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Monthly Archives: April 2011

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Fishing Shoes, Columbia Drain Maker Review


As many of you may know I’ve been a big fan of the Croc Ace as the shoe of choice for fishing. I want to make it clear it’s the “ACE” not the regular Croc. Unlike the regular Croc the Ace has a non marking, grippy, durable, non slip bottom to them. It also does not mildew up and very comfortable.

5.16.2011 Follow up: We recently took a fishing/kayaking trip to the Dry Tortuga for 3 nights and 4 days. Besides sandals to walk around in I used this shoe the entire time. The shoe held up nicely even walking on wet rocks. Like any other shoe when you get sand in them it’s not fun but it definitely did it’s job in draining water out immediately.

I’m using them now as a boat shoe. I have a high arch so I have added an arch support in sole I picked up for $12 at a local CVS.  So far so good.

Besides the looks, the one thing I do not like about the Croc is that during the summer months they get very hot in direct sunlight. Not to mention the big holes in them letting harmful UV rays sunburn my feet. :)

It’s been a year since I bought that last pair of Croc ACE so it was time to buy another pair of fishing/boat shoe.

So when I was over at Flintcreek the other day, they showed me a new pair shoes they just go in called the Columbia Drainmaker. When I walked over to the shoe section I was expecting to see some kind of flip flop looking shoe. Sandals are cool and all but I wanted a toe protection for all day fishing.

I was looking for it but really didn’t see anything that looked like “water” shoes. Max came over and said that the running shoe looking thing was it. I’m thinking great, it’s a running shoe with boat bottom, who cares. When he grabbed a cup of water and poured it into the shoe and it drained instantly I got curious. I”m thinking will it stink after one day? Is it durable? Is it heavy? Is it comfortable?

I came home and Googled it and see if I could find more information. I even posted the question on Facebook to asked people about it. Since the shoe is fairly new, the response after watching the video for the most part was basically “sounds awesome”. A few guys commented that they had a pair and loved it so far.

So I went back and got me a pair last week to see if they will work for me. I have not a chance to wear it much on the boat but so far here is the first impression.

  • Super light weight
  • Very comfortable with lots of cushion
  • Breathes very well
  • Excellent traction on a boat
  • Non Marking soles so it’s boat safe

I have yet to test the drain ability and how fast it dries. The arch could be higher for my feet but other than that so far so good. Next week I will be using it to Kayak fish with. It will definite be well tested on that trip. Columbia Drainmaker a cool new fishing shoe perhaps.

Columbia Sportswear Men’s Drainmaker Water Shoe,Castle Rock/Lime Green,10 M US

“Avet Reels, Tarpon Fishing”

Tarpon season has started off with a lot of “ohhfers”…..(like 0 for 9…) But the good news is being weekend warriors, we are 0-9 on fly! As the fish flood the beaches and flats hopefully there will be some mental health days taken from work!

“Avet Reels – Made In USA”

“Poon Eat”


“Slicked Out Tails”


“River Mosters In My Backyard”


“Sunset River”


Abel knife, product photography and Dry tortugas web cam


Photo tip of the day: Product Photography

Product photography is used by every company that anything they wish to sell. Most of the photos on the website have totally white background and no shadows. This makes it easy for clients to check out the product they are about to perhaps buy with out distractions. It is just a clean look that is universally accepted in showing a product.

Large items like cars and furniture might need a big studio to shoot properly but small items are pretty easy and inexpensive with the right tool.

What I like to use is a Photo Tent. It’s basically a popup that diffuses the light as to not create any harsh shadows. This makes it perfect for items you want put up on craigslist, ebay or maybe you have a online store. They range form the small $20 all the way to hundreds of dollars for the really really big tents.

Here is a shot of a Gold Abel knife. I shot it today using just defused sunlight. The knife is awesome looking and the white background makes it look even cooler like it’s floating in space.

For best results I suggest a tripod. With good lighting, a point and shoot will work nicely as well for product photography. This shot here was shot on my Sony NEX w/ the kit lens.


If you are looking into doing some product photography it’s definitely worth the $30-$40 bucks to get the diffused light effect.

CowboyStudio 30″ Photo Soft Box Light Tent Cube – 4 Chroma Key BackdropsPhoto Studio Shooting Tents)


This is a very cool webcam. It is an underwater web came located at the Dry Tortuga. The Dry Tortuga is the most remote National Park in the united states. It is 70 miles west of Key West, an island the middle of the ocean. It’s actually amazing how they can stream this video 24/7 as they do. If you are looking this at night obviously it will be blank. Check it out during the day and you’ll see some cool stuff. I did a few screen capture over the last couple days of some tarpon swimming by.

I find the best time of day to check it out is around 3pm til sunset.


Top water lure fishing with the Spook Jr, an old classic


Today I got out for a few hours with my old friend Edwin. Though we have talked a few times about getting out it seems like the timing has not been right for us to hit the water together.

Though the conditions was not the greatest with the winds at 15mph + for most of the day, we decided to give it a go regardless. 6:30am I was at the ramp and bump into another old friend I use to mountain bike with. He was taking his kid out kayak fishing that morning so I had a chance to BS a little before Edwin showed up.

When Edwin showed up with his Gheenoe it definitely brought back some memories. My old boat was a Gheenoe and I definitely had some good fishing out of that craft.  We loaded the little boat up and decided to stay close due the weather conditions. Overcast skies, windy and incoming tide it wasn’t hard to make that decision really.

With the limited time, I only brought one rod and reel with me. First I went to my old reliable Gold Rush Doa Cal but after a couple cast I decided to change things up a bit. It has been forever since I have caught a fish on a top water. I asked Edwin if I could borrow a top water from his box. He had a few but immediately grabbed one of my all time favorite top water lure, the Super Spook JR.

The Super spook has been around forever and it is still around today. You can find it in pretty much every tackle store in town and for good reasons, it works! Though they come in a myriad of colors my favorites have always been, red head, red fish, silver, and bone. Though he only had the trout colors I figured it would worked just as good.

Edwin decided to use his confidence lure the “Flurry” and Jig head combo.

We started off catching a couple trout on the jigs as the water starts to come in. As the water got higher and higher the mullet were getting very active. We caught trout first and then small reds. After that the bigger reds started to eat. By 9:30 we had already already caught a dozen redfish and a more trout. Though Edwin got more eats on the jigs the average size of the topwater fish was definitely larger.

I decided to stick with Super Spook jr. all day and I have to say it paid off for me. We worked some pot holes and I had a large explosion on my lure. After what was an excellent fight I landed my largest snook of the year at about 30″ on the top water.

I have to say it was all down hill from there. We had few more eats but they kept on coming unbutton for whatever reason. We packed it up at about 11:30am and called it a good day with an old friend.

Photo notes: All shots taken with Sony NEX in Aperture mode ant 16mm lens at f/2.8.  The snook shot was shot in -1.3 compensation as to not to over expose the fish.

Also tested out the waterproof bag for the Sony NEX. It will work with just about any camera that fits the bag.  I used the 16mm lens and did not have any vignetting issues.

DiCAPac WPH10 Waterproof Case.

Playing with Sharks, Nina Salerosa, Shark Handler

Nina Salerosa Playing with the local sharks  with no fear.

This was in the Bahamas as part of the anti shark finning campaign.  It was posted in Sept. 2010 but a friend sent me this via email today.  Awesome video.

If you want to read more about it go here:

2011 Destin Cobia Fishing, part 2

Traditionally, late April in northwest Florida signals the best time to target cobia.  Not only are the fish migrating in large quantities, but it is usually when the biggest fish pass through the area on their way to Louisiana to spawn.  On any given day an angler could find a single fish, pairs, triples, or “wads” of four to twenty plus fish swimming down the beach.  For some lucky boats, they might even be fortunate enough to find that elusive “slob”, a fish over a hundred pounds.

The crew of the HEBE was kind enough to invite me back to fish so I surprised them with some breathe like a fish shirts. On my last trip the crew really liked the shirts but since they aren’t sold in the local area they were hesitant to buy them online in fear of getting the wrong size. Funny thing is that microfiber shirts and Buff type face masks aren’t widely known of yet in the Panhandle.  I saw far too  many sun baked arms and faces.

The wind forecast was perfect, southeast winds and swells every day.  Typically those conditions push the fish along the surface allowing the fish to surf along with the waves, therefore expending less energy and covering more ground.  The only thing that wasn’t working in our favor was the early morning fog followed by partly cloudy skies.  At times the conditions were tough, sometimes downright miserable with the glare on the water.  However, we fished hard and were rewarded with some great days of fishing.  We caught a few fish pushing 60lbs but never came across that monster fish that would get the heart racing.  The biggest wad we saw was about 20 fish.  After catching the biggest out of the group we left the rest alone to find some bigger fish.  Over the four days we released over a dozen fish before someone on the boat found the cobia tags.  Too bad, that would have been some great data to provide to gulf coast research laboratory.

The sharpie modified Hogy.


SANUK Sandals

Back in 1999 I worked at a core surf/skate shop across the street from UCF which is still there and now owned by …LOST called Catalyst. If there was a new product out in the industry, that shop was one of few to be able to carry the product. At one point, that was the only place you could buy Redbull energy drink back when energy drinks were not even out yet…infact, I think that the Redbull & Vodka was invented right there in the shop! We were also one of the few shops to carry Sanuk Sandals. I remember getting a free sample pair from the rep at the time, they were just like regular flip flops but what made them so different was that it was made out of inner tubes and green indoor/outdoor carpet. They were the most comfortable pair of flip flops I’ve ever owned! What made me a true fan of Sanuk is that their products are funky, unique, and fun to wear, hence the name SANUK which means “FUN” in Thai.

Today, Sanuk is a full blown sandal company. You can pretty much find them in most local surf shops, sandal shops, and some outdoor shops. Sanuks have brought their products to the next level these days, they don’t just make sandals but very comfortable slip-on type shoes as well (they don’t want you to call them shoes, they are still sandals!) What made me want to wear Sanuks for fishing or guiding is the insoles in some of the slip-on models. They are made of a Super Soft, High Rebound, Molded EVA Footbed featuring AEGIS Antimicrobial additive which is great on my back after long days of standing/poling and best of all the AEGIS Antimicrobial additive prevents odor! I don’t wear socks with these and to this day there is no odor coming from these “not shoes” unlike other brands of shoes that I have owned in the past. Another thing I like about some models of Sanuk “not shoes” are the grippy rubber outsoles that they use. There were times when I’ve slipped on the poling platform when leaning hard into the pushpole to get in front of a school of fast moving Redfish and almost fell off due to slick soles on some other shoes I have worn. I feel more confident and safe when on the poling platform in a pair of Sanuks. They also have a big selection of womens sandals which some are made out of actual Yoga mats!

Just recently, my friend Bryan Hewittson who is a professional surfer and rep for Sanuk, joined me on the water to talk about Sanuk and the boating/fishing industry(and tug on a fish or two while we were out there). We talked about my ideas and what I could do to help promote Sanuk in the fishing/boating industry. I got a few new pairs of Sanuks that I wanted to test out on the poling platform or deck of a boat. One of the models “The Shore Leave” actually looks like the typical boat shoe but with a little more funk to it. So far, that is the most comfortable and grippy “not shoe” that I have ever worn on a boat. I am happily satisfied with Sanuks whether it be on the boat guiding all day or just hanging out around town, these sandals are very stylish and “superfunktional”! Seeing the Sanuk “smiley face logo puts me in a good mood, and with a slogan like “Smile….pass it on!” how can you not be? Visit Sanuk at

Shore Leave in Latte

Shunami in Black/Gum

Holy Moly in Moss

Standard Issue in Camo

Rubber Dubs


Sanuk Hat

Another cool thing about Sanuk is that they make a Welcome Mat that works great on the boat. Before I used towels to make people wipe the dirt and mud off of their shoes before the hopped on the boat but now I have a sweet Sanuk mat made out of tough material, easy to store, and I can just rinse it clean after each trip!

-Capt. Willy Le

Chronicles of a Tarpon Junkie, Part I “The Gauntlet”

The Gauntlet of Tarpon fishing… defined as catching a tarpon on fly in the Flamingo Backcountry, Islamorada Backcountry, and then Oceanside within a day of fishing. This is a feat not attemtped by many. Why do I try to strive for this? Because I think it’s fun to put your skiff, gear, and overall knowledge of Tarpon fishing through this grueling test. Your skiff has to have the speed, range, and fishability in order to get this done. Your gear has to stand up to the rigors of presenting both large and small flies, long and short leaders, and put the heat on some large fish.  We put the pulling power of the G Loomis Crosscurrent Pro-1 and NRX rods to the test and I am happy to report that they are still performing like champs; Poons were signed, flipped, and delivered quickly before the release.  You must also have an idea of where the fish are swimming or laying up and be able to plan around being at the right place at the right tides and right light. It’s a challenge.. but one I welcome from time to time. Since my buddy Tony came into town, I thought I’d break him in to the 2011 tarpon season by running the gauntlet. On that one particular day, we launched my Maverick 18 Mirage at Flamingo in a steady 15kt wind. It wasn’t any ideal day for running the guantlet but we decided to give it a shot anyways. We had a good tide and a solid game plan to stick to. We caught one in the dark waters of the Flamingo backcountry first thing in the morning, ran south to the clearer waters of downtown Islamorada to catch another laid up tarpon on the bay side, then head out onto the crystal clear ocean side waters to throw at limited amount of swimmers but ended up losing one. Being so close to acheiving our goal, yet so far from our launch, ran back to Flamingo after loosing that ocean fish and put the skiff back on the trailer to head home with more determination to get the job done the next time around. 2/3 ain’t too bad.

Laid up tarpon fishing is a pretty spectacular thing in itself. The flies you present to each fish in each different location you fish has it’s own minor tweaks and I truly to beleive that those minor tweaks will make the difference between getting that bite or a tarpon turning around to show you his ass. There is certainly something to be said about a big 100lb tarpon lying motionless as you pole around the fish to get the perfect shot. The reaction of the fish to your fly is only comparible to the last 10 seconds of a roller coaster ride as it climbs up to it’s peak. Except with this roller coaster, you won’t know how fast you drop, how many loops and turns you will take, or if it will even drop you down for the ride of your life. The early and late season laid up fishing can be pretty spectacular as it has shown thus far this year. I can only imagine what will be next as the ocean train rolls into town… wait, theres no need for imagining… here comes another string now. “Hey, you up front… don’t blow this shot.” Isn’t 3G connection great?

The Tarpon taming machine


It has only just begun… stay tuned for more!!!



Anyone who knows me will tell you that I only fish one way, EXTREME! I started the insanity on Friday night after picking up a couple of clients for a trip. They watched the sun set and moon rise over the Miami skyline waiting for their chance to battle the mighty silver king.

Every year in the winter months as the night falls, Tarpon begin to feed in on shrimp that are flushed in and out of the bays and inlets with the tidal flow. After releasing 4 nice tarpon, 1 mutton snapper, and 1 cubera snapper in 4hrs I went home and loaded up my Egret 18’9. My friend Kohler who had been fishing all night himself came by and we began the long 2 ½ hour drive to the lower keys.
Half way down I decided to pull over at a bridge where small tarpon were feeding. A few casts with the fly rod is all it took to hook 2 teenagers. After releasing one fish and losing the other, we pressed on. The boat splashed as the sun rose and we motored off into the beautiful turquoise waters of the lower keys. The morning was action packed releasing several more tarpon on bait and one with Kohler’s new G Loomis Pro 1 12wt/Nautilus NV combo. This 60lb fish was no match for the strength and power of the Pro 1.

At noon we loaded the boat and went to Duck key to meet Jimmy, owner of an Egret 2011 Hull #1 who was kind enough to take us for a test ride. The big Egret immediately impressed me with its soft dry ride, tons of storage, surprisingly shallow draft, and unsurpassed build quality. The boat was paired with Yamaha’s new 250hp SHO motor and blasted to 65mph in no time. With some propeller adjusting you are looking at 70+mph! This boat will be an excellent choice for those who want to fish the backcountry, bridges and even offshore.

With 4 hours of daylight remaining we picked up my friend Justin’s two kids Twinkie and Brandon then headed out in search of hogfish. Two hours yielded 11 nice hogs which we cleaned and brought to Hobo’s for dinner. If you haven’t been there, check it out (MM 101.6 Oceanside).

With full stomach’s and our bodies running on fumes after 40hrs straight, it was finally time to get some sleep, which of course turned into a 4 hour nap. At 3am Sunday morning we decided to try our luck at night in Islamorada. First drift and bam we are hooked up to a big fish. This one was smarter than we were and headed directly for the bridge span melting line until he broke us off in the pilings. The next fish didn’t stand a chance against the 50lb braid and G Loomis 905. After the sea monster was under control next to the boat, I took a DNA swab which was sent away to further tarpon research.

On our way back to Miami Sunday, Ramiro calls and says he has the Maverick HPX-T loaded up and wanted to do an afternoon bone fishing session. We looked at each other and said “what the hell, let’s do it.” Unfortunately, the wind picked up to a solid 20mph and the ghosts of flats just teased us, waving their tails back and forth as we struggled to make accurate casts. After fishing from Miami to Big Pine Key and back we covered almost 300 miles and slept only 4 hours. We got in what felt like a week of fishing in another crazy two day adventure. It was a great time with great friends!

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