If you are not into putting on sun block every 15 minutes while you are fishing then one of the must have apparel item are the face mask.
I first saw and wore these mask in 2006. I saw a few of people in South Florida wearing them. So I research it online and ordered a couple.
When I first started to post photos of them on fishing forums people were laughing. Here it is 2012 and pretty much everyone owns not only one but multiple.
Back there there was only and handful but now a day you have tons of choices to pick from. I shot a video explaining the main difference in each sun mask I had available. These mask are now used to block sun, wind, rain, and cold.
Here is also a quick break down of the pros and cons of each face mask.
Buff Head wear, as far as I know the originator of the product. They have the most variety(it’s mind boggling) of any company out there. They also makes Polar Buff for protection in the cold as well as license products like the Bug Slinger series of buffs. Buff is like the Coke for carbonated drinks.. every time someone refers to a mask it instantly called a “Buff” now. Price starts at about $20.00
Different ways people wear their “Head wear”
Simms sun armor mask. Tapered ends for better fit, micro fiber for 4 way stretch and quick drying. Vented mouth area for anti fogging. $29.95
Breathe Like a Fish Tapered ends for better fit, micro fiber for 4 way stretch and quick drying. Vented mouth are for anti fogging. $17.95
http://www.aquadesign.com, multiple camo design, micro fiber for better stretch and breathe ability. Have matching hats, shirts to go along with mask. Best part, these are the only mask that comes in 3 different sizes(small, medium and large) to fit you perfectly.List $29.95 On sale for $19.95
I don’t know about you, but after seeing the freeze 2 years ago killing over 50% of the snook in my area two year closer is just not enough.
The Everglades snook probably had a 75% kill rate. I for one would like to keep snook season closed on our west coast and the Everglades at least for this season.
If you feel the same way please do your part and sign the petition.
This report written by Mark Knowles of the HardCore Kayak Anglers Club
Hats off to Mark Nichols, Jerry McBride, and the entire DOA Lures team for putting on yet another great tournament ! As always, the tournament was well thought out and the Captain’s bags included a full Plano box of about 50 DOA lures, hooks, jig heads, Deadly Combo’s & accessories that were identical for each participant, a vinyl 321fish measuring board, and a commemorative T-Shirt. Also included in the entry fee was a BBQ lunch that was catered in for the weigh-in.
The HCKAC had a record 19 members participate in the DOA Tournament on April 21, 2012. Many folks bunked up at the River Palms Cottages & Fish Camp where the Captain’s meeting and event was held, others selected nearby local hotels, and yet others opted to camp out. Some folks arrived Wednesday night or very early Thursday morning to get 2 days of pre-fishing in, others arrived on Friday morning early to get in 1 day, and some even arrived Friday night just before the Captain’s meeting with no pre-fishing opportunities. Talk about a mixed bag !
The River Palms is a quaint little place with a group of small cottages on the property. Pricing for the tournament was reduced to $89/night for a single room with 2 queen beds, a small fridge, microwave, & coffee maker.
Other local prices ranged from $60 upwards of several hundred depending on how extravagant you wanted to be. The guys that camped had their prices down to something like $10/person for several nights. There were some local freshwater ponds on the Savannah Recreation camp area and the guys pulled out a few bass.
The weather controlled most of our pre-fishing actions. The wind wasn’t too strong most of the time, but the afternoons were challenging. The best time of day for the winds was the early mornings, but you couldn’t always get the fish to bite at sunrise. Most guys were successful in getting slams or doubles on Thursday. Friday was a bit tougher, but several HCKAC members recorded slams or doubles while others like myself struggled. Tournament Day was supposed to be the worst with very low pressure plus high winds from the SE at 25 mph from late morning and into the evening with lots of rain predicted as well. OK….so all of the weather guys were 100% wrong. It was lightly sprinkling at 0630 launch time and quit less than 30 minutes later. The wind actually died to almost nothing, but was changing direction constantly 360 degrees. Go figure. It did make the fishing the most challenging of the weekend. About 1:30, most everyone had packed it in and headed for the weigh-in.
Tampa based HardCore representation
The “HardCore” table at the weigh-in
Out of 120 anglers, only Mr. Bob Gallot turned in a legal slam to take 1st place and a new 14’ Hobie Pro Angler
Our own Chuck Statham took 2nd place and elected to receive a new Humminbird 385Ci chart plotter/fish finder
Jeff Harrell of Finatic Design walked off with 3rd place and a new Ocean Prowler 13 kayak
Logan Narcowich took the Junior division title
And the luckiest guy of all was Chip Gibson. He won a new Ocean Prowler 13 during the raffle
Here’s a few more fish that were caught over the long weekend.
Rick Klosicki and a monster 28.7” Trout on Tournament day
Ron Henderson with a 30” Thursday Snook
A2OZ’s 27.8″ Tournament Day Snook
Jose’s 15 lb Jack on light tackle
Ridgeback’s 30.7” Tournament Day Snook
A2OZ’s fat Friday Trout
Please feel free to add any pictures you took at the tourney to this post.
Once again, big thanks to the Mark, Jerry, and the full team at DOA Lures. I recommend that you get your reservations in very early next year after the tournament date is announced. The event was capped at 120 anglers and I was told there was in excess of 25 on the waiting list.
This is part 2 of 2 of the D.I.Y. Bone fishing to to Long Island Key Bahamas.
Pinky, the guide that runs the Long Island Bone fish lodge tells me that 75% of all the flats on Long Island is wade able. Though he also offer the normal guided trips, he tells me this fact allows him to offer a D.I.Y. at a lesser price and makes his lodge a little different than most others.
The daily routine is:
- 6am coffee and breakfast to order
- 7-8 am consider the conditions and discuss options of what type of fishing was best that day
- 12 Noon Lunch break
- 4-6pm depending how things were going head back to the lodge
- 7pm – beer, appetizer and drinks at the club house
- 8pm Dinner of Conch, Lobster or Nassau grouper
The D.I.Y. concept is more of an assisted fishing rather than 100% on your own. This is great since the guides takes you places in their skiff drops you off in areas with the best conditions. Local knowledge like wind directions, water clarity, and tidal flows are considered when dropping you off on a flat.
Once dropped off they give an overview of the area and where the fish are likely to be found. They then give you directions of either when to come back or when they will pick you up to move to another location.
The Fishing Options
Wading on hard bottom on white sand flats of shallow bays nearby the lodge is one option that is offered each morning. Here the guide takes you out on their skiff and within 2 to 5 miles you are fishing white sand flats for bonefish.
Wading on salt flats is an option where they load everyone up and head south for about 30minutes. You will heading towards and abandon salt manufacturing plant that was owned by Diamond Crystal during the 70’s. Here you will pass abandon buildings and structured used to produce salt.
You will travel through canal systems and shallow flats that once was used to produce table salt. The canals and flats are now filled with bait fish, small sharks, crabs, tarpon, jacks, snappers and bonefish.
Wading via kayak as transport: this is an option in area of the Salt flats specifically in area that is too deep or the bottom is too soft.
Wading fishing the crystal clear water on the beaches: This option is the by far the most scenic of the all the options. You are on white sand beaches walking in gin clear water sight fishing bone fish, snappers and cudas.
Aaron from the bonefish institute and the guides did not need shoes at many of the spots. However there were places that were sharp and rocky enough it was treacherous with out them.
On the white sand flats even tried with no shoes on but once you get to the rocky area the rocks can be sharp indeed. I mean to the point where it can cut through the weak point of the shoes. Unless you are one tough SOB a good pair of wading shoes is a must have if you want fish comfortably here.
I brought along two pair of shoes. The Body glove 3 toe shoes and the Simms Zipit bootie. I gave the 3 Toe a try the first day and they did the job on the packed sand flats. When it got the rocky area these guys just did not have enough protection especially around the ankle area.
I used the Simms Zipit the rest of the trip which did great but even these I felt there was not enough protection. The next trip over for wading fishing I will be bring my Simms Flats boots. These have plenty of protection all the way around plus the added support for the ankle. I never thought I would need it there but there were plenty of flats with uneven rock bottom that the ankle support would have made it much easier to death with.
Another thing to consider since you will wading is neoprene wading socks. This will keep the debris out and keep blistering to a minimum. A couple of more experienced guys had these and I was a bit jealous after the 3rd or 4th day.
I would wear whatever is comfortable. Since you will not be making any big runs in a boat wide brim hat will be the best protection for wade fishing. Since it was so windy and overcast for the first few days, I stayed with my normal visor which worked just fine. Most of the guys wore baseball hats.
Do not make the mistake of making head wear an option. Under normal good weather the sun will make it hot for you real quick! This can lead to sunburn and even heat exhaustion.
Compliment this with face mask like a buff and you have the perfect combination to use there. Not only protection from the sun but bugs and such as well.
Since it was so windy bugs was not an issue with us but they are definitely something to think about.
Here is a POV video of me hooking a bone fish tailing in ankle deep water.
Another must have item is a good pair of polarize sunglasses. Most polarize sunglasses will work but try to bring the amber or copper colored polarize sunglasses. This allows for better contrast so you can spot the fish better. Bone fish is hard enough to spot even in the gin clear water of the Bahamas. If you do not have a polarize sunglasses you mine as well stay home for this type of fishing.
I used the Costa Del Mar 580 copper. I brought 2 pairs with me. This was a good thing too. While trekking through some bushes in the salt flats I lost one. Since the walk was almost 5 miles I had no idea where it could have fallen off my neck.
I wear the Zane frame. If you got a big head and a flat nose like me this is a good frame to try.
A good light weight rain gear is probably a good idea. This thing came in handy more than once. Bring something small enough you can compress and pack into your back pack or chest pack. Make sure it’s breathable.
It gets pretty uncomfortable when it’s raining so you have to wear your jacket but it’s so darn hot you are sweating on the inside.
I had a Columbia omni tech which worked out nicely.
Pants and under wear:
When I first started traveling I use to bring the kitchen sink! If I was going to go for 5 days I would bring five days worth of clothes and then some just for back ups.
Through experience, research and observing other seasoned travels I have learned to bring the bare minimal. Bring high quality clothes yes but bring as little as you can.
When I say high quality I don’t mean designer wear. I mean technical gear that is specifically made to wear often, in tough conditions, wash and rewashed plus dry very quickly for next day’s use.
No matter how long I’m staying I only bring 3 outfits with me now. 3 pants(+pair of board shorts), 3 underwear, 3 shirts.(along with a couple casual wear items) The high tech material the travel wear are made of these days allow me to jump into the show with them on at the end of the day. I rinse it all up with soupy water and hang dry. By the next day they are completely dry and ready to go. This makes dealing with your clothe a lot easy to deal with.
The Rail Riders were the same way but the Rail Riders had tones of pockets. I used these for the airport travel as well. The multiple pockets allow me to carry my phone, wallet, passport and such. The zipper pockets on some of them made me felt very secure that I was not going to lose important items during my travels. These shorts were made to travel and fish with and I put them to the test all week.
The underwear I brought along were Under Amour and Exofficio microfibers. Not only are they comfortable, they dry super quick and was ready to use the next day.
These are not cheap items and are more expensive than the cheapest brands out there. I use to buy the $19.95 fishing pants but they would only last 1 year before they start to split up and falling apart. This is the last thing I need when I travel so I do my best to bring the most durable most efficient clothing.
My shirts consist of a short sleeve micro fiber for walking around the lodge plus a cotton T to sleep with. I brought along two long sleeves to fish with. Just make sure they are quick dry material with good sun protection ratings. Shirts with pockets are also good since you can never have enough pockets when you are wade fishing.
Suggested Fishing Gear
You can get away without a wading pack and use your pockets but you will probably end up regretting not having one.
One person had the waist pack and the rest either had a back pack or a back pack chest pack combo. This allows you to be self sustaining bringing extra fishing gear, rain jacket, drinks and snacks.
I used the William Joseph Confluence. This unit allow me to have all my rain gear and cameras in the back secure with zippers. In the front the confluence uses magnets for easy access and anti rust.
Most of the bonefish in Bahamas are smaller compared to the average size bonefish in Florida waters. Many guys had 6 wt with them to be a little more sporty and or stealthy on those calm days.
If you could only bring one I would suggest brining an 8 wt fly rod. It is perfect for 90% of your fishing there. It’s not too heavy and can still deal with windy days.
I brought along my BVK 8wt as well as my 9th NRX. Thankfully I did it was blowing 25 to 30mph for 4 days and the 9wt definitely came in handy. Not that the fish were large, but to deal with wind, it definitely became helpful turning the fly over against the wind.
When one of the guys noticed my bling NRX rod he told me, “man you got an awesome combo there”. I looked at his combo and it was the top of the line from a really famous company. I replied back, “Really? I figured it would be that new one, so and so company just came out with.. “. He said, “yeah but I think the NRX is better..”
So the moral of the story is…. If you’re into high end fly gear the NRX & NV combo is envied by some to notch guys out there. This is coming for guys that can have almost any rod & reel they wanted.
A waterproof fly reel is a must have while doing this trip in my opinion. Since you are wading 90% of the time dunking your reel in saltwater is inevitable. The last thing you need is your reel failing on you while on a trip and wading.
There are many waterproof reels out there. I brought along a Nautilus FWX. This super feather weight reel is waterproof but not as bullet proof as their NV series. I also brought along the NV series reel. This sucker is bullet proof and I’ve dunk the crap out of this thing on more than one occasions.
If you check out a couple of photo my Nautilus NV was wet from rain, submerged in mud, sand and saltwater. At one time I had such a bad tip wrap in 25 mph winds I say screw it and just dropped the entire combo while I fix the issue.
An unsolicited compliment I got there from a few of the big name writers there told me the Nautilus NV is probably one of the best if not the best Saltwater reel out there.
Being the low man on totem pole when comes to world travel out there made me felt good about my gear choices that day.
You want a floating weight forward fly line in these conditions. Any tropical type line will do. The worst thing you can do is bring fly line made for fresh water conditions. It will drive you crazy. The heat will make the line limber, sticky and you will spend most of your time untangling the mess rather than fishing.
I like the SA Mastery Bonefish taper but any tropical line you are comfortable with will work just fine. Just make sure it is made for warm weather.
Another video shot on the Niko AW100 of bonefish in so skinny of water, it got grounded when he came unbotton.
Whether you tie your own, get them from friends or by them both trips to the Bahamas for me, the fish seems to like the gotcha flies. Get them in variety of colors and weight. I’m not saying this is the only pattern that works. We were catching them on all kinds of flies. Most of them imitated a crab if that gives you can clue.
You will mostly fish waters knee high or shallower so make sure you bring un weighted flies as well. We were catching tailing fish in ankle deep water the last two days. They were tailing on rocky flats that I would never thought to fish if I was back home in Florida.
Baby Nassau grouper caught in the wrecks
The winds made for some spectacular shore breaks
I brought along with me all kinds of gear. I packed GoPro, a Nikon D7000, Sony Nex5 , Nikon AW100, and other video gear. Since I wanted to really fish this trip instead of just taking photos however my gear I carried with me was very limited.
While wading my camera choice was the waterproof Nikon AW100 and the Sony NEX-5 in a zip lock bag. Wade fishing leaves very little opportunity for camera work especially if you want to fish as well. I find myself using the AW100 80% of the time. As you can see I did manage to get some good photos with it.
Wanting to give other fisherman space I find myself along quite often. Even though there were way more fish caught than the ones you see, there was very little grip and grin opportunity since most time we were hundreds of yards away from one another.
That being said the scenery was fantastic so the wide angle lens was used 90% of the time. A polarize filter is also a must to bring out the blues in the skies, lower the reflection in the water and increased the saturation.
Hope you find this How to DIY bone fishing trip to the Bahamas helpful. I know I could have used a no BS guide like this this first time I visited there to fish.
This is part 1 of 2 in the D.I.Y. Bone fishing trip to Long Island Key Bahamas.
This was my 2nd trip to the Bahamas. Compared to many of my photographer associates I am somewhat of a newbie to this concept of traveling and fishing outside of the US.
Though I consider myself a newbie many have not made these trips so I will do my best to help out my fellow fisherman.
I know this because when I come back, I get many questions about how, who, what to bring, cost etc. So this time, instead writing about how cool, interesting and fun the trip was I will make this article towards how you can do it yourself. I think this will prove quite more useful than, oh the fish was great, we had fun.. blah blah..
I will break this down into two parts:
- The Travel: Cost of the travel and the accommodation expected
- The fishing: What clothing and fishing gear to bring
I will do my best to put links up to the services to make it easier for anyone interested.
Though the Bahama is considered international travel, it is one of easiest foreign destination to travel to from Florida. Everyone there speaks English and the US dollar works fine there. No conversion is needed and the value is identical. Since their primary trade is tourism you are treated very nicely every where you go on the island.
90% of the flights to the Bahamas needs to make a pit stop in Nassau. This is the main airport and there you can take a hopper flight to your destination. This trip was to Long island key about 30-40minute south east of the Nassau.
Though there are many airlines flying to Nassau the cheapest one was Spirit Air. Spirit is not the fanciest airline out there but I was only going to be on the plane for only an hour. If you book your tickets 2 weeks or more ahead of time a round trip ticket will only set you back around $200 depending where you are flying in from. Me I was leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale.
The one thing I must warn you is that Spirit Air do charge $25 per extra bags.
Once in Nassau, you will have to get your passport stamped(yes it’s international flight so you will need your passport). The immigration here in relaxed but you still want your paper work in case there is any issue.
After grabbing my luggage it was off to get on the hopper plane through Bahamas Air. The flight was booked online and cost about $100 for a one way ticket to Long Island Key. When you are waiting for a flight, there a a cafeteria style restaurant there that serves some good authentic Bahamian eats. I’m always hungry so this was awesome. Oh, there is also a Wendy’s at the airport for those not so adventurous.
Once you land(Deadman’s Cay airport), the lodge is only 5 minutes away. A quick cab ride works but Long Island Bone fish lodge actually comes out to pick you up and will be waiting for you. This made for a very worry free from airport to lodge trip.
Points to make your travel easier:
- Bring a pen to fill out forms(I’m guilty of forgetting this and keep having to borrow all the time)
- Bring your green card if you are not a US citizen.
- Everyone will need a passport.
- Luggage needs to be under 40lbs per bag.
- Wear comfortable clothes with plenty of pockets. This allows you carry your gear like wallets, passports, phones, etc easily with out fear of loosing things.
- I’ve been wearing Rail Rider Bone fish flats travel shorts the last couple months. They are specifically design for travel and adventure. Super tough, tons of pockets w/ security zippers.
This trip we were staying at the the Long Island bone fish lodge. Though the standard guided trips are available, the lodge specialized in a Do it Yourself trip. This type of trip is geared towards intermediate and up fly fisherman. Basically guys that already know how to fish. Basic knowledge of spotting fish, know how to tie knots, does not have any issues landing and releasing their catch.
Since this is an assisted trip, the cost is much less as well. At $1600 for a 7 day trip with 6 days of fishing included it’s a bargain. This include water front cottages with AC, hot/cold running water, internet access plus three meals a day. The place is pretty much brand new and is better than many of the US hotels I have stayed at. This is an awesome deal considering at non DIY lodges it can cost you over 4k.
The breakfast is to order of the standard, eggs, beacon, fruits, omelets, sausages toast etc. The packed lunch for the boat are usually sandwiches with fruits and chips. The dinners were exceptionally awesome. We had either conch, Nassau grouper or lobster for every meal at the lodge. All this is included in the pricing. The only thing that is not included is the alcohol. Though liquor was available I opted to stay away so I could fish the next morning. I had a few Kalik (the local Bahama beer) it was $4 each.
The food at the lodge every night was either, grouper, conch or lobster!
The lodge is located on the water, so you just wake up, eat and go.
The beach fishing was full of scenic views indeed.
it was hard to take a bad photo.
Glen from Midcurrent was my fishing partner that day
The group gets ready to do some beach sight fishing for bone fish
Dean’s Blue Hole, Deepest blue hole in the world
Awesome sunset views
Fresh conch for the conch salad
A baby Nassau grouper
Here is a quick review of a new gadget called the Snap Shot ruler I got in. This little item solves the sometimes issue of measuring fish on a regular measuring board. At times you don’t have much control over the fish. The ruler is going all over the place, the fish trashing and at times can be a bit dangerous with toothy critters.
Combined with a boga(or similar product), The Snap Shot Ruler holds the nose of the fish at zero and allows you to see the measurement of the fish very clearly. The clip attaches to boga and measures the fish automatically when you raise the fish vertically. For smaller fish this is a great way to get a quick measurement.
The ruler measures out to a hefty 40 inches. However, if the fish is that big and you intend on letting it go it is better to lay it flat on the boat instead of holding it vertically. This puts less stress on the fish and it’s jaw bone.
The product is waterproof and very compact. The only thing I would like to see it has smaller increments so it can be uses in a tournament situation.
The product sells for $12.99 on their website: http://www.snapshotruler.com
You can find it on Amazon for $10.99: Snap Shot Ruler
This past weekend I made the 3 hour drive down to Miami to fish with good buddies Capt. Honson Lau and Capt. Jeremy Alderman to do some Tarpon fishing in their home waters. We launched Honson’s 18ft Maverick Mirage HPX at Jeremy’s house in Key Largo and made the long run all the way to Islamorada. The 115 Mercury Pro XS made the run a piece of cake, and man, that motor scoots!
Fishing the Tarpon migration is not easy. You gotta know where to sit, what direction to point, what tides are doing, what fish to feed, what flies to throw, how to strip the fly, where to put the fly and so on, and these guys know it all, and exactly what to do.
Sure I wanted to catch a Tarpon on fly while I was down there, but what I really wanted were some good action shots of Tarpon jumps. I was on bow a couple times and had some good shots at some laid up and cruising fish, had a few follows but no takers. I had Honson take my place on the bow while I was behind the lens and Jeremy on the push pole. Sure enough after a few shots, Honson jumps a nice fish that gave us a spectacular air show! The cool thing about this fish was that the first cast at this fish, it tracked the fly all the way to the boat but didn’t eat because the fly was fouled, Honson quickly picked it up, fixed the fly, slapped it back in front of the fish and next thing you know, there’s explosions in the water. Of course like what most Tarpon would do, this one gave us a good short show then shook the fly out of its jaw. You can see the fly ejected from the fishes mouth on some of the photos.
Next up on the bow was Jeremy with Honson on the push pole and me behind the lens again. After sitting at a spot waiting for fish to show up only seeing a few here and there, we decided to leave since it was a little slow. As soon as we were about to power up. a pod of 50-60 Tarpon come heading our way and Jeremy quickly grabs his rod, strips out some line and fires out a shot into the pod and hooks up! The fish never knew it was hooked and stuck with the school just daisy chaining around the boat and then shortly after, th hook pulls without a jump. Frustrating, but that’s the name of the game. After that, we called it a successful day and made the long run back to Key Largo.
The next day, my friend Ramiro invited Honson and I to hop in his Maverick Mirage HPX-T and fish the Everglades National Park. The conditions were horrible with 20-30kt winds and some storms brewing so it was going to be a short trip. We launched at Flamingo and made a good run to some spots that were holding a bunch of Redfish. It was too windy for fly rods so we all threw some D.O.A. Cals on spinning outfits. The fishery down there is amazing, beautiful water, healthy grass and lots of fish. We caught Redfish, Snook, and Sea Trout until we got chased out by storms. Great day on the water with great company, that’s what it’s all about!
I’ll be back down very soon for more action and hopefully better conditions. Stay tuned for part 2….
-Capt. Willy Le
I attended the memorial services at IGFA this past weekend. There were over two room packed full of people who did the same. Many famous and not so famous people in the industry was there. From family, friends, sponsors, people who have met him and people who he has not met but loved him anyways.
There were many tear jerking moments as well as times everyone laughed all the stories. Jose was a man of many talents. He lived life to the fullest and hand infectious personality. The fishing world would miss him dearly.
From the website:
“The fishing community has lost a great angler, icon, and friend. We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Jose Wejebe, host of the immensely popular saltwater fishing and fly fishing television show Spanish Fly on the Outdoor Channel. Through his show and his adventures he shared a passion for fishing that touched and inspired anglers around the world.”