), extremely powerful and super aggressive. I've watched a 'cuda pursue a bonefish for what must have been an eternity for the bonefish. The duo rocketed back and forth from very shallow water (where the bonefish gained ground) to waist deep channels (the 'cuda would quickly gain ground here. The bonefish eventually escaped with quick turns... the barracuda couldn't match the radius of the turn). It was an awesome display of speed, power and agility, from both prey and predator.

Barracuda can be quite challenging to catch on a fly rod. Barracuda have great vision and can easily spot a phony... until they get their blood up. Then they become super aggressive to the point of maniacal. Barracuda eats are amazing, if not a bit scary! After the take, all hell breaks loose as a 'cuda's first run is almost guaranteed to go directly to your backing and they usually get there with a series of powerful broad jumps. Barracuda are often overlooked, but I'm convinced this is because we are all just a wee-bit scared of them. We spend our time with the bones. They are a more genteel species and we are more comfortable pursuing th "grey ghost" than Hannibal Lecter. With 'cudas, we're not entirely in control. We're not sure who is the hunter and who is the hunted. But if you need a shot of adrenaline and a quick gut check, try a 'cuda. 

Here are a couple of my favorite techniques for 'cuda's:

The Long Distance Reach Out and Touch Someone Technique: 

For many anglers, barracuda are a very frustrating fish to catch on a fly rod. Intelligent predators, barracudas will often follow flies, but they just as often won’t eat the fly. So try this trick for getting hits instead of follows: 

1.) Once you've found your fish, try to put your fly between the sun and fish. This way the fish must look into the sun to see the fly. He will see it, but just not real well. Fish have no eyelids, or sunglasses to keep the sun out of their eyes.

2.) Don’t cast directly at the fish. Bait doesn't fall out of the sky on top of a predator. Instead, lay the fly 40’ feet or so in front of the fish. Don’t worry, the 'cuda will see it.

3.) Use a steady retrieve. If the 'cuda wants your fly, the speed of your retrieve won’t matter. The conventional wisdom is to use as fast a retrieve as possible. Some anglers even use the two-handed retrieve with the rod tucked under the arm. I have not had great success with this technique. If you fish with a moderate and steady retrieve, you can speed up if a fish starts to follow. If you are already retrieving as fast as you can, you can't speed up.  'Cudas are smart, they expect their prey to speed up and try to get away. 

4.) The closer the 'cuda gets, the faster you retrieve! 

5.)  When he eats, be cool! Try not to flinch and or emit a high pitched squeal.

The Tease 'em Up Technique:

1.) Find a barracuda. Look for layed-up fish, pay attention to the edges of grass beds and large sand patches surrounded by grass. 'Cudas like to use the edges of the grass to ambush other fish. 

2.) Get close enough that you can control a quick backcast once the fly hits the water. Throw the fly anywhere from 15 to 20 feet in front of the fish. 

3.) Immediately pick the fly up off the water with a quick back cast after it lands . This surfs the fly across the surface of the water very quickly (much faster than you can strip the fly). This will also water load the rod for the next cast back to the same spot as the first cast (or to a spot 15-20 feet ahead of where the fish has moved). 

4.) Make sure with each cast you place the fly at least 15-20 feet in front of the ‘cuda. Once he starts looking for your fly and charging it, leave the fly in the water and start stripping FAST.

This casting, water loading and casting again can be done multiple times, but often once or twice is enough to get the cuda's blood up. Once the ‘cuda is "primed" he will try and kill everything and anything.

5.) When he does eat, strip strike hard.

6.) Hang on!

Tosh Brown Photo

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Video of Water Cay Lodge on Grand Bahama Island

Great video from Skip Lovejoy (Dr. Phish as I call him) and Richard Boesel on their trip to Water Cay Lodge on Grand Bahama Island:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Alaska Bound 1

Great video from Simms on Alaska and big rainbows. 
Notice the fly they are using is a Dolly Lama! Great streamer fly as described in these trip reports! 

See tying instructions for the Dolly Lama here:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grayling are Cool!

Arctic grayling don't grow to be monsters, they aren't particularly hard to catch and they aren't great fighters. But when you find grayling, you've found something important and rare. Grayling mean more than cold pure water or a free flowing river... grayling mean wilderness.

Some anglers disparage grayling, while others simply ignore them. But to me, grayling are cool! They only live in wild lovely places, they take dries with a graceful elegance and if you take the time to look, grayling are incredibly beautiful. To me grayling epitomize the north country.

Grayling are found in the most beautify places on earth.

Their dorsals fins are magnificent!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weird Moments in Fishing #5

     We left our mothership, the Sea Hunter, on a dawn patrol. While swilling coffee out of a flimsy go-cup, we skimmed over a molten surface that hid the jade waters of South Andros. After a quick run through Jackfish Channel, we bailed out of the skiff grabbing backpacks and from the cooler, water bottles. We headed in different directions based on intuition or whim. I headed to the right for no specific reason, but as if pulled on a chain, soon veered left towards more shallow water. l post-holed across a soft, mucky bay eventually reaching a delectable channel with a firm, if not flat, bottom.
In the channel, half a dozen small lemon sharks were moving seemingly with purpose. These little assassins were riding a swift tidal current towards their "happy hunting grounds". I saw a few small bones, but declined to engage these "banana" bones thinking this was a great spot for a fat boy.  Soon I saw a dark shape. It was moving quickly with the strong flow. I thought it might be a shark, but I had seen enough sharks morph into big bones on this trip that as I watched, I prepared to cast.

     When the dark form had moved closer, I could see it was indeed a bone. I cast further than I thought necessary hoping to get ahead of the fish and the tide. The fish snarfed up my fly on the run, and before my line could come tight, I was broken off. All I got was the subtle exasperating “tink” of a connection not made. The fish probably never felt it. After selecting a few colorful phrases that included "me" and "it", I reeled-in to see I had broken off at the tippet’s knot. I should have inspected my knots after my last fish the night before.  I had failed at one of the basic tests anglers must pass to be successful. From your backing to your fly, it must hold firm. For failing this essential linkage, I had no one to blame, but the hour of the day, the strength of our coffee and the guy holding the rod. 

      I not only lost my fish, but the superb crab fly I was using. I had developed confidence in this fly and I had only one left. With no hesitation, I tied it on determined to do better if I got a second chance. An hour later, I was on the other side of the cay and at least a mile away from the channel where I had popped off what was probably my best fish of the day. I hadn't seen much for the last half hour and was at risk of losing my edge when I saw another large bone. This fish was as big as the one I had lost this morning. This could be my redemption... my second chance... my salvation for the fish I cheddared in the channel.

     I made a good cast, linked my line to the monster and somehow managed to land the guy. I measured him at 27 inches at the fork. I took a few photos and when I reached down to take out the hook, I saw some tan rubber legs sticking out of both sides of the fish’s mouth. This seemed odd! My fly wasn't that big... and when I opened the bone's mouth to remove the fly, there were two matching flies, one on each side of the bone's mouth. One fly had fifteen inches of tippet attached, the other fly was trailing a leader all the way to my fly line. I pulled out both flies. It now dawned on me what had happened. This Big Lebowski really liked my crab pattern and was kind enough to eat it twice in a little over an hour's time. Soon, I sent the bad boy on his way, but not before a stern lecture on gluttony and the importance of making good choices in life.

     I had counted coup on a real "dude" and now had two crab flies once again... life was good and it was still morning

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Water Cay, Grand Bahama Island Trip Report from Bob Mankin

I just received a trip report from Bob Mankin on his recent trip to Water Cay Bonefish Lodge in the Bahamas. Bob is a long time friend who went to the lodge with another good friend, Jim Dean, in December. As many of you know, I think Water Cay is one of the best BIG bonefish spots in the Bahamas and thanks to Bob and Jim for being such good fishermen and giving me some more proof!

Bob writes:

Scott here are some pics from Water Cay in December.  

The picture with Jim wearing the hood up on his coat is with my fish just to show the difference in perspective. The picture of Jim with his hood off is his big fish.

Sidney thought my fish was 10 lbs. The one I landed in 2011 with Sidney was 12 lbs.  Now you see why I'm hooked on Water Cay!
Bob with 2011 fish
Sidney Thomas with Bob's 2011 fish.

....and here is a funny story from Bob:
When I went to Water Cay in December this year I had some party beads from New Orleans. So I made:
blue = one fish
3 blue = 1 bronze (3 fish)
1 bronze and 2 blue = silver (5 fish)
3 bronze and 1 blue = gold (10 fish)
I must have been bored or under the influence to come up with this, but we all had fun with it. Kay [the great cook at the lodge] always asked about the beads at the end of the day. I left the beads at the lodge.
That's the story of why I am wearing beads in the picture of me under the Water Cay sign.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

If you ever have any clients that want a reference on Water Cay, feel free to give them my e-mail address.
Will do Bob, and many thanks!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Junkanoo Parade in the Bahamas: Kalik Beer Issues Special Label

     Junkanoo is a Bahamian festival which includes a parade complete with dancers in elaborate costumes and loud percussion music. Junkanoo occurs on many islands in the Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26). The parade is a prelude to a great party!
     Kalik beer, which is beloved by many fishermen who visit the islands, is so named because of the sound traditional Junkanoo cowbells make during these parades. Kalik issued a special label for the parade this year. Pretty cool!

Photo by Bob Mankin
Ben Fordahl celebrates a great day on Crooked Island in the Bahamas!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Alaska Silver Salmon on a Frog Fly!

Last August, there were many fresh silvers moving upriver from the ocean. These silvers were bright chrome and some still had sea lice attached to their bodies. Thanks to these fresh fish, we had some fantastic meals and some stupendous fishing! When we ran into our first pod of fresh silvers, they were resting in a big eddy. I didn't have my Pollywog box with me at the time. I only had my mouse box and one garish frog pattern that I wanted to try with the rainbows. When we got on the silvers, I thought I would give this bright green deer-hair frog a try... even though there are no frogs on Alaska! 
As you can see, our chagrinned guide lost my only frog and potentially our dinner at the same!
No problem, I put on a mouse and caught another silver minutes later.