Musings on Piscatorial Pursuits

Angling in the Uttermost Part of the Earth

The sudden chop of turbulence and the intercom’s crackling announcement of our descent and arrival into the Rio Grande airport stirs me from sleep. I slowly uncoil from the impossible contortions of airplane slumber, take painful inventory of my travel-weary self, and slide open the window shade to watch our landing. The view below jolts me into total consciousness… Read More

How I Won the One Fly (Almost)

Okay, let’s be straight about this right from the get-go. I did NOT win the 2007 Jackson Hole One Fly. First place was as distant as a dream, as improbable as that rare moment when man beats the best of nature, when a once in a lifetime fish not only takes the fly but is successfully fought and landed – and does it on demand, under imposing conditions… Read More

Angling for Gold on the Rio Juramento

Great fisheries don’t just suddenly appear on the map, they must be discovered, their waters plied, their secrets unlocked. Such efforts don’t always succeed at first, and if they finally do, they sometimes come at great cost… Read More

A Fly in the Eye

Ten years ago the worst thing that ever happened to me... happened. I took a 1/0 saltwater hook in through the side of my eyeball and back out directly through the middle of my iris. Actually I didn't do it; the guy I was photographing fishing did. My eyeball collapsed in a hot flare of light, then dark. As if this wasn't bad enough, we were alone on a deserted beach… Read More

4UR so Beautiful to Me…

John’s deep baritone cracks long before he hits his intended octave as he croons his slightly modified version of the decade-old Joe Cocker ballad to a hushed dining room of graying boomers, all synonymous in age to the legendary rocker. Climbing through the notes, he reaches his final stanza at the same moment he runs out of breath… Read More


Kenai Kid

Winter comes to Alaska like the rapid onset of a cold. The seemingly endless hours of summer daylight suddenly begin to erode at a rate that becomes perceptible on a daily basis. By mid-September the sun is setting ten minutes earlier every 24 hours. More than 60 minutes of daylight is lost each week… Read More


Fish Fare

“Hey Walter, do you ever eat bonefish?” I ask my guide as we pole down an immense flat on the east end of Grand Bahama in search of the same. “Ya, mon.” “Are they any good?” “Ya, mon.” “What do they taste like? How do you cook them? Are they truly bony?” Warming to the somewhat illicit idea of actually eating a bonefish I press a little further… Read More


Coming into the Country

“That’s our helicopter?” questions the Colorado lawyer in an incredulous voice. “Oh no, there’s no way I’m flying in that,” exclaims the retired businessman from Ohio. “That can’t be ours, that must be one they use for parts,” pleads the Wyoming custom homebuilder. We all look around, then at each other, then back at the decrepit looking Mi-8 helicopter…
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Winter of the Bighorn – Montana Cast & Blast

The challenge is not in the instrument but in the orchestration. Cast and blast, fin and feather, fish and fowl, gills and bills. From species-specific alliterations to ever-clever rhymes, just the act of nomenclature for this sporting dualism inspires the intellect. But the actual casting and blasting? That’s an exercise in modern warfare… Read More


The Pebble Mine Nightmare

If you have never witnessed the spectacle of Pacific salmon migration it is difficult to truly appreciate the natural and commercial impact of these fish on the rivers of Alaska’s Bristol Bay drainage. Imagine glacial blue waters streaked with veins of blood red salmon as literally millions of fish respond to a primordial urge to return from the sea… Read More


Marlin Miracle

There occurs at least once in the life of every serious fly fisher the capture of a fish so memorable as to become forever etched in the tableau of that angler’s personal history. These “life fish” are rare and happen very infrequently over a long career of fly fishing. As a result they become the stuff of legend, and their tales are passed along from cocktail party to campfire… Read More


Bahamas Cast & Blast at Flamingo Cay

As we leave the compound and follow Charles B. M. Bethel III’s flashlight beam along the narrow, muddy track, a feral squeal cuts through the thick, wet darkness of the Bahamian night causing the hair along the nape of my neck to stiffen in tiny erections of nervous stimuli. Somewhere up ahead in the dark a large animal crashes away through the mangroves… Read More


Agony & Ecstasy Along the Permit Coast

So you want to catch a permit? You’re certainly not alone. Landing this coveted trophy on the fly is perhaps the most important rite-of-passage for the aspiring saltwater angler. In fact, you’re just not worth your salt until you do – at least not in the estimation of those that have! How to achieve this goal has as much to do with luck as it does with skill, and skill is a huge factor… Read More


Oh Tarpon! A Palolo Worm Hatch in the Keys

There is an “event” in the lower Florida Keys – some say mythical but science proves otherwise. I can tell you that it’s real – real as in actual, as in I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Beyond that the legendary palolo worm hatch is maddeningly transcendental.  Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone who has fished it, but nobody seems to have actually fished it themselves… Read More


Downtime in Tahiti

The first time I visited Tahiti and the nearby island of Tetiaroa to produce a story on the reportedly “amazing new bonefish destination,” it was, frankly, a major letdown. The outfitter, Mike Chapman of Tahiti Lures, had left for some other atoll in French Polynesia to fish with his financial backer and failed to even appear… Read More


Papoose Creek Lodge

It’s called “August Singularity” in Montana, a few days of freaky, cold Canadian climate that comes sweeping down from the North at the end of the month, dampening the dog-day heat of summer and washing the air clean of smoke from the inevitable forest fires of the season. “Meteorologists don’t believe it’s a real phenomenon,” chirps the bubbly blond forecaster… Read More


Grand Bahama – Wish You Were Here!

Okay, so maybe the huge bonefish being shown off by the practical joker above isn’t exactly real… bit it WAS. Or at least it represents a real fish that was caught off the marl-bottomed flats of the northern shore of Grand Bahama. Swiped temporarily from the foyer wall of the lodge at North Riding Point Club for a wanna-be hero shot… Read More


Smashing Bones & Pati Pati in the Seychelles

At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, or at least what my South African guide Vaughn Driessel said I was seeing. A long line of troubled water, actually a wave about four inches high and at times a hundred feet wide, was “flowing” back at me against the current of the incoming tide. “Get ready. We’re about to smash some bone,” chortled Vaughn in his clipped Afrikaans accent… Read More


Atlantic Salmon University

The South Platte River spills out of the Rocky Mountains into the southwest Denver suburb of Littleton. Still only a fraction of its eventual size, and having flowed only 10% of its total length at that point, it has, nonetheless, already used up its cachet as being one of the nation’s premier trout streams. It most certainly has never held Atlantic salmon… Read More


Arctic Treasure

You could probably figure it out with a good map and half-a-head for directions. But then again, you’d need your own bush plane, something powerful but small, with those big tires capable of landing on bowling ball size boulders. And you’d have to have brass cajones to actually pilot that plane, so I guess this water is pretty safe… Read More


Adventure Fantastica de la Familia

“Dad, what’s the matter with you? Can’t you see it? Right there by that little green plant sticking up.” My 16-year-old daughter points 40 feet in front of the boat, her beautiful, small hand flashing cherry-red nails, her sunburned arm festooned with multiple bracelets. Once again I’m amazed at her eyesight. All morning she’s been spotting bonefish before any of us… Read More