Work For IT

We don’t get to control the weather, we deal with it. That fact is a constant in life and often impacts when and where we fish.

Long ago, I resolved to worry less about ideal weather conditions and seize upon the idea of making whatever was happening work for me.

On a recent morning I had the opportunity to get on the water, but it was already sketchy with fog, low clouds and light showers filling the sky.

I went anyway.

Only one at the landing, a good omen.

I was joined by a good friend who was equally optimistic. We spent the morning hugging leeward shorelines as we hunted for a hungry fish to feed.

Despite finding a few, we were rolling snake eyes.

As we finished a long stretch of shoreline we emerged at a point of land where we could see to the south. It was not pretty. A wall of rain was working toward us across the middle of the lagoon.

No problemo, we knew exactly where to go.

Keeping the powder dry.

Once we were reasonable sure we had a window of opportunity, we made the final push up to our local joint, JB’s Fish Camp, for a little sustenance and a cold beer.

When we emerged, things had changed.

Afternoon Delight

We spent the next little bit spooking fish and blowing shots. The lull in wind soon evaporated as a northeast wind began to set in.

As we motored back to the ramp, we got a little wet from the light sprinkling that had begun to envelope the area.

As I drove home thoughts filled my head.

This Guide

Had we let the weather stop us, we would have never explored a new area, seen a juvenile bald eagle or spent a few hours completely ignoring the static of everyday life and the challenges it offers.

The next time you’re waiting for perfect weather to head out, don’t.

the local pearl

Since moving to New Smyrna Beach, my wife and I have enjoyed getting to explore all the great locally owned and operated food options it has to offer.

Our home is a short two block walk away from the center of Downtown.

We recently had the opportunity to check out one of the newest additions to Canal Street, The Local Pearl.

NSB Local

Chef Henry Salgado is a neighbor and we were excited to see what he had created.

We started with an order of calamari while the final preparations were being made to open the raw bar. (oysters arrive fresh daily)

Lightly fried along with jalapeño slices, it was delicious.

We started with a dozen Texas oysters that were being featured for happy hour ($1 /oyster). They were followed with another TX order and a third that were a combination of oysters sourced from the Florida panhandle.

Kyle was on the oyster knife behind the bar & he was very efficient and a pleasure to talk with about our selections. It’s clear he enjoys his ambassadorial role and is well suited for it.


If you have fresh oysters on your mind in New Smyrna Beach, head down to Canal Street and visit, you won’t be disappointed.

There are local oysters you can have on the menu as well. The are raised just a few miles away in the backwaters of Mosquito Lagoon by the Indian River Oyster Company.

Off season

Actually filmed during 2019 MLB Spring Training , Orvis just released a short vignette profiling Rick Porcello and his love for fly fishing.

Rick and I have been sharing the water together in Mosquito Lagoon and SW Florida for around eight years, so when he asked me to come down to help by running my skiff in support of the effort, it was an easy yes.

Working around his daily workout at Fenway South, we managed to spend a fair amount of time in the afternoons and evenings on the water.

My skiff makes a cameo appearance in the back half of the video.

Here is the result of David Mangum & Cavin Brothers work behind the lens.

Thanks to Simon & Tucker from Orvis for taking good care of me while I was there!

Catch A Buzz

Have you ever had the pleasure of poling a remote shoreline in Mosquito Lagoon early in the morning while being serenaded by the buzzing of thousands of wings?

No, not the insects for which the area earns its well deserved name; honey bees and bumble bees are omnipresent when mangroves are blooming. So much so, their collective buzzing nearly drowns out all other sounds in the area.

The next time it happens, slow down and poke your nose into the shoreline and watch them work. It’s a fascinating service they perform as they glean nectar from blossoms and collect pollen.

The lagoon is an amazing place, down to its smallest detail. Just like these little overachievers, we all need to do our part to make sure we’re acting in a manner that contributes to its sustainability.

Our responsibilities lie in how we treat it today and how we leave it for tomorrow.

Up & Down in the Lowcountry

There is something about Charleston… The entire place has a vibe about it that is unmistakable. It’s the kinda of place where everyone is welcoming, happy and looking for the good in every situation.

After working the first half of the week in Washington, DC it was a welcome place and change of pace to wind down the week and ease into the weekend.

My family loves the place as much as I do, so they welcomed the chance to meet me there.

The next few days were spent eating, skating, fishing, drinking and being merry.

This is what Good Clean Livin looks like:

While we were there we made sure to get our yellow lab, Cabo, a session with Bre Williams. She takes amazing photos, check out her latest work on Instagram or click here.

Flying Below The Radar

For a couple of years, I would get a call from time to time to fly right seat over to the Bahamas with a good friend who was working in South Florida as a charter pilot.

We would take folks over for the day and while they did whatever they were there to do, we would harass the local bonefish on the “airport flat”.

Getting there and back was also a lot of fun.

Get out there and seek adventure, even if its just for a day, or a few hours!

3D Printable Flybrary Project

Thanks to Paul Edmons, an Asheville, NC Flybrarian for getting creative with a 3D printer & sharing its goodness with the world of fly fishing.

There’s nothing better than good old fashioned innovation!

If you have a 3D printer or access to one, the file is available for free, drop an email in the Saltbum inbox and it will be sent to you free of charge.h

Request File

The Flybrary Project

In February 2019 I was minding my own business, gassing up my skiff and slapping a couple of stickers on Pump 1 at the Oak Hill Sunoco (The Meth Lab), when I noticed an old strip of double sided foam tape that was stuck in the middle of the sticker collage. My first thought was to scrape it off to make room for more stickers. As I contemplated it, I looked in my Whipray’s aft locker and saw a fly box laying there and decided to stick a couple of clouser minnow flies on it instead. I posted a story on my Instagram profile, @saltbum, offering them to a good home.

Over the next few weeks, the two flies disappeared and miraculously, new ones appeared from other fly anglers who frequent the store. After visiting Castaway Customs to order fly patches for the Tailer Trash Fly Fishing Podcast, I stuck a 239 Flies patch on the pump to see if something a little more formal would inspire even greater participation.

We later talked about the number of stickers that had been accumulating on the gas pump as well as the addition of the fly patch on an episode of Tailer Trash. Thats when it really started to take off.

Carl Granger and I needed fuel before heading out to watch one of the rocket launches that frequently happen here along the Space Coast and while we were there, we posted another story featuring the fly patch with the “Need one, take one – Have one, leave one” mantra that is often associated with a cup of pennies alongside a gas station cash register. During the next podcast, the term Flybrary was used for the first time to describe it.

We sent a couple of our new Tailer Popper fly patches to our good friend Ben Sittig in Colorado so he could put them up, creating the first two Flybrarys outside of Florida. When he did, he posted a story on his Instagram and the response was HUGE.

Since then, the Flybrary Project has taken on a life of its own, creating a sense of community and a positive vibe within the fly fishing community nationwide. Flybrary Projects come in all shapes and sizes. The spirit of the movement is to create a community of sharing and collaboration amongst anglers. get out there and found a Flybrary in your neighborhood.

Trailhead Flybrary
Mobile Flybrary
Riverside Flybrary
Riverside Flybrary

Learn More about the Flybrary Project by reading about it on Fly Lords. Click Here

Mosquito Lagoon Fly Fishing Guide

For decades Mosquito Lagoon has been know to some as “The Redfish Capital of The World”.  The area earned the title due to the presence of redfish of all sizes that roamed lush grass flats, shoals and oyster strewn bays.  The highlight being the presence of schools of  breeder size “bull” redfish in many areas that sustained the local population by remaining in the estuary to spawn.

Over the years, water quality has suffered and what was once an estuary known for its gin clear water has become a place where often times you will face limited visibility due to algal blooms and turbidity caused by a devastating reduction of seagrass.

Now more than ever, the guides that work in Mosquito Lagoon must be committed to loving the imperiled estuary.

Loving the estuary starts with how and where they fish, how they handle and release the fish and what they teach anglers about efforts to restore Mosquito Lagoon.

There are approximately 80 guides who may legally operate charters on Mosquito Lagoon.  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is responsible for the permitting process and enforcement of commercial operations across a vast area.  The Law Enforcement Officers tasked with doing so are understaffed and underfunded.

Due to the wholesale lack of a law enforcement presence, guide operations are not unlike the wild west frontier.  Routinely you will see behavior that is unprofessional and unethical in the name of putting fish in the boat.

A large number of the permitted guides are merely part-time operators who merely see their trips as extra cash in their pocket, not a lifestyle or profession.  Their behavior in exploiting the resource is shameful.

The small number of working guides who are out there nearly everyday are working hard to highlight these problems and have taken on a leadership role in advocating for policies and practices amongst guides that will aid in sustaining Mosquito Lagoon.

If you’re looking forward to booking a fly fishing guide in Mosquito Lagoon, please make sure you’re supporting the resource by choosing a guide who has demonstrated a commitment to preserving and protecting it.

Not sure who that is?  Contact me and I’ll make sure you get the names of guides that I would trust.  I’ve spent a long time fishing alongside them and know who is worthy of your hard earned money.

More importantly, I know who loves the Lagoon.

 

Skiff Dog Adventures

Lately; my English Lab, Cabo has been spending a good amount of time on the water.

As with most labs, he loves the water and often times finds the most inopportune time to quench his desire to get wet.  He’s a master at going total ham and plunging into the backyard lake when you need to be on the way out the door to an appointment in five minutes.

Over the Christmas and New Years holidays, Cabo spent a couple of weeks in Melbourne with Florida Fly Co. co-founder,  Ben Pickett.  While there he joined Ben on the water a lot and unlike when he was younger, seemed to be a bit better behaved / able to remain in the skiff.

I’m not sure whether Ben employed some “dog whisperer” charm on him or its simply that he has settled down now that he’s four years old.

Recently I had the opportunity to get out for an afternoon session on Mosquito Lagoon and figured it was time to see if he was ready to join me while I tried to fly fish.

We stopped on an island beach to get wet on my terms and in hopes that maybe Cabo would be more apt to chill out the rest of the day if he had just gone full tilt for a few minutes.

Our beach time was a blast.

Visit New Smyrna Fly Fishing Guide

Skiff Dog Mosquito Lagoon Charter

Once he started to slow down, I figured it was time to go look for a redfish.

Orlando Disney Fly Fishing Guide

A few minutes into the first flat, he was totally chilled out, simply posting up alongside me, content to watch the shoreline pass by as I hunted for a hungry fish.

Fly Fishing Space Coast

We spent the next couple of hours slowly poling over deserted flats, taking a few shots at the happier redfish we came across, even managing to feed one that was lost skiff -side when I bungled the landing.

Cabo still seemed proud of my effort, showing great interest in the fish as it spun and thrashed alongside the gunnel.

Occasionally, an osprey or pelican would attract his attention, but he remained calm and never left the boat, which was exactly what I was hoping for.

Mosquito Lagoon Fly Fishing

I believe that Cabo is going to be fishing a lot more in the future.  Maybe my solo trips are over for a while…

Mosquito Lagoon Fly Fishing Guide