Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
There are times when videos are better at sharing fishing experiences or teaching about gamefish and their habitats than photos and text. With the recent and ongoing advances in video technology, it's become possible to produce decent videos without breaking the bank or having master-level videography and editing skills. I produce videos that share fishing experiences and instructional videos that teach aspects of the Fisherman's Coast Approach. The underwater footage and some of the surface footage comes from a GoPro Hero camera. Topside, I use the video function of my Canon Rebel T1i. My videos are posted or YouTube and Vimeo
This is a simple video - it's a 5 minute clip of bonefish on a shallow flat on a rainy day. We were on Abaco on a research trip - tagging bonefish to monitor movement patterns - and these fish are in a large net enclosure on the flat. The fish are either waiting to get tagged or have been tagged and are waiting to be released. If possible, we like to release tagged fish in a school to reduce the chance of predation.
It happens along many coastlines during the fall, as the the hours of daylight shrink with each day, the air becomes cooler and drier. Seemingly endless streams of baitfish emerge from the estuaries, beginning migrations south or offshore. Gamefish become frenzied, gorging on the overabundance of food. Spanish mackerel and bluefish blast through schools of baitfish, only to puke up the latest mouthful, turn, and do it again. It is a season of plenty. Whether it's striped bass, bluefish, and albies in the northeast, or jacks, tarpon, and snook in Florida, the frenzied action is the same. The challenge is that the game is always moving, so a good time can be spent searching. But once the action is found, it can be quite a show.
On a recent calm morning, I was on a dawn patrol in search of late season tarpon when I found fish in full frenzy mode. Tarpon, snook, and crevalle jacks were gorging on scaled sardines and threadfin herring trapped against jetty rocks on an ebbing tide. There were no other anglers in sight.
The best sports announcers know that the most memorable moments speak for themselves, they know when to shut up. This 14 minute video contains the sights and sounds of some great fall feeding action. Watch. Listen. Enjoy. And bookmark this one for those dark days in February.
Fishing for tarpon at dawn can be a sensational experience. On the best mornings, the water is absolutely calm, not the faintest ripple. As darkness slowly softens into pre-dawn, the mangrove shoreline is suggested by the soft edges between the paling sky and darkly ranging trees, the silence is broken by the sound of a tarpon rolling. Sound is different when not accompanied by sight - more distinct, but no sense of distance, vague sense of direction. Slow light warms the water to gold tainted orange. And the tarpon awaken. And the day begins. This is where we join a recent dawn patrol.
On any given day, only 10% of the water may hold bonefish. The more successful anglers know how to eliminate the other 90% and put themselves in the right place at the right time. This first instructional video for bonefish anglers highlights what to look for when wading mangrove flats.
One morning while wating for the flats boat to arrive for a day of fishing for bonefish, a school of bonefish moved in to feed in the area around the dock. I hung the GoPro in the water and got some cool footage. If you like to fish for bonefish, I think you'll like this video. One morning the fish came in close and hung out on a deep sand flat for a while, feeding and posing for the camera. And make sure the volume is up, it's accompanied by some good tunes.
Shot entirely with a GoPro in The Bahamas, this is an underwater montage of bonefish being released by me and other anglers. The background music track is by friend Steve Venini, a musician and fishing guide based in Key Largo, FL.
Sometimes it makes more sense to put down the rod and take photos or video. That was the case one evening in the backcountry when I couldn't buy a strike from redfish that were tailing very aggressively. They were burrowing under shoal grass, pushing through the grass like a bulldozer. I never found out what they were eating that evening, but they performed for the camera.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.