Mexico Inshore Fishing

Mexican SnookFilmmaker RA Beattie capture some intense inshore Mexico fishing, including wading for some very big snook and flats fishing for permit. [Read more…]

Another Secret: Canoe Chairs

Call them canoe chairs or camp chairs, sitting in one of these lightweight, portable alternatives may change your mind about what’s possible in simple comfort on your skiff.

I first discovered canoe chairs when a client of mine with back problems asked if I had anything better than a stiff cooler-top cushion.  Having just returned from camping in southern Montana, the pleasure of my Therm-a-Rest chair kits was fresh in my mind.  As an experiment, I brought one on board.  From that day forth, this client and several others insisted on this alternative.  And though I prefer to stand up while running, the cushioned canoe chair always beckons, and provides a nice break when running miles across open water.

Therm-a-Rest Compak Chair

Chair kits like the Therm-a-Rest Compak have the advantage of adjustable cushioning and even smaller total size when stored — though they tend to take up more room when inflated.

The advantages of a canoe chair are many, but chief among them are back support and simplicity.   There’s nothing like “stretching out” in a flexible chair during a midday break.  And most canoe chairs can be easily folded up and stored or taken out of the boat.  They’re maintenance-free (a phrase I’ve learned to love).

The one disadvantage of a canoe chair is that they tend to blow out of the boat.  This can be remedied by getting into the habit of sliding them into the cockpit or rear storage area while fishing, and remembering not to stand up while running.

25th Annual Redbone Tournament Starts November 2

The 25th annual Redbone tournament, part of Robert James Sales Redbone Celebrity Trilogy to help fund medical researchers “to catch the cure for Cystic Fibrosis,” happens November 2-November 4 in Islamorada, FL.

The Best Fifteen Bucks You’ll Ever Spend

Stainless Steel Hook RemoverThere are very few pieces of equipment that I’ve held on to–or that have lasted–for more than ten years.  In fact, the only one I think of, other than fly rods and reels, is my stainless steel hook remover.

Why did it deserve a permanent place in my skiff?  Let’s just count the things I have done with it:

  1. Removed innumerable barracuda flies from toothy gullets.
  2. Removed dozens of shark flies for in-the-water releases.
  3. Removed hooks from particularly tough parts of tarpon, permit and bonefish mouths without twisting.
  4. Retrieved various bolts, screws, flies, and random items from engine pans and drains.
  5. Retrieved various items from the kitchen disposal that didn’t belong there.

What’s more, these devices are so well designed and so simple that they are almost indestructible.  Just be wary of some of the cheaper models that may not use top-quality steel and springs.

“Esquire” on the New “Hooked Up” Web Series

Hooked UpEsquire blogger Eric Vilas-Boas offers up some of the “wisdom” from Tom Colicchio’s first episode of “Hooked Up,” which featured “shock-chef and Asian-food wunderkind Eddie Huang.”

Sample: “Should pot be legalized? I thought it was already legal. I smoke it in the street. I smoke it at work. I smoke it in bed. I smoke it at yo mama’s house.” —Huang

Fastest Fish Taco Ever

Fast Fish TacosThere is nothing quite like the taste of fresh grilled or fried fish, salsa with roasted poblanos, and a chipotle mayo all wrapped in a toasty corn tortilla.

Ezra Caldwell of “Teaching Cancer To Cry” makes it look really fast and easy.   [Read more…]

Slow Fishing: Bill Schaadt and Air-Cooled Outboard History

Johnson Single-Cylinder Outboard

Johnson two-cylinder Model A-25 Outboard, originally designed as a helper motor for bicycles.

The first and only time I ever met legendary West-coast steelhead fisherman Bill Schaadt was on the west side of Loggerhead Basin in the Lower Florida Keys.  My client and I were poling very slowly, looking for laid-up tarpon, and at around 10AM we heard the sounds of a small motor approaching from Cudjoe Bay.

Eventually a tall man in a little metal skiff arrived outside the bar we were fishing.  He shut down his motor–an antique two-cylinder Johnson, from what I could tell–and stood up.  Only then did I realize he wasn’t wearing any clothes.  He broke out his fly rod and began peering over the edge of the cut.  Somehow it was obvious that he knew what he was doing.

The combination of images was too much to bear.  I poled over to talking range.  “Howdy,” I said. “Howdy,” he said back.

“That’s quite a set-up you have there. Where are you from?”


“Where did you get that boat and motor?”

“I drove here with it on the top of my car.”

“That’s a good spot you’re in right there.”

“I hope so.”

“What’s your name?”

“Bill Schaadt.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Bill.  I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Pleasure to meet you too.”

That was it.   We had fishing to do and he did too.

Two years later Bill died of lung cancer.  I hadn’t known he was sick when I saw him there in Loggerhead Basin.  Obviously he had fishing on his mind until the very end.

A couple of things stick with me from that day.  One, Bill was fishing in just the right place –it was the best fishing in the lower Keys all week.  And he got there with a tiny motor that was decades old.

It still reminds me that the best fishing is often fishing that involves what is now properly labeled “slow,” as in slow food and slow gardening.  When I finally realized that my own fish-finding senses were better tuned if I was not in a hurry, I began catching a lot more fish.

Bill Schaadt drove across the entire country to fish a single spot at the bottom of the Florida Keys.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he knew what he was doing, and why.


Tying a Half and Half Double Half-Hitch Jam Knot

Wired to Fish just published these instructions on how to tie a high-breaking-strength knot that doesn’t cinch down or over-tighten–ideal for braided line and fluoro.

First Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary Rules Review Since 1990

Recommendations for new Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary management and regulations could be hammered out by October 2013, according to a Sanctuary Advisory Council timeline.

Hell’s Bay to Introduce New Marquesa in Fort Lauderdale

Hell's Bay Marquesa

Hell’s Bay Marquesa

It’s not all big yachts at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show.   Hell’s Bay Boatworks will introduce the new 18′ 1″ Marquesa, which the company touts as a skiff with a “buttery smooth ride” that weighs only 695 pounds.  The Hell’s Bay booth will be a hub for captains and experts as well, with C.A. Richardson, Capt. Rob Fordyce, Capt. Joe Gonzalez, Capt. Carl Ball and author and fly fishing personality Chico Fernandez all in attendance.

We’ll hope to hear all about the new Marquesa in an upcoming interview with the company on Skiff Republic.