I searched for months for the skiff I have now owned for the past 9 years. After missing a couple of similar models, I finally got the jump on everyone and got the first look at my 1998 Hells Bay Whipray – “Mosquito Lagoon” Edition, (the 33rd hull built) when my son was less than a day old. I left the hospital a day later to see it for the first time. I wrote a check that afternoon, knowing I had found my saltwater soulmate.
The near decade we’ve spent together has been epic. She’s taken me on lots of adventures across the Sunshine State.
There is something special about that old skiff. Today, I watched Flip Pallot opine, in the way only he can, the History of Hells Bay Boatworks. It was fantastic.
In addition to hearing his thoughts on the journey that lead to the revolutionary skiffs we love, I’ve talked a lot with Chris Morejohn, the architect behind the design. Having him remember my skiff and sharing details of its history was fulfilling and deepened my bond with it further.
A lot of people say there is no “perfect” skiff. They’ve never been on mine.
Skiffs are beginning to slide into the waters surrounding the Florida Keys as the annual tarpon migration is starting to happen. Starters will spin motors to life in the pre-dawn light as anglers and guides head out to post up on their chosen line, hoping to see strings of tarpon streaming to them ready to eat the fly they’ll offer.
Get a taste of the addiction that is getting fed by joining legendary tarpon angler Andy Mill as he shares a day with his son, teaching him the ropes.
If Andy’s passion doesn’t get you geared up to head south in search of silver, you might already be dead.
Zane Porter is an angler, artist, guide and generally all around good guy. I’ve followed him on Instagram for a long while and always find his feed to be chock full of great images and examples of his unique style of art.
Recently he contacted me to ask if I would mind if he used a few of the images in my Instagram feed to create a piece of art.
I was flattered and of course said yes.
To my surprise, I found out this afternoon that he had also created a piece especially for me.
I have a serious art habit, so the addition of another original from a new up and coming artist to my collection is simply amazing.
If you are interested in acquiring a piece for yourself, I suggest you move quickly. You can find his contact information by clicking here.
His subjects vary as well as the medium used to create the work.
I truly believe the most pure and basic form of friendship is most often shared on the water. Fly fishing enhances those relationships and brings their joyful shine to the surface in a manner that is hard to deny.
A recent film by Dan Decibel captures it well.
Be prepared to have a silly grin of approval creep across your face:
Take a moment to follow him on Instagram (dj_dan_decibel) as well, you’ll surely enjoy his view of the world there as well.
When you’re alone on the dance floor its not uncommon to feel a bit self-conscious and imagine the spotlight shining down on you exposing all of your flaws.
Performance anxiety can ruin the moment if you let it. To date, there is no little blue pill that you can take before you head out the door to ensure you’ll be ready when that sexy [insert species] shows up looking to tussle.
Many times I’ve stood on the poling platform methodically pushing across a flat and I’ve quietly admired the smooth tight loops being formed by the angler up front who has lofted the fly for a momentary break from the monotony of the stalk.
That admiration quickly erodes as their cast crumbles when a fish appears, ready to be fed fur and feathers.
These failures are more often than not simply a by product of rushing and loosing focus on the casting stroke.
I’ve adopted a new policy for my skiff that focuses on providing positive feedback on those perfect, yet lonely false casts that will never find a target. I ALWAYS make sure to point out the results of the relaxed cast. Its beauty, grace and distance are all noted. Its followed by the reminder: Keep that cast, and take it easy when the fish shows up. Time is on our side. Don’t rush it, take it easy.
I’m no original thinker, so don’t take my word for it, listen to Andros South’s very own raconteur:
If you need to, hum the lyrics from this Eagles tune to yourself:
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy…