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Michael Gracie

Featherweight

When someone dockside hands you a five-weight, you smile and give thanks. Then turn and hand it to the guide, while rolling your eyes.

But the wind hovered under 8 kts, and the initial gesture was followed by a convincing “don’t fear it, just try it.”

Will do, Mr. Cook

Will do, Mr. Cook

Walking a flat with tools better suited for trout feels kinda bad ass. Especially when there are surprises.

MG signing off (to rethink the whole eight-weight thing)

Easter

Went on an Easter egg hunt today …

eastereggbonefish

Found plenty, though they were all the same color (and different sizes).

MG signing off (taking bonefish over bunnies for holidays and 100-meter dashes)

Destination charges not included

When engaged in fly-fishing travel off the beaten path, it is important to follow a rigorously tested set of guidelines, thereby ensuring a prosperous expedition. Thankfully, yours truly is a bonafide hack certified beta tester for adventure travel policies and procedures, and since I got stiffed on my retainer didn’t request compensation for the latest excursion, I am going to outline a few of the more important points fearing no copyright, trademark or other infringement …

  1. When your mothership runs a hundred-fifty nautical miles of ten-foot seas on one screw, the outfitter may proffer a liter of tequila as compensation for the suffering [of those who didn’t discover the magic of Sea-Bands when they were six years old]. When this happens, be sure to consume the entire bottle within a few short hours, then strategically place the empty bottle in a plainly visible location. This sends a clear message: you are tougher than nails and cannot be beat want more tequila. Lots more. An alternative approach is to get yourself some Sea-Bands, sell them to another in the group that is seasick, and then you will have money to buy more tequila for yourself.
  2. tequila bottle

    Message in a bottle

  3. If you are sharing an island with roughly 1010,000 … 10,000,000 migratory fowl that squawk in unison all hours of the day and night, carry earplugs (which just so happen to be equally effective on the wood-cutting noise that emanates from sleeping anglers). Further, if you are hunkering down in a partially blown out storm shelter, be sure to note the vertical height of crumbling plaster on the interior walls a.k.a. the flood line. If said measure exceeds two feet, as it did in this test case, sleep on an air mattress; if a hurricane sweeps through you can float to safety. Lastly, do not under any circumstances leave whatever windows that remain in this habitat open – at least half of those previously mentioned birds will swoop through and subsequently crash into a wall at breakneck speed. They usually recover, but it is nevertheless not a pretty sight to watch.
  4. (more…)

Done Deal

Courtesy of BTT, FWC Approves Bonefish and Tarpon as Catch and Release:

At their Wednesday meeting in Lakeland, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), unanimously approved new regulations to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries, making Florida the first State to do so. The deliberations by Commission members were brief and entirely supportive. Commissioner Brian Yablonski said, “this is the most significant thing we can do for tarpon.” Following their favorable ruling, Chairman Kenneth Wright added, “there will be a chapter written in a book about what this commission did today.”

(h/t Save The Tarpon)

MG signing off (with nothing else to say. for once.)

Florida’s potential tarpon catch and release regs coming to a head

Not to minimize the importance of impending regulations on what kind of rigs can be used to catch fish in Boca Grande pass, but Save the Tarpon gets to what yours truly considers the meat of the matter

Final Rules for Tarpon and Bonefish – The proposed final rules would make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only. To accomplish this, the allowance for a tarpon bag limit would be eliminated and replaced with an allowance for possession of a single tarpon in conjunction with a tarpon tag for the purpose of pursuing an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record. In addition, all tarpon regulations will be extended into adjacent federal waters. The existing bonefish tournament exemption that allows registered tournament anglers to possess a bonefish for the purposes of transporting it to the tournament scale would also be eliminated.

Of course, one could just eliminate the tag allowance for pursuing a world record, and we’d actually have a real game on our hands. But the above is certainly a step in the right direction. The only way to speak your mind is to attend the meeting? Not! You can also email the commission to voice your applause for the above proposal.

A 100%1000%…one hundred quadrillion percent hat tip goes to Save The Tarpon for getting the issue this far.

MG signing off (in hopes that true fans of conserving shallow water gamefishes will have their voices heard)

Grilled meat requires sauce

My friend Nick Kelley is headed south, way south. As in the farther reaches of the Southern hemisphere.

Eventually he will find trout, but right this moment (or within the last six hours) he is departing for Santiago, via Caracas. From the looks of the pics he’s sending back, it is obvious he lingered for a bit on the last stop…

Careless Bonefish

Follow Nick’s travels, in photo, via A Pursuit of Chimichurri.

MG signing off (because I bet I could catch a few of those careless bonefish with a piece of grilled meat)

Spooner’s flies strike again

This time it’s Ms. Bonefish…

Spooner's Sorry Charlie

Photo by Tosh Brown

…taking a bite out of Spooner’s Sorry Charlie, a shrimp pattern with crabby accents, inspired by a Charlie Craven special. The angler, of course, had nothing to do with the catch.

MG signing off (because it’s wet out, but the bonefish don’t care about the weather)

Mr. Bonefish meets Spooner’s Pink Kitten

Mr. Bonefish saw Spooner’s Pink Kitten, then rushed it like he hadn’t eaten in a week.

What Mr. Bonefish did not know was that the Pink Kitten was wrapped around a #4 Gamakatsu and secured to one of the angler’s hand-tied leaders, which in turn was attached to an Airflo Ridge Bonefish WF8-F.

Spooner's Pink Kitten

Photo by Dustin Carlson

Mr. Bonefish went home with a sore lip. Sucks to be him.

MG signing off (because it doesn’t suck to be here, even if we did pull out early due to rain)

Sometimes I stretch the truth a little

Who in their right mind would waste such otherworldly fly specimens on carp?

20120519-131529.jpg

Certainly not I.

MG signing off (to chug Kaliks while awaiting the hop to Congo Town)

Two out of three ain’t bad, no matter what kind of water you’re on

fishing stories

My smallest fish was this big!
Now get me another beer.

There’s this steaming pile extremely informative column running over at Deneki.com right now – it’s a three part series on how a trip to the bonefish flats can actually improve your (likely more frequent) trout fishing experiences. Part 1: Situational Awareness, and Part 2: Reading Water, are already up.

Yeh, you might think such a comparison, between stalking the flats for the voracious, invisible speedsters and hooking everyone’s favorite salmonid, is borderline reaching. I wrote the posts, which means your probably right. But read them anyway – you might learn something (even if it’s just how to scribe a thousand words that sound like you know what you’re talking about).

And of course, Part 3: How to Drink Beer Like a Bahamian Flats Guide While Standing in 40 Degree Riffle Water, doesn’t come until next week. So you are forced to stay tuned anyway.

MG signing off (because saving the best for last is even more distracting than the fishing)