Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

Preparing for Your Bonefishing Trip: Wading

October 14, 2013

Protect Your Feet with a good pair of wading shoes or boots designed for flats fishing, a few pairs of wet wading socks, and don’t forget to break in your shoes.  Wading shoes and socks will help to keep sand out and reduce blister forming friction, as well as giving support for a day of wading.  But, if the first time you put on your wading shoes in the Bahamas, it’ll be a long week.  Break in your shoes by wearing them around the house for an hour or two a couple times per week.  It’s much better than blisters or sore arches.  Do Not wear last years sneakers with cotton socks or open sandals – your feet will thank you.

 Click here for more information on wading shoes

Find a Comfortable lumbar pack or chest/sling pack.  Bigger is not always better.  The pack should have the essentials (flies, leader and tippet material, nippers, hook file, pliers / hemostats, light rain jacket, camera, water bottle, and maybe your lunch / snack) but not packed full so it disturbs your casting.

Wading is Exercise and it can be a lot of work, especially at a destination like Grey’s Point Inn, South Caicos or the Seychelles where there are extensive flats and you might wade all day.  Some flats are firm and easy to wade, while others can be slightly soft or have uneven bottoms, which make walking more difficult.  To be sure you’re physically prepared for long wading sessions, schedule long walks or hikes months before your trip.  It’s also a great way to find some more remote areas on your local waters, so don’t forget your rod and a box flies!

A Little Practice Casting can make the difference between getting your fly to that 9-pound bonefish, or watching it leave a rooster tail as it runs for deeper water.  The majority of shots at bonefish while wading happen between 40’ – 60’, so accuracy and versatility are more important than speed and distance (but the later can also be helpful).  The best practice casting is to targets in that 40’ – 60’ range, from different angles (click here to see a diagram of the casting clock).  Be sure that you’re not just casting with the wind at your back – knowing how to handle wind blowing in your face or from your right / left will make getting your fly in the right place much easier.  Don’t forget to practice your casting while wearing your pack!

Want more tips on flats fishing; check our “What to Bring” list by clicking here.

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Three Second Rule

October 26, 2012

Bonefish Flies

One of the biggest mistakes a bonefisherman can make is failing to adjust his fly to changing water depth.  Your fly should be weighted such that it sinks quickly to the bottom and then stays near the bottom within view of the fish after you begin stripping.  If you strip the fly above a bonefish, it will never see it.
The average flat depth, whether you’re wading or poling, ranges from 1-2½ ft.  In this depth, a Gotcha or Amber Shrimp with medium sized bead chain eyes should provide close to the perfect sink rate, without overweighing the fly (and potentially spooking the fish).  A good rule of thumb is your fly should reach the bottom in about 3 seconds.  If you find your fly is not getting to the bottom, you should switch to a fly with lead eyes or add a few wraps of lead wire to the eye of the fly.

The angler who is willing to fish deeper flats will often be rewarded with the largest bonefish.  Big bonefish prefer the protection of deeper flats or shallow flats close to deep water.  When you’re fishing water 3-4 feet deep, you’ll need a fly with lead eyes to get to the bottom quickly.  Proven deep-water flies are the Clouser minnow (especially tan and white and chartreuse and white), the Simram, (a rabbit fur version of the Gotcha fly with lead eyes) and Henry Cowen’s Bonefish Scampi. Lead eyes come in a variety of weights and for joy of casting, you’ll want to carry flies with the smaller lead eyes, as well as the heavier lead eyes that cause many of us to duck when forward casting.

The last thing a bonefisherman wants to do is scare the daylights out of an actively feeding fish by casting too heavy a fly too close to the fish. Therefore, you must go light in skinny water. By light we mean no weight other than the weight of the hook. For this we recommend mono (or plastic) eyes and a body that lands softly. A well-designed fly for this situation is a pattern called the bunny bone in sizes 4, 6, and 8.

The bunny bone is made with rabbit fur, rug yarn and mono eyes.  You can throw this unweighted fly quite close to a tailing fish. Its entry into the water is soft, but it sinks well. The rabbit fur makes it look alive even before it’s stripped. All you need to do is give it the tiniest of strips. Don’t strip the fly too far or too fast when working a tailing fish.

Before you begin fishing it is also advisable to have a handy selection of the flies you’re most likely to use that day.  Have a selection that covers all water depths, so you are prepared when a quick change is required.  For even quicker adjustments to changes in water depths, have a spool of lead wire handy and wrap a small piece around the eye of the fly, as needed.

 This was another except from the Angler Adventures “Bahamas What to Bring List”.

Best Airfares to New Zealand

June 1, 2012

Judy Hall is the travel manager at Angler Adventures as well as our New Zealand expert.  I asked her some questions about booking flights and got some interested answers.   

Evan:  Judy, what’s the most common request you get from clients booking long haul flights, such as to New Zealand?

Judy:  What’s the best fare I can get on a first class ticket?  Since the flights require overnight travel, nearly every client wants to fly Business Class or First Class to get the fully reclining “sleeper seats” and first or Business Class tickets can cost up to $14,000 per person. 

Evan:  What do you recommend?

 Judy:  I used to recommend the American Express Platinum 2 for 1 travel program exclusively because it was the best deal available.  Now, there are a number of options, such as Excursion Fares or mileage programs.  I research each of the options to seek out the best fares.  It’s complicated and time consuming, but if I can save my clients thousands of dollars, it’s time well spent. 

Evan:  Is there anything else people should know making these arrangements?

 Judy:  Actually, I’d mention that this is a service we offer at no cost to our clients.  After a phone call, I do all the legwork preparing the options, and then present the client with the best currently available fare.  If they ok the flight option, I issue their tickets.  It’s a time and money saving service that’s free!

 Looking for more information?  Click here for more information on New Zealand Custom Itineraries, here for more information on why you should use a travel agent, or here for our recent newsletter on traveling to New Zealand.

New Zealand Trout Fishing

Bonefishing in Winter Water Temps

September 28, 2011

One of the top 3 questions we get asked is, “When is the best time to go bonefishing?”  While the answer varies on the anglers’ expectations and their destination, here’s a good argument for fishing the winter months by Doug Schlink of Angler Adventures

For years I’ve heard that you shouldn’t go bonefishing in the winter months (December, January, February, even March) because of the risk of cold fronts.  I’ve also heard and read that bonefish are temperature sensitive and it’s futile to fish in water temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Hogwash!  In 25 years of booking bonefish trips and making plenty of them myself, I’d like to offer my “observations” on the subject.   While I haven’t adhered to strict scientific doctrine, I always carry a stream thermometer on bonefish trips and check water temps frequently.  And in my opinion, it’s more important which direction the water temperature is moving. 

Yes, when a cold front pushes in and chills the water temps on the flats below 68 – 70 degrees, bonefish will start moving off the flats if they feel the temperature dropping, into deeper, warmer water.  It’s generally accepted (and I agree) that smaller bonefish are more sensitive to cooler water temps and the bigger boys will stay up on the flats feeding longer with dropping water temps (and be the first to return on rising temps).   I know a few trophy bone hunters who go in January so they won’t have to weed through the smaller fish!  As the water temp continues to drop, the bigger fish will also move off into deeper, warmer water.  But I’ve witnessed bigger fish feeding on the flat until temps hit 65 degrees.   If the temp continues to drop or holds steady at less than 65, fishing will be slow.

However, bonefish need to eat, and by design, they take their nourishment on the fertile, food-rich flats.   Deep water is Slim Pickens for a bonefish so they don’t like to stay there long.  It’s been my observation, that even when air temperatures are in the low to mid-60’s, if the sun is out, the flats will soak up the sun’s radiant heat and warm quickly.  As soon as the bones sense the water temperature is rising, they will return to the flats and feed voraciously.  And the fishing can actually be fantastic.  I’ve experienced this on numerous occasions, but perhaps the best example took place in late February on Grand Bahama a few years ago.   

North Riding Point Guide Bully with a Huge winter bonefish

Notice the Fleece? And the 14 lb January Bonefish?

My fishing buddy, Mark Hatter and I arrived during a “cold front”.   The water temperature on the flat was 63-64 degrees our first morning.   But the sun was strong, and the flat was soaking in the radiant heat, and the water temp was rising.  We barely got line stripped off our reels before we were making shots at hungry bones.   The sun held and the water temperature continued to slowly rise (I checked it several times during the day), and the bones fed like gluttons all day!   At 3:30 pm as we reeled in, I checked the temperature one last time – 69 degrees.  We had boated 32 bones, all between 5 and 9 ½ pounds, and the water temp never even hit 70 degrees!  It was a spectacular day of high quality bonefishing – in the dead of winter, on the tail of a cold front – when you’re not supposed to go! 

I’ve had other similar experiences that support my position.  And on the flip side, I’ve lost fishing days to wind and sideways rain in April and May, so called “prime time”.   The weather can bite you in the tail anytime.   The guy who said, “the best time to go fishing is when you can get away”, may have known something the “experts” didn’t!   So…Fear Not Winter Bonefishing!  You might just hit some of the best bonefishing you’ve ever had!

Want to learn more about bonefishing bonefishing in the winter months or go on a winter bonefishing trip – Call Doug in the Angler Adventures office (800-628-1447 / 860-434-9624) or email Doug@AnglerAdventures.com.

Traveling with Fishing Tackle

May 19, 2011

As a travel agency specializing in international fishing travel, we’re regularly asked how to travel with fishing tackle.  We recommend 100% of the time that traveling anglers pack expensive reels and flies in their carry on luggage to avoid them being delayed, lost or stolen while in route to your fishing destination.  Also, despite not fitting into the airline usual “carry on requirements”, most airlines are allowing small cases of 3, 4 or 5 piece fly rods as carry-ons, as long as they fit in the overhead compartment (please check with your individual airline for their specific policies).  Metal objects (such as pliers, scissors, snips, pocket knives, screwdrivers, etc) that could be considered dangerous, should be packed in your checked luggage to avoid delays and possible confiscation at security checkpoints. 

The Travel Security Administration (TSA), the governmental body providing the manpower and regulations at our airports security checkpoints allow specialty fishing gear (like reels and flies) to be packed in check luggage.  We recommend that anyone traveling with fishing tackle visit the TSA website and carry a printed copy of the document entitled: “Traveling with Special Items – Hunting and Fishing” with their carry luggage / E-Tickets.

Also, we recommend investigating a fishing equipment specific carry on bag, like the Fishpond Dakota Carry On Rod & Reel Case

The Vulcan Grilse Grip

May 11, 2011

For those of you planning an Atlantic salmon trip this summer, here’s a tip from Doug Schlink you might enjoy. 

Adult, mutli-sea-winter (MSW) Atlantic salmon fish can be captured by hand tailing.  This is accomplished by wrapping your hand and around the “wrist” of their tail (known as the caudal peduncle), just in front of the tail fin, much as you would grasp your own left wrist with your right hand just in front of your hand.   The tail fin on an MSW fish has developed stiff exterior rays, and prevents the fish from slipping through.  

Atlantic salmon that have only spent one winter at sea before returning to the river to spawn are known as grilse.  Grilse are smaller, usually from 20 – 24 inches in length, and have not yet developed this stiffness in the tail fin’s exterior rays.  A sure way to tell a big grilse from a small salmon is to check the development of the tail fin exterior rays.  If they are stiff, and don’t collapse when you try to squeeze them together, it’s a salmon.  But if they collapse, it’s a grilse. 

Doug Schlink with nice looking MSW Atlantic

Not a Grilse

Because of this lack of development in the exterior caudal fin rays of a grilse, if you try to “tail” a grilse with this conventional method, the tail fin collapses and he’ll squirt right out of your grasp!

But if your guide is not handy with the net when you’re about to land your grilse, you still can hand tail him using the technique I call the “Vulcan Grilse Grip”.    Make a “V” or a “peace sign” by extending your index and middle finger of your dominant hand.  With thumb extended, slide this “V” so one finger is on the top and the other along the bottom of the caudal peduncle.  Now quickly wrap the thumb around and close the rest of your hand as if you’re trying to make a fist.  You should now have a firm grasp on the fish!  I’m not sure why this works, but it does. 

A word of caution, never lift a salmon or a grilse you plan to release clear out of the water by the tail.  This can cause internal damage.  Please use hand tailing only as a means of securing the salmon in the water so you can remove the fly and properly release into the current.  If you want to lift a salmon for a photo, use your other hand to gently support the body of the fish, and lift no more than a few inches from the water and for no more than a few seconds. 

Many thanks to angling great Larry Solomon, co-author of the classic “The Caddis and the Angler”, for showing me this technique over 20 years ago on the Nepisiguit River. 


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