Category Archives: Education

A Lesson in Docking a Boat

I’ve learned how to trailer a boat, how to launch it, how to fix it and how to run it.  One of the last tasks for me was learning to dock properly. I went out on the water earlier this week, but of course had no idea how to dock. Fortunately, the winds were light and there was plenty of space at the dock.  I got it done, but it wasn’t pretty. Here’s a video of how to get it done.

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Another Day, Another Job, Another Dollar

I’ve got a second job. I now work at Genung’s Fish Camp and Marina in Crescent Beach.  Genung’s is a local classic. It’s been around since 1948. For nearly seven decades, Genung’s has been a home for locals to get beer, bait and a little angling advice. The place was started by Jack Genung, a local legend, in 1948. Genung passed away 10 years ago or so, but his legacy lives on through the tackle shop, which is a roll cast away from the 206 bridge.

Hurricane Matthew sucker punched Genung’s in early October, but the owner/manager, Walter Coker, has done a nice job of rebuilding. We’re now open 7 a.m. til 5 Thursday-Sunday during the winter.  We sell frozen shrimp, clams and mullet along with basic tackle, beer and soft drinks. Kayak/boat rental and storage are also available.

The pace is, even by beach standards, laid back. You can’t beat the view and the setting is pristine. The water of south of 206 to Flagler County is safe to harvest oysters and shellfish, one of the few places in this neck of the woods you can do that. The reason: Much of the land on the west side of the ICW is state owned, which means there’s little runoff from development, a rarity in Florida, a state that’s been punished by overpopulation.

There’s a few slivers of Old Florida still left. This is one of them, a big reason I’m proud to work here.

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Fly-rod Frustration for an Afternoon

I thought I was so smart.  For the past few years, I have not kept my fly rods broken down in cases. Instead, I broke down each section in half — two pieces secured with a hair pin at the top and a rubber band at the base. It made for easy access for early-morning trips. No fussing with stringing the rod up and attaching a fly. I was good to go in seconds — as soon as I could detach the hair pin and rubber band.

All was well until I wanted to take a bike ride with my rod. To do that, I had to put the rod back in a case and attach the case to my Patagonia backpack. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Because both my primary rods were rarely completely broken down, the ferrules became stuck and they were an absolute beast to loosen. I tried pushing, pulling and cursing for hours while I searched the internet for solutions. The best thing I read I was to apply ice to the male ferrule. That helped with one sticky section, a TFO I have for traveling.

But the base of my Orvis Helios was particularly fussy. No amount of ice and brute strength was going to break that seal. So I called Orvis and the tech rep recommended a slight twist and pull. My bare hands didn’t get the job done, so I grabbed my rubber kitchen mat and each ferrule for a better, and more secure, grip. A better grip yielded more control and, finally, I wrestled the two sections apart with a quick twist and pull. So, the next time you need to loosen your ferrules, grab a bag of ice and a rubber mat. Those tools of the trade should help you get back on the water faster when your stored fly rod won’t cooperate.

A bag of ice helps loosen sticky ferrules.

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More Pub for the Shop

My story in Fly Life Magazine on Don Reed, the owner of Saltwater Flytyers at Oyster Creek Outfitters. It’s a nice, tight informative Q&A.

Profile: The mercurial rise of Northeast FL and South GA’s best fly shop


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Northeast Florida Reds Await

Here’s a throwback to the past: A story, presumably in Florida Sportsman, on fly fishing creeks in NE Florida in a kayak at low tide. Jerry McBride is the author. Rick Ryals is the focal point. Timing is key. You’ve got to get the right tide at the right time, preferably in the morning before the wind kicks up. Once the wind picks up, sight fishing becomes a lot more difficult. Ryals obviously has put in his time on the water. He knows where to go and when.  I’ve got a call into him for more info. Below is a link to the story, which was posted on the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s website. Enjoy.

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Another Fly-Fishing Gadget


I’m not a big gadget guy, but lord knows there are enough tools in fly fishing. Entire Orvis and L.L. Bean catalogs are full of assorted nick nacks. I’d like to think I can do without most. Simpler is better. However, I must admit my vest, fly-tying desk and garage are bulging at the seams with more and more stuff every season.

But I’ve finally bought something that’s small, compact (very important) and that makes life easier for your average angler. It’s called the Tie-Fast knot tool. It’s made my Cortland. I bought mine at the Port St. Lucie Bass Pro.

Ultimately, I’d like to work for Bass Pro in the fly shop department. To do that, I know I need practice tying knots. I can handle the basics, but I quickly realized, it’s tough to get repetition on the knots needed to set up a fly reel — the albright, arbor, spider hitch and nail knot. Once I set up a reel, I rarely go back to these knots. So … I had to practice. That’s where the Tie-Fast tool comes into play.

You can use a pencil or straw for the nail, but this tool makes it easy. Here’s a video from IntheRiffle that shows how.


Filed under Education, Fly fishing, Fly tying

The IRL Paddle Adventure: A Lesson in Getting Things Done

My story for the Snook & Gamefish Foundation on the IRL Paddle Adventure, which is a worthwhile cause. Many thanks to those who helped with the story, including Rodney Smith, John Kumiski and Nick Colantonio.

About 10 years ago, two guys fished the Indian River Lagoon, probably chatting away while looking for schools of redfish. They had discussed paddling the whole Lagoon, but never did so. At one point, neither is sure of exactly when, John Kumiski and Rodney Smith committed to the 160-mile trip over a two-and-a-half week span.

 “What John and I do best is communicate,” Smith said. “We’re water folks. It’s all about the water. It’s a precious resource. You dream and you dream big. One day we’re going to paddle the Indian River Lagoon, from one end to the other. It’s time, let’s do it, let’s paddle. From New Smyrna to Jupiter Inlet. And we start planning it.”
There was one catch: Smith wanted to invite anyone willing to grab a paddle. Kumiski, the realist of the pair, wanted to restrict the trip to just the two of them, but agreed, if Smith would handle the logistics of a group effort.
Thus the Indian River Paddle Adventure was born, an affair that started in 2013 and recently completed its third event last month.
Its primary purpose is to raise awareness for a struggling IRL. One of the world’s most diverse estuaries has been under duress from an array of water-quality and management issues. The trip was designed to draw attention to the Lagoon and hopefully raise a few dollars along the way. “And have a good time,” Smith said.

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Trout in the Winter

My story for the Snook and Gamefish Foundation on strategies for catching winter trout. Enjoy.

It’s almost November. A hint of fall is in the air as a tinge of cool air has replaced summer’s suffocating heat. Of course, we’ll miss those flat calm days, but with winter on the way, conditions to catch big seatrout are not far behind. Given that timetable, here’s a look at a handful of the top places in Florida to find your quarry.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission plans a stock assessment for trout in the fall of 2016, so make sure to log your catches in the SGF Angler Action Program. The FWC uses SGF AA data to manage recreational gamefish. More info means better management. Try to do your part.

Back to the best state-wide spots for trout:


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Rigging Up

It’s the first day of December and winter is closing in on us fast. Florida’s winter still leaves plenty of quality time for fishing. Temperatures are forgiving, but sometimes the wind blows for days and days. During those doldrums, I take time to check tackle — rods, reels and fly lines.

Usually, I take my gear to the fly shop to get assembled and once that’s done, I rarely tinker with the setup. I now realize I should have paid more attention to the knots and what goes where. So. … my goal is to set up stuff on my own, so I’m not as helpless at home or on the water if something goes wrong.

Here’s a video showing a simple way to set up your backing to fly line connection.

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Bass Pro Update

Bass Pro plans to expand to several Florida locations over the next year or so.

Bass Pro plans to expand to several Florida locations over the next year or so.

Bass Pro is on its way to several Florida locations. It’s just a matter of when.  Sarasota, Jacksonville, Gainesville and North Palm Beach all have plans to build a store; however, Gainesville and NPB are expected to arrive first in the Sunshine State.

According to the Bass Pro communications department, the store in North Palm Beach is in the “development/planning phase.” Although initial projections forecast a 2016 opening, it’s hard to say whether that timeline will be followed. The Gainesville store is due to start construction soon and should be finished by late 2016.

My guess is we’ll have an August/September completion for Gainesville, given a nine-month construction timeline. Again, this is just a guess, but it would fit the “late 2016” schedule.

Bass Pro already has Florida stores in Destin, Fort Myers, Tampa, Tallahasee, Port St. Lucie, Palm Bay, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The company has more than 70 stores nationwide, employing approximately 20,000 while generating more than $4 million in revenue.

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