All photographs on this page are available for purchase

All photographs on this page are available for purchase

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soulfish 2

Hey guys.  I know I have been slacking on my blog as of lately due to not having much time.....I know, excuses excuses.  Here is a video from my buddy Mikey back out in Lake Tahoe.  Check it out!  Looks like it will be another great fly fishing film to get your hopes up.  Stay tuned for a few new posts in the next few weeks from a great camping trip in the Everglades.  Tight lines to you!
http://www.vimeo.com/17628682

Monday, November 8, 2010

Olympic Peninsula Steelhead




Steelhead trip to the Olympic Peninsula!!  Who wants in.  Come and join myself and the rest of the Lateral Line Media crew in Washington chasing Chrome!!  Spots are filling up fast, let me know if you want in.

http://www.laterallinemedia.com/washington-state-steelhead-fly-fishing-trip/ this years program

http://www.laterallinemedia.com/washington-steelhead-trip-sasquatch-crew-spring-trip-report/ After trip report

http://www.laterallinemedia.com/washingtons-olympic-peninsula-steelhead-trip/ house we will be staying at/ last years trip

Greg Bostater (boz) did a cool vid of his west coast experience.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhbYdjrKOPk

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Permit on foot!

The writers of my favorite fly fishing blog recently took a trip to the Carribean to try their luck on the flats.  These guys are top notch Carp fly guys from the PA area, and I knew they would have no problem getting it done on fly down there.  Great job guys!  Check out their latest post about sticking a Permit on foot.   Pretty much the coolest thing I can think of doing with a fly rod. 

http://thisriveriswildflyfishing.blogspot.com/2010/10/permit-baby.html

High in the Low Lands

Another great fly fishing movie from the guys at World Angling!  Do yourself a favor and check this video out.  Guaranteed to make you want to get down here and fish the Glades. Make sure to check out more videos from World Angling on their site http://www.worldangling.com/ .  Cool guys doing even cooler things in this industry!

 High in the Low Lands
 http://www.vimeo.com/9050047

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Really Cool T-Shirts


A great new T-Shirt design from Michael Davis of Life On the Fly Outfitters.  Let me know if you guys want one and I can make it happen for you.  Also check out Life On the fly Outfitters if you guys have a chance.  It's a new destination fly fishing travel company with some fresh new ideas!  http://www.lifeontheflyltd.com/
Any inquiries or questions about the T's can be answered by me at DerekWRust@gmail.com, or by the creator himself  troutbum777@hotmail.com.  Thanks guys for looking!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Step Ladder Bonefish

In Lake Tahoe, we had the opportunity to fish a great variety of different fisheries.  Inside of a three hour drive, we had a chance to fish for all kinds of Trout, Giant Delta Largemouth Bass and Stripers, Steelhead, Salmon, Carp....and the list goes on and on.  One of the most unique fisheries around was just outside of Reno,NV in the middle of the desert.  Pyramid Lake is a GIANT body of water that is fed by the famous Truckee River which flows out of Lake Tahoe.  Most of the water in this river comes from snow melt which rages off the Eastern Slope of the Sierra Nevadas in California and Nevada every Spring.  Pyramid Lake was once known for, and somewhat still is known for MONSTER Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.  The fish of Pyramid today do not quite reach historic sizes, but the average Trout caught there today is in the 20' range, with many fish caught over the 10 lb mark.  Not too shabby!  Anyways, my point to his was that Pyramid Lake fisherman have developed an abstract way of fishing this lake from shore.  I can't say for sure who was the first to do it, but, it is a common practice now to have a step ladder included in your tackle/fishing gear for the day.  Fisherman wade out to the edge of the deep drop offs at Pyrmid and set theirr ladder.  The ladder aids in casting by keeping you way above the water level, and helps improve visibility into the water.  Some of these "Ladder Fisherman" have customised fishing ladders, some of which include a stripping basket, rod holders, floatation devices in case of a dreadful ladder tip over, and even a cushioned swivel seat for long days out there.  Innovation, I would say yes!  Anyways, the point of my story is that I have taken the ladder idea into the flats down here in the Keys.  I am DEFINITELY not the first guy to use the ladder in the salt!  But, I am amazed at the comments I receive from motorists driving by me when I am on the ladder. 


Just the other day, I got out of work and wanted to do some fishing.  I stopped by one of the local roadside flats and plopped the ladder down in the water.  I have somewhat almost given up on this flat due to my lack of seeing fish there. So, I decided to give it one more shot, this time I made a plea with the fish Gods.  I told them "I am over it and needed to see some fish today, I have put my time in with no complaining and have not seen a Bonefish yet!  It is time for you to kick down some fish."  So after my plea, I started the long standing still processs waiting for some fish to cruise by the flat.  This flat is absolutely gorgeous!  It is about a half mile long, and hard bottom of most of it that makes it easy for wading.  But, like I said earlier, this flat is right off of the only road that travels from the mainland to Key West.  So, while I stand on my ladder in the middle of the Atlantic, it tends to draw some comments from people who are driving by.  And by comments I mean the yelling of all kinds of gestures as they pass by.  I have heard everything from" Lookout!  There is a Shark under your ladder!", to hysterical laughing at not understanding the unknown.  Some of these people have got the best of me and have driven me to point a certain finger at them when they pass by.  But not all of them, I do have to admit, the Shark comment got me to chuckle a bit. 


This day turned out to be different from all other days on the flat.  Yes, I did receive quite a few comments from people driving by, not out of the ordinary, but, this day I did see some fish.  A nice school of Bones rolled through the flat easily inside of casting range.  I launched a bomb out there in front of the school and hoked one up.  The fish ran like hell and peeled off quite a bit of line.  After a few minutes I was able to land the fish and safely only to release him back into his water world.  This day, I was lucky enough to hook two Bonefish on some new fly patterns I have been working on inside of of 45 minutes.  Not a bad day....too bad it was all spoiled by getting called back into work!








Friday, October 1, 2010

Steelhead Trip Opportunity

Steelhead! Join me and the Lateral Line Media crew in Washington's Olympic Peninsula chasing pure Chrome Steel in March.  The trip is going to be amazing.  Check out the Lateral Line link to see pics from last years epic trip in the blog archives.  Spots are filling up so if you are interested shoot either of us an email and lock in your spot.  Thanks for looking


http://www.laterallinemedia.com/washington-state-steelhead-fly-fishing-trip/

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Foot Pursuit gets some Old School Flotation

A few weeks ago, the Ditch Fishing Master, my buddy an co fly fishing addict Chris got a call from friend of his.  He had come across a pile of old rental canoes from a state park all of which were damaged.  When I say damaged, I mean minor imperfections.  But, through some liability issue, they are not able to use them for public rental use anymore.   Luckily, we were able to snag one of the better vessels before they were sent to their death at the local Transfer Station.  Chris took her home, cleaned her up, and did some minor fiberglass work.  He patched a hole literally the size of a quarter which was located just under the gunnel on the canoe.  The hole was in a spot where it would have only taken in water if you were 12 beers deep and were slumped over in an alcohol induced nap and swamped it yourself.  Not that I have ever done that, but, I may have witnessed something similar on a canoe trip mission on the Sacco river in Maine.  But, that is another story for another time.  And, for the protection of the accused, no names will be mentioned here.  Anyways, after Chris finished the sanding and patching process, we set out for a test float/fly fishing mission on a local waterway.

We arrived at the Creek at O'dark Thirty, loaded up the new ride with a couple of 5 wts. and an 8wt. just for good measure, and launched her off on her maiden voyage with her new owner.  We had heard that this creek was Tidal and chock full of baby Snook and other popular game fish, and this proved to be true.  We launched the canoe, sat 3 feet off of the ramp,and Chris began casting at a small section of moving water which was dumping out of the mangroves due to the tide rushing back to the Atlantic.  Second cast, Snook on, well, let me say, baby Snook on.  It absolutely crushed a Glades Minnow pattern that Chris has improved and perfected.  This was an epic start to a nothing less than an epic day.

We continued exploring the Creek for the better part of the day.  We fished all of the bridges, mangrove pockets, and shaded areas we could find and absolutely put on a Baby Snook BEAT DOWN!!  After about 30 minutes of hooking Snook on almost every cast with the Glades Minnow, we decided to throw nothing but deer hair divers.  We put some dry fly floatant on the diver to make it ride a bit higher in the water column and we started popping it on the surface.  It turned out to be Snook Crack!  It worked even better than the Minnow pattern we were throwing.  It was getting gobbled by everything in the Creek.  We landed probably 25 Snook on it, not to mention, had about another 30 eat it and not get stuck. Total, we probably boated over 40 Snook.....but who's counting.  All were about the same size, but, we did get land one that pushing 20". Stellar day to say the least!!

This creek is nothing less than beautiful in places.  Stretches of this canal are so pristine that you would think you were deep in the Everglades backcountry, and, other stretches are littered with trash, old tires and Interstate 95 road noise.  None the less, we found all kinds of fish here.  We saw hundreds of baby Snook, some chunky slobby Snook well into the 30' range, Mayan Cichlids, schools of Jacks and some Tarpon.   We had 1 Poon eat the fly but did not stick him.....probably a good thing being armed only with a 5 wt!  We will definitely be back to explore this creek some more another time,and, we will come loaded up with a bigger arsenal and try to get into some canoe Tarpon.  Landing them might be an issue........but we will see.  What a great day!  I am looking forward to our next exploration there no doubt.



video












Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beach Snook in the Keys

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to check out a new fishing spot down here in the lower Keys.  I had heard great things about this flat from a good buddy of mine and figured what the hell, why not give it a shot.  I had been tying Bonefish  flies for the past few nights and was hoping to lace into a couple slabs,  so, I loaded up the truck with way too much crap and rolled out.  I arrived at the flat after a short drive from Marathon.  I strung up the 9 wt with a small Merkin rip-off of mine in hopes to maybe run into a Bone or a Permit and wanted to have a fly that might tempt either one if an opportunity should arise.  I got to the water and noticed that a big plus tide had pulled all of the seaweed off of the beach and neatly placed it everywhere!  The flat was littered with it,and this was going to make it very hard to sight fish.  So instead of wading in the water, I decided to pull out an Eastern Sierra lake sight fishing we would use in the high alpine lakes in the Tahoe area.  Basically, we would post up on top of the biggest rocks around and hurry up and wait for some fish to come by.  This is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is an extremely helpful way to spot fish when fishing from shore.  It can be extremely rewarding at times, and also can be the exact opposite at others.  Only time will decide which way the balance beam shall tip on each outing.

I walked down the beach for a bit and got to a spot where the Seaweed was at its least, I hopped up on the rocks and started scanning the water or any sign of movement.  I waited and waited and saw nothing.  I waited some more and still nothing.  I looked to the east and saw a grip of Gulls diving into the water.  I ran down the beach hoping to find a school of Tarpon or maybe some big Jacks killing bait on the surface, but, instead I found a bunch of Seagulls playing grab ass with each other.  Those dirty bastards!  What a waste of time!!  I probably missed the mother load of Bonefish cruising the flats while chasing some damn Gulls.  Disappointed at the sight of birds crashing the surface with zero fish busting bait in the area, I started to head back towards my less grass filled point on the flat.  I stopped just short of where I was on lookout before and posted up for a while on top of the rock wall.  I again waited for a while and didn't see any signs of life on the flat.  As the day began more and more to look like a bust, I decided to give it one more shot at the first spot I had spent time at.  I headed back up the beach and was looking into the water just outside of the weed line.  The water had a brown tint near the weeds and was looking kind of funky.  I was questioning why I was out there in the present conditions at all.  Not only was the water clarity poor due to the weeds, but it was also soiled with loud ass swimmers and sunbathers drinking their faces off and basking in the humidity.  I was about to throw the fly rod,in the truck,call it quits and follow suit,but, a big shadow cruising the weed line caught my eye.  I could not make out what kind of fish it was, but I could make out a large forked tail of some sort, and if I had to guess I would have said it was a big slobby Bonefish due to the nature of the flat I was on.  I positioned myself in front of the fish, made a cast a little too close to it and it scooted off.  The fish didn't go too far and resumed cruising the weed line.  I ran up the beach and got in front of it again and made another cast.  This time I dropped it a little bit further away from the fish.  I let the crab imitation sink a bit and stripped it across the shadows face.  He turned on it and inhaled my fly!  I was expecting a blistering run from what was surely a personal best Florida Keys Bonefish of my career, but instead I got a bunch of gnarly head shakes.  This was acting unlike any Bonefish I had ever caught before.... it thrashed some more and then launched out of the water.  I was blinded by the brightness of this fish all except for it's lateral line that looked like it was laid down on it's skin by a Black Magic Marker.  I had somehow hooked a decent Snook on a Merkin on the beach in the Keys.  The fish thrashed a few more times, and then hauled ass and ran me almost into the backing.  He finally slowed down and turned and made a run straight back at me on the beach.  He was starting to give up and I waded into the weed line to lip the fish.  He kicked a few more times and then threw up the white flag.  I bent down and grabbed a fist full of Snook lips.  I laid the fish down on the Seaweed and admired it's beauty for a few seconds while I fumbled for my camera.  I managed to snap off a few overexposed shots before I set her free, and watched the Snook swim back off the end of the flat. 
After letting the Snook go, I looked at my fly to see what kind of shape it was in after the battle.  It was then that I realized that I was suppose to be fishing for Bones and did not have any bite tippet on my leader.  I got very lucky and landed this fish on straight 12 lb tippet somehow.  I guess even the sun shines on a dog's ass some days. I was grateful to not have left this fish with my ugly Merkin rip off in it's mouth.  So, I re-rigged my leader again and climbed back on top of my rocky perch to stare off  into the Atlantic again.  I ended up staying there for another hour or so.  I ended up seeing 4 Snook total, and two Bonefish that were swimming about 40mph through the flat.  I didn't get any good shots at any of these other fish, and after landing one decent Snook I decided to hang it up an call it a day.  I had fun exploring new water, had some great excitement and anticipation at the thought of a fish boil by all of the bird activity, and got lucky landing a Snook with no bite tippet......not a bad day at all.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ditch Hippo

The canals in South Eastern Florida differ greatly from one to another. Some run through suburban backyards,others run through downtown city blocks, and some have thick canopies on the banks littered with Palm trees, Ficus Trees and other vegetation looking much like the canals in the Everglades. Certain times of year the Ficus trees blossom drop their fruit into the canals. When this happens it raises interest of a few hungry species of fish in the canals that like to eat the fruit, one of them being the Grass Carp. This is the best time you will have a chance at hooking one of the Grass Carp that inhabit these waters. They are true giants who prove to be quite challenging to stalk with their keen vision, and a sixth sense of just knowing you are there. Not to mention that these Carp eat different types of grasses, after all, that is why they were planted in these canals to begin with. They are responsible for the underwater "Landscaping" if you will in the canals to keep the weed growth down. This poses an issue to the fly fisherman who wants to target one of these beasts. What fly represents grass? Well, nothing on the market that I have seen...I have done plenty of research on Grass Carp patterns and have only found a few designed to target the Grassy but are not in production so you will have to tie them yourself. One is a Boa Hair tied fly that have a bit of Peacock Hurl tied into them to imitate a piece of grass, the other is a Ficus Berry fly. The Berry Flies are constructed from Styrofoam balls much like trout cork indicators which are glued to a hook and are painted to match the Ficus Berry. I have found both patterns raise little if any interest to the huge Canal Carp most of the time, but, once in a while, when conditions are right and you have a little bit of luck, you can get one to eat a properly presented Berry imitation.



Last weekend I made a trip back to the mainland to get some things in order to finalize my move to the Florida Keys.  I hit  up my buddy Chris and we made plans to do a little Bonefishing at a spot I had found outside of Miami.  We tied some flies, gassed up the truck and motored to the flat.  We made the 30 minute drive, suited up and waded out into the Atlantic.  Shortly after getting into the water I spotted a GIANT Bonefish that probably went 12+lbs cruising like a mad man through the water.  By the time I got Chris to see the fish it was too late to get a shot at it.  It had dipped off the end of the flat into the channel and we never saw it again that day.  So,  we continued wading towards my favorite sand flat hoping to find another BIG Bone.  By the time we made it to the prime zone, the thunder clouds had moved in and we lost all visibility.  We both decided that this day was a loss and we agreed to head back to Lauderdale and get some breakfast. 

While we were eating, the heavens opened up and it rained like hell!  The streets flooded almost instantly.  Lets just say that the drainage at sea level in Florida is less than ideal. We checked the weather and found a break in the systems and decided to try out one of the local canals nearby since it was still early in a.m.  Rain can mean great canal fishing!  Everything in the canals seem to go on the chomp after a new rainfall, especially Tarpon.  We headed out the door and made a short drive to the ditch.  Upon our arrival, we had no idea what was in store for us.  Chris rigged up his 5 wt with one of his great looking, ever so productive minnow patterns which will work for everything from Ditch Tarpon, to Snake Heads.  I on the other hand, was thinking a little bit different.  I decided to focus my efforts on the freshwater Ditch Permit, Ditch Hippo or otherwise known as the Grass Carp.  I was hoping for some good luck since I was fishing with the Ditch Fishing master himself.....Chris has many years of canal fishing in the Ft Lauderdale area and  has many impressive catches in the ditches on light tippets.  For instance, he has landed 25 lb Tarpon on a 5 wt running straight 8lb Maxima with no shock tippet section in his leader, and has landed a 30 lb Grass Carp on his 0 wt running straight 6 lb.  Not too shabby.  So, in order to keep it real in honor of Chris, I decided to throw my Sage SLT 4 wt. dry fly rod that I brought to Florida with me from trout country.  I strung it up with one of Chris's Berry Flies and we headed up the bank. Chris was throwing casts along the weed line and was hooking all kinds of fish.  He landed a few small Bass, a Peacock, and a few Mayan Cichlids.  We spotted a few Snakeheads chilling up in the Grass, but could not get them to commit and make the bad decision and eat the fly.  We kept heading up the canal and stopped by one of the bridges.  I spotted a monster Grass Carp tailing on the surface.  He was floating around and eating off of some of the grass mats near the bank.  I crept down and made a ninja cast at the fish.  I got lucky and put it right in front of his face.  He did not even react!  What a dick head!!  He just kept on chomping away on stinky canal grass.  He sat there for a minute and then turned towards me and slowly made his way towards my direction.  I picked up my fly and made another cast at the fish.  I put the fly down about 2 feet in front of the Carp.  He cruised over to it and sucked it in!  I am not going  lie to you guys, I froze.  I have seen probably 100 of these fish in the canals, and have cast to probably about 40 of them, some of them were good shots but none were this perfect.  To actually see my fly disappear into the mouth of this giant vegetarian was indescribable.  As I stood there doing nothing, Chris was yelling at me that "He ate it, set it".  By the time I reacted to it, it was probably 2.5 seconds after the actual take.  I buried the hook with a strip set, the fish turned and broke me off instantly! This fish was pushing 30 lbs without a doubt!   I threw my rod down into the grass and laughed my ass off.  Chris was cracking up at my tarpon set on this fish and he had every right to bust my balls.  I finally got one to eat the Berry and I blew it.  Oh well, I hooked one and saw it eat, I was stoked on the day and was happy regardless of the outcome.

I figured that it would be a while before I would get another shot, but somehow I must have tickled the Grass Carp's nuts just right that day.  Chris spotted another Ditch Hippo pigging out on a Ficus Tree branch that was hanging in the water.  I snuck my fat ass over to tree and set up for a cast.  I made a cast and plopped the fly down right next to the tree.  The carp rushed it, blew up on it like a Tarpon, and completely missed the fly.  Surprisingly enough, he went right back to what he was doing before and began dining on the Ficus again.  I could not believe he did not spook.  I waited a minute, and made a second cast at the tree.  The Carp rushed the fly again, but, this time he ate the crap out of it.  I lifted the rod and got tight to him, and then it was game on!  The fish took off into the deep water.  I put as much torque on him as my 4 wt could muster up, but, there is just not that much backbone in a slow action dry fly rod.  I managed to stop the fish briefly, then he ripped to the other side of the canal, then turned around and came straight back at me.  He thrashed around on the surface and wore himself out pretty good.  This turned out to be the last of the long runs. He made a few more small last ditch efforts to flee but could not shake the hook, and after a few, I managed to ease him over to the bank and tail him.  I had finally managed to get my hands on a Grass Carp!  All the prior attempts had finally paid off and I guess I finally had put in enough time for one to eat the fly.

Some species of fish will track flies and refuse them at the last minute, some will boil on and miss a fly, Tarpon will eat and jump you off sometimes, Grass Carp hardly ever show the slightest interest in a fly! Nothing! They just keep on swimming as if they did not even see your presentation. Once in a while you will get a brief consideration of eating the fly from a Grass Carp before the turn away and give you the finger and basically laugh right on your face. It is totally brutal, and is a game of extreme patience. But, when one eats, you will be very happy in all of your efforts and time invested wile your line is screaming off of your reel.   Carp get a lot of Crap and don't get the respect they deserve.  They fight hard and are tough to get to eat the fly.  Give them a shot sometime, you will see what I am talking about.
I almost lost him.  He straightened the hook out pretty badly...... I guess I got lucky

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ditch Fishing



Southern Florida is loaded with canals of all shapes and sizes that intermingle with the Intracoastal Waterways. The canal vary greatly from one to another....some run parallel to Interstates which are littered with roadside trash and spare car parts, and some are so pristine and quiet that you would think you were lost out in Hells Bay deep in the Everglades National Park.  These canals connect like a series of highways for fish to run all the way from the salt into the Everglades if they so choose. This means at any point in time you can encounter ocean species deep inland along with all kinds of other species of fish in the sweet water. Our main targets when fishing these canals range from Tarpon, Snook, Peacock Bass, and Largemouth Bass, but, we also have plenty of shots at all kinds of other, not so popular species.  You never know what you might find cruising the banks of the waterways in search of a meal.  Stay tuned for some stories of Foot Pursuit Fly Fishing in the Florida Ditches



Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's worth a shot.

 My good buddy and fellow fishing guide in Lake Tahoe is running a contest.  Mat Heron, is the head of the Fly Fishing program at Squaw Creek located at Squaw Valley Resort in Lake Tahoe, California.  Mat is a FFF Certified Casting Instructor, and a great guy to fish with.  Fill it the form and maybe you can win a free guided trip with him on the famous Truckee river and hook up with one of it's big Brown Trout.  Good luck guys and gals!




http://mountainkhakis.com/sweepstakes/enter-sweepstakes/

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A few hours to kill, Tarpon, and one huge Thank You!

When I was leaving work the other night and heading back home, I got a call from a good buddy of mine Capt Paul Fisicaro.  He is the owner of  Strip Strike Charters down here in Marathon in the central keys.  He knows I have been working a lot and have not had much time to fish.  This is never a good thing for a fly fishing junky....I was starting to get a little bit Aggro.  He knows that I like chasing down anything that swims when the opportunity is right on foot with my personal fishing guide Chowda, my noble and ever so loyal Chocolate Lab.  Capt Paul had recently got home from a guide trip and found a good pod of Baby Tarpon roadside off the Overseas Highway.  He gave me perfect directions to the hole, and told me to try a small white fly because he had seen the mother load of Glass minnows there earlier that day.  So, after that call I found his spot, pulled off the road, strung up the 9 wt., and waded out around to the corner and started looking for rollers.

As soon as I rounded the corner, I saw a Tarpon smash a school of Pilchards.  This got the adrenaline flowing to say the least.  Looking out, I could see probably 20+ Tarpon feeding and rolling around all within 100 yards of where Capt Paul told me to go to. Desperately wanting to jump one of these Poons, my guide Chowda and I waded into a good casting position where we could get a decent back cast off without sending a fly line into the mangroves.  I stripped off about 80' of line from my reel and we began the waiting process.  After about fifteen minutes standing there waiting for an opportunity to arise, Chowda was over it, said screw the Tarpon, and decided to chase Pilchards and Blue Crabs around to pass the time.  Some guide he is!  Good thing he rates are reasonable, and he takes payment in the form of dog bones and other treats.  During Chowda's play time, I do have to admit I was a bit distracted by him, and was laughing at watching him aggressively trying to step on and crush anything that moved in his general vicinity.  I typically find, that when you are least expecting it, and most of the time not even remotely ready, is when you have a great opportunity pass you by to sight cast to a fish. This proved to be true once again!  A Tarpon boiled right in front of me.  I slapped a half ass sloppy cast out there as fast as I could in pure desperation, but didn't get a strike.   So, pissed off, I stripped my line back in, and started scanning again praying for another shot.  I was seeing bait cascades and boils near me, a good sign that fish are dying falling victim to much larger predators having dinner on the flats.  The boils got closer and closer, and then I saw a roller right in front of me.  I made a false cast and dumped the fly right in the path of a feeding Tarpon no more than forty feet in front of me.  I stripped my line a couple of times and then felt it go heavy.  I strip set and launched a baby Tarpon into the air.  The fish ripped line off of my reel and proceeded to cartwheel across the Gulf in an effort to spit my fly from his armor like mouth. All of this commotion drew the attention of my fishing guide from his crab chasing and he crashed through the water to my side to see what was going on. The baby Poon made about 5 jumps total, and fought tremendously hard, but , I was lucky enough to be able to hang onto him and land him.  I eased the fish over to where I was standing and grabbed him by his lip.  I made sure to keep this fish in the water while I fumbled for my camera. This is a crucial part of catch and release fishing!  Obviously, if a fish is out of the water they can not breathe.  The best analogy I have ever heard explaining this situation was from a former client of mine when I was guiding in Lake Tahoe, he said, "Run a marathon, then, as soon as you finish, stick your head into a bucket of water and keep it submerged."  This is the exactly what you do to a fish but in the reverse order by having them out of the water. Help them out and keep them breathing after you exhaust them.  They will revive quicker and have a far greater chance of survival.



All in all, it was a great experience.  I had a great time on the water with my best fishing buddy, and it was a successful trip.  I owe a big thanks to Capt Paul Fisicaro for the kick down.  I owe you again Paulie! He is an amazing guide, and an incredible photographer.  Look him up if you are ever in the Keys and have interest in stalking the flats.  Check out his website at http://stripstrikecharters.com/

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beach Bonefish


I was recently kicking around the local fly shop down here and was talking to my buddy Chris.  A long time customer of his, a seasoned veteran fly guy from South Eastern Florida also stopped by.  While we were shooting the bull, we got to talking about wade fishing opportunities to flats fish in the area.  Chris and I have a few spots we like to frequent on the regular, but, are always looking for new spots.  Unfortunately, down this way, there are very few flats you can access on foot to fish for Bones and Permit that actually will produce fish.  Jay was unbelievably kind and dug into his mental GPS and threw us a bone.  He told us in his opinion the "BEST" wade fishing spot in all of Southern Florida that he had found in all of his years stalking the big 3 from shore ( the big three being Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon).  Not only did he tell me where to go, but he told me the tide he liked there, where to park, and what flies to bring!  So, we swore to Jay that our lips were locked and we would throw out the key as to where "Destination X" was.....because lets face it, loose lips sink ships and we did not want to spoil his secret spot that he was kind enough to share with us.  So, we went back on our way telling fish tales of past fishing ventures, discussing new fly patterns, and listened to some more of Jay's colorful stories with his precise attention to detail and amazing ability to paint a mental picture of exactly where he was at a particular time and place.

After I left the shop, I went home and checked the tides for the following day at Jay's secret zone.  Strangely enough, the exact tide he described as to be ideal in his spot was predicted for the next day.  I checked the weather and everything looked good, south west wind was in the forecast which is ideal for sight casting from shore on the east coast, and there were no off shore storms brewing so swell was minimal.  So I decided I would try my luck out there and give it a whirl and hopefully would run into a few Bonefish, and maybe even get a few to eat.  I spun up some small Crabby patterns, and some shrimp imitations and went to bed early to get ready for a long morning in the hot Florida.

As I was driving the next morning, I went over everything Jay had told me in my head.  I followed his perfect directions and found his parking spot that he had described to me.  I strung up the 8 wt, grabbed my stripping basket, loaded up my face with some SPF 1,000, and hit the beach just as the sun was rising over the Atlantic.  As soon as I got to the water, I spotted 3 Bones tailing right on the shore!  To be honest, I didn't even have any line stripped off of my reel yet and spooked them almost as soon as I saw them.  DAMN IT!  I swore that the next fish I saw I was going to be ready and make a presentation to it.  I peeled off about 80 feet of line, neatly placed it in my home made stripping basket, and got ready to make a cast.  I walked about 30 more feet and spotted 5 Bones heading my way about 60 feet away from me.  They were nosed down and were recklessly chomping everything in their path.  I made a false cast and plopped the fly down just in front on the school.  As soon as they saw it, they rushed the fly like a fat kid to a buffet table leaving a wake behind them. These fish pushed up water like a Tsunami as they were B lining right to my fly in their competition for survival of the fittest!  Fish on!  Almost instantly the Beach Boner had me into my backing and was ripping line off of the reel.  It fought hard for about 5 minutes, then threw up the white flag and let me ease it into my net.  It was not a huge Bone, but definitely a solid fish that probably went about 3 lbs of pure piss and vinegar.  I grabbed a quick photo, and then released it back onto the sand flat where it had fought so hard from.  The Bone darted off hopefully to be caught again another day by another angler when he has fattened up a bit.  This was the start of nothing less than an epic day of Florida Bonefishing.  I luckily ended up hooking 9 Bonefish that morning and landed 6 of them ranging from 1-5 lbs.  This is a stellar day by Florida Bonefishing standards out of a boat, never mind walk wade fishing on the beach and not having to get my feet wet.  I owe it all to Jay!  Without his gift to Chris and myself, I would be stuck combat wading the same old flat with everyone else in this part of the state.  Thanks Jay!  I owe you my man.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Foot


I love and breathe fly fishing. Literally, it is all I do. I will chase anything and everything that swims when they are around, and sometimes, even when they are not just for the sake of being outdoors. Fly Fishing is my environmental therapy....it has the ability to free me from the stresses from every day life and bring me to a better place where I am truly happy. And, for this reason alone, is why I am a junkie for the Fly.

In my opinion, it is all about the foot pursuit. Chasing down migratory fish, and ocean fish of all types on foot has a special appeal to me. Mainly, I like how tough and challenging it is. Timing is key in this game, and I not going to lie, there are plenty of trips where I do not even see a fish never mind catch and release one. Some may call me a glutton for punishment,but, when everything comes together and there is no better feeling in this world. All kinds of line rippers can be targeted from shore at certain times of year in the fresh and the salt, please check back in and follow my ventures in Foot Pursuit Fly Fishing.