Monday, May 29, 2006

Little Palm Island Trip Retrospective

DESTINATION FISH: Escape to Little Palm Island

AS SEEN IN THE MAR/APR 2006 ISSUE of South Florida Sport Fishing Magazine

By Jan Stephen Maizler

Imagine the embodiment of Pacific tropical magic set in the beautiful Florida Keys with environs, lodgings, amenities, and appointments on the highest scale of excellence and luxury. Imagine a six-star destination in a five-star world, a destination with pristine expressions supported by its offshore placement, reachable only by boat or seaplane. Imagine no longer because you've just stepped foot on Little Palm Island. The first thing that any angler will notice on this sub-tropical oasis is the abundance of lush flats laid gently against the island. There is a crystal-clear moat that surrounds most of the retreat quite close to the steps that lead you to your thatched oceanfront suite. During daylight hours, plump mangrove snapper and colorful wrasses circle for your viewing pleasure.

As the sun surrenders the sky to a starry blue nightfall, countless tarpon flood the same surrounding moat.After a memorable gourmet fusion in the dining room, stroll down to the Atlantic Docks, slip into a lounger and enjoy the parade of silver kings as they swim after pink-colored shrimp. You may find that your adrenaline gets the best of you and you find yourself headed back to your suite for your favorite rod. With scepter in hand, take a deep breath and steady yourself. Even if your concierge hasn't told you yet, and he will, when nightfall covers Little Palm Island, the Sunset Dock is the tarpon epicenter. Make your way through the torch-lit, palm-studded path to the Island's northwest corner, and walk to the end of the pier. Here you'll find silver kings of all sizes in impressive numbers. Discard all distractions; it's now time to focus on catching a Little Palm 'poon. There's no doubt that your wife, friends, and family are pleasantly caught up somewhere in their plush rooms, strolling amidst the greenery, enjoying a libation at the Monkey Hut Bar, or gazing mesmerized at the star-studded sky. Keep switching lures or flies and no doubt, you'll hook a high jumping silver king. You could even fall prey to Little Palm's Island Spell with the balmy breeze and lose all track of time. A pleasant sensation, but fight it off as the moon drops, since you'll need a little energy for early morning when your guide pulls up in his skiff within steps of your oceanfront suite.Amidst the magic of Little Palm Island, you'll have to tell yourself that tomorrow is another day, which is exactly what I said to myself at 2:00am after jumping my third fish.

It was easy to find my suite along the moonlit tropical path as a tasteful sign reading, “Owl Suite- Jan Maizler”, led me right to my accommodations. As the ceiling fan spun overhead, I eased into the massive bed and plunged into a peaceful reverie of my entrĂ©e to this little piece of paradise. A series of recalled images whirled by…memories of a delightful trip over from Little Torch Key aboard the thirty-five foot launch, Miss Margaret. A pre-check-in tour of the island which features a world-class spa, fitness center, lagoon-style pool, boutique and gift shop, library, and the two bars and dining room. Soon, I descended into a deep, peaceful sleep.A brisk knock on my door awakened me. I surfaced quickly and on my way to answer it, my alarm clock joined in on the wake-up brigade. I could make out the beginning glow of a cloud-spotted dawn through one of the southern windows of my suite. I opened the door and there stood Captain Fernand Braun, ready, willing, and able. I told him I'd be “right back” (a relative term) and made a writer's rounds of gear, tackle, note pad, pen, coffee, and camera. When I got back to the half-open door, Fernand said, “Ssshhh, stay still- it's a nice buck.” In my pre-coffee state, I had no idea what he meant until his hand pointed to a large Key deer munching in the grass in a gently lit clearing barely fifty feet away. I smiled and said, “Looks like we've already hunted something down.”

We headed towards the Atlantic Dock mere steps from my suite. As we turned through the shrubs onto the weathered dock planks, I could see his skiff. It was an impressive rig: a 17 ft. Maverick HPX, powered by a shiny 90HP Evinrude. I quickly concluded that this was just the right kind of skiff to get us quickly across open waters, yet able to easily cross tailing flats as well. The interior was spotless and laid out perfectly with flush open casting decks for fly and light tackle fishing. As Fernand started loading my fishing tackle onboard, I lifted up my ten-pound plug rod and said, “Weapon of choice.” We had a brief talk about how rare bait-casting tackle was getting on the flats, compared to spin and fly gear. In my case, I've had plug rods under my thumb with weekly regularity since the Beatles invaded the States.

In the low light that preceded sunrise, he laid out his strategy to start the day. We were heading out into the backcountry about ten miles to the north, to an area where he found schools of rolling tarpon on the preceding three days. His words had the effect of potent Greek coffee - my adrenaline fired up at the prospect of battling leaping tarpon under a dawn sky amongst seemingly limitless shallows. Fernand fired up his engine and began to ease through the crystal clear moat that surrounded this part of Little Palm Island. I took this time to rig the business end of my plug rod with 3 ft. of doubled line, 3 ft. of 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader, and a 1/2 oz. white Spro bucktail.

Once we got into open water, he gunned the throttle and off we flew towards the Gulf. The smooth ride across the emerald-colored bay and my position alongside Fernand gave me a chance to interview him as to his background as a fishing guide. Captain Fernand Braun is one of the “house guides” at Little Palm Island, yet he guides independently as well. His background is indeed rich and fascinating and includes expertise in judo as well as food and beverage. In years past, he was one of the first commercial fishing divers to turn away from the pursuit of jewfish, now called goliath grouper, because of his concerns for their over-harvesting. His stance helped form regulations that have increased the number of these glorious fish in their deepwater and wreck habitats.For the last twenty years, Fernand has been a professional charter captain. In a refreshing expansion of this work, he offers not only flats fishing, but also photographic expeditions and eco-tours. Further, everyone from novice to expert is welcome on his vessel. Fernand is an instructor in fly casting and fly fishing, yet enthusiastically encourages the use of all forms of light tackle. It was a nice start to a fishing trip to know I was with an accomplished diver and photographer as well as a professional fisherman.

We arrived at his backcountry destination a short time later under an early morning sky patched with light showers and blocks of blue. Fernand said, “Hang on” as he suddenly reached for the throttle to slow down his skiff. As the boat coasted towards a rain-misted sun, he cut the engine. Fernand stood up, pointed, and said, “Eleven o'clock- about a hundred feet.”It didn't take long for me to see the shimmer of a tarpon roll, then another and another. Fernand seemed to sense where I was looking and said, “No…more to the left.” Then I saw what he meant, a school of about thirty or forty “happy” tarpon rolling right towards us. On the flat surface of these backcountry waters, it was easy to see a school of the same size about eighty feet behind this first group of fish. Fernand climbed onto the poling platform and began pushing their way. I, in turn, climbed to the casting deck. The moment of truth arrived with the first of school of fish now only fifty feet away. I landed a perfect cast well in front of the lead fish and watched my bucktail disappear behind a whitish silver flash as my rod pulled down with a vicious strike. I struck back and a fifty-pounder' immediately went airborne. Though I quickly bowed to the fish, a quick snap of its head threw the bucktail.The first school of tarpon was already well behind the boat, but the following school was now just feet away. I quickly checked my leader for chafes, re-sharpened the hook and plunked off another good cast. In two sweeps of the rod, another tarpon struck hard, and I struck back. Fortunately, the fish didn't jump. I struck back twice more and line poured off my reel in a battle that was now settling into a safe “ground game.” It took me about fifteen minutes to get the tarpon alongside the boat. We guessed its weight was around forty-five pounds, an excellent catch on tackle normally used to catch five pound bass. We took some photos, and “breathed” the fish until it was strong enough to swim away.

Fernand said, “That's the hardest part of the Grand Slam. Now let's go find a permit.” He only ran his skiff about five minutes before he cut the engine and pointed to a school of large tarpon in a channel. We were drifting their way and they were swimming ours: who could resist? I tied on a slightly heavier bucktail and cast twenty feet in front of the apparent lead fish. I got a solid strike immediately and struck back. It felt like I had hooked a freight train, though nothing jumped. Fernand saw the line disappearing from my reel and started the engine to follow the powerful fish. This battle took about half an hour in slightly deeper water and yielded a beautiful trophy barracuda.

We released the fish and again cranked up for the permit flats.About ten minutes later, Fernand cut the engine, climbed the tower, and astonishingly said, “One hundred feet- at one o'clock.” I gazed in the direction hoping to see a sea of black sickles, but instead saw a large group of circling whitish silver tails. This was a group of large bonefish. For the Grand Slam's sake, I grabbed a spinning rod baited with a live crab and fired off a cast that landed about ten feet in front of the tailing fish. The tails disappeared and my line came tight. I struck hard and the line began to fly off the reel. However, the run didn't seem hard enough or long enough. In five minutes, we released a small bonnethead shark.

The bonefish were gone and as we fired up his rig for a fourth try for permit, the light showers off to our north had consolidated into a huge threatening thunderstorm. This persuaded us that heading back to Little Palm Island was the right thing to do. In the few hours that we had been fishing, the action was excellent.

The Resort-Little Palm Island is designed to provide a lifetime experience for couples, friends, and family members over sixteen years of age. There are thirty rooms: twenty-eight thatched oceanfront suites and two Island Grand Suites. It's important for you to be aware that this destination is one of the most highly-awarded of exotic resorts, because of its secluded locale and ultimate treatment you and yours will receive: attention is paid to every possible detail by a warm and caring staff.It is also a brilliant destination for non-angling wives. As you fish the pristine flats of the lower Keys or ply the Atlantic's bounty for sailfish or marlin, your spouse may be gratefully partaking in any of the following amenities and appointments.
*Breakfast served on your private deck.
*Treatments at the Spa.
*Cozy reading at the library.
*Shopping for gifts.
*Exercising at the gym.
*Hunting around for numerous Key deer roaming the island.
*Swimming in the crystal clear sea or lagoon shaped pool, followed by a discrete rinse in your suite's private outdoor shower.
*Enjoying a trip on Little Palm's dive boat to the most beautiful shallow water reefs in the world.

After you return from fishing, have your fresh catch cooked, or enjoy Little Palm's own gourmet fare. If you desire, have them set up a romantic candlelit dinner at the water's edge so you can enjoy a magnificent sunset. Afterwards, you can both return to your suite and find your canopied bed turned down and the room lit by numerous candles. Little Palm Island is one angling destination any fisherman owes to himself and loved one at least once. Like other peak experiences, you'll find yourself craving to return again and again…

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Toll-Free Phone: 1-800-3-GET-LOST

Captain Fernand Braun
Phone: 305-872-9004

Sunday, May 28, 2006



NOAA: 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
Issued: 22 May 2006
Realtime monitoring of tropical Atlantic conditionsRealtime monitoring of tropical East Pacific conditions

Atlantic Hurricane Outlook & Seasonal Climate Summary Archive

NOAA’s 2006 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates an 80% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 15% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Hurricane Research Division (HRD). See NOAA’s definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.
The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 135%-205% of the median. This prediction indicates a continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995. However, we do not currently expect a repeat of last year’s record season.
The predicted 2006 activity strongly reflects an expected continuation of conditions associated with the multi-decadal signal, which has favored above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995. These conditions include considerably warmer than normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs), lower wind shear, reduced sea level pressure, and a more conducive structure of the African easterly jet. An updated Atlantic hurricane outlook will be issued in early August, which begins the peak months (August-October) of the hurricane season.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


photo by NOAA


NOAA: 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
Issued: 22 May 2006
Realtime monitoring of tropical Atlantic conditionsRealtime monitoring of tropical East Pacific conditions

Atlantic Hurricane Outlook & Seasonal Climate Summary Archive

NOAA’s 2006 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates an 80% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 15% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Hurricane Research Division (HRD). See NOAA’s definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.
The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 135%-205% of the median. This prediction indicates a continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995. However, we do not currently expect a repeat of last year’s record season.
The predicted 2006 activity strongly reflects an expected continuation of conditions associated with the multi-decadal signal, which has favored above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995. These conditions include considerably warmer than normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs), lower wind shear, reduced sea level pressure, and a more conducive structure of the African easterly jet. An updated Atlantic hurricane outlook will be issued in early August, which begins the peak months (August-October) of the hurricane season.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tarpon Times

A warm, cloudy, moist ridge of low pressure began in the Acapulco Pacific and stretched to San Salvador and Cat Island in the Bahamas. Lowering syrupy skies and high-high tides with current from the new moon gave North Bay a tarpon- friendly set of conditions. Bonefish were out of the picture for me. Results were excellent with 5 fish over 80 pounds jumped, and 3 fish- 20, 30 and 50 pounds- leadered and released. I do not fish species as much as conditions.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Sportsman's Cove Lodge/ Alaska



By Jan Stephen Maizler

Tucked away in the remote wilderness lies a spectacular destination offering breathtaking scenery and a world class fishery unlike anything you've ever experienced before.A flotilla of four float planes eased into Ketchikan's open harbor waters. One by one, with crisp efficiency and a safe distance between them, they taxied into the wind, accelerated, and lifted off into the brisk Alaskan air.Ketchikan receded into the distance as each sun-kissed flying machine banked west towards the azure Pacific. The voyage aloft was soon highlighted by vistas of forested mountains, green islets, lakes, fjords, and even a few bears. The sense of awe, anticipation, and excitement amongst the passengers was palpable. I could sense it, because I was one of them.

As this glorious flight eased into twenty minutes length, our pilot, Captain Jerry pointed straight ahead and said, “Look over there.” As we crossed a bright green mountain top, Sportsman's Cove Lodge peeked into view in the distance. The resort sat tucked into the safety and beauty of a small bay on Prince of Wales Island. Our pilot slowly banked our plane, and descended into a silky smooth landing.Our quartet of float planes taxied to the lodge in a straight line. Each was secured to the dock and the plane doors opened. As the new crop of Alaskan anglers emerged, they were greeted like royalty by the lodge's courteous staff, headed by owner and chief-in-command, Captain Larry “Mac” McQuarrie.

My first glance at the facilities mountainside architecture and natural landscaping made me feel as if it was deliberately designed to be in complete harmony with the Alaskan wilderness.As we climbed each tier of the Lodge, there were exciting features that exceeded our group's expectations, including a full-scale marina home to a well equipped fishing fleet and sophisticated smoke house and fish packing plant. A flowered patio and garden led the way to a gift shop and steaming hot tub. Finally, the next set of authentic wooden stairs brought us to the lodge itself, a bold gem of a wood and glass structure housing the offices, dining rooms, sitting room, and guest accommodations. It was clear Sportsman's Cove Lodge spared nothing as a luxurious fishing operation in the Alaskan wilderness- newcomers were very impressed and returning clients smiled as their awaited reunion with Alaska was realized.

The registration process for the thirty anglers was smooth and efficient. During the process, staff circulated with Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp pate and favorite beverages. A very polite team member escorted me to my room which was adorned with my name at the door, comfortable accommodations, a mountain view, and plenty of reading material. When fishermen travel thousands of miles to an angling destination they expect the tastiest food, the best lodging, awesome fishing, and personal treatment. It was clear that Sportsman's Cove Lodge embodied these goals in every aspect of their entire operation.An hour later, we were seated at a gourmet dinner with fresh seafood and mouth watering desserts. Meals like this would prove to be the norm at Sportsman's Cove.

After dinner, Captain Mac facilitated a welcome and introduction process that succeeded in creating a first-name-basis camaraderie amongst the new anglers, the veterans, and the extensive staff.I returned to my room too satisfied to write and fell asleep under the triple influence of first-class treatment, twinkling stars through my window, and excited anticipation of tomorrow's long awaited angling experience.

I'd planned the timing of my trip very carefully, since timing is everything with Alaskan salmon fishing. We settled on July, which would coincide with the inshore and upstream migrations of king, silver and pink salmon. My overall goal was to sample three distinct fisheries. First, was the salmon run in the open waters of the Inside Passage. Second, was the extraordinary bottom fishing for halibut, cod, lingcod, and an array of rockfish in these same waters, which ran from 30 to 200 feet deep. Lastly, was a special trip to the inland stream mouths to sight fish huge groups of schooled salmon in as shallow as 6 inches of water. When all was said and done, all three fisheries produced action that bordered on astonishing for this Florida fisherman.

Off to open water…After a sumptuous breakfast, our group headed down to the Lodge's five immaculate fishing boats. Each vessel was limited to six anglers, which provided an enormous amount of elbow room, surrounding a cabin that sported every comfort. I was on the vessel run by Captain Brad McQuarrie, whose subsequent experience, skills, efficiency, and sense of humor made my Alaskan fishing adventure superb.Our trip to the grounds took less than an hour and was highlighted by breaching whales, diving seals, countless seabirds, leaping salmon, and even a large school of black and white dolphin that rode our wake!Captain Brad stopped the vessel when he marked a large school of bait on his color scope. This spot was right alongside the point of an island surrounded by waters that featured countless numbers of jumping pink salmon. Though we were coached the night before about the style of fishing we'd be doing, Captain Brad quickly reviewed the technique for the group once again.

The Sportsman's Cove fleet utilizes the “mooching” method of fishing. In contrast to deep trolling with downriggers, this tactic involves drop-fishing rigged baits to create a bait-ball effect. Our weapons were 30-pound conventional outfits with level-wind reels mounted on long, fiberglass rods. Terminal gear was comprised of a large yellow drail sinker and long leader with two ultra-sharp claw-style hooks. Our bait would be fresh sardine plugs which made for well scented presentations. Captain Brad cut the engines amidst the diving birds and leaping pinks. Down went our rigs in 60 feet of water and within seconds, we were all hooked up. The drop and jigging of collective baits were driving fish wild! As the day unfolded, it became clear mooching was not only lethal on salmon, but also on the vast assortment of bottom fish. Captain Brad would idle over the shallow shelves in 40 feet of water where it was a tossup whether we'd hook a pink salmon or one of a myriad of rockfish. As we got too shallow, he'd bump the vessel into gear and head for deeper water- during these short moves any baits remaining in the water were subjected to a trolling effect and would quickly be pounced on by hungry pink salmon.One quickly learns that each salmon species had its own size range and depth preference. The king salmon (chinook) ran to almost thirty pounds- my best two were well over twenty. Kings would hold quite close to the bottom, not far from the huge numbers of halibut and cod. The silver salmon (coho) ran ten to sixteen pounds and seemed to inhabit the middle portion of the water column. It was not unusual to start a mooching drop in 150 feet, only to have your spool stop revolving after just a few revolutions. This obviously signaled a strike, and a quick response would leave you hooked up with a thrashing coho.Pound for pound pink salmon were the most aggressive. While they ran smaller in size -from about eight to twelve pounds- their sheer numbers and gameness make them an Alaskan favorite. These fish were so aggressive; they'd strike the yellow sinkers and pounce on baits right at the surface!

Trying to describe all the different bottom fish we encountered would be like…well, practically impossible. Suffice it to say the bottom action was basically nonstop. I did succeed in landing enough cod and halibut to be thoroughly satisfied, and quickly lost count of the shear number of assorted rockfish I released. One particular highlight of my stay was the capture of a 150-pound halibut on one of the lodge's other vessels. This one fish produced more than enough cheek meat for fleet captain, Dan Anderson, to prepare a tasty sashimi appetizer served prior to the night's dinner.

Fishing the shallow stream mouths…
Captain Brad was eager for me to experience some of the fishing in the shallows. He explained that because this was a low tide fishery, this kind of angling does not provide the nonstop action or variety that lodge guests have become accustomed to. Hence, it is not a regular lodge offering. I made it clear I was a shallow water fanatic and would gladly have my day cut by a couple hours in return for great sight fishing.We shoved off early the next day in Sportsman's Cove aluminum center console skiff and arrived at the stream mouth within fifteen minutes. As he eased off the throttle, Captain Brad pointed to hundreds of salmon tailing along the shallows, waiting for the rising tide to provide adequate depth to swim upstream and spawn. I rigged a green and silver Pixee spoon on my 6-pound spinning outfit and thirty pound fluorocarbon leader. Again, I hooked a large coho or pink salmon on almost every cast. I was able to avoid snagging many fish by retrieving parallel to the general flow of the tailing and cruising fish.

The Sportman's Cove Lodge-I was able to chat with owner and founder Captain Larry “Mac” McQuarrie. His personal history was quite interesting and certainly provided the qualifications to head up and administer an angling destination with such outstanding credentials and performance. He grew up in coastal Canada, and gained experience working in the commercial fishing industry during his teen years. He was trained in the Canadian Naval Academy as a pilot on an aircraft carrier. His subsequent experience is impressive: helicopter bush pilot, charter fishing fleet owner and administrator, and a 34 year career as a United Airlines DC-10 pilot. In the later part of the 1980's, he founded the Sportsman's Cove Lodge.When Captain Mac said, “We don't plan on getting any bigger, but we always plan on getting better”, it was clear that his mission statement pervaded the service of this destination. When I commented on the incredible ratio of return guests and their obvious satisfaction, he said, “We're committed to creating a feeling of family amongst our staff and our guests.” In discussing the market profile of this remote retreat, Captain Mac sees Sportsman's Cove Lodge as a luxurious 6-person per/boat lodge that caters to fantastic light tackle saltwater fishing for salmon and halibut.Captain Mac is insistent on quality control through careful staff recruitment and thorough training. In addition, he personally sees to it that every guest is provided a feedback form to fill out at the end of their stay. Captain Mac and his entire staff review the information in great detail to insure their guests are totally satisfied with the services provided.It bears repeating that the lodge's fleet of well equipped fishing vessels were immaculate and offered all the shelter, comforts, and amenities that any visiting angler could ask for. I was particularly pleased to find that the vessel I fished on was replete with mouth watering snacks and a variety of hot beverages. Sportsman's Cove Lodge also has a large vessel of over sixty feet for supply runs as well as for guest “turnarounds” to Ketchikan in the event weather is too poor for float planes. The facility will also prepare your frozen fillets and smoked fish for shipping anywhere FedEx can reach. Each taste of your brought-home catch will bring back fond memories of your amazing Alaskan adventure. Alaska, is awesome!

WHEN YOU GO…Owner; Captain “Mac” McQuarrieLodge Marketing; Hope “Hopester” FindleySportman's Cove LodgeKetchikan, Alaska 99901Reservations: 1-800-962-7889Business: 1-907-247-7252Fax:

TRANSPORTATION ARRANGEMENTS…Your transportation can be simple and straightforward, no matter where your city of origin. I flew from Miami to Los Angeles on American Airlines. Then from Los Angeles to Ketchikan on Alaska Airlines. A short twenty minute flight on a float plane (Pacific Airways) completes the trip.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Deadman's Cay, Here We Come...

I'm looking forward to fishing this fabulous destination in the near future. It's called Deadman's Cay Bonefish Adventures. They are located in one of the best Bahamian bonefish habitats- it is a vast estuary, pocket, and coastline in the central west portion of Long Island. My photographer Art Blank of Right Angling Images and I have been planning on fishing with Sam Knowles and his great guides for over a year-good things come to those who wait. Sam's website is I'll be writing about this long-awaited experience in the future.

Tarpon Tips and Tricks

Siver kings apppreciate doubt about it! Today, we had a cold front ( yes, cold front!) come through, leaving the air temps in the high sixties. Fortunately, we had bay waters well into the eighties. No tarpon found on the open flats, which had winds from the northwest at 15 mph and chilly overhead air. I ran back to a mainland area in the lee that was calm and sunny: guess who I found? Two fish-one fifty and one seventy- later, I took a breath and realized how important the observation of habits and inclinations of gamefish is. A quick shot on the grassflats resulted in a two-pound and four-pound trout, and I happily called it a morning.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Field Test Results- Spro Baby Bucktail Jigs

I just returned from Little Cayman Island's Southern Cross Club, where the fishing is a delightful adventure. One particular spot on the island I fished twice- once for a flats grand slam and the other for an exciting return engagement- is the landlocked lake on the island, which is Tarpon Central! In three total hours of fishing time- on two trips- i jumped eight fish and released four of them. They ranged up to fifteen pounds, and were taken on six-pound spinning tackle. Since these fish feed on Gambusia minnows, I used the 1/8 ounce yellow and the chartreuse/orange Spro Baby Bucktails. The tarpon went wild over them! My guide, Captain Buck Buchenroth, insisted we stick to no more than twenty-pound fluorocarbon leader...the results were great. The best method was to fish to rolling tarpon with a swim and pause retrieve. There's every reason to think these excellent bucktails will be great for "tarpon on minnows" everywhere!


Jan Maizler

Tropical Weather Arrives!

It may not be a 'cane, but this system and adjacent weather stretches from Louisiana to Belize to Mayaguana. It's mid-May and the weather has been quite hot. Inland and coastal SOFLA. getting much needed rain, but in the form of severe thunderstorms, squalls, gusts to gale force winds, and hail. Keep a weather eye peeled!


Friday, May 12, 2006

Tarpon Bite Goes Off This A.M.

As the furthest fringe of a cold front "eyelashed" SOFLA, the tarpon bit quite well. The gray skies and full moon joined hands to make low light but "full-powered" water. I released a 30 and 40-pounder, but had to scram to avoid a torrentially wet squall line accompanying said "front."


Thursday, May 11, 2006

In-Depth Report of Catches Made at Southern Cross Club, Little Cayman Island

I have been flats fishing since 1962 and have never quite experienced anything like this destination. The diversity and biomass of this fishery is remarkable. There is no commercial fishing of any note any longer. Flats and reefs are rotated on a daily basis for anglers. Here is a list of the fish I caught on the flats and shallows over three days, with the exception of the tuna, which were caught offshore:

16 bonefish to 8 pounds
4 tarpon to 15 pounds
1 permit of 6 pounds
15 blackfin tuna to twelve pounds
9 yellowjacks to ten pounds
14 bar jacks to four pounds
2 barracuda- both over twenty pounds
Large assortment of mutton snapper, queen triggerfish, trunkfish, and flannelmouth grunts.

Jan Maizler

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Grand Slam at Southern Cross Club- Little Cayman

Under the expert tutellage of Captain Buck Buchenroth, I experienced a new level of understanding when it came to diversity of biomass, whether on the flats, reefs, or blue water. In addition, Buck got me a flats grand slam within four hours of fishing day number two. I stayed at the venerable-yet-always- evolving Southern Cross Club ( . Owner Peter Hillenbrand is a dedicated ecologist who makes sure that whatever he can do to help Little Cayman Island stay pristine, he will do! He works equally hard to provide the best lodgings, food, and amenities he can for his diving and angling guests. I'll be writing more extensively about this experience in the future.