Tag Archives: travel

No Outlet To Mainland

The stretch of dunes that comprises Canaveral National Seashore between New Smyrna Beach and NASA Kennedy Space Center are one of the last great remote stretches of coastal land in Florida.  Boats explore the Atlantic to the east and Mosquito Lagoon to the west, but vehicular travel of the four wheel kind is no-existent on the barrier island between the two in most of Canaveral National Seashore.  Miles of steep sandy beaches where you’ll struggle to find a human on a normal day lay in wait for exploration.

Before you head out there to find adventure, you’ll need to acquire a Backcountry Permit from the National Park Service.  Its a $2 formality, so don’t let it slow you down.

Walking the beach with a fly rod in search of a surf traveling target can be spotty at best, but it is definitely worth it.  From redfish, black drum and the occasional shark, targets will appear.

Adventure List:

Take a good pack with you, you’ll likely end up finding a treasure of some kind along the beach and it will come in handy to get it home.

Water is paramount.  At least a gallon of it if you plan to cover a few miles.

A fly rod between 7-9 weight depending on your preference is plenty for what you’ll encounter.  It will likely be a bit breezy so, make sure what you take will allow you to cast well into the wind.

Crab, baitfish and shrimp patterns in varying weight and size are your go to flies.  A handful will do, you won’t need a lot.

Be mindful of the weather, storms along the beach can approach rapidly and be severe.  There is no cover on the beach from lightning.

As you begin to egress, pick up as much plastic as you have room for in your pack.  Despite your commitment to Leave No Trace, lots of plastic is deposited on the beach by ocean currents and nature will appreciate your helping hand.

Get Out There – Adventure Awaits

 

 

One Love – Learn To Cast Easy

It would be a difficult task to find a more personable and entertaining guide in the Bahamas than Tory Bevins.

Aside from his casting prowess, he’s a Raconteur of the first order.

If you find yourself on South Andros, look him up.  He works at Andros South.  If you’re fishing DIY or at another lodge, you can find him after quitting time at the small bar by Little Creek or up island at the Rust Barge.

His casting style is simple to understand and works incredibly well.  Take a few minutes to get in the groove and you’ll be slinging string like a pro.

Horizons Teaser

Continuing with the idea of lifestyle, the crew at Forever West Media and World Angling have teamed up to produce a film that captures the essence of what drives the fly fishing lifestyle.

I’m looking forward to seeing their work in its entirety.

Horizons Teaser on Vimeo

If you live and breathe this thing called fly fishing, you’re going to love this one.

Lifestyle

When I hear people talk of fly fishing as a sport, I silently disagree and hope that they might someday evolve and recognize it in its purest form, a lifestyle.

While it may seem off-putting or elitist to say, its truly how I feel.  To me, its more than reaching for a different piece of equipment when I’m fishing.  Fly fishing is what bends my perception of this planet.  You know, the one that sports a surface made up primarily of water.  I see through that lens  when I view my day, week or future years.  When I talk with friends, it is always there, even if just below the surface.

Fly fishing wasn’t always that for me, but it has been now for so long, I have a hard time remembering it any other way.

As a kid, I travelled a lot on summer breaks from school.  Camping our way from Memorial Day to Labor Day, my family and I have explored all over the United States and Canada.  My memories from those adventures are cherished, yet more recent travels spurred by fly fishing have meant more to me.

The reason for the enhanced quality of the fly fishing travel is certainly due to the bonds that were made and kept with fellow anglers that accompanied me.

There  have been many fish caught and released along the way, yet its the camaraderie that my memory keeps vivid.

Sports have seasons, competition and champions.  The fly fishing lifestyle I’ve grown to love has none.

When I see companies that recognize that lifestyle matters more than SPF factor and how waterproof a bag might be, I’m more inclined to spend my money with them.

Howler Brothers is one such company.  If you don’t get the sense that these guys are living a lifestyle, you may not have a pulse or have given up on life.

Fly Fishing is calling, will you Heed the Call?

Howler Brothers

DIY Bonefish On Fly – Planning The Adventure

Bahamas Goombay Punch Bonefish Fly Fishing
My Thoughts Are Beginning To Wander To The Islands

One of my partners in crime recently found out that we have been granted access to a condo in the Bahamas when we want to take advantage of it.  The news sent my mind reeling with thoughts of morning tides that overtake mangrove propagules that have taken root in soft marl in the far reaches of a coastal creek.

The image of sunlight flashing from an upturned tail breaking the surface draws me like a moth to flame.

I have things that could be more productive that need to be down, yet I pour over aerial maps on Bing and Google looking for areas of promise that will soon be within reach.

To me there is nothing more rewarding than plotting a course that takes me to a new area where I think bonefish will await my unfurling loop of fly line.

The hunt is still a ways away, so for now I’ll continue to plan.

When I step into the warm salty waters somewhere within the archipelago of The Bahamas, I’ll be ready.

Explore – Learn – Protect

At the end of 2014 the family and I packed up and headed west in order to give my son his first experience seeing snow.  By all measures the trip was a wild success.  Truly a spur of the moment idea, we threw together an itinerary on the fly and let the adventure unfold on its own terms.

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Despite being billed as a family trip I found enough time to sneak off and  stepped out for an afternoon session that quickly had me longing for a saltier environment.  Say what you will about trout guys having trouble with the double haul, fishing with gloves is harder!

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The greatest part of the journey was the discovery of the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program.  It has sparked an insatiable appetite in my child for spending time outdoors learning about history, wildlife and conservation.

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Since our return we’ve dedicated time to visiting a few National Memorial sites that we likely wouldn’t have in order to complete the Junior Ranger programs there.  As an unintended consequence, our family is now more actively engaged in finding new places to visit and learn about.

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If you have little ones, check out the program and get out there, you’ll spend amazing quality time with them and they’ll soak up knowledge at an alarming rate.  Their program’s motto sums it up nicely; Explore – Learn – Protect

 

PSA & Killer Tiller Video Hatch

I recently completed a wonderful multi-day trip in Florida Bay, staying a few nights under the clouds and stars atop a Chickee in Everglades National Park.

The weather was a bit chilly and the wind was blowing near a gale for a good portion of the trip, but the fish didn’t seem to mind too much.

Everglades Redfish on Clouser

I’m no trailblazer in this regard.  Lots of folks have been there & done that, as will many more to follow.

If you haven’t, drop it in the proverbial bucket and make sure you reach in and fish it out before you die.

Sitting in the dark over the clear briny water watching the bioluminescent algae flash in pulses reminiscent of lightning bugs on a cool August evening in Appalachia will enlighten you and draw you closer to nature in a way that is hard to explain.  Its no wonder ancient tribes had such respect and viewed their environment in such reverent awe.

Below is a great example of an Over Night from Livit Films.

 

As you can see the opportunities in the Everglades are vast and friendships simply grow stronger there.

Now for the Public Service Announcement portion of this entry:

I run a tiller skiff.  Its my preference when it comes to how to operate a vessel.  I feel in touch with the water in a way that is hard to reduce to words.  I respect it too.

Years ago, I was running a tiller skiff across a deep basin in an estuary in Central Florida when the lower unit collided with a marine mammal of greater mass.  In the blink of an eye, I was sent headlong into the water as the skiff turned a sharp 45-90 degrees and was suddenly no longer beneath me.

When I emerged from below the surface, I was met with silence, but for the rhythmic splashing of my wake lapping the waterline of the skiff where she sat a few dozen yards away.

A great friend had always demanded the kill switch be worn when we duck hunted and the habit had stuck.

If it had not been for that switch and lanyard, I may have been in for a long swim or worse.

In a nut shell; if you’re operating a vessel, especially a tiller steering equipped skiff. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR KILL SWITCH LANYARD.

That concludes this PSA, brought to you by the wet guy dragging himself across the gunnel to fish another day.

Its More Than A Feeling

“Then we got into a labyrinth, and, when we thought we were at the end,
came out again at the beginning, having still to see as much as ever.” 
― Plato

 

I try to take something away from every outing on the water.  A little moment or big, it doesn’t matter; just a piece of the puzzle that fits into the ever sprawling mosaic of experience that builds my bigger picture of fly fishing.

As the sun sank to my west, I stood in the cockpit of my skiff and chased it towards the horizon.  Lying before me was the gear I had needed to be self reliant for a couple of nights in Everglades National Park.

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At peace running through Florida Bay.

The feeling I had was one of achievement.  I had arrived with a few goals in mind and I had checked them off the list along with a couple more that were simply icing on the cake.

The trip was made in the company of a great friend and fellow fly angler.

The great feelings aside, we learned a lot and more importantly, nourished the desire to return and build upon it.

Bahamas Style: Redfish On Fly

Until this week, I’ve always thought there was only one place to go to enjoy wading for redfish in a place that evokes the feeling of bonefishing a Bahamas flat.  A few years ago it was the Lower Laguna Madre of Southwest Texas where I had experienced it for the first time.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is also just such a place.  Recently I spent the better part of 3.5 hours walking the shoreline there looking for redfish in gin clear water over hard sand bottom.  The set-up is identical to what you normally see reserved for bonefish.  My timing was off, I was there on an extremely high tide, so I passed on wading and remained on the narrow ribbon of beach along the water’s edge.  Nonetheless, I saw a handful of redfish, all solitary hunters, that were plying the same shoreline.  This time they were a bit too wary of my offerings and all of the shots I took ended without a hook-up, despite a couple of promising follows.

There are literally miles of flats available.  Hard sand bottom with sparse sea grasses stretch on from horizon to horizon.

The idea of spending time on the Redneck Riviera has grown in appeal by significant digits.

For now, I’ll carry the panhandle skunk back home with me, but rest assured, I’ll return again with a sharper plan and better timing.  I love bonefishing, I love it even more when the expected gray ghost is actually a copper rocket.