Blue Hole Fly-Fishing Setup: Video

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Here’s a simple and incredibly effective setup for catching fish in the blue holes of the Bahamas.

I’m not one of those purist who thinks it’s poor form to deviate from my target species. I like to have fun, and for me, catching different kinds of fish in different ways is part of the experience. One of the coolest things about fishing South Andros, in the Bahamas, is the blue holes. These freshwater vents are perfectly round and can be two-thousand feet deep. South Andros has the highest concentration of them in the world and they are full of fish. You never know what will come out of them.

The problem is, blue holes are really difficult to fish effectively with a fly. Anglers often leave thinking there are no fish there. There are always fish there but, in a two-thousand foot hole, showing them a fly can be tough. I’ve been fishing blue holes for a long time and I have an easy solution to the problem. It takes seconds to set up and catches fish like a net.


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A Buyers Guide To Flats Skiffs

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By Owen Plair

As the world of saltwater fly fishing steadily grows, so the does the market for poling skiffs.

There are tons of different flats boat companies out there today and an unreal number of different skiffs to choose from. Each flats boat is designed for a purpose–whether you want to get super shallow, pole deeper for tarpon, or simply have a boat you will only pole on the weekends before picking up the family for a day at the sandbar. Inshore fishing is a lot more affordable and easier than offshore fishing, especially in today’s economy and fuel cost. Be sure that you will use this boat more than 10-12 times of year because it’s often cheaper and always easier to hire a guide than own a skiff.

Steve Seinberg
Steve Seinberg
There are many different types of hulls. Each one is made for a specific kind of fishing, determined by draft and types of water you fish. In short, you want a skiff that will meet your needs in the waters you will be fishing. Write down what your priorities are for your skiff. Things like draft, poling ability, comfort, size, storage, engine, how many people you will have on board, and most importantly price. These are all factors that will help you decide what kind of skiff you will be happy with. Most of all, keep in mind that your wants may not be perfectly met, because no matter how you look at it, there will always be a compromise of one preference to achieve something more important.


One great asset when buying a flats boat is the internet. There are endless places to shop and get a feel for the flats boat market. Boat Trader, dealer websites, forums, and even Craigslist. Once you have an idea of the boat you’re interested in, start Googling for forums and articles about that certain boat. Websites like Micro Skiff and Skinny Skiff have good information on different poling skiffs. Another great trick is to look for the skiffs guides are using in your area. These guides make a living on their skiffs, and have plenty of good information from personal use. I always recommend going out with a guide who runs the skiff you’re looking at. Not only get more information about the skiff but actually fish on the boat.


DSC04420-1200x800The term “Technical” is used a lot in the flats boat industry. Mostly referring to skiffs that are designed for the angler who wants the absolute best performance when poling, fishing, and running. This is the badass side of the skiff market and usually the most expensive because of how they are built and how they perform on the water. People sometimes complain about how expensive these skiffs can be, but there is a reason they cost $35-60K for a brand new 17ft boat. Companies like Maverick Boat Company, Hells Bay Boatworks, East Cape Skiffs, Chittum, Beaver Tail, Dolphin, and other big names put a lot of time in research and development. These technical skiffs are designed and built for fishing the flats just like a Lamborghini is built for going fast. The history behind these skiffs is amazing and it’s truly unbelievable how much technology has been developed over the last 20 years. It all started with a boat to get you and your angler shallower, and closer to the fish in their natural environment.

GLIDE-2015-30-SUZUKI-ICE-BLUE-TILLE-PERRY-MCDOUGALD-EAST-CAPE-SKIFFS-BOAT-IMAGE-GALLERY-CUSTOM-BOAT-BUILDER-FISHING-SKIFF-MANUFACTURER-119fcb36b4-1200x884Size is a key factor for a technical skiff. These are skiffs between 15-18ft and draft between 4-8 inches of water. They are small, lightweight, and made for poling in shallow waters. Anywhere from 6 inches of water for tailing fish or 10ft of water for migrating tarpon. These are not boats to take a bunch of people on and usually have a limit of 2-3 people max. They are often a tad tippy when walking around but again they are designed to have a person on the bow casting, the other sitting on the cooler, and someone on the tower poling. The way these skiffs perform in their desired fisheries is what makes them “Technical” and they are one of the most important tools in saltwater fly fishing.

Lots of other factors come in to play.

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12 Tips for Spotting More Bonefish

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So you want to catch a bonefish?

To catch a bonefish, one must first see a bonefish, and there’s the problem. Bonefish are nearly invisible as any living creature. Their camouflage is almost flawless. Their sides are as bright as a mirror and reflect their surroundings perfectly. If the bottom is light, the fish is light. If the bottom is dark, the fish is dark. It can be maddening.

The problem is compounded for the angler who is making the transition from trout fishing to flats fishing. The method of spotting fish is completely different. In fact it’s almost opposite. To find a trout you identify the likely holding water and stare into that spot, waiting for the window to open so that you can glimpse a head or a tail. But trout are holding still in moving water. Bonefish are always on the move. If you stare through that window you’ll miss the show.

I can remember standing on the bow, listening to my guide’s voice become tense, then frustrated. “He’s right there Man, forty feet, right in front of the boat.” “You can’t see the fish, Man?” It will test your self confidence, make you wonder if you know anything about fishing.

With time, the lights turn on and you start to understand the subtle signs of life that you’ve been missing. You learn how to look for fish. Spotting bonefish never gets easy but it become doable. With time, a good pair of polarized glasses and a little patience from your guide, the bonefish will reveal himself.


1. Keep your head on a swivel
There are some rules for how fish move on the tide, but bonefish don’t care much for rules. They’re like kids, they mill around, get distracted, turn and stop suddenly. They could be anywhere on the flat. Keep scanning the water. The closest bonefish may be behind you.

2. Don’t get tunnel vision
It’s easy to anticipate where you will see fish. You can find yourself staring at a small piece of water trying to make fish appear. This tunnel vision can be its worst when your guide is calling out a fish. You may be looking ten feet to the left of the fish and never see it. Keep your eyes relaxed and look at the big picture. See the forest, not the trees.

3. Search the glare
The surface of the water reflects the sky and one part of the sky is always lighter than the other. That means that there is almost always part of the water where you can see well and a part where you see mostly glare. The natural tendency is to spend your time searching the water where you can see well but this is not the most effective method. Scan that water quickly, then slow down when you scan the glare. That will help keep you from missing fish.

4. Tilt your head
Polarized sun glasses work with the angle of the light. The angle of the light is always changing but your glasses stay put. If you are struggling to see

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Presenting Your Fly to Migrating Tarpon

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There’s definitely some strategy involved in tarpon fishing.

Migrating tarpon offer the fly angler a great opportunity for a close in counter with the silver king, but you have to play your cards right. Many anglers have watched big schools of tarpon vanish right before their eyes, leaving them to shrug and ask, “what’d I do?”

Often there is nothing wrong with the fly,or the cast, except that it was shown to the wrong fish. Migrating tarpon play a curious game of “follow the leader.” when you see that school coming its tempting to lose your patience and cast to that big lead fish, but that’s not the way to go.

That lead fish is out there on her own, blazing the trail for the whole school. She’s wary and quite cautious, that’s her job. Almost anything will spook her and the school will follow her lead. Her followers however are a different story. Generally male, they are focused almost completely on her. Sound familiar guys? Ever made a bad decision while you were focused on a female?

Those males feel secure because the lead fish is their lookout. If she isn’t spooked they feel like everything is as it should be and if a careless bit of food gets past her they have no problem scarfing it down. Those are the fish you want to target. It’s possible to get many shots at a school of tarpon as long as the lead fish keeps her cool and the more shots you get, the better your chance at a hookup.


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The Best Way to Improve Your Trout Game

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The single best way to improve your trout game is to fly fish on trout water that challenges you.

I’m talking about super technical water where trout are wary and extremely educated.  The places where the smartest of trout live, where all you get is one or two shots to hit your target. These trout streams force you to maintain the highest level of discipline in your fly fishing. You have to think out every step of your approach and presentation to find success. If you fail at executing these strict requirements, you’ll almost certainly be skunked on the water.

It’s really easy for many of us with our busy schedules to focus our time fly fishing locations that allow us the most success, or should I say the easiest success. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy these easy trout streams myself, where I can immediately start catching fish within minutes of wetting my line. Just remember, if all you do is fish easy trout water, you’re going to have a rude awakening when you finally get around to stepping foot on a truly technical trout stream. You won’t find success, your confidence will shrivel, your pride will take a beating and you’ll probably feel like crawling off into a hole when it all said and done. Not only that, but you’ll also be impeding the improvement of your fly fishing skills in the process, and you’ll be no different than a kid refusing to take off the training wheels on his/her bike because it’s easier and safer.

So change up your routine, step away from your comfort zone and the rookie trout water for a while. Next time you go fly fishing

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Patagonia’s Endless Summer

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It turns out there is a cure for winter.

The sky is blue. The sun is warm. Red stone cliffs rise above deep green water. Rolling hills covered in sage brush, or what looks like sage brush, roll uninterrupted as far as the eye can see. Twenty-inch brown trout rise out every green pocket to eat big bushy dry flies. It’s January and at home pipes are bursting in my basement.

I could swear I was in Montana. It looks so much like Montana. I didn’t expect that. Just like Montana summer, until you spot a group of llamas resting by the river or a snow covered volcano or a condor sailing like a pterodactyl overhead or your guide says something like, “give it to me please, the fly.”

So much about Patagonia is familiar and so much strange. The language, the customs and the wildlife may seem strange, but rivers are rivers and trout, trout. My fly knows what to do here and it does it time and time again.

We float beautiful wild rivers and never see another boat. We fish long days. The sun is up late here, less than five-hundred miles from Antarctica. The water is so clear you can count the pebbles at the bottom of the deepest runs. The air is warm and sweet and even the fish seem to be carried away in the innocence of summer. I drink wine and eat dolce de leche as the crawlspace at home fills with water.

At night we gather around a fire and watch a goat brown on a spit. We drink too much and sleep under the southern cross. I hear Crosby Stills and Nash singing “Southern Cross” in my head all week. The guides tell stories in Spanish long after I have drifted off. They are full of life and love of this land and these waters. It’s easy to imagine that it’s always summer here. That the pipes never freeze.

Patagonia with its red stag and giant birds, its wine and its chocolate,

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Stretch Thy Fly Line

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Are you looking for more a little more distance in your fly cast? Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box high floating buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line out.

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The Kill

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By Justin Pickett

The rubber basket of my net is stressed as it is stretched, enveloping what many anglers might consider the “catch of a lifetime.”

He is wild and full of energy. His hooked jaw chomping at the air, almost as if he’d bite the hell out of my hand if I just gave him the chance. Peering at me with those eyes, those discerning, brown-yellow eyes, I feel as though he is silently cursing me for ripping him from his underwater existence. His back is a dark brown-green. His flank is covered with random, irregular, black spots that are overlaid on a buttery-yellow canvas. There is a touch of bright red speckled amongst his sides, tail, and on the adipose. His belly is void of spots, accentuating the yellow that fades to a small strip of a grey on the very underside of his body. The stout nose is scarred, telegraphing a powerful jaw filled with tiny, tippet-trashing razors. His large, dominant tail no doubt commands the water. Two feet of sheer power and grace, he is, without a doubt, the prince of piscivores.

I am fortunate to have convinced such a sought-after trophy to attack my fly. The size #4 streamer (tied to resemble a juvenile brown trout) was too much for this meat-eating maniac to pass up. Like a starved cat that’s just found a fat mouse, he struck like lightning. Violently clinching my fly in his jaws and immediately turning back to his lair within the submerged wood. That split second before I set the hook into his jaw, his likely expectations were that of an easy meal. What he, nor I, didn’t realize at the time was that it would be his last.

I was fishing with a good friend of mine. We were enjoying a great day of fishing. We had already landed several nice fish throughout the morning and this was just gonna put things over the top for us. After the wily brown was netted, we took a few seconds to set things aside and prepare for a quick “keep ‘em wet” photo before we would recover and release him back to his watery residence. Everything seemed to be playing out just right.

Once we had all of our gear on the bank, I reached in to remove the fly. It was buried in the roof of his mouth. Not the easiest place to remove a hook, but the hook’s barb was pinched down so I was sure that would make it much easier for both the fish and me. He was lying on his side, cradled by the net’s basket. Calm, still half in the water while I positioned my hemostats to remove the fly. Watching carefully, I clamped down on the bend of the hook. At this moment I had the thought, “You don’t want to slip and injure his gills” run through my head. That would certainly cause harm, if not fatally injuring this fish. With a good hold on the metal, I began to back the hook out from his mouth. It was at this moment, things went awry. My hand was steady. The hemostats didn’t slip. As if to protest my efforts to remove the fly from his jaws, he lurched his head upwards and shook his head. I immediately cringed. I knew that, in that instant, these moments of fun and joy were ruined. Our initial feelings of pride and excitement turned to a gut-wrenching, silent emptiness. As if the Grim Reaper himself had appeared and the crimson red trail suspended within the current was his calling card.

I felt sick. Death was certainly imminent.

Even so, we did what we could.

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Tarpon On The Four Weight

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But I did buy a new four weight reel the other day and a ten weight line. So I sat down to line up the two reels, which is my cat’s favorite thing in the world, and something occurred to me. I rig my four weight for tarpon. What I mean by that is that I use the same system for attaching my fly line to the backing that I learned when I started saltwater fly fishing.

Before I started fishing salt I attached my line to the backing with a nail knot, like I learned to as a kid. Now I spend a lot more time whipping a loop on the back of my fly line with tying thread and superglue. Then I spend even more time tying a double Bimini twist in my backing and connecting loop to loop. But why?

Well, it’s clearly a stronger connection but do I need that on a four weight trout rod? It sure doesn’t hurt when you find yourself connected to a ten pound trout on your four weight. You will be seeing that backing, I promise. Still, it’s clearly overkill. It comes back through your guides smoother and that’s nice, but still not a big deal. Here’s my reasoning, and this is why I use this method on all my reels.

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Watch That Hook Set!

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By Justin Pickett

You’ve just sent your flies along their path to greatness.

Your dry/dropper lays out sweetly onto the surface of the water, right where you wanted it. As you watch your fly doddle along the bumps and bubbles, it happens… The broad nose of a hungry trout emerges from the underworld and nonchalantly gulps down your dry. Everything goes just as planned as you wait for the trout’s nose to dip before setting the hook, and just as that snout tips… you set your hook right into a bush or a tree, possibly costing you a proper hookup on this trout. Maybe you smacked your buddy in the face. Or worse, what if your rod got hung in an overhead limb while the fish was hooked up and subsequently broke your rod tip? I’m speaking from experience on every single one of these examples!

Preventing any of these scenarios is as easy as just taking a look around before making your cast. Take note of your casting obstacles, many of them are likely to become obstacles during your hookset as well. The obvious killers are the overhead limbs and bushes, but don’t overlook

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