Monthly Archives: April 2015

BTT at Work in the Bahamas

A Bonefish & Tarpon Trust update.

Last March, Justin Lewis, BTT’s Bahamas Initiative Coordinator, gave a presentation about BTT’s bonefish conservation efforts in the Bahamas at the Rand Nature Center, the Grand Bahama Island headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT). BTT has been collaborating with BNT, The Fisheries Conservation Foundation, and the Cape Eleuthera Institute on bonefish conservation since 2009. Justin’s presentation was part of the Rand Nature Center’s monthly public lecture series that shares information about the Bahamian natural environment and the threats it faces. Thanks to great advertising by the BNT, there were over 40 people in attendance, including school teachers, bonefish guides, the general public, representatives from other conservation organizations, and a representative from the sustainable tourism section of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

Justin kept the crowd engaged with descriptions of bonefish biology, the economic and cultural importance of the bonefish fishery, and the findings of the ongoing effort to identify the bonefish habitats most in need of conservation and protection. The highlights of the first portion of the presentation included:

  • The annual economic impact of the recreational bonefish fishery exceeds $141 million
  • Bonefish spawning behavior, and the fact that they spawn offshore
  • The unusual leptocephalus bonefish larvae that hatches from the fertilized egg and floats in the open ocean for almost 2 months.

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Here Comes the Sun

I admit. I bitch about the wind a lot. Too much, in fact.

Now that my casting has improved, I’ve found the wind doesn’t bother me as much. Now I have another nemesis: Clouds.

Sight fishing, of course, depends on the ability to see. Wind can hind casting and ripple the water enough that it’s difficult to see the fish, but sight fishing is doable with a breeze. A day on the water without sun? Almost impossible to sight fish.

This nugget of insight came to me recently in May while beach snook fishing. Because it’s still late spring, the clouds (and rain) can come in the morning or evening, which makes planning for a trip on the beach problematic. You need the sun, but you don’t know exactly when the clouds are going to part.

Summer, I hope, will yield more dependable weather patterns. Late afternoon storms dictate that you have to fish reasonably early. Challenges reamin. Too early and you don’t have enough sun. Too late and you have to dodge the rain.

A Juno Beach snook.

A Juno Beach snook.

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Life is a Beach

Summer’s almost here. Get ready.

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Cuba: The Last Great Frontier

Nice story by Monte Burke in Forbes.

On a recent evening in Manhattan, supporters of the conservation group, the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), gathered together at an Upper East Side club that preferred to remain unnamed. Much of the talk at the fundraiser was about a formerly clandestine subject in its own right: Cuba and the fishing opportunities that may open up sooner rather than later thanks to President Obama’s call for normalizing the relations between the United States and its former hemispheric foe. To many anglers—and particularly to those who chase bonefish, tarpon and permit, which happen to be the three species that the BTT strives to protect—Cuba appears to be the “last, best place,” the frontier that represents some sort of terminus for flyfishing’s own form of manifest destiny.

That frontier, though, may be more connected to the rest of the Western Hemisphere’s flats fisheries than previously realized. That should come as no real surprise: The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba has always been a complicated and intertwined one.

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Barracuda and the Keys

My story in Hatch Magazine.

Bonefish are on the decline in the Florida Keys. So are the fish that eat them. Barracuda, once a traditional target of winter flats fishing, are now scarce.

“I just started guiding in 2000, which is not long in the whole scheme of things,” Key West guide John O’ Hearn said. “In the winter you could go to any flat and have a few cudas on it, even if it wasn’t a good flat. You could go anywhere and there would be barracudas. Over the years, you had to get better and better [at finding them]. There are places still with good barracuda fishing. You just have to keep working harder and harder.”

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Brian Jill Goes After Bad-Ass Bass

My story on Brian Jill in Hatch Magazine. Enjoy.

Brian Jill has fished more than two dozen countries far and wide. Big Bass in Mexico? Check. Majestic Browns in New Zealand? Check. Tantalizing tarpon in the Yucatan? Check. If there are big fish to be caught, chances are Jill and his three best buds have found a way to film it. First, there was the Trout Bum Diaries, then GEOFISH and GEOBASS, which was released in 2014.

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