Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Long Key Part 1

These are some photos of our camping/fishing trip to Long Key State Park. i added the photos first as i wouldn't have access to them while at work. They post in ascending order for some reason so you have to look from the bottom up starting with the photo of me driving.

We met a few minor challenges leaving early like we planned as Mama and i both attended the REO Speedwagon/Night Ranger gig at the Hall on Saturday night.....she had to work the show and i tagged along because who doesn't like those 2 bands in a retro/revisit the childhood sort of way.
We arrived back home at around 10:00 pm only to find that the doggies had broken into the garage where our camping gear was stowed and proceeded to chew up our air mattress and a sleeping bag as well as 2 pillows....there was stuffing all over the back deck so as you can imagine, i was less than happy with the doggies.

We had to go to Wally World first to replace the destroyed gear and didn't really get on the road until around 10:30....checked in at the park right around 4:30 (It's no big deal though because check in time at State Parks is 3:00)

The first thing that i noticed upon reaching the Keys was that the wind seemed to be blowing from the north east at a pretty hard clip. (not good for fly fishing....or tent camping for that matter) Conditions weren't any better by the time we arrived at our site with a constant 25 mph gale. Mama and i set up the campsite (our site was right on the water....high tide line was about 3 feet away from the tent) in fairly quick order in spite of the wind, had lunch, and put on our swimming gear to wade around the flats right next to our campsite. High tide was at noon so i decided to rig up for barracuda since every time i've been to the Keys, they seem to be around in good numbers....even though the water was clear, there was no way to spot fish due to the roiling, windswept seas. As we were walking out, i spotted a bonefish about 15 yards away however, he was hightailing it off the flat. Casting into the wind was impossible but i found that the backcast would hang behind me and the wind would help carry the forward cast to where it needed to go. Got a few nice welts trying to cast ACROSS the wind....but it was doable.....Talked to a few fly geeks who were all geared out with $1,200 worth of fly gear and the clothes and hats....but were just walking up and down the shore complaining that they couldn't see any fish.....

We drove a mile down the road to this spot that i had found on Google maps. Was a nice, deep hole right next to the shore. Waded the flat out to the hole. Was a bit more protected from the wind here but still couldn't spot any fish which was odd....Mama got a hit on a Rootbeer Epoxy Charlie but lost it due to her using a frayed leader....i won't mention the other faux pas committed by Mama but i'd like to recommend a few knot tying websites that i think she might be able to make use of. After this, Mama was content to watch the sun sink lower into the sky and take photos while i trudged around, casting at shadows and untangling my leader from time to time, using a chartreuse big eye bulky deceiver that i had made for the 'cuda

After we returned and ate dinner (rotisserie chicken and salad stuff rolled up on a tortilla and potato salad), the sun had fallen to the other side of the island, bathing our site in an shadow skewn reddish glow. We were afraid to have a campfire due to the windy conditions. Mama had picked up a six pack of Hurricane Reef raspberry wheat ale in Tavernier. We aren't big drinkers but appreciate a good beer. This stuff was AWESOME.....wheaty without being too fruity, yet not too hoppy. We relaxed, watched the stars come out, the tide come in, and went to bed after a nice hot shower.

i'm an early riser so Mama asked me to wake her up when i got up so she could see the sunrise.....

Here are some scenes from part 2.....

Hungry Bonefish ravaging the early morning flats and Mama comes face to face with a Redfish.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rob Ties Flies doesn't sound as cool as "Borski Ties Flies".

One thing that folks tell me when i'm tying flies....

"You should sell them."

Of course i'm always flattered by this, but i don't think that will be happening any time soon.....

Here are a few reasons:

* i don't think the beautiful, artistic craftsmanship required to make great flies is quite there yet . i think i'm on the right track, but the nice, layered , tight wraps that are on flies that i've bought is still hit or miss and sometimes, thread or material gets into the hook eye.....i've improved a bit in this area, and even if i look at the first fly that i tied, i've learned a lot in a short period of time.

* i haven't developed an innovative pattern yet. Of course i've put my own spin on deceivers and clousers and other patterns, but i'm sure they've already been done. i'm really not looking to turn the world upside down with some sort of awesome design either.

*i enjoy tying flies. The last thing that i want is to dislike it due to being under pressure to fill orders. Beside, who would buy them?

I quite like making flies for me and Mama.....but i highly doubt that i'll be filling fly boxes globally any time soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


As i'm sure you've read in a previous post, Mama and i are leaving for the Keys ugly early Sunday morning.....camping and fishing (or is that fishing or camping?).

i know, i know..... everyone always has visions of 200 lb tarpon rocketing skyward or 10 lb bonefish introducing you to the backing on your fly reel during a screaming run. i'm no different, but i'm realistic.

One oft overlooked fish in the Keys is the lowly barracuda. These toothy predators are more than willing to take a bait, lure or fly and can be found quite frequently just about everywhere except dry land in the Keys. i've caught them on previous trips on live bait but have never tried for one with a long stick.....let me tell you, they go on a drag testing run and take to the air with the crashing, reckless abandon of any tarpon and aren't afraid of you or the boat....(one of my fishing buddies woke up on the deck thinking he went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson while fighting one.....but that's for another story)

So, as i've stated previous, i've been tying bonefish and tarpon flies (i'm not seriously pursuing them as i'm only taking an 8 weight) but i've also been throwing in the bulky deceivers with lots of krystal flash and some crease flies for the 'cudas while filling my big flybox (i have a big flybox and i pick and choose to fill my small flybox that goes in my chest pack right before i step into the water) AND, i've built some "'cuda leaders" which consist of an 8 ft section of 20 lb Trilene Big Game and a 80 lb bite tippet made of tyable coated wire. They seem to cast well and should hold up to the teeth these things have, even though i've seen them go through the same stuff on spinning gear.....and even puncture a Mirrolure.

The gear that i wade with( and i don't do boats) is a small Cabella's chest pack with a surprising amount of pockets for it's size (even has a wallet/cellphone/camera pocket), a William Joseph wading belt/stripping basket (this piece of gear is so cool....has a daisy chain on it to hold tools too) and if it's shallow enough or i'm fishing from shore, a Kelty Kestral which is a large lumbar pack that i take hiking. It's pretty much my entire tackle box and has everything from scissors, pliers and gloves as well as extra leaders and the always popular headlamp and first aid kit.

i hope my rig holds up....i Clousered the rod the other day....and i don't think a spare will show up in time.....if i get back to town with a swizzle stick, you'll know the reason why....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fly tying and physics

Photo by Matt Wirt at

Check him out....he's the man!

Physics and fly tying never cease to amaze me.

Recently, i was tying the EP style baitfish (Greenie Fly) and after testing in the pool, found out that it wouldn't sink. After a few modifications and gleaning advice from the message boards, i was able to tweak it enough to have it do what i need it to do.

I usually tie flies at home but am fortunate enough to have a job where i can tie flies at work when it's slow (more about the job in another post). When i tie a new pattern, i usually test it in the pool to see how it lands and to see how it performs in the water and tweak it if need be.

Yesterday, i was tying a new zonker strip "Flats Bunny" type of Seaducer with a 2 inch zonker strip, palmered rooster hackle, krystal flash, bead chain eyes and 1/0 Mustad. When i tie flys, i usually make 2 for me, 2 for Mama and 2 for the Suncoast Fly Fishers. So i made 6 of them as well as some cockroach tarpon patterns (not for tarpon). When i arrived home last night, i tested them in the pool and to my dismay, they would only sink about 6 inches.....which would be great in skinny water.....but i was hoping for a little more sink. Didn't realize just how buoyant rabbit fur is.

So now i'll have to use either wire on the hook shank or switch to Clouser eyes Like Matt Wirt does . It was just my version of it and i thought that the bead chain eyes would suffice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sharing Information

In recent preparation for our camping/fishing trip to The Keys, i contacted several guides regarding information that they specialize in. The basic questions i was asking pertained to flies for bonefish (size, color, pattern so i could tie some) and tide stages to fish. i explained in my e-mails that i was fairly new to fly fishing and had never fished for bones before however, i had read everything i could get my hands on so i was semi-educated. All of these guides state on their websites that they welcome any and all questions and would be glad to steer anyone in the right direction (this is fairly standard for most guide services). Of the 3 guides that i e-mailed questions to, only one responded and all he pretty much told me was that the best thing he could advise me to do is hire a guide.

i get how information can be a premium....i wasn't asking the guy for his spots....just info on flies.

i don't have a problem sharing any information that i might have (not spots or locations) but anyone who wants to know what to use,ect....i don't have a problem steering them in the right direction.

i understand that things are tough out there financially for most folks but this type of response trying to sell me a days worth of fishing with him is unacceptable to me. i already had read his rates and seen his photos so if i really wanted to pay him $525 for the whole day bonefishing, then i would have clicked on the link to book an excursion...... and don't state that you'll answer all questions if it's just a ploy to "sell" someone a trip. i'm not expecting to catch any bonefish....but at least i'm going to have a go on my own.

Now i completely respect how much work these guys do for their customers. It's hard work getting the skiff ready, catching bait, and poling the skiff around all day to get you in position to catch fish....that's what they're supposed to do.....

i hired a guide once out of Key West. i had a bad feeling about it from the get go because he was around $200 less than everyone else for a 4 hour trip.....but what did i know? So after an hour and a half trying to locate bait, he starts targeting nurse sharks (exactly what i was looking to catch...not). When we would catch one, he said that he had to tag it because he got paid by the University of Miami for every nurse shark he tagged for research purposes.

The purpose of this post isn't to trash guides or their services. i'm sure that most guides aren't like's just to urge you to do your research before booking anyone anywhere.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I am The Joneses

i've recently had folks ask me "what makes you so different from everyone else?"

The answer is simple. i basically have no desire to be like the Joneses. As a matter of fact, i can safely say the opposite. Due to being roughly 3-5 years ahead of most folks, i feel like.....

i AM the Joneses.

This isn't some self-touting, glory grabbing, ego meltdown. Let me explain my case.

Most of you know that i'm an avid outdoors man/camper/ fisherman. Camping saved my life several years ago. We go camping at least once a month on average. We're tent campers. Recently, i read an article about that says that due to the tanking economy, more folks are taking up camping for vacations instead of trips to the big D or cruises.....the State and National Parks are overflowing....(which really sucks for Mama and i ) and amid budget crunch and cuts at all levels of the government, there is a HUGE demand for more parks and services.

i made a decision around 10 years ago to be a full time, successful musician. In order to do this on a limited income, i sacrificed a lot of regular normal things that everyone takes for granted ( like no Starbucks, not eating at restaurants, driving a crappy car and not subscribing to cable - more on the cable later). i was frugal not only out of necessity, but it seemed to make sense to me to live within my means and not going out on a limb to buy a new car or a big's not that i don't like those things, but i just feel like i don't need them to be happy. And it didn't mean that i was a recluse or didn't have a social life ( i was the subject of many jokes among my circle of friends....but now, the envy). i was the starving artist who was living his dream to a moderate level of success, who lived in a one bedroom apartment content to read books, play in a band, and drive my 35 year old Mercedes.....sort of reminds me of the quote on our 'fridge....

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.” - Thomas Jefferson

Now, due to the economy, i keep seeing these articles about "How to have an extra $400 in your account at the end of the month" and "How spending determines your level of brokeness".....and how home ownership isn't really THAT good of an investment as it was in the 1950's and how most folks would be better off renting a cheaper place to live and invest the extra money in something else. i've read them and chuckled because most of them spout the same theory that i've had for the last 10 years. Back in 2001, i can remember watching football and being amazed at the Dodge commercials, touting HUGE V-8 Hemi Power pick up trucks and HUGE Hemi Powered Chargers and i was thinking "why in the hell would they be targeting everyone with this? It's illogical for folks to want this product due to how much gas those things consume" and "when the price of gas goes up, these folks are going to be hurting" and all i saw was larger SUV's being marketed to your everyday person....tarted up Greyhounds for the Herd.... and everyone is in such a hurry to be EXACTLY like each other that the car companies won....

Now, everyone is being frugal....not to follow dreams, but to survive....people aren't accustomed to not being a consumer.....former CEO's are walking into the Super WalMart for the first time.

i was frugal not only out of necessity, but i figured why should i give my money to someone i don't even know for something i really don't need?

It's been determined that i could live happily with only the things in my hiking backpack, a laptop, and an internet connection....i wonder how long it will take the rest of humanity to do the happy with less....get back to what it's all about......Wabi Sabi and all of that.

i'm happy with the way i live my life and the things i have. i'm not pining for the things i've lost or the things i don't have. i have my own style and i'm not afraid of the fact, i relish the unknown.

It's cool to be The Joneses.....i just wonder how soon it will be before fly fishing will be the thing to do.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greenie Fly

Anyone who fishes the Tampa Bay area knows that threadfin shad (otherwise known as greenbacks) are like having a bucket full of money at a gentleman's'll receive a lot of looks and attention until the bucket runs dry. That's why i decided to make a greenback imitation....because when you run out of greenies, you can run out of the pull on the end of your line.

Materials -

Hook - Owner 5111-131 - 3/0

Eyes - Mirage 3-D dome stick on eyes 5/16"

Body - Slinky fiber - White

Wing - Steve Farrar blend slinky fiber - olive

Misc. Materials - .25 soldering wire

Here is how to make it:

Start by wrapping the hook shank with the soldering wire from the bend in the hook up to about an 8th of an inch. ( you don't need to do this if you aren't having an issue with the fly not sinking)

Tie in small red puff behind hook eye to make the gills.

Turn so hook point is on top. Use a sparse piece of white slinky fiber (less than the diameter of a pencil) and about twice as long as you want the fly to be and lay it along the bottom of the hook leaving the front piece hanging over the eye of the hook and about 2 inches out the back (secure with a few wraps) then lay the part hanging by the eye back and tighten it down with some tight wraps.

Turn the hook over and repeat above step on the top of the hook except this time, use the olive slinky fiber (you don't need flash because the SF blend has it built in).

Whip finish and cement head.

Attach stick on eyes with strong adhesive (i like Zap-a-Gap)

Comb it out and trim as needed.

I haven't caught anything with this yet, but it looks great in the water! Have fun and let me know if you get anything on it.....

Why i don't like Facebook/Myspace

As i'm sure that you have a Facebook page or are a member of Myspace or some other social networking site, this post might offend you or otherwise put me in a bad's not intended to do that, but i just need to get this off my chest.

i used to have a Myspace page back when the site was new. i was one of the original people on it. It was a good way for me to keep in touch with my friends overseas when i played in a band and to meet cool and unique people that i might not cross paths with in everyday life (Hey, i actually met Mama on Myspace so it can't be that bad right?) At one point, i had hundreds of friends and took the time to look at my friends' pages and leave comments, ect. It was a good tool to promote the band, keep folks updated on band events, recordings, tours, gigs and general goodwill and networking.

But one day, i realized that i hadn't heard from most of the folks on my friends list and that a large number of them didn't respond to comments or i deleted all but about 25 of them. After all, how many friends does one really need right? But it was a good place for me to store my photos and i liked to blog there from the get go....i could air my opinions and takes on life, love, liberty and the music industry. But after a while, i didn't really hear from the 25 friends on my list....i wasn't blogging on it so much because people weren't paying attention....i mean, i was posting all of this useful information trying to help people and no one was reading the band had gone down the i deleted my page because i wasn't really using it and it was a waste of time to blog on it anymore.....i guess i became old and boring overnight (i know.....BECAME?)

So....some months down the road, i started getting e-mails from a few of my friends overseas to check out i joined Facebook. Didn't really like it as much as Myspace but i figured since Mama was on it and a few of our mutual friends were on it, so i thought it might be a good way to communicate with them and such....However, of the 9 friends that i had on there, very few of them talked to me unless they wanted me to join their Mafia or take a quiz to see where i should be living (none of the questions could really be answered correctly because none of the multiple choice answers would really be the way i would answer) i deactivated my account there as well because it wasn't fun to me.....besides, no one really cares if i'm on there or not anyway.....and the people who did try to contact me, i didn't wish to hear from. That's another "attraction" to the social networking sites for some people i can just delete someone out of your life when you feel like it.

So i decided to start this blog to write about things that might be rattling around in my little pea brain, things i'm passionate about, helpful ideas, rants and theories, hopes and dreams and the wonderful, positive things the world has to offer. i hope someone reads it and gets something out of it, but i'm not trying to be Mr. Popular among bloggers the world over. i'm sure i'll blog about dark things, stupidity and the negative or controversial. After all,real life isn't just like Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie & Harriet. least i won't be asked to take a quiz or join a group.....and that makes me smile.....

Monday, April 13, 2009


Some folks know my musical history....some don't. i'm not going down that road today as that's for another longer, more thorough post to describe decades of dedication to music and the joys and pitfalls involved in that business.

Today, i'll be writing about some of the music i'm into these days and where you can find it....well actually, i find most of it on Pandora Radio. You can tune into the station i created at:

Just a few to mention, so that you get the idea.....these artists are sort of a chill out, downtempo, acid jazz sort of thing.

Afterlife - Not to be confused with the Cristian rock band - Afterlife is often featured on compilation CD's like the Buddha Bar series (these are awesome). No one can put a killer mix together with a sexy female vocal like this guy.

Enigma - Do i really need to explain?

Blue Sky, Black Death - A very unique sound. They use hip hop beats, odd female vocals, and strings/classical sections.

Thievery Corporation - These guys have a sort of Reggae meets chillout with a female vocal type of thing happening. They do A LOT of soundtrack music.....even more than Massive Attack so i'm sure you've heard them.

Some songs i like would include;

I'm Going Home - Rex Elias

Let Go - Frou Frou - from the Garden State soundtrack

Angel - Weekend Players

Conmingo - Fous De La Mer

Lazyboy - Facts of Life - Awesome song!

Many folks have never heard of this music let alone the genre....and that's good. i'm sure that in the next 5 years or so, it'll be all the rage and i'll have to like some other obscure, unknown slag that no one has heard of.....but if you'd like, click on my stations profile and view all thumbed up songs to hear small samples....Or just tune into my station.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fly Tying

If you haven't figured it out by now, i'm into fishing quite a bit. Basically, i love most outdoor activities, but camping and fishing really top the list. (my love for the outdoors saved my life a few years ago) i've been into fly fishing for about the last 6 months or so. In that time, i've read and researched the sport to the extent that your normal person would think i was obsessed. Even though i've only been doing it for 6 months, i think it's safe to say that i know as much about it and how to do it probably as much as someone who's been doing it for a long time. One thing i know that i need to work on is the tendency to drop my backcast too low and taking too much of the pie at one time. i'm working on it....i promise.

i think that fly tying is a natural progression that fly fishermen are drawn to after essentially "learning" all of the terminology and jargon that isn't attached to other forms of rod, reel and line weights and, floating line/sinking line, leader and tippet and how they work in conjunction with the species of fish you're targeting, fly selection, stripping techniques, casting and presentation, ect. It's a lot to digest. But after you learn the basics, the coolest thing in the world would be to tie a fly and actually catch a fish.....right? Not only that but, it's a lot more cost effective if you can tie patterns that you use a lot. For instance, i use Deceivers and Clouser types a lot. i used to buy them but at $4.95 per fly, you'd spend a ton of money to fill up a nice sized fly box. i did find a few nice websites that sell flies for $1.50 per fly, but still....i can get a few nice pieces of bucktail for $1.50, a rooster neck for $2.00, box of fifty Mustad 1/0 hooks for $5.00, and make a crapload of Deceivers and Clousers. Of course the initial investment of buying a vice and the tools might set you back (i have a cheapo vice and really nice scissors) but not only will you save money in the long run, it's really neat to be able to stock up your fly box AND be creative at the same time. My buddy OhToBe calls it "man-cheting (like crocheting for men).
Mama can tie flies. So can Jassie Billy (he started making his own patterns right off the bat). It's really not that hard to do after you tie up a few. i'm always figuring out what i did wrong and ways that i can improve what i've been turning out.

It also gives me the ability to change a pattern to suit my needs. For instance, i've been making some beadchain eye clouser types on a size 8 hook for bonefish. I've been making 1/0 deceivers using various amounts of bucktail to make them puffy or scrawny. Plus different colors, sizes, weighted or not.....there are a bunch of options to get you what you need without having to go buy something at a fly shop. I have big fat clousers with 3 colors for current swept oyster bars or lighter beadchain eye variations where i need to use stealth or where it doesn't have to dive as fast. Captain Pat Dimeco ( showed me a simplified clouser that is a bit more sparse, and i can tie it in about 5 minutes.

Recently, i tried my hand at an Enrico Puglisi baitfish type using teased yarn instead of the EP fibers. It didn't come out too bad and i'm sure i can make it better after a few more attempts. i haven't water tested it yet like i have my other creations. i've also perfected what i like to call a marabou shrimp. It's a size 8 hook with marled grizzly marabou tail, copper krystal flash, palmered marled grizzly marabou body, brown bucktail and tan bucktail antenae. The marabou breathes when it sits still, and the forward pointing bucktail antenae push water.

Try it fishing and the things associated with it is an art....but it isn't too pricey to get into.