Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lightning Safety Guidelines from NOAA posted on the Web


Lightning Safety
Lightning is the MOST UNDERRATED weather hazard. On average, only floods kill more people. Lightning makes every single thunderstorm a potential killer, whether the storm produces one single bolt or ten thousand bolts.In the United States, lightning routinely kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes COMBINED. Tornadoes, hail, and wind gusts get the most attention, but only lightning can strike outside the storm itself. Lightning is the first thunderstorm hazard to arrive and the last to leave.Lightning is one of the most capricious and unpredictable characteristics of a thunderstorm. Because of this, no one can guarantee an individual or group absolute protection from lightning. However, knowing and following proven lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Remember, YOU are ultimately responsible for your personal safety, and should take appropriate action when threatened by lightning.While no place is 100% safe from lightning, some places are much safer than others

Where to Go
The safest location during a thunderstorm is inside a large enclosed structure with plumbing and electrical wiring. These include shopping centers, schools, office buildings, and private residences.If lightning strikes the building, the plumbing and wiring will conduct the electricity more efficiently than a human body. If no buildings are available, then an enclosed metal vehicle such as an automobile, van, or school bus makes a decent alternative.

Where NOT to Go
The safest location during a thunderstorm is inside a large enclosed structure with plumbing and electrical wiring. These include shopping centers, schools, office buildings, and private residences.If lightning strikes the building, the plumbing and wiring will conduct the electricity more efficiently than a human body. If no buildings are available, then an enclosed metal vehicle such as an automobile, van, or school bus makes a decent alternative.

Not all types of buildings or vehicles are safe during thunderstorms. Buildings which are NOT SAFE (even if they are "grounded") have exposed openings. These include beach shacks, metal sheds, picnic shelters/pavilions, carports, and baseball dugouts. Porches are dangerous as well.Convertible vehicles offer no safety from lightning, even if the top is "up". Other vehicles which are NOT SAFE during lightning storms are those which have open cabs, such as golf carts, tractors, and construction equipment.

What To Do
Once inside a sturdy building, stay away from electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures. As an added safety measure, stay in an interior room.If you are inside a vehicle, roll the windows up, and avoid contact with any conducting paths leading to the outside of the vehicle (e.g. radios, CB's, ignition, etc.).

What NOT to Do
Once inside a sturdy building, stay away from electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures. As an added safety measure, stay in an interior room.If you are inside a vehicle, roll the windows up, and avoid contact with any conducting paths leading to the outside of the vehicle (e.g. radios, CB's, ignition, etc.).
Lightning can travel great distances through power lines, especially in rural areas. Do not use electrical appliances, ESPECIALLY corded telephones unless it is an emergency (cordless and cell phones are safe to use).Computers are also dangerous as they usually are connected to both phone and electrical cords. Do not take a shower or bath or use a hot tub.

Lightning Safety Plan

A lightning safety plan should be an integral part of the planning process for any outdoor event. Do not wait for storm clouds to develop before considering what to do should lightning threaten! An effective plan begins LONG before any lightning threat is realized. You can't control the weather, so you have to work around it!Detailed weather forecasts are accurate only out to seven days at best, but outdoor events often are planned many months in advance. Because of this limitation, every outdoor event coordinator should consider the possibility of lightning, especially if the event is scheduled during the late spring to early autumn months.

The key to an effective lightning safety action plan lies in your answers to the following questions:
Where is the safest lightning shelter?
How far am I (or the group I am responsible for) from that location?
How long will it take me (or my group) to get there?

Knowing the answers to these questions will greatly reduce your chances of being struck by lightning, provided you know them BEFORE thunderstorms threaten!

The 30/30 rule
Any lightning safety plan should incorporate the 30/30 Rule. The 30/30 Rule states that people should seek shelter if the "Flash-To-Bang" delay (length of time in seconds between a lightning flash and its subsequent thunder), is 30 seconds or less, and that they remain under cover until 30 minutes after the final clap of thunder.

A 30 second lead time is necessary prior to a storm's arrival because of the possibility of distant strikes. A 30 minute wait after the last thunder is heard is necessary because the trailing storm clouds still carry a lingering charge. This charge can and does occasionally produce lightning on the back edge of a storm, several minutes after the rain has ended.Studies have shown most people struck by lightning are struck not at the height of a thunderstorm, but before and after the storm has peaked. This shows many people are unaware of how far lightning can strike from its parent thunderstorm. DO NOT wait for the rain to start before seeking shelter, and do not leave shelter just because the rain has ended.

Safety Guidelines

For YOU!
Plan Ahead! Make sure you get the latest weather forecast before going out. Get it here!Carry a NOAA weather radio (found at most electronics stores) or a portable radio with you, especially if you will be away from sturdy shelter (such as boating, camping, etc.). This way you will always be able to get the latest forecast. At the very least, the reception of an AM radio will have static created by lightning. So if you hear the static, keep an eye to the sky as a thunderstorm may be nearby.

If thunderstorms are expected and you go ahead with your planned outdoor activity, have a lightning safety plan in place. Upon arriving on-site, determine how far away your shelter is in case lightning threatens. Remember to account for the time it will require to get to your safe location. If storms threaten or the sky begins to darken, monitor the sky for lightning.

If lightning is seen and the time delay to its subsequent thunder is 30 seconds or less, or if thunderclouds are building overhead, implement your lightning safety action plan without delay!Remember the "Flash to Bang" method to estimate lightning from your location - If you see lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Divide the number of seconds by five to get the distance the lightning is away from you. For example, if you see lightning and it takes 10 seconds before you hear the thunder, then the lightning is 2 miles away from you (10 divided by 5 = 2 miles, too close!).Do not resume outdoor activities until 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Back From British Columbia !

A great big hearty thanks to Naden Lodge ( for a fantastic stay that provided me with 14 chinook salmon to 21 pounds and 17 coho salmon to 11 pounds. The food, lodgings, guiding, vessels, guides, and environment were outstanding! Captain Brian Hillier, we'll be coming back as soon as we can to your beautiful lodge in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands!

Another big thanks to guide Clint Goyette of Valley Fishing Guides ( for two days of great fishing in and around the snow-capped mountains around Whistler and Pemberton. I stopped counting the rainbow trout we released, but the big memories were the striking colors of a 5 pound char I released as well as my brief hookup of a chinook of about 35 pounds in knee- deep water!

I'll be writing about these exotic destinations in the near future.

Jan Maizler

Friday, July 14, 2006

Posted Permit Article by Jan

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

Written by Jan Maizler

Stalking powerful permit on the ultra-shallow flats presents a new level of challenges. Review these tips and tactics for making the most of your Florida Keys skinny water adventure Fishing nomenclature names the permit Trachinotus falcatus. Maybe two of the last syllables is the perfect place to begin, meaning that if permit could talk, “not-us” would be their immediate response as to whether they felt at home on the flats. Indeed, when permit prowl skinny water for a meal, they are considered by savvy shallow water anglers to be a great challenge. This is factual, because permit are flats visitors - not residents, like bonefish. And like most visitors, they tend to be more cautious in less than optimal and familiar environs.Experienced anglers know that when permit are hanging offshore in close proximity to structure such as reefs and wrecks, they are not terribly hard to catch. That's where they generally live. Like many bottom dwelling species, permit do not use structure as ambush points, but rather as buffet tables for crunchy crab entrees. Ditto, for easily accessed inshore deep-water lairs like Key West Harbor. Hooking a fresh crab on a jig and easing it through a chum slick to the harbor bottom is a method that catches them quite frequently.

The key to understanding permit on the flats and effectively pursuing them there is to realize that these fish have learned that coming ashore to feed in the ultra-skinny shallows offers a bountiful, bellyful experience. Mutton snapper did the same off Key West for many years, but they were eventually decimated by commercial fishing. Cobia still exhibit this same behavior when they enter the shallows off Tampa Bay.In Florida, skinny water flats fishing for permit begins in Miami's Biscayne Bay and extends all the way south past Key West to the Marquesas, an area worthy of being dubbed the Permit Coast.

The Florida Keys can rightfully feel proud that this area is unique to the entire planet and is the epicenter for world record Atlantic permit fishing; some of the fish are well over fifty pounds!Again, successful permit fishing on Keys flats addresses the idea that visiting the ultra skinny plateaus is a part time experience for these fish- and you can bet that an exit strategy is always in place. Involve this fact in your poling strategies and stick to the deeper edges of flats as well as working flats slopes that abut channels and contours leading into deeper water. If you couple this with the kind of crunchy, rocky bottom that holds crabs and such, you're in prime skinny water permit territory.

Fishing the flats along the Permit Coast should be considered a year-round possibility that only avoids periods when cold fronts drive water temperatures below the mid-seventies. This approach is less arbitrary and forces you to consider and include all the between-front, warmer water days of south Florida's springtime in addition to the remainder of the year.Your consideration of permit as a cautious visitor to the flats can be maximized by using wind in your strategy.

All experienced anglers who ply Florida Key's shallows know that windier days on the flats allow closer and shorter casts to their quarry. This is because wind breaks up the water surface and disguises the image of angler and skiff. In addition, the countless wavelets muffle the sound of any fly, lure, or bait as it hits the surface, as well as allowing slightly heavier lines and tippets.You'll often find these brisk conditions from February through early May. The wind may be over twenty knots and you'd normally decline a long trip to the flats. As long as you can make a safe passage, you might want to reconsider; since most permit cruising the ultra shallows on these days are much less spooky. They'll also be hungry as winter waters give way to springtime conditions. Somewhat unlike tarpon, permit are generally happy with windy conditions.

Some anglers and guides hold the opinion that permit leave the flats for offshore spawning during April and May. However, since they do not migrate en masse as a giant silver cloud, you can rest assured that you will find some permit there. I always have and you will too.

Perfecting Permit Presentations-Now that you've crossed the bumpy bays of early spring, you'll find it especially gratifying to have the luxury of brisker weather so you can use heavier tackle to shorten your battles with these powerful fighters. Beefed- up tackle will enable fish to be released with more vigor, thus they will be less subject to predation by their ever-present skinny water enemy, sharks. You can feel free to use 12 lb. spin and plug tackle and a double line at the business end. Fly gear can be nine-weight or even ten, because of the need for casting power in the midst of influential wind forces. As south Florida heads into summer, the waters along the Permit Coast from north of Key Largo to south of Key West often flatten and grow calm like a country lake. These conditions will make it easier for you to see permit cruising, tailing, and pushing water - conversely, spooky permit will be able to see and hear you and your skiff with greater acuity in these same glassy conditions. Now is the time to start lengthening your casts, so that you won't be spotted before you make your presentation. The best way to increase your casting distance is to lighten the pound test of your monofilament line or decrease the diameter of your super-braid, as well as increase the length of your spinning or baitcasting rod. For fly tackle, calm water permit tactics may involve dropping down to an eight-weight outfit.

When faced with summer like conditions on the flats, presentations to cruising permit should “lead” the fish a bit more. Baits like live shrimp and crabs should be smaller to lighten their impact on the ripple free surface. Leaders should be longer and lighter on all types of tackle. On fly gear, I recommend fluorocarbon for building a leader in its entirety. On spinning or plug tackle loaded with monofilament or fiber running line, try 3- to 5-feet of 15 lb. fluorocarbon leader. During the calmest conditions, you want the impact of your presentation on the water to be as stealthy as possible!You may have heard that with tailing permit - regardless of the conditions - you have to “drop it on top of them” to get their attention. Don't interpret this as instructions to land your presentation right on their heads. The usual advice for casting lures or flies to a tailing permit that is intently distracted by its foraging activity, is to get the presentation close enough for the fish to sense that another feeding possibility has presented itself. When fishing with live shrimp and crabs, many guides encourage their clients to cast past and forward of the permit and bring the bait right across the surface to the tailing fish, and then let the live bait drop to the fish's eye level. The truth is that both of these methods work.

Super-braids and flats permit - a match made in heaven.
You will find that fishing braided line such as PowerPro may work to your advantage in two focal situations when using spinning or baitcasting tackle. The first is when you are pursuing permit on the flats where any abundance of rock piles, reefs, and/or sea fans demand that you use a line that has extreme abrasion resistance to optimally cope with these obstructions. The second situation concerns those glass-like calm conditions where long casts and faraway hook-sets are necessary. You'll appreciate a line that not only casts a great distance, but one that has virtually no stretch. My choice in these situations is 8 or 10 lb. PowerPro which has the ultra-thin diameter of about 2 lb. monofilament. If I strike a permit at 60 feet away with a two foot long sweep of the rod, I know my hook essentially moves two feet, substantially more than stretchy monofilament nylon. The length of my hook-sweep will of course be affected by the length and material of my leader, which is why I use no more than five feet of fluorocarbon leader. Fluorocarbon is less stretchy and less visible than a comparable setup constructed of monofilament.

Those in-the-know fish it slow!
Considering permit are in the jack family, some anglers practice the idea of "bringing the jack out of the permit" in their retrieve style - Do Not Do That! Rather, bring out the pompano and palometa instead. In contrast to permit, jacks are voracious, highly aggressive bullies that run down, corner, and ambush terrified finfish. When was the last time you saw a jack attack and gobble a crab or sea urchin off the bottom? Jacks want movement- but permit feed on hard shelled life forms that hide in weeds, sea grass, and in the sandy bottom. Generally, permit prey uses the freeze-and-hide defense, rather than the fleeing defenses that pilchards, mullet, and sardines utilize on jacks.A close look at the fish's architecture also reveals exactly how they eat. Permit are armed with crushers versus teeth, which verifies the "hard bodied" prey assumption- clams, lobsters, urchins, and crabs are easily crushed. If you're casting live shrimp at permit, give the fish minimal line on the strike by just extending your rod tip and coming tight. This is because permit's powerful mouths make short work of a shrimp's comparatively soft body. The rounded hard head of a permit verifies the ease with which evolution gives this fish the ability to pin its prey against the ocean floor. While a large sickle tail provides plenty of power and stabilization when tailing and head-down feeding. A jack's feeding experience is primarily a horizontal pursuit, while a permit is more of a vertical pin and crush feeder. This has enormous implications when considering a presentation style. On the flats, a still-fished crab is really the most comfortable encounter for a permit.

The challenge that drives fly-fishermen crazy when stalking these silvery speedsters on that tackle is simply that most flies don't really look like a realistic representation of what permit generally eat. Combine this with a lush, massive living biomass underfoot on the flats and it's easy to see why permit would ignore your vise-created concoction for the natural crunchy stuff - the kind that scurries around like a spider and disappears into the sand. For fly-fishermen, the key to overcoming this challenge is enticing permit to take your fly with a combination of a realistic-enough appearance coupled with an even-more realistic retrieve style. For permit on fly, you may very well find that at the moment of truth, no retrieve is the best retrieve of all!Pleasing permit offerings-Although this list is far from extensive, it does chronicle the prime choices.

Flats anglers with any level of experience know that permit will grab many baits, lures, and flies as long as they are properly presented. But remember that if you want to really stack the odds in your favor, fish a live crab. If you're looking for the greatest challenge, pursue them on fly.

Other Baits and Artificials
*Live shrimp *Live blue crabs *Live hermit crabs *Live spider crabs *Fresh sand fleas *D.O.A. Shrimp *D.O.A. Crab *SPRO Bucktail in Pink Shad *BackBone Jig in Brown *Chernobyl Crab fly

If you are new to the flats, do not have a flats boat, or are a seasoned angler visiting our state, it will be essential to hire an experienced permit guide. The best are often booked a year in advance - do your research and call them as early as you can. When I am doing a story, I use the following guides when I fish the Permit Coast-Miami/Biscayne Bay: Captain Joe Gonzalez 305-798-0841 Upper/Middle Keys: Captain Greg Poland 305-852-9940 Lower Keys: Captain Fernand Braun 305-872-9004 Key West/Marquesas: Captain Tom Rowland 305-294-7447

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fins Reach Out Across the Sea !!!

It appears that the Land Down Under may have a snooky relative in the Barramundi, although the latter seems to have a few Corvina/ Croaker features mixed in. The Barra's the one on the beach, while Florida's common snook appears in a nightime shot of Kid Snook, as well as with Captain Mike Smith displaying a tannin-colored beauty from the Ding in Sanibel.

I see some vague analogy potentials that are unrealized. Hordes of American black bass anglers are surging to South American jungle creeks for peacock bass, though the latter are more properly Cichlids. Yet the Barramundi is not given a smidgeon of attention by traveling snook anglers. Is Australia too far? Is this species-which grows to jumbo sizes- still relatively unknown?


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Looking Forward to Naden Lodge

It's with a heart full of excitement and anticipation that my plans for visiting Naden Lodge ( ) in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands should be coming to fruition this year.

This destination has some of the largest chinook salmon around. Naden Lodge lies smack dab in the migratory path of millions of all the salmon species en route to their natal streams. Halibut the size of a compact car as well as steelhead fishing in the island's tea-colored streams adds to Naden Lodge's bountiful offerings.

Whales, seals, eagles, mountains, leaping salmon, verdant forests, delicious meals...who could ask for more?


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More Guidelines for Traveling Flats Anglers...

Besides knowing yourself- your desires, abilities, and proclivities-know your intended destination fully. That includes every facet from guides, boats, country, weather/season, tidal/lunar profile for your stay, culture, political stability, and economic stability of the Lodge itself. Unfortunately, certain lodges and camps go broke for lack of adequate capitalization and cash infusions over time. All these features are crucial for you to review! If you hear rumors that your outfitter does not know about, try to check them out for yourself: even ask the Lodge owner directly!

Do not forget the stability of the transportation: usually, this involves airlines. As this is written, the air carrier for Kamchatka appears to be going out of business and outfitters are scrambling for a replacement! Also, check the political stability of the country of your destination. My personal belief is that relations between the U.S. and Venezuela will continue to deteriorate as President Chavez dukes it out with America and holds hands with Iran- this may not bode well for Los Roques, or things make work out. The point is be clear-thinking and shamelessly inquisitive. I subscribe to the Angling Report ( because of its unbiased and honest destination reports and assessments.

Always check out your prospective guide, and doubly verify them if they own the destination you're headed for. Although they may suit the (desireable) personality goals of your outfitter, they may not suit you. Be sure it's going to be a good match! I personally like guides whose competence is flavored by an excellent sense of humor and an optimistic patience. Some guides are slightly more quiet, but they can respond quite well to jokes and are capable of patience and optimism without any difficulty or strain whatsoever. Sometimes there's a cultural factor. I'd think that a Russian guide might be a tad more expressive than a Mayan guide- but there's exceptions everywhere!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

On the Trail of the Longfin Bonefish.....

Shafted Bonefish, Albula nemoptera: Shows up when one purchases a “scoop of bait.” Caught in the surf zone, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, during late December 2003, with a water temperature of 76 degrees, early morning, in 5 to 10 foot water, utilizing a cast net by panguero bait salesmen. Size of specimen in photo without the angler is approximately 8 inches and 1 pound. Virtually an unknown species to locals. Description and photo courtesy John Snow.

Photo credit for Shafted Bonefish with angler, Albula nemoptera: Found at El Rincon, East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico, November 2000. Description and photo courtesy Peter Langstraat.

The mouth of the Shafted Bonefish reaches the eye, another key identification characteristic. The Shafted Bonefish is very similar to and at first sight can be easily confused with three species, the Eastern Pacific Bonefish, Albula esuncula; the Ladyfish, Elops affinis; and the Milk Fish, Chanos chanos. However, none of these three species has an elongated anal or dorsal fin ray. The Shafted Bonefish reaches 2 feet in length and is normally found in the first 30 feet of the water column over sandy bottoms.The Shafted Bonefish is a member of the Albulidae or Bonefish Family which consists of only one genus, Albula.

BONEFISH [bonefish] common name for a fish belonging to either of two species of the family Albulidae. Albula vulpes is widespread in warm, shallow marine waters, and Dixonina nemoptera is found only in the West Indies. The bonefish is silvery in color, with a long, deeply forked tail and a single dorsal fin; it has a pointed head covered by a thick, transparent cartilage and a receding mouth filled with numerous small rounded teeth. D. nemoptera is distinguished by two long trailing filaments, one extending from its dorsal fin and one from its anal fin. Also known as ladyfish and banana fish, the bonefish may reach 3.5 ft (107 cm) in length, and 18 lb (8 kg) in weight. It is a bottom dweller of shallow, sandy areas where it feeds on crabs, shrimp, and worms. It is much prized as a game fish, despite the numerous tiny bones that limit its appeal as food. It is classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Clupeiformes, family Albulidae. Author not available, BONEFISH., The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition 2006

From The University of Florida:Taxonomy- Linnaeus described the bonefish in 1758, designating it a species within the genus Esox, a taxon that at the time already referred to at least one species of the holarctic freshwater pikes and pickerels. Recognizing the conflict, later workers placed the bonefish in the available genus Albula. The scientific name Albula vulpes is derived from Latin, and can be translated as "white fox". Other synonyms of Albula vulpes include, Esox argenteus, Albula conorynchus, Albula plumier, Amis immaculata, Clupea brasilienses, Clupea macrocephala, Butyrinus bananus, Engraulis sericus, Engraulis bahiensis, Glossodus forskalii, Albula goreensis, Albula parrae, Albula seminuda, Albula rostrata, Esunculus costai, Atopichthys esunculus, and Albula virgata. At least one other species of bonefish exists, the shafted bonefish, described and named by Fowler as Dixonina nemoptera in 1911. However, some scientists argue that the differences between the two species do not warrant genetic separation, and that both should be included within the genus Albula.

Catches for research have been made in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Countries where Albula nemoptera is found ( incomplete )
Point map (with point info)



Dominican Rp


Fr Guiana





Trinidad Tob


Page created by: Eli, 10.05.99, last modified by Eli, 01.02.06.

This is just a searching foray into what I see as a genetic variation of the world's most popular flats fish. I'd love to catch one..would you?