Jetsam

jet·sam [jet suh'm] noun Goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or wash ashore.

In other words, stuff that has value but just didn't fit into another category on the site.

The Square End, The Pointy End

One of the advantages to spending time on both the square and pointy ends of a flats boat is that it provides two perspectives. From the bow, it has become automatic to quickly figure out where a fish has been spotted from the vantage of the poling platform before I can see it, when the boat will be positioned for a cast, and what that likely position will be. It’s also my responsibility to quickly spot the fish, figure out the best cast, and execute it. After all, the person on the poling platform is fishing vicariously through the angler in the bow, and has been pushing the boat and angler around the flat in a slow motion dance.

From the poling platform, I am a bit more attuned to melding the wind, current, tide, light, and skills of the angler on the bow into a strategy for approaching sighted fish. The goal is to make the shot at the fish as straightforward as possible. It’s also important to succinctly direct the angler on the bow to the fish – position, distance, and presentation. More>

 

Kayak Selection

I am not an expert on kayaks. I did put a lot of thought into purchasing a kayak a number of years ago, and I am often asked about kayak selection criteria. I’ve fished a lot from my kayak, and have determined that some of my initial criteria were good, others not so good. The first step in the process is to determine what kind of fishing you will be doing from your kayak. If you’re out in California and paddling out to fish the kelp beds, I can’t really provide any useful information. If you’re interested in fishing coastal shallows, the information below should be useful. I use my kayak to fish shallow saltwater flats (and occasionally freshwater ponds and lakes). Here are the questions to answer when selecting a kayak. More>

 

Working with the Weather

I was recently reminded of the potential for great fishing on days with weather so poor that most anglers stay home.  I was in Belize, the outskirts of approaching tropical storm Alex were soaking the coast. Early in the day, some lightening and thunder was mixed in, which kept the boats in port. But in the afternoon, squalls had for some time been only rain, and any breeze was rather minor. So I grabbed another angler, jumped in a canoe, and headed into a backcountry lagoon to look for tailing bonefish. It ended up being the right choice. More>

 

 

An Informal Test of Tarpon Hooks

Over the last three tarpon seasons I’ve been conducting an informal test of different tarpon hook types.  The goal was to determine whether my fish retention rate (the proportion of tarpon that stayed hooked rather than threw the hook) differed between hook types. The results were conclusive enough that I now have a new standard hook for my tarpon flies.

I tied flies on four different hooks over the past three seasons: Owner Aki Hook (Model 5170-121), Owner All Purpose Bait Hook (Model 5115-121), Gamakatsu Saltwaater Series SC17 Tarpon (model 275412-10), and Mustad Ultrapoint (model 9175UPBLN).  All hooks were size 2/0. More>

 

 

The Real Scoop on Sight Fishing

It’s common for first time saltwater flats anglers to come into their first fishing experience with expectations that are unrealistic, and a perspective of flats fishing that is severely skewed toward fantasy.  They think the fish will be easy to find, easy to see, and the cast and fly presentation straightforward.  Anyone who has sight fished the flats knows that on most days none of these are true.

I think this misconception is primarily because most anglers’ exposure to flats fishing is through magazine articles, whether in print or online. In these articles, the fish on the flats are always so obvious, it seems there can be no way an angler can miss it. The bonefish on the flat stands out from its surroundings, as does the school of tarpon swimming toward the boat. I realize the magazines are using the best photos they have as a means to sell more copies, but what they typically present in their feature stories is not the way it typically happens in reality. More>