Salt Water

Pilgrims in Inagua

  • By: Jerry Gibbs
  • Photography by: Jerry Gibbs
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Eighty-plus years after the
wreck of the
Basilisk,
Great Inagua remains a
“damned queer little island.”
With leaping tarpon,
giant bonefish and more.

The Abaco Island Tarpon Experiment

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
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Armando Pagliari likes to get under people’s skin. In Quebec, I’ve heard him shout at his favorite salmon guide, Rodney Gallon, “Hey Rodney, you are the worst effin’ guide in the world.” But then, to compensate for his evil entertainment, Pagliari spoils Gallon with lavish tips.

We Were Very Lucky

  • By: Brian Irwin
  • Photography by: Brian Irwin
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Bimini's Giant Bonefish

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
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I don’t think Hemingway really cared about a quiet place to write when he spent consecutive years on Bimini, back in 1935 and 1936, although he did pen To Have and Have Not during that time.

Sight-Casting for Black Drum

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Chico Fernandez
Black Drum

Black drum get no respect. And I really don’t know why: THEY TAIL while feeding on the flats, you can sight-cast to them in shallow water, they are plentiful, they grow to more than 100 pounds (that’s not a typo), they can fight hard and they are not easy. If you haven’t cast to a big, tailing black drum, I recommend you give it a try. You may become a better angler for it. I have always thought that when you go after a new species, you can’t help but learn more about the fish’s environment and the different foods in their habitat, while improving your casting accuracy, fly manipulation and fish-fighting.

Cape Cod Stripers

  • By: Rob Conery
  • Photography by: Bob Mahoney
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You can hear it as soon as you step on the Centerville property. It gets louder as you walk down the grassy path, past the flats skiff and the old Bahamian smuggling vessel up on stands. From the open barn door near a small pine grove, in the humming, electric air, an urgent buzzing pops. Inside, from the rafters hang fly rods, surfboards and yacht club burgees.

Going Coastal

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
Chasing king salmon along the Bering Sea.

I have adventure-seeking in my blood; my great grandfather hunted sharks for their oil from a wood skiff during World War II and was a market hunter during the Klondike gold rush; my sister used to cruise around Alaska on commercial fishing boats and now runs fish-buying operations there; my father was a part-time commercial fisherman and hunted mountain goats and brown bears in Alaska; and an uncle and a cousin are cut from that mold, too, one brewing moonshine and prospecting for gold in Idaho, the other a trapper, a bow-hunter and a sailor who now wants to ride a horse, solo, across Mongolia.

Tarpon, Man, Tarpon

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Jeff Edvalds
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Louis Cahill
Man Vs. Tarpon

That I ever ended up in the Florida Keys at all was happenstance. Catching a tarpon on the second cast I ever made to those fish, from the bow of a 28-foot cabin cruiser called the Water Lilly, no less, was pure miracle.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. First about the Keys—to be honest, in my 20s I had no interest in saltwater fish, aside from the Northwest’s salmon. I was fixed instead on the northern Rockies and learning those waters better than any trout-bumming author on the planet. My thought process was this: There are too many great trout streams in the Rockies, and too many varied hatches and water conditions, to understand many of them well, let alone to know a few completely. So, why stray?

Sinking Lines in the Salt

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Louis Cahill
  • and Chico Fernandez
Sea Trout

Going fishing is an adventure, and no matter how long you’ve fished, you never know what awaits you. And this is part of the thrill, sometimes.

Once, on a flight to Belize, I looked down and all I saw were whitecaps, even on the shallow flats. A few minutes later we were on the small island of Ambergris Caye; the wind that met us had to be over 20 miles per hour, with stronger gusts. This was not good for any kind of fishing, but for a group of fly fishermen looking for bonefish, it was terrible.

That evening I gathered the small group before dinner and suggested they think of fishing some of the creeks and rivers in the area. They offer great protection against the wind and a variety of fish species to chase. But the group was set on bonefish. They had thought about bones for months, and they couldn’t give them up. I understood.

Ojo Del Toro!

  • By: Scott Sadil
  • Photography by: Gary Bulla
A Jack Close-up

Valente Lucero captains the panga La Venadita, “the little deer,” off the shores of Punta Arena, an hour by car south of La Paz, Baja California Sur. Valente is known amongst family and friends as Venado, a nickname earned at a younger age when the seductions of local tequila often inspired him to hop about the pueblo of Agua Amarga like a deer and, on more than one occasion, climb into the arms of a cardón cactus and leap, like a frightened doe, to the desert floor below.