Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time to knock the dust off!

It is time to start knocking the dust off those 12 weights, spring is knocking at the door and I am certainly going to let her in! Spring brings in the big jacks, permit, cobia, tarpon, and other critters that require heavy rods so get them ready.

Kathryn with her second big jack of the morning.

I just got my new Crowder Rods 10 weight and that rod is a rocket, I am extremely happy with the way Rob's new rods came out. I like to think I played a small role in helping him choose the taper and I think we hit it right on the money. He is also working on an 8 foot, 10/11 weight that is designed for fighting big fish and throwing big flies. I have a 12 weight being built right now and it looks like I might need it sooner then later. I will have a post dedicated to these new rods soon.

Here is her first one.

For many of you that have been fishing with me over the last ten years you have witnessed these big jacks before but, for those of you that have not fished with me there is no way pictures will ever justify what you see in person. I did my best to capture the excitment and the relentlessness of these fish. Yesterday and today I was on massive schools of the giant jacks and after wearing my clients out on these monsters they just wanted to throw the teaser plug, which gave me a chance to take pictures:) I have so many shots of these fish chasing the plug that I was not sure which ones to post so I picked about 10 of my favorites. I still have plenty of days open this spring, so book a day and experience this yourself!

Al with his monster, this was his first and the biggest 35 pounds on the boga!

Here are various shots of the jacks chasing the teaser.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Get out of the house

Sunrise, to bad I was west of the powerlines, live and learn?

I was back to work today after a few days off, and I could not have picked a better three days not to fish. We had record low temperatures over that stretch so the water was the last place I wanted to be. As a matter of fact, the Indian River water temperature this morning was 54 degrees and in case you don't know that is cold for south Florida. However, I could not stay indoors so I decided to visit some of the local state parks and wildlife management areas that we have here in Martin County. As many of you know I am completely eaten up by photography and I really want to be good at it, so I went out to practice. Birds are very difficult to photograph so don't expect award winning photos from me, but I can hopefully inspire you enough to get out and enjoy your local state parks.

I live in a neighborhood called Rocky Point, just outside of Port Salerno, and there is a state park literally across the street from my neighborhood and believe it or not I had never visited it? The name of the park is Seabranch State Park and it is located on the corner of Dixie Hwy. and Cove Rd., if you live in this area and you want a very cool place to hike or take photos or both, this place is worth the visit. Now, I did not see tons of birds but I did manage to see a red shouldered hawk, an eagle, some scrub jays, and some woodpeckers. Either way it was a very enjoyable day hiking through the woods with nobody else around.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Red Shouldered Hawk

The other place I visited was a wildlife management area called Allapattah Flats, it is located in Palm City west of I-95 on highway 714. This place was full of birds, really to many to name and again I had never visited it before. This is a newer management area that is now open to the public with many entrances that you can use to access it. I managed some pretty cool shots of black bellied whistling ducks, a black neck stilt, and a crested caracara. I guess the point is, we should all get out and use this land because it will make you realize how much we are destroying natural habitat for wild birds and animals. I think it is great that the state is preserving this land and I hope that the future brings more projects like Allapattah Flats. I am sure there are areas like these right near your home that you drive by everyday. Find out and get out and enjoy them, it really is just as enjoyable as a day on the water. As for photography I would recommend using a minimum of a 400mm lens and a mono pod helps also dress properly, if you wear a bright red jacket you may not be able to get very close to the wildlife. That is a poke at my good friend Bob that went with me to Allapattah. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I will hopefully improve the more I do this. You can bet I will be back to these spots along with some new ones so stay tuned.
Bob and his camouflaged jacket!
Black Necked Stilt

Crested CaraCara

Black bellied whistling ducks

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Add the winner is......

Cas Summers and his Cinnamon Slider. It was a bit of a run away with the Marabou Slider coming in second. I was very happy with participation and I will be doing another one soon. If anyone has suggestions on the next contest or ways I could improve on this one, please EMAIL me with comments. I know the voting seemed skued but remember you were only allowed one vote and I had no rules, but this is why I want suggestions. I would hate to be the judge of the next contest because many would think I am bias and if I consult with my board to help me vote who nows what would happen because they are just 5 and 4 years old? Anyway it was all in good fun and I think that was accomplished. Stay tuned I have more posts coming.... one thing to look forward to is a fly casting series. Cas, Congratulations the slider is a great fly and I did have a redfish eat it last week so it does work as well. I will ship out the "armor" print and flies next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You either fish or you photograph.

Every time I fish with my good friend Rick DePiava I see things that I wish I could photograph but I have a rod in my hand and not a camera. Rick always tells me "You either fish or you photograph, but you can't do both." I believe those were words taught to him by Pat Ford. For those of you that don't know Pat, and I don't personally, he is an incredible photographer who travels the world taking pictures of anything that has a fin. The last few weeks for me have been full of charters and even though I would love to be taking loads of pictures the bottom line is, it is very difficult to take creative photos with good lighting while guiding. I would have to say most of my clients are more interested in getting a quick grip and grin and getting on with the fishing, but here are a few things that can make even your grip and grin shots more interesting.

First, look the part, now I am not talking about being covered from head to toe with Columbia gear, but old rock n roll tour shirts or wife beaters do not make for a good fishing photograph. Wear something colorful (not a tie dye shirt) and comfortable. Even if you wear a white long sleeve tee have a hat with some color or colorful board shorts.
Another good way to add some color is with a Buff, if you do not know what a Buff is look it up, they are the best thing for sun protection and I now find myself wearing one everyday. My second bit of advice is learn how to hold a fish, that's right there is a proper way to hold a fish so you can see the fish and not your hands. So many redfish pictures I have seen and taken have the fishes tail covered by someones hand, totally taking away from the picture. The redfish's tail is their trademark. Try to avoid using holding devices, like a Bogagrip. Bogagrips are great and I have two of them but they have their uses and being in picture is not one of them. Another trick to keep in mind is don't always look right into the camera, look at the fish or interact with someone else on the boat this makes for a more interesting photo.
So even if you are not a professional and I know I am not, you too can make your fishing pictures more impressive with a little practice and effort. The pictures added to this post will be good examples of some do's and don'ts, and they were all taken by me even though some I am embarrassed about.
Do: This is a good grip and grin and also a good example on how to hold a redfish.

Do: A good example for showing a different way to hold a fish, permit look so cool straight at the camera. Nice yellow shirt.

Do: colorful clothes and showing the fishes tail.

Don't: Joe is wearing all white clothes and it takes away from the picture.

Don't: Joe is going to hate me for this but he will get over it. Again nice sunny day but to much white? Harsh lighting but fill flash blew the fish and his shirt out.

Don't: This snook was caught yesterday on my charter and was the inspiration for this post. Great fish but no color makes for an average grip and grin shot.
Don't: Another example of all white, the camera has a hard time exposing between the reflection of the permit and the white of his shirt and his dark face. If I used fill flash to light his face the fish would have been very blown out.
Remember, I am just a fishing guide with a camera and a computer, not an expert. I know most of you have heard all these pointers before, but just a reminder. We are all better photographers when we focus on what we are doing and it is tough while more fish are around to be caught. Have fun with it and I hoped it helps.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Flies for a cure

Every once in a while I get inspired by something or someone, and this is exactly what happened the minute I came across Stuart Patterson's website. I was doing some research on pompano flies when I came across Stuart's site and after reading through his site I had to buy some flies. I was not overwhelmed by selection or the prices but, I was overwhelmed by a father's obvious love for his daughters. You see Stuart is the father of two teenage daughters that suffer from a very rare disorder and he is using his ability to tie quality flies in order to raise money for his daughters. We all have needs, as fly fisherman we need flies and Stuart's girls Hope and Holly need money for research, what a perfect marriage. I am going to keep this short and sweet, check out Stuart's website and if he has flies that you use or that you think you will use, buy them from him. It will give you something to catch a fish with and it will give his daughters hope that there are people out there that care to help.

Here is a quick excerpt I took from Stuart's website:
My name is Stuart Patterson. I enjoy tying flies almost as much as I enjoy fly fishing. However, that is not why I have decided to sell my flies online.
My daughters Hope and Holly suffer from several neurological conditions including syirngomyelia, Chiari malformation, intracranial hypertension and suffer chronic pain. "...strength, love, and courage." These disorders have caused stress in my family's lives, but it has also brought out strength, love, and courage. Holly decided a few years ago not to sit idly by and allow her disorder to determine her future. Hope was in full support, excited and full of energy as a light appeared at the end of a dark tunnel. The girls decided to raise money to fund medical research. Holly hopes to raise $20,000 for medical research before she graduates high school. Our entire family has been working whole-heartily to help reach the goal. Read more about Holly's fund raisers at

Here are a couple of Stuart's crab patterns a sand flea (mole crab) and a couple ScrumCrabShrimpolicious

Shrimp patterns a Borski Craft fur shrimp and a Borski Haystacker
Some minnow patterns, a couple schminnows and an estaz marabou minnow.

I ordered ten flies for my first order and I am very happy with the quality and the price. I honestly don't see why someone would not buy some of Stuart's flies. I would like everyone out there that is part of this Stuart Flyfishing community to show your support!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a final chapter and the start of a new one

The end of another good year!
Okay, the fly contest is obviously a success and I can't thank everyone enough for their participation, but I must post something about fishing every now and again. I thought I would share some stories and photographs from the last week of 2008 and the first week of 2009.
Life is good for Chuck

The fishing here in the winter is not glamorous but it is full of action and that is exactly what I had the final week of the year. Trout on the grass flats were as abundant as they get although not many large ones were caught, again loads of fun. It is amazing how hard a small trout can hit, they sure don't fight hard but the first punch sure is solid. On the sand flats, jigs and small flies produced ladyfish by the boat load and some pompano. Finally the beaches, where you can run over schools of mackerel and bluefish for miles, literally! The mackerel can be tough to get off the bottom some days but for the most part they are very cooperative, and the bluefish are always on the feed no matter what you throw in. I guess it would be unfair to say that we do not catch any quote, unquote glamorous fish because you can still catch plenty of snook in the winter and redfish. I apologize for the lack of ladyfish, mackerel, bluefish, etc. pictures but it is a messy job and there is no way I am going to grab my camera. Not to mention by the time I release one there usually is another one ready to be landed!
Doug Seaman and his son Will

I was fortunate enough to start 2009 with back to back redfish trips. One was with Gary Smith of Michigan, he has been fishing with me for the last 8 or 9 years and we have started the year together the last six. However, one thing was different this year, Gary did not have to rush back to see the University of Michigan football game. Sorry Gary I had to take that jab! On a serious note, Gary has fished all over the world and has fished for redfish all over the country so he is good at reading fish and making the right cast. This year Gary landed four redfish on fly, all on Borski sliders, and I believe we had six eat. Thanks Gary for another great start to the new year.
My blue tribute in honor of Gary's football team
Blue sky

redfish's blue tail

Borski slider and Gary's blue Tibor

My second day of redfishing was with Todd Austof. Todd is a very special client of mine, you see he is the guy that lets me use his Maverick HPX so I can do these trips. Todd is also from Michigan but his Michigan team did have a New Years game, I'll let you figure that one out. I could only think of one way to properly thank Todd for the use of his skiff and that was to put him on his first ever redfish! Mission was accomplished, Todd laid a nice cast into a school of about 20 redfish and one found his Borski slider a bit appetizing. Todd, thanks obviously for the use of the boat, but more for sharing that moment with me. I look forward to doing it again someday soon.

my guide service website
my photography website

Monday, January 5, 2009

Let the Voting Begin!

Here is a quick recap of all six flies. Please read the post for each fly before you vote. This contest really has no rules and you can vote for whatever reason you want whether you think the fly is well tied, creative, useful, cool or if it's your buddy's fly and you want him to win. This contest has been loads of fun, pass the word on to your friends so they can vote. I believe I have it set up so each computer can only vote once, so get your friends involved.

#1 Midnight Tarpon
#2 Head Stand Shrimp

#3 Cas' Cinnamon Slider
#4 DH Classy Clouser
#5 Marabou Slider

#6 Finlander Spoon