Monday, May 30, 2005

Hats off to Green Turtle Cay!

I've spent a load of time fishing Abaco, primarily Sandy Point with Captain Ricardo Burrows and the Marls with Captain Danny Sawyer. Though there are tons of bonefish in these areas, I have never seen such honkers as in the pictures in New Plymouth Museum on Green Turtle Cay and on Captain Ricky Sawyer's webpage guest photo "book". (

Danny Sawyer called these ocean bonefish, and they really are some of the biggest in the Bahamas. The other area that seems to cough up lunkers is Bimini. It's fine the other islands claim big fish, but do a research in the record books and with actual be the judge!


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Fishing Plans Flourish in a Cyber Age!

I just spoke to friend and Jupiter fishing legend Captain Butch Constable last night about some upcoming collaboration. We both discussed our respective tarpon seasons. I'd already released 16 fish with over 4 fish topping 100 pounds...all this since March 10th, and on a very part-time basis. Butch mentioned that their tarpon and snook season seemed to be running a bit late. Generally, by now, Butch has his Lake and Bay along the beaches flycasting for silver kings. After our talk, I went to various websites, but the major one for the tarpon question was This site shows sea surface temperatures, crucial for a tropical fish like a tarpon. It was clear that Miami had considerably warmer water than Jupiter and provided some data that seemed to make sense.

Before I shoot out to the flats-outside salty sandy ones, or inshore brackish grassy ones, I like to check for sky weather, current directions, and wave directions. The websites I use for this are: -This site gives it all, including marine weather. I need to check the satellite images and radar for weather systems. - This gives wave characters that I think are relevant even inshore. - Ditto for the above site.

By the time I'm done with these inquiries, I have a better idea of the water world I'm venturing into on any given day.

Please double-check the exact URL's for these websites. They could change or need additional refinement.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Genuine Angler

There's always been discussion about who is and who is not a great angler, or the qualities it takes or does not take to achieve saidsame exalted status. My advice is to pass the oxygen, calm down, and think for a minute. Do anglers need to be great? Who are the people dispensing the criteria for greatness? And more importantly, who are the people who blindly pursue the ideas of other people? I think greatness is far less important than the joy of the angler.

Let's bring angling back to the basics, which are primordial hunt, conquer, and provide food. You cannot pick salmon off a stalk! I have seen many self-appointed great anglers sniff condescendingly at ancient Native American salmon spearing practices, as if the latter were truly convinced that tricking a cold- blooded fish into striking a bunch of feathers tied on a hook was a triumph! Not very tolerant, is it? So I suggest that maybe a desireable characteristic for anglers to consider is that tolerance for fishing methods that do not harm stocks whatsoever is another's rights. Witness a handline bonefisherman in Bowen Sound on Andros and a flyfisher 100 yards one inherently better?

Another situation I saw firsthand was an angler's refusal to accept that big tarpon off Sanibel's beaches were only grabbing live herring. His bucktails and DOA's were refused in the high sun and ultraclear water. He sat down in the skiff and skulked. I moved to live bait and released 3 big fish. I feel he was not passionate about his angling, but rigid. I would think that battling a gamefish in celebration of their "gameness" is the very essence of desire and passion, but an insistence on the catching them only the way the angler expects is not passionate-its saying that his method is more important than the fish themselves.

But more importantly, there is no right way. I think it's good to decide for yourself what is important. Greatness is relative- who has more of it?.... A TV personality or a dad whose son sees him a best a bass in the backyard on a spincasting outfit?

Be your own guide!!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Tarpon Nocturne

Here were today's choices. Full moon coming, lots of clouds and overcast in the presence of high humidity and syrupy air pumped from the hurricane crossing Honduras. I could spend the day struggling to see into the water for bonefish and wait for midday to see low tide tailing bonefish break the surface. No way!

These are the conditions tarpon love-that low light, bathtub situation. I found one of my "basins" in Biscayne Bay, and there they were, at the first light of a dawn obliterated by clouds. Today featured schools of whitebait, so tiny strips were employed on 8/30 PowerPro with nine foot salmon rods. The baits were absolutely gobbled on the "drop." Tally for two hours fishing: 4 released tarpon to 40 pounds, 4 more jumped, and a 'cuda over 30 pounds that snipped the hook before the leader touched the rod tip. Additionally, gator trout love these same exact conditions. When they're on the Indian River flats under dawning cloudy skies, no need to see them..just cast the area gently with artificials.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Luck be a Lady...right now!

To further the discussion on ladyfish merits vis a vis tarpon, remember that of the three primal relatives, bone, tarpon, and ladyfish, the latter is most rapid-moving open water hunter of them all. Bones graze, tarpon can sit on bottom, slurp, roll, and can hit with vigor on nightime bridges, but ladyfish are far more the unmitigated predator of the three. Witness the times they show up alongside jacks, mackeral, and bluefish. Also, when was the last time you cast at "laid-up" ladies?

Not much! It would kind of be like that long ago, in a galaxy, far,far away a tarpon and mackeral-like fish spawned and voila!, a ladyfish- clumsy, but the idea does hold. It's easy to tell by the way ladyfish feed, they are not lazy. They are aggressive, on the move, and never drive you crazy just rolling and not feeding. It has been my experience to also notice that while tarpon and snook, too, can tolerate horrid water, ladyfish seem to opt for the slightly cleaner more saline waters of beaches and bays. Many years ago, I caught a ladyfish in North Biscayne Bay that was almost 6 pounds on the then-popular Chatillion scale. By the battle of the first run, I thought I hooked a big bone, until I saw the first jump. Heavyweights by their nature make a big splash- John Ruiz, Golotta, the Klitschkos, and Brewster, but I'll stop to think- and you can if you want- what it would be like if Lennox Lewis had to fight a 240 pound Floyd Mayweather. The fact they do not grow bigger than 5 or 6 pounds in no way prevents me from this speculation.


Friday, May 13, 2005

Ladyfish versus Tarpon! - Let the battle begin!

Today was windy.Waves rolled whitecappingly and you'd better have had a tight cap or at least a clip for it. Ken Long and I encountered a few "lifetime"-sized bonefish, but they were skittish in the poor currents and low levels of the quarter moon. The day was saved by working an area of Biscayne Bay loaded with ladies, small kingfish, and an occasional tarpon. All these fish love to frequent basin- like depths deeper than the surrounding waters. Whether on plug with white bucktails or spin and shrimp, the ladyfish were large and ferocious, some topping 4 pounds. The leaps and long runs had far more power and speed than tarpon. How much has this been discussed, but why shouldn't it? I've always proposed the same levels of admiration for these great gamesters. The pound for pound notion from boxing applies here: can anyone really conceive what it would be like to battle a 150 pound ladyfish? It would probably make alot of anglers forget about the silver king.


Sunday, May 08, 2005


Despite a recent cold front that crept over Sanibel Island, Captain Mike Smith-"King of the Ding"- took us into Ding Darling Refuge. He was well-armed with whitebait, and had linesiders in a frenzy of feeding wherever we went, with some judicious chumming. In a half day trip, I caught and released 14 snook to 8 pounds, and lost just as many. Mike's number is 239-573-FISH. The West Wind Inn ( was totally intact after last year's 'canes, and provided great lodging. It will be a tad longer for the surf to flatten and warm, so the snook can hit the beaches.