Salt Water

The Ready Position

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Chico Fernandez
Assume the Ready Position

The most frustrating part of fishing the saltwater flats with a fly rod, especially for someone new to this part of our sport, is the casting. I find that most new fly-casters, and even some intermediates, don’t like to practice away from the water; they feel it’s too much work. And it is a bit of work, at the beginning, but once we bypass that entry-level stage with saltwater tackle, say to the intermediate and up levels, casting is no work at all. Rather, it’s pure pleasure. Personally, I love to cast.

Turneffe Alternatives

  • By: Larry Kenney
Turneffe Flats Jacks

In a rare stroke of luck, or something, the occupants of the middle and window seats next to me on the plane to Houston, from where Pat Dunlap and I would jump to a flight to Belize City, weren’t a fat guy and an anxious mother with a screaming infant. Instead, our neighbors were two 20-something cocktail waitresses who each worked their way through four Screwdrivers before we touched down.

“We’re going to the Bahamas to party,” said the blonde in the tank top, after drink number one. “Where you headed?”

Adventures in Art

  • By: Mike Conner
  • Photography by: Mike Conner
Vaughn Cochran Painting

After a full day of flats fishing out of Abaco’s Sandy Point, it was time for a much-anticipated Bahamian après-fishing ritual. Our group—Stu and Jeaninne Apte, Jean Cochran, Clint Kemp and me—huddled around the dining-room table and dove into piping-hot conch fritters with tall, chilled Mojitos in hand. Our host, marine artist and Black Fly Lodge Bonefish Club partner Vaughn Cochran, eventually joined us. He cleared off half the table and unrolled a white canvas.

Saifish School

  • By: Jerry Gibbs
  • Photography by: Jerry Gibbs
Jake Jordan

“First thing you got to know is that you never touch the fly line,” Jake Jordan tells his sailfish-school students. “If you keep touching it, then I go below deck and come out in my nun’s outfit and crack your knuckles bloody with a ruler.”

The Bonefish Special

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Chico Fernandez
Chico and Mike - Big Bonefish

The bonefish had been tough to approach and on this day, the last day of the Redbone tournament in the Florida Keys, the wind speed must have dropped to zero because it was dead calm. It was a day on which the water and the sky don’t make a defined horizon and the least disturbance would send bonefish to another zip code.

Ask FRR

  • By: Buzz Bryson
  • Photography by: Buzz Bryson
Bluewater fishing requires big-game leaders and knots.

Q: What leaders, and connecting knots, are best for bluewater fly-fishing?

Sitting here in Loreto, Baja Mexico, taking a break during a tough week of fishing (all sympathy appreciated), I’m reflecting on the many questions asked, and answers provided by, the mix of newbies and experienced pros to bluewater fly-fishing here at the lodge. Such a grouping is a fertile environment for moving up the fly-fishing learning curve. Inevitably, the focus becomes leaders and, more particularly, knots. The question boils down to, What leaders do I use and how do I connect the pieces?

Feels Like the First Time

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
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Zane was a flats virgin when he won the Fly Rod & Reel 30th Anniversary Reader Sweepstakes drawing, securing three days of fishing at Pesca Maya. He’d never cast a fly to a bonefish, tarpon or permit. Duty-bound as an editor-at-large of FR&R, I went along as Zane’s, umm, escort, to make sure things went gently.

Permit Pursuits

  • By: Chico Fernandez
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It’s often said that the weather never gets too hot for permit on the flats. Even in the high heat of summer, when most bonefishing is done early and late in the day, permit are seen tailing during the middle of the day, in weather that is too hot for many fly fishers—particularly if you come from up north and are not used to 90-plus temperatures and high humidity.

Mack Attacks

  • By: Chico Fernandez
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"I cast again, saw the fly plop on the surface and a fish break to take it right away. I set the hook and the line flew through my fingers at lighting speed. I knew I had a nice-size mackerel, for sure."

Blitz Season at The End

  • By: Paul G. Quinnett
  • and Pat Ford
  • Photography by: Pat Ford
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Montauk, the terminus of land off Long Island, New York, is known as “The End.” During autumn anglers consider it one of the country’s best fly-fishing locations for striped bass, bluefish and false albacore.