Check out my article and photos in the new edition of This Is Fly.
A few months ago I sent some photos to a few magazines to see if anyone would like to publish them. Several magazines showed interest intially, but Texas Outdoors Journal jumped on the idea and wanted to publish them in their fall issue. It seemed fitting seeing as this is the best time of year for marsh fishing. I sent them about a dozen photos and they picked 5 from the bunch and published them in their latest issue along with a short dialogue about the events that transpired the day I captured the photos. Look for the issue at your local corner store, tackle store, or supermarket newstand.
I came across an intriguing read recently. The article was written by a friend about a conversation we had on the water one day last summer. The question was simple: what do you enjoy most about fishing?
At face value my answer was straightforward, but as I pondered the question in the days and months that followed, my reply grew more complex. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, out of the many, about fishing that captures my affection. I agree with many of the points mentioned in the article. My love for fishing rests in the absolute experience, but the culmination is seeing a fish and the moments prior to the eat or the refusal. I love the feeling of anticipation and suspense. To me it’s the ultimate “high”.
Have you ever thought about what you like most about fishing? What gets your heart-pounding while on the water?
View the article at the link below…
Delight in the Details
Below is a snippet from the article…
In a casual conversation most anglers would give the same basic answers. You’re sure to hear the usual stuff about watching the sunrise, the smell of coastal air on a crisp morning and the excitement of the pursuit of trophy-caliber fish. Worthy answers, no doubt. But when you really stop to think about it, what’s the one aspect of inshore fishing that truly gets your juices flowing? After you’ve loaded the kayak in the truck or put the boat on the trailer at the end of the day, what memory of that trip sticks out most in your mind?
I had a bunch of free time over the cold, wet, and windy weekend. During breaks between tying flies and editing footage I browsed the interwebs. I stumbled across a awesome flick from a group of guys that invaded the Everglades last month via kayaks and what supplies they could fit within the confines of their vessels.
After jealously drooling over the movie I began to think of all the places I want to fish, i.e. my fishing bucket list. The Everglades have always been very high on that list and every time I see a video from the area I’m reminded just I bad I want to fish The Glades. I was ready to pack my bags, load the kayak, and hit the road after I finished watching their expedition.
Bored from being landlocked I compiled a list of some of the places I want to visit rod, reel, and camera in hand:
8. Costa Rica
9. Devil’s River
What are some of your bucket list fishing destinations?
Here’s the video that got my wheels turning…
Nothing ticks me off more than people who abuse or disregard wildlife nature. Here’s a shocking snippet from a recent article…
The largest seizure of sharks ever confiscated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens was recently unloaded at South Padre Island after wardens pulled in approximately three miles of illegal gill net just offshore from South Padre Island.
You can read the rest of the story here…
Massive Shark Kill near South Padre Island
Catch Magazine’s, a free bi-monthy online fly fishing magazine, new issue is now available online…
Here’s some more photos I took this past weekend.
A good article about the fall and rise of the redfish population…
Remarkable, Resilient Redfish
Recently, when a fishing buddy asked me what I would include in a list of my most unforgettable catches, I realized three of the memories revolved around the same species: redfish.
The sizes of the three fish were radically different. Ironically, the smallest of the lot was the most sensational. The largest was my first bona fide “big fish,” one caught on my last outing with my grandfather. The midsized fish baptized me with a jolt of pure adrenaline into one of saltwater fishing’s most explosive styles.
It’s early morning in Chokoloskee, Florida, and Steve Huff is slowly guiding us away from the dock. The bow of his Hell’s Bay skiff is pointed toward the labyrinth of mangroves and buttonwoods that give shape to the mesmeric Everglades, where Huff spends nearly two hundred days a year. He’s wearing a bandanna that’s patterned with fish scales. It covers his sunburned nose and trimmed cotton-white mustache. His long arms dangle from a wiry, compact body that seems almost simian in its alertness and strength.
Then he guns the engine. As the boat planes quickly and easily, Huff lifts up his bandanna, revealing a wide smile. “Do you feel that?” he yells to me over the engine’s whine. “We’re free.”
Here’s a good read by Monte Burke titled The Best Fishing Guide Alive.
Here’s a piece I wrote last year. It gives a little history into what got me to where I am today. It’s also posted here along with some other articles I wrote over the years.
Whoever said addiction is a bad thing never sat in a plastic boat.
I will be the first to admit I had no idea what I was getting myself into when my hindquarters touched polyethylene for the first time. Little did I know that day would be the planting of a seed. A seed that has been obsessively nurtured into what it has grown to today.
It all began with a simple post on a local kayak fishing forum by my good friend Sam. Leading up to this point Sam and I had been on a mission to find areas where we could throw artificial lures and catch fish. We searched near and far, public and private looking for likely localities. We yearned to become better anglers and catch fish on artificial lures something we had only read about online and in print. He asked a basic question looking for an area where we could wade and hopefully catch a fish or two in the process.
Sam’s plea for help was immediately noticed and met with an overwhelming act of kindness. He received a reply with an offer to loan him a kayak and an open invite to hit the water within minutes, 7 minutes to be exact, after he made the seemingly innocent request for assistance. Sam being the tactful friend that he is refused to leave me stranded on the bank while he paddled off into the sunrise, so he reluctantly decline. Shortly thereafter, he received an additional act of benevolence in the form of another kayak for me, his stranded companion.
Now all Sam needed to do was convince me to come along for the ride. Not an easy task. Sam gave me a call and asked if I would partake in the festivities. After a much hesitation I hastefully agreed to join.
Two days later I shoved myself and kayak off a shoreline that consisted of trampled shell and silt. I had never paddled a craft of any kind, and I never met a single person who we joined on the outing that morning. I would fail to depict an accurate account of the events that transpired if I failed to admit I was nervous and intimidated when we arrived at the launch spot that damp morning. As my paddle blade ruptured the water’s surface for the first time in my existence excitement trumped all other emotions. Not only did these complete strangers not bite, but they were eager to share their expertise and gear with two complete strangers.
The fishing results of that day were irrelevant; everyone had fun with others who shared a common interest: a love for fishing and the outdoors.
I grew up fishing the saline waters around the Galveston Bay Complex, but kayak fishing uncovered a completely new realm. The possibilities were endless. A plastic paddle craft would allow me to fish anywhere and everywhere. I wanted a kayak desperately and immediately.
After that first trip the thought of kayaking the Texas Coast consumed my mind. I perused countless reports of kayak fishing success stories daydreaming about the day I would be able to do the same. I read reviews about kayaks trying to single out the one that would suit my needs and fishing style. I even attended a few demos trying to narrow down my selection, not knowing when, if at all, I would be able to purchase a kayak of my own.
Five months after transferring to a university, moving to away from home and working long hours all semester, I purchased my first kayak ever, a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160i. I still remember the fervor I felt strolling out of my local kayak shop after purchasing my first kayak. A feeling akin to a teenager after being handed the keys to their first vehicle; I was bubbling with zeal and anticipation.
But any lingering ardor swiftly vanished. It would be months before I could give my novelty its proper baptism. And, if that wasn’t enough, the commencement was rough. I had more than enough encounters with the solid black and white-striped, furry animal to make anyone in their right mind reevaluate whether they picked the appropriate pastime.
Since that humid, drizzly summer day nearly five years ago, I have logged thousands of hours kayaking. I have been all over the state of Texas and up and down our entire coastline from Port Isabel to Sabine. I have landed innumerable quantities of fish and had many indelible experiences. I have been in places rarely seen by civilization and never visited by motorized craft. I have met countless first-class individuals. I have encountered nature in its purest form: raw and undeveloped.
I have had a fantastic time in the process. Every year seems improve on its predecessor. New adventures and new acquaintances are frequent headlines to each passing year; each experience exceeding all imaginable expectations. Without those two friendly acts of kindness none of this would have been possible. I am frightened by the thought of my life sans kayak.
But my motivation for this piece is not one of narcissistic enrichment or to put myself in the limelight. I wrote this to give thanks to those that helped foster my seed, i.e. addiction, to what it has grown to today, especially Robert and Jeremy. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for inviting Sam and I on our first trip. I appreciate the kind gesture in loaning kayaks and openly sharing information with the two of us. I would also like to show my appreciation to everyone else that made our first trip possible. Thanks for welcoming us “newbies” with so much hospitality.
Most of the people I fish with these days I have met somehow directly or indirectly through this site. A few people I would also like to thank directly are Vincent Rinando and Jason Bryant who always posted well-written and informative reports and motivated me to do the same. Thanks to Dean Thomas, Kendal Larson for posting so many beautiful and scenic pictures that inspired me to not only write about my adventures, but also chronicle them through photography.
I would also like to thank Harris Ashley for a piece he posted about his experience one morning on the beautiful waters of the Upper Laguna Madre. The story he articulate with words is what inspired me to write to begin with. The day I read his story I figured I would try my hand at grammatical puzzle-making, and wound up writing the very first piece of literary work I had ever written. After writing that piece I began to write about anything and everything trying to refine my syntax and prose.
I was also like to thank the whole Ocean Kayak crew: Clint Barghi, Vincent and Sam Rinando, etc. for showing me the ropes around Galveston and letting me tag along on various fishing trips, especially Clint for being so benign with his knowledge and possessions. I can only dream to acquire the wealth of knowledge these “old salts” possess from their years of experience here on the Texas coast.
I vividly remember the compassion that has been directed my way since the first time I sat in a polyethylene boat. I have tried to return the favor. Sure, sometimes I get caught up in my egocentric pursuits, but in the end it’s all about having fun and sharing experiences with others.
Here’s to many more years to come…
After reading a great piece recently I got to thinking, a lost art nowadays, does anybody read anymore? In an age when we’re consumed by technology and all the fruits that it creates, does anybody ever set the iPod, gaming control, or laptop down and pick up a book?
I post haphazard tirades about my fishing adventures on here all the time, but always wonder if anybody is reading what I am writing. I usually get the most response on here when I post up photos or even better videos. Does everyone just come here for the pictures and video? Maybe that’s all I should post anymore.
I for one enjoy a good read. I am almost always delving my head into a piece of literature. I love non-fiction works because I hate reading about wizards, vampires or spaceships. I can’t comprehend things that are not of this realm. I am no Charlie Sheen. I like to read about things that are real and the human interaction that exists under actual circumstances. I read about all things including the rise and/or fall of prominent athletes and entertainers, historical events and tragedies, outdoor escapades, and survival stories.
Excuse my digression. Here are a few of my favorite outdoor-related books and why. If you have any outdoor/fishing-related reads that you enjoy feel free to share them in the comment section.
1.Where Rivers Change Directions by Mark Spragg
It is merely by coincidence that the first three books on this list have something to do with a river. I enjoy rivers but not to the extent that this list makes it seem. This book is one of my favorite books. The story is an autobiography of Spragg’s upbringing in rural Wyoming where he was forced to grow up quick to survive. Spragg’s writing style and his ability to portray emotion is incredible. The sincerity and rawness of this piece gives you insight into a world that is sometime rough, wild and unpredictable.
2. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
Not much needs to be said about this book. This book recounts Maclean’s upbringing as the son of a Presbyterian minister and the time spent on the trout rivers of western Montana. Any book that starts with the opening line ”in our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing” is a must read.
3. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
This book relays the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s journey on a dangerous, unknown river in one of the most remote parts of the world. The detail in this book is phenomenal and a bit drawn out, but a great read. Adventure in the Amazon turns to survival for the unsuspecting and unprepared former president of the United States.
4. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Another excellent story of survival which takes place on the top of the world. This book recounts Mount Everest’s deadliest climbing season on record, the 1996 season. Krakauer’s somehow managed to survive a summit attempt on Everest when many others more competent than himself parished on the world’s rooftop. In this book Krakauer communicates the fortunate circumstances that led to his survival and what went wrong for his companions that didn’t make it off the mountain.
5. Plugger by Rudy Grigar
This is a must read for any Texas saltwater fisherman. The writing is good, not great, and recalls times when fishing pressure was low and fish were plentiful. This book was more of a history lesson for me about how great our fisheries once were before intense commerical and recreational overfishing took place. Grigar was one of the original wade fisherman and hardware chunkers. He revolutionized the Texas fishing culture and had a big influence on what it is today.
Regardless of how much money one possesses it can’t buy luck or even a species to the list of accomplishments. The author of this piece seems to be one of the unluckiest men ever when it comes to removing a sought after fish off the bucket list. Ten years without a fish landed is a long time to go without catching a single specimen of the targeted species but you have to applaud Chiappone’s resiliency, that is, until he finally throws up the white flag and capitulates after an extremely frustrating and derisory day on the water. His story becomes an overly increasing melodrama about a man’s seemingly bad run. As time wears on, luck becomes the backdrop to his lack of dexterity on the shallow water flats for species that infamous for its skittish and often erratic behavior.
Here’s a great read about a man’s elusive quest for the pinnacle of sight fishing: permit on the fly.
Adios, Señor Permit by Richard Chiappone
I DON’T ACTUALLY SPEAK Spanish, but since a school of Mexican permit precipitated a life-changing decision for me, I think I should wish them well in their native tongue. That said, I never want to see another member of their species for as long as I live.
I cast to my first permit in 1996, and in all the years since then, after all the long fights from Alaska to the Caribbean, after all the world-class guides and all the rum drink hangovers and all the monster VISA bills, I have not had one single permit take a fly I cast to it. Not one. None. Nada.
I’ve tried for them in Ascension Bay, the Southwater Cays of Belize, Little Cayman Island, Abaco Island in the Bahamas, and, finally, Chetumal Bay near Xcalac, on the southernmost tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, where—after casting to so many uncooperative permit in one day I lost count—I witnessed an entire gang of the miserable bastards actually fight over my fishing partner’s fly. Then and there I realized that this kind of abuse at the fins of a fish cannot be good for a person.
And I quit. Read More…
Catch Magazine’s, a bi-monthy online fly fishing magazine, new issue is now available online…
This Saturday April 9, 2011 is the first tournament of the year for the Xtreme Redfish Tournament Trail. The weigh-in is at Port Neches Park in Port Neches, Texas near Beaumont. I only fished one tournament all of last year, so I’m excited to get back behind the helm and compete again. Looking forward to this weekend and hope to see some of you out there. In you’re in the area stop by and check out the weigh-in Saturday afternoon between 2:30 and 4:30.