Monday, August 30, 2021

Isla del Sabalo-2021

Isla del Sabalo is truly one of the last places where an angler can find great inshore, and offshore fishing for mid-sized (20# - 30#) tarpon!

Located on the west side of the Yucatan, the tiny fishing village, Isla Arena, a small lodge, hosting only 6 anglers, enjoy over 30 miles of remote coastline, home to great numbers of tarpon!

Comfortable bungalows, equipped with AC, and a spacious dinning palapa, provide all that is necessary for a great trip.  Even in a place so remote, the food was fantastic, and plentiful!

Each day before dawn, we were awakened to a great breakfast, fueling our day, as our guides prepared the specially designed pangas for our run to the fishing grounds.




Sometimes within minutes of the lodge, we were in the midst of rolling, and happy tarpon!

Sometimes we found fish out on the shallow, offshore flats...

...Other times, we found them feeding in the huge rivers....





Typical IDS Tarpon!

As my guide pushed deep into the jungle, I couldn't imagine how we would cast, let alone catch, a big tarpon in this tangle of mangroves.  In most places, like this, you couldn't even lift your rod to cast!
Sometimes it is "better to be lucky than good!"
This tarpon, taken in tight quarters, was certainly the most memorable of the trip!
My guide, Rodrigo, was even more thrilled than I!!
As the sun set on our last day, I was already making plans to host another trip to Isla del Sabalo, in 2022!

Many thanks to our guides, Rodrigo, Sam and Juan,
and especially to Marco Ruz, our host.

***













 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

NOLA 2021

 My goal this year was to fish the barrier islands near New Orleans, called the Chandalier Islands.  For several years I have tried to schedule my trip to coincide with the migration of redfish around the islands, along with adult tarpon and big jacks.  It seemed that a July trip might provide the good weather necessary to make the long run.

Not this year. 

Each day we were met with surly, conditions-thunderstorms popping up all around the marsh.  As a result we were forced to fish the marsh, and try to put the islands behind us.  

Fishing was tough, and the larger, bull reds (20 lbs. to 30 lbs.+) just weren't around.  Even the smaller redfish were far and few between.



Finally, I had a good shot at this 15 lb. red, and a few smaller fish!


This 18 lb. red turned out to be the largest fish, for myself and my partner, for 4 days of fishing!
  This fish was exceptional with bright orange finds and coloring.   
(we had to cancel our last day due to weather)

***
There were a few big black drum around and my partner, Doug Behrman connected with this nice 

42.2 lb. black that pulled hard and gave us some excitement.



Doug Behrman and Capt. Jason Catchings

Not the prettiest fish in the marsh, but a powerful, strong fish, on a fly rod!

Many thanks for guide Capt. Jason Catchings, and my partner, Doug Behrman, for a great trip.

Jason worked hard for us, and I am anxious to fish with him again.

I am looking forward to a return match with the bull reds of NOLA!

***

Friday, May 28, 2021

Andros, Bahamas... Bonefish





Our expectation was high as we landed on Mangrove Cay, Andros, just 20 minutes from bustling Nassau!

The weather was good the first day, and with bonefishing, and all flats fishing, you need sun and light wind to be successful.
If you can't see them, you can't catch them!!!

(Note the "wall" of conch shells in the background.)

A perfect morning.....
On the hunt!

It didn't take long before I was deep into my backing, pulling on my first Andros bonefish!


Although the clouds, and wind, were always present, there were a few moments when we enjoyed the bright sun, and instant visibility on the seemingly endless flats!



It is amazing how fast these fish can streak across the flats, flyline and backing trying to catch up!  A good quality reel, with a smooth drag, is certainly a must.



Speedster of the flats!


A nice start to the trip!

***

However, the next 6 days the wind would blow, day and night, as a low pressure system moved in and clouded the sky.  The bonefish weren't happy either, and we had to look hard to find them.



Strong winds also limited our fishing grounds, as well!

Fortunately, my partner, Mark Kuipers, was always the optimist, and ready to go, even with the poor conditions.
(note the dark sky in the background! ;  )


With the occasional sun peaking through, we were able to connect with some very nice bonefish!

(Yep, dark clouds in the background, and ready to rain!!  Grin!)

Prince Moxey was our guide, and he was superb!

Rather than staying at a fishing lodge, we opted to stay at a small hotel (Another Moxey family member); and we enjoyed all of our meals at Deana's (you guessed it....Prince's sister, Deana)

Conch fritters, were incredible, and we enjoyed wonderful, traditional, Bahamian cuisine every day!  (And a bottle of Kalik beer was always nearby!)



***

One of our primary goals was to teach Prince to tie bonefish flies, so that he might provide quality flies to anglers, and boost his income.  Every evening we would spend a couple of hours at the vise.

Kudos to Mark for supplying a huge box of materials and tools!




Even after a long day poling us on the flats, Prince was eager to sit down and learn how to tie bonefish flies.
I was proud of his attitude and quick learning curve!

Mangrove Cay, Andros!  
What an amazing corner of the world!

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Emigrant Wilderness Adventure 2020



 
   Anytime you talk about "great trout fishing" you immediately set the bar high for those listening, and my conversations with Will Steiger and Zach Sprenger did exactly that.  Although Will was fast becoming a solid fly fishermen, having fished stripers, as well as the surf, Will had not yet fished for trout...let alone experienced blue ribbon trout fishing!  With some basic fly tying instruction (and Youtube) Will was tying some great looking trout flies, and buzzing with excitement about a possible horse pack trip into the Emigrant Wilderness.

Zach was already a seasoned fly fisherman and fly tyer, but was equally excited about a wilderness pack trip, and hopefully, great fly fishing.  With both guys primed and excited, they made the necessary plans to take time off, and join me for this epic adventure into the "Tall and Uncut" beauty of the Emigrant Wilderness.  

However, with fires raging all over California, the Stanislaus National Forest was closed, and it did not look like our trip would materialize.  A call to the pack station, at Kennedy Meadows, assured me that they were open, and we should "come ahead".   When we arrived at the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, we were told that even though the pack station and resort were open, the forest was "....closed....until today".  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I missed the call from Kennedy, telling me that our trip was cancelled.  BUT since the forest was now officially open, TODAY, our pack trip was ON!  Whew!  Since the forest had been closed, there were no fishermen, or backpackers, in the back country.  We had it all to ourselves!

Breakfast at Kennedy Meadows

The perfect way to start the long journey into the wilderness

(Yes, that's Zach, on the right, with 3 platters of food!  Grin!)


6:00am, the next morning, our gear was loaded on the mules, and we were saddled and headed up the mountain!  Our destination-Emigrant Lake.  Starting out at an elevation of 6,400 ft. we climbed to 10,000 ft. before descending to Emigrant Lake, at 9,000 ft. It seemed like every step we were climbing, for 6 hours.



***

To say that Emigrant Lake is beautiful, is an understatement!  Cut by ancient glaciers, the domes and granite mountains are breathtaking!





After setting up camp at the base of a magnificent dome, we were ready to fish!




Big 12" to 15" brook trout were waiting, and did not hesitate to eat our streamer flies.   
(Note: It seems that the brook trout are slowly taking over Emigrant Lake.  We caught considerably more  brookies, than in years past, and fewer rainbows.  😔)



After an incredible first day, it was time to pack our tubes, and head to an area of the lake that is home to big rainbows eager to feed on grasshoppers.  






I had painted a vivid picture of rainbow trout crashing the surface to eat our hopper imitations, and Will was prepared!  Lurking around the huge boulders and islands were rainbows, hungry for our offerings.



Will with a big Emigrant, hopper-eating, rainbow!


There was no question when Will hooked a trout, and I can't blame him for shouting out...every time!  Grin!😎


Typical 15" to 17" Emigrant Rainbow


Zach casting to selective rainbows, with tiny midges.
Early morning dry fly action!

Words cannot express this incredible beauty!





Brook trout breakfast!
(Yes, it was as good as it looks!  Grin!)

To break up our trip, we hiked up the mountain, to check out Emigrant Meadow.  The climb took us about 1,000 ft. up
                                                                                                              



...and 3 miles, to this beautiful lake.  There were a few big brook trout living here, but only hooked one.  You really had the feeling that you were "on top of the world".  



Emigrant Meadow Lake


 
Casting a mouse pattern to the rocks at dusk!


Headed Home


Many thanks to our Creator, and to Will and Zach 
for the memories of an incredible trip!

***