Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bad Parking Jobs

One thing that really annoys me is when inconsiderate people take up 2 parking spots so someone doesn't ding their car with a door. I understand someone wanting to keep a car ding free, but this is very selfish in my opinion. To me, it's almost as bad as the idiots who sit in the car in a no parking lane with the flashers on.

On more than one occasion, I've parked my sled right on the drivers door of the offending auto. Now, you have to understand that my car looks like something out of the road warrior, complete with "fu*@ You" and an erect penis spray painted on the hood, baseball bat dents in the passenger side, a dent in the hood where a tree fell on it during the hurricanes of 2004, a missing hubcap and peeled paint....the selfish parkers nightmare. I only wish I could see the expression on their faces when they come out of the store and see my ride pulled up right next to their baby.

I found a great blog dedicated to bad parking jobs called Your Parking Sucks

Cheers and I hope you get a laugh out of it....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas and the New Year

*I made it through the holiday without succumbing to the holiday greed and cash grabbing that most folks normally do. Christmas Eve was spent at my mom's house as is the tradition and Christmas Day was nice at Julie's. There was a budget and dollar limit that everyone needed to adhere to, and you know what? It was great. No one went into debt. Got the wireless Internet hooked up and a few PS3 games and I'm happy.

*I discovered it's best for me to be single. What can I say? Even medicated, depression is still very hard to deal with at times, and it's best that I don't affect anyone else's life with it. It's not as if you can just ask me to not be depressed. I don't choose to feel depressed. I'm in no shape mentally to date's not fair to them because I don't have anything left to give anyone. This should be my New Year's resolution.

* I'm taking part in a winter fly tying swap with the members of Captain Mel's fly fishing forum. I'm tying white and red DT Specials with 1/0 Mustad's.

* I'm determined to fish more this year - who cares if I have to do it alone?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Fishing

I know that you're "supposed" to stay home on Christmas, spending time with your family. Last year, I went fishing on Christmas. Loaded up the family and was wading at the un-named City of St Petersburg Park at 78th Ave. By noon.

It was considerably warmer last Christmas with the water temperature holding at 70. After receiving a load of new gear for Christmas, I was dying to try out this stuff. I was wading, throwing an EP shrimp when 2 nice redfish swam leisurely right past me, so close I could see the typical "worried" look on their faces....but no takers.

Does anyone think that it's wrong to go fishing on Christmas?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Dark Side

I've noticed a lot of debate recently about "going over to the dark side" of fishing....I'm thinking a good definition of this might read something like this:

To fish for species one might not be familiar with - i.e. to leave your comfort zone.

For instance, Rebecca wrote an article about going over to the dark side of bass fishing. I can certainly understand the fear or discomfort in leaving one's comfort zone. I've been there before. Before I was into saltwater fishing at all, I was an avid bass angler. I used to read everything I could get my hands on in regards to bass....where to find them, what lure to use, and what a cold front does to fish.

When my buddy Chad tried to get me into saltwater fishing, I wasn't interested. I had everything I needed with bass....But I have to admit that I was scared. I didn't know anything about the salt. Where to go, what to use, what species was what. The fear made me cling to my bass rods even harder....that is until the first time a 20 lb snook dragged me under a dock and broke me off. Then it was on. Surprisingly, saltwater fishing with lures is quite a bit like bass fishing, it's just that the fish are bigger, the gear is bigger and the lures are bigger.

It wasn't that far out of the norm for me - when I was a kid, we lived in upstate New York. There were so many different fishing seasons that you just adapted your gear to suit what you were fishing for. Ice fishing, salmon run, muskys and walleye season, pike season.

I had the same fears when my buddy Scott kept telling me about fly fishing. "No thanks" I said, but I kept running into cool articles in Florida Sportsman about saltwater fly fishing. I didn't know anything about the sport, so I read everything I could get my hands on in regards to gear....combing the Internet to find gear that I could actually afford. Once I had the information, I felt empowered.

After I taught myself to cast, it was suggested to me that I should tie my own flies. "No way" I exclaimed, "I can't do that"....Well. After watching a few fly tying videos, I started looking at the flies in my fly box and decided that I could tie anything that I had purchased.

Then, someone told me about bonefish. "Sorry dude, I can't afford a trip to Andros...besides, I know nothing about bonefish and they aren't in my area."

Then I discovered Long Key State Park and found out that it's one of the best bonefish flats in the state.

I have to say that I'm afraid of trout fishing in the streams with dry's, nymphs, and whatever else...I know nothing about it.

So the bottom line is....stop being afraid of the fishing that you don't know about. Learn about it, read about it, talk to someone who knows about it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Favorite Florida Keys Posts

For those of you who haven't been there, I'd like to share the fly fishers paradise known as the Florida Keys.

Here are some of my favorite posts about my experiences there.

If you've never been there and want to go - Check this out

Long Key Part One

Long Key Part Two

Long Key Part Three

Chad and the Barracuda

Blood Knot Magazine

I've been telling you about the brand new magazine I've been writing for. Well, after the launch date was pushed back a few times, I'm finally able to talk about it. Blood Knot Magazine is a little bit different than your average "How to" fly fishing e-zine that everyone else does. This is a compilation of irreverent stories and humorous content....sort of like Moldy Chum meets The Outdooress. Check them out and subscribe (I'm still trying to figure out how to subscribe). It's a bimonthly publication but the website will be updated regularly.

Look for my "Lessons in Ditch Fishing" piece if they put it back up.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas shopping for your fly fisher

What's on your holiday wish list this year?

I'm sure you have a fly fisher or outdoorsey person in your life who would enjoy some fly fishing materials, some hand tied flies, or a nice multi-tool as stocking stuffers.

I'm no different. I'm easy. Some things on my list this year would include;

* A new sun shirt

* fly tying materials

* Used games and Bluray movies for my new PS3, as well as any accessories that go with it.

I received a PS3 for my birthday and let me just tell you, this thing DOES do everything....and it's unbelievable on my HD TV.

I'm not expecting anything really. I'm quite happy with just spending time with my family....maybe I can pull off a fishing expedition on Christmas Day again this year.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The "Slab of the Millennium" on Moldy Chum today is quite impressive. The spieces is known as Hucho taimen and is found in northern Russia and China....Never heard of them!

This thing prefers rivers and flowing water.

All I can say is WOW! Hope you brought your 12 weight and good luck.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nervous Water Video

I got this from Midcurrent - This is a bit like the action we get around here. Winter is a great time to target redfish.

This excerpt from RA Beattie's first full-length video project, "Nervous Water" (Beattie Outdoor Productions, DVD, 180 minutes) captures some of the excitement of sight-casting to waking and finning redfish along the south Texas coast.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Check out the blog A Matter of Life, Death and Fluff Chucking

This blog is written by McFluffchucker or Dave, a Scottish guy obsessed with pike and fly tying. This guy has boxes and boxes of flies he's tied - quite nice ones as well. He is also adamant about not fishing with spinning tackle or the use of treble hooks.

Hope you enjoy it!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lost And Found and getting it back to normal

The past weekend was moving day....or as they say in the UK, moving house. I always dislike moving day as i tend to like staying in one spot. In the particular instance of this move, all of my things were in a nice compact storage unit, so packing was kept to a minimum. I didn't move any of my stuff last time since I was in the hospital, so I wasn't sure where or what I had or didn't have any longer. Things were in a disarray of unorganization....clothes mixed in with dishes, electronics mixed with Tupperware, DVD's and Playstation games intertwined as if everything was just thrown into boxes willy nilly without any regard for ever having to open them again. I had only been to the storage unit a few times since July for obvious reasons, so I was unaware of the level of mess associated.....ah but enough whining about Halcyon days, that's not what this post is meant to be about.

There are positive things attached to was like a giant time capsule....a Lost and Found of sorts.....a bit like me.

*I found my brand new 12 weight reel that I haven't even strung up with line or backing yet.

*Found the pile of broken gear.

*Found my 2 large fly boxes full of tarpon flies I had tied over the summer (hence the 12 weight).

*Found my spinning gear.

Another positive aspect of moving house is the opportunity to "douche" the system of unnecessary items and thing that weigh me down. I'm now smooth, streamlined, and "minimalist". No more 200 lb TV, no more ten ton furniture.

Everything is finding it's own place in my new digs, even though it's been a tough process....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Interview with Aaron Adams

For those of you who don't know of him, Aaron Adams is a fly fishing marine biologist.... or marine biologist who fly fishes. He also writes books, which I highly recommend.

Here is an excerpt of his formal bio from his website (I tend to like the informal one better though) -

"Aaron holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in marine and environmental science, in addition to a Captain’s license, and has studied marine fish ecology throughout his professional career. A life-long angler, Aaron had the great fortune of cutting his fly fishing teeth on the flats of the Virgin Islands, while working there as a fish biologist."

This gentleman flat out knows fish, knows fly tying, and I would advise you to read his books, articles, and anything else you can find if you're remotely interested in becoming a better saltwater fly fisher.

Aaron is also Executive Director of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, where the Mission Statement is:
"We support education, conservation, and research to help understand, nurture, and enhance healthy bonefish, tarpon, and permit population.
We serve as a repository of information and knowledge related to the life cycle, behavior, and well being of the species.
We support research and the gathering of information related to the condition of these fisheries as well as their behavior and life cycles.We provide educational materials to fishermen and the public.
We work with regulatory authorities and the public to assure the passage and enforcement of laws protecting these species.
We interact with government agencies to assist in the management and regulations related to bonefish, tarpon, and permit". and Aaron Adams are also involved with the new Pirates of the Flats series on ESPN2, featuring Tom Brokaw and Michael Keaton.

Without further ado, Dr. Aaron Adams.....(APPLAUSE)

Q. I often wonder why snook don’t pay attention to any of the flies that I present to them under dock lights at night and often times on a flat .This is including all sorts of presentations to not spook the fish. They tend to just ignore, not spook. Is there a scientific explanation for this? Do they really only eat when they feel like it as opposed to when they see an opportunity like largemouth bass?

A. If I knew the answer to that one, I’d be rich! You might be surprised, but largemouth can be selective, too. There are a lot of reasons that a fish might not eat – whether a fly, lure, or bait. Weather, tidal stage, time of day, predators nearby, etc. Some of what I think are at the top of the list of why they might not eat are below. Sometimes the fish are keyed in on a specific prey, and don’t seem interested in anything else. This is probably a big reason for those snook under the lights at night. They are often focused on very small prey, so only small flies (size 6 or even 8) will do the trick. Other times, I;ve found these nightlight snook to be focused on larger prey like scaled sardines, and other times on shrimp. Sometimes it takes a few lights and multiple flies to find the right one for that night. Other times they seem to be aggressive toward anything that moves. I find this is most common at dawn and dusk and during fall, when they put on the feedbag some days as they get ready for the cool water temperatures of winter. Also, it takes hours for fish like snook to digest prey, so if you happen to fish for them in the few hours after they ate heavily, they might not be hungry. In Florida, I think a lot of the snook response to flies and lures (and even bait) is due to the fishing pressure. Whenever I see fish just ignore a fly or actively swim around it, my first thought is that they are pressured fish. If you have a chance to fish for snook in Central America or some of the Caribbean islands, where they see less angler pressure, they tend to be more aggressive to the fly. Same with largemouth – the fishing on an unpressured lake or river is 99% of the time going to be much better than in an area that receives fishing pressure. Same for trout, bonefish, etc. That’s one reason I think it’s so important for anglers to fish carefully and responsibly – spooking the fish by fishing poorly is just as likely to ‘educate’ the fish as actually catching them.

Q. When you have those days where the fish won’t cooperate, do you ever toss something off the wall just to see if it’ll interest them?

A. Of course. Although sometimes I’m accused of tying flies that are kind of like that anyway. My tying philosophy is to try to figure out characteristics of prey that cause a gamefish to try to eat them, and to incorporate those characteristics into my flies. On days when the fish are not in an eating mood, I go through my fly box and try flies that have different characteristics, whether it’s motion, color, profile, sound, or size. The fish have to think the fly is food, so even if we think the fly is ‘off the wall’, it has to represent something they think is worthwhile to pursue. You can read a lot more about my fly tying philosophy on my web site

Q. I’ve read your book Fly Fisherman’s Guide To Saltwater Prey, which I really like and refer to it often and I’m currently reading Fisherman’s Coast which I should have read a lot sooner. Any plans to write another book in the near future?

A. I’m happy to hear that you like the books. Fisherman’s Coast is temporarily out of print while I negotiate with the publisher on reprint rights, etc. I expect that will be resolved and a new printing will be out in early 2010. Saltwater Prey is still in stock, so should remain available for a while. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to many guides and anglers who have told me that the books changed the way they fished, which is fantastic. The goal of the books was to persuade saltwater anglers to start to think about their fishing more in the way that trout anglers have for countless years – more analytically and more from the fish’s perspective. That positive feedback has me working on a third book. That’s all I’ll say about it right now, it’s still in the early stages.

Q. Is there a fly fishing/ research dog?

A. Sadly, there used to be – Lucy. A chocolate lab. Her favorite was when I fished the beach for snook, or when we lived in the Virgin Islands when we walked the beaches fishing for any fish we could find (snappers, barracuda, jacks, bones). She died earlier this year, she was almost 14 years old.

Q. Have you ever researched what effect a hurricane or tropical storm has on the fisheries? If so, What were your findings? Do fish stay put or do they relocate?

A. Oh boy, that brings back memories. I’ve had three research projects interrupted by hurricanes – two in the Virgin Islands and one here in Charlotte Harbor (Charlie). The answer to your question – it depends. Small fish, like mosquitofish and killifish, as well as fish that are territorial, like a lot of coral reef fish, generally stay put. Their populations can take a hit from strong hurricanes, but they often bounce back quickly. One exception to the pattern of bouncing back was with some of the mangrove creek fish in upper Charlotte Harbor. It took those fish populations years to rebound, and I don’t think they are quite back to the numbers they were just before the hurricane. Larger fish like snook, reds, etc seem to head for deeper water. And colleagues working on sharks saw sharks leave the Caloosahatchee River the day before Charlie and return the day after. Remember, these coastal ecosystems have been through this thousands of times, and are able to respond. We (people) often don’t handle it so well. In the Caribbean, though the hurricanes can be devastating, the preparation and response by people is more even-keeled than we tend to see in Florida, probably because they’ve been through it so many times before. One final note – often, a week or so after a hurricane, the fishing can be out of sight. Typically, you don’t hear about it because everyone is concerned with more important things.

Q. Do you ever use the “Gurgler Technique” when fishing redfish in heavy grass?

A. This is the approach that I use most of the time in this situation. As a matter of fact, the gurgler is my favorite fly for redfish because it is so much fun. And in late summer and fall when the juvenile (finger) mullet are abundant, the gurgler is a perfect imitation. You can read more about my gurgler approach here:

Q. Where is your all time favorite place to fish for yourself, no research involved?

A. It’s tough to choose just one place, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ll answer the question by species. For striped bass – the sand flats of Cape Cod. For bluefish, Cape Cod beaches in the fall. For bonefish, Bahamas, probably South Andros. For tarpon, hmmm…The Everglades for the backcountry aspect, Cuba for numbers. For permit, Belize. For snook, Belize, though I hear other parts of Central America are far better. For reds, right here.

Q. Tell us about – do anglers still keep bonefish and tarpon? What can we do to assist in preserving the fishery and the species?

A. Bonefish &Tarpon Trust, previously known as Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited, was founded in 1998 by anglers, guides, and scientists in the Florida Keys concerned about apparent declines in the bonefish and tarpon fisheries. Their plan was to start a conservation program, but they soon learned that very little was known about the biology of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Having an effective conservation or management plan isn’t possible without at least basic biology information on the fish. So the group became, and continues to be, a science-based conservation organization. BTT has created a framework that summarizes the status of knowledge for each species, as well as the top research and conservation needs, and then funds (or conducts) the necessary research. All funds are from memberships, donations, or grants from foundations.
The assumption is that bonefish, tarpon, and permit are in fine shape either because they are catch and release fisheries or because they are primarily recreational fisheries. But the truth is that there are problems. Based on anecdotal information from anglers who have fished the Keys for 40 years, there are 85% fewer bonefish in the Keys now than there used to be. Habitat loss and water quality declines are probably part of the problem. In other locations, harvest by netting is a problem. This occurs in many places in the Caribbean, including Belize, Cuba, Bahamas. In some places, bonefish abundance has declined significantly because of netting. Similarly, tarpon are harvested in many locations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since recent research has shown that tarpon migrate long distances (such as Florida Bay to Chesapeake Bay), our concern is that this is one large regional population, and heavy harvest in any location may be detrimental to the whole region. The keys to conserving these fisheries are: 1) learn enough about their biology to manage the fisheries; 2) push for conservation and restoration of their habitats; 3) to push for halting of netting in the places where it occurs, and for additional conservation measures; 4) use responsible catch and release practices; 5) fish responsibly and respect the habitats; 6) join BTT.
For permit, harvesting occurs throughout their range. Although the population should be able to handle reasonable harvest, no fisheries management agency has ever done a stock assessment of permit, so they have no idea what the population looks like and how it is (or might) respond to fishing pressure. Unfortunately, the fisheries management record is full of collapses of fisheries that came about because of a lack of information on the fishery. And since locations of permit spawning aggregations have been identified, we are concerned that harvest of these aggregations may be problematic (as has happened in the Caribbean for Nassau grouper and mutton snapper).
The real challenge is that BTT is being proactive in their research and conservation approach. If we wait until fisheries collapse before taking action, it may be too late. And just like proactive medicine, proactive conservation is much more effective and cheaper.

Thank you Mr Adams!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Black Friday Camping Trip at Hillsborough River

Went camping out at Hillsborough River State Park after Thanksgiving with Julie, Her son Chris and my dog Lacy. It was Lacy's first camping trip at a family campground. I've taken her backpacking with me before but this was a different experience for her. She loved it.

It was chilly (40) and good campfires were needed. We were snug in our new sleeping bags though. Thankfully, they zip together.

Got out the longstick and was chasing small bass with a purple and black bendback. Had a few chasers but no takers....and of course, hung up my favorite crease fly on a brush pile across the river.

We made a nice dinner one night consisting of steak on the campfire, shrimp kabobs, and potato salad and of course, the always popular S'mores.

Lacy did something really funny. After she ate, she scratched at the door of the tent, so I let her in. She laid down on the air mattress and went to sleep. It was so funny.

Also, the families with kids all left on Sunday, so we pretty much had the whole park to ourselves Sunday afternoon on.

It was a good trip and great finale for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Things in the Big, Green Bin

I'm sort of a stickler about just taking what you need when camping. Then you'll understand my confusion about why there was a chessboard with no pieces and a package of vacuum bags (vacuum is at home)in the big green camping bin with the camp stove, the camp cooking utensils, and miscellaneous items.