Archive for the ‘Chip Bates’ Category

Easy Bonefish Leaders

August 25, 2011

We really like the “half again” leader formula – it’s easy to remember, turns over bonefish flies nicely, and can be easily adjusted to fit a variety of conditions.  Especially for Bonefishing, we find that the simpler the leader the better.  The “half-again” leader starts with a long butt, then half again, half again.

For example, a 5’ butt of 30-lb, 2 1/2 ’ section of 20-lb, 15” of 15-lb plus 27” tippet of 12 lb gives you an 11-foot leader. 

We recommend clear leader material such as Mason, Maxima Clear (not “Maxima Chameleon” or “Ultra Green”) Ande, Rio Saltwater IGFA or other brands designed for use in salt water.  The stiffness of Mason makes a good transition between fly line and leader, improving the ability of the leader to turn over the fly. Maxima, Ande and Rio are thinner than Mason,if you prefer a softer material.  Bring spools of 30-lb., 20-lb., 15-lb., 12-lb., 10-lb., and 8-lb. Mono.

Chip Bates with a nice 12 pound Bahamas Bonefish
Chip ties his own, you should too!

Standard leader length is 9 – 12 feet.  On a windy day, shorten your leader to 7 – 9 feet.  On a calm day, lengthen your leader to 12 – 14 feet (or more).  In either case, test out how your leader turns over the fly under the conditions that day and make any necessary adjustments.

Don’t Forget:  Check your leader regularly for wind knots or abrasion and replace if worn or weakened.

You can find more on leaders, like using Flourocarbon, why we recommend it and what knots to use, as well as other helpful information about bonefishing in the Bahamas in our “Bahamas Bonefishing What to Bring List”.

Advertisements

Turneffe Flats Resort – A Tarpon Story

May 5, 2011

The following recap of Angler Adventures owner Chip Bates’ trip to Turneffe Flats Resort appeared as a newsletter in September 2010Kevin Sheehan’s recent report got us excited about the summer tarpon fishing on Turneffe Atoll as the numbers of large, migratory tarpon rapidly increase over the next few months.  Enjoy!

 My son Tyler wanted to catch a big Tarpon on a fly and I wanted to wade flats for Bonefish and Permit in case the Tarpon weren’t “on”. We had a week in August between Tyler’s summer job and school.

The Turneffe Islands have a migratory population of big Tarpon that usually arrive in May and remain through most of October. Bonefish and Permit are year round. On paper, it appeared that that Turneffe Flats Resort had what we were looking for. In reality, it was better than expected.

First, it’s great bonding to travel with your son. Because of his work and college schedule, we hadn’t done this since high school. Secondly, Tyler and I love the fishing lodge schedule: up early, eat, fish, eat, and to bed early. Well, that’s where we differ…at least I was in bed early.

We were assigned Dubs as our guide. Dubs is an upbeat, happy guy who takes his fishing seriously. The only disappointment of the trip was that neither of us landed a Permit. Not for lack of trying. We had multiple, if not dozens, of shots daily. We’ll save the Permit for another trip.

Nice Bonefish from Turneffe Flats Lodge

Chip's 8 lb Belize Bonefish

We warmed up on Bonefish and caught plenty. Turneffe Flats has some of the best wading anywhere, but we also poled some deeper flats for larger fish and caught bones up to 8 lbs. To me this was a delightful way to fill in the gaps between Tarpon and Permit.

One afternoon about 3:00 PM, Dubs suggested the tide was good for Tarpon. We motored back to a large creek, adjacent to the lodge, that connects the ocean to the lagoon. This creek is too deep to pole, but it’s crystal clear. As we approached the creek, Tyler spotted something break the surface at a distance.

We stopped and looked but could confirm nothing. We continued towards Dubs’ favorite Tarpon spot. Dubs dropped anchor and asked Tyler to cast his intermediate line perpendicular to the current, let the fly sink, then swing in the current on the retrieve. While Tyler was straightening his line, Dubs saw activity in the area we’d just come from. Next we saw two 100 lb Tarpon come completely airborne like dolphins at Sea World. Holy #$*@!, we all said in unison. Up came the anchor and we got our butts to that spot in a hurry. For the next 45 minutes it was mayhem. Big Tarpon everywhere around the boat, under the boat, airborne on both sides of the boat, all chasing big needlefish and ballyhoo. It was one of the most incredible sights I’ve seen in lifelong fishing career. 

Bottom line: Tyler jumped 4 tarpon from 80 – 120 lbs. Every fish eventually threw the fly. The frenzy petered out just before dark. Time for dinner. Dubs said the tide would be good again in the morning. He wanted to be on water before sunrise.

Gorgeous 80 lb Turneffe Atoll Tarpon

Tyler, Dubs and a nice Tarpon

We got to Dubs’ favorite spot in the pre-dawn light. It was beautifully quiet and calm, except for the tide. Tyler straightened his line, ready to cast the black and purple Puglisi Tarpon Streamer tied on a circle hook, the same fly the 4 tarpon ate the day before. It wasn’t long before we saw Tarpon roll in the current left of the boat. One cast and Tyler was dancing with a tail walking Tarpon that again spit the fly.

Not being a fan of circle hooks, I suggested to Dubs that we change the fly. We selected the exact same pattern tied on an Owner Aki traditional bend hook. Tarpon remained active around the boat and it wasn’t long before Ty connected again. This time the fly held through the first jump, the second and third jumps. 30 minutes later we landed this gorgeous fish, estimated at 80 lbs.

The Tarpon had stopped rolling. We were back in time for breakfast, ready to sight fish for bones and permit the rest of the day.


%d bloggers like this: