Wednesday, 4 November 2009

April Grand Slam in Belize

Yet another very belated report but well worth logging.

In April 2009 I was lucky enough to accompany Mika , David and Giles to Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize. Mika and I flew Via Miami as we planned to hit the Florida Keys on route home. David and Giles flew via Atlanta. We were greeted at the Airport and soon sailing out to sea on the Lodges own Boat. Two hours later we arrived at the lodge the professionalism of the operation and warmth of our welcome were apparent. The Lodge was perfect , no less. This is a fishing story so I will save the details of fine dining and accommodation for another day. I will say that Turneffe Lodge sets a standard of customer care that most other lodges should aspire too. A perfect place for any level of fly fisherman.
There is a great deal of luck in fishing, we all know that. I do believe you can bring your own luck. Visualisation, positive thinking all contribute to this . There are philosophies out there, namely ''the Secret’’ . It has worked for me at certain times and never more so than on this trip. I spent a great deal of time imagining my hand around a Permits tail. Just that one thought ,no more. To imagine the whole event would require too much effort and thus water down the effects, so my concentration was all focused on the image of my hand and a Permits Tail .

Turneffe Flats Lodge certainly delivers and within the first hour of the first day Mika and I were facing a shoal of tailing Permit. A Shoal of 30 or 40 fish happily tailing away ,Switching direction back and forth , slowly zig zagging the way that they do.A sight for sore eyes. Our adrenaline levels were peaking almost straight away. Frustration would certainly figure as a keyword when it comes to Permit fly fishing. I had encountered Permit in Cuba and Los Roques prior to Belize both encounters had resulted in much head scratching and questions to ask.
Mika and I took turns at presenting our Crab Flies to the Shoal. Our guide Dubbs has been in this situation countless times before and his relaxed manner was welcome. Eventually myEP Permit fly was taken and for the first time in my life I actually had a Permit stripping line away and onto the backing. Ten minutes later we were tailing the fish. The emotional surge for me was intense. I was almost lost in the moment. It took a deep breath of air and a slight gulp to compose myself. At last I had landed a Permit.

Day Two Grand Slam day
A bonefish before breakfast in front of the lodge, that’s the way our days on Turneffe started. Mika had been presenting flies to a shoal of bonefish for twenty minutes while trying to get a bite. I strolled along and asked if I could have a quick try, One cast a strip of the fly a bump and run and a small bonefish all within a couple of minutes. Perhaps this was going to be my lucky day ?

Craig the owner of Turneffe told me that there were two types of Permit fishermen. The guy who has never landed a Permit and the expert who has landed one. So on that basis I was now an expert more than equipped to tackle this fickle species. Dubbs our guide had explained that there were two styles of Permit fishing at Turneffe, one being the style I had encountered and succeeded with the day before and the second being the more technical version casting at ones and twos on the flats. At around 2pm I took the bow and moments later a Pair of Permit arrived on the scene. One cast and my second Permit was hooked. The fish was landed and Photographed, things were going well. Two days and 2 Permit landed. I said I was an expert !

By now I was starting to feel increasingly guilty. All I wanted from the day was to see Mika land a Permit. Grand slams were of no importance to me or at least I figured there is a limit to ones luck. The next couple of hours were spent in pursuit of Mr Permit, obviously I insisted that Mika should hold the bow. At around 4.30 Pm we started to head back in the direction of home, as we neared the lodge Dubbs suggested that we stop or ten minutes and have a few casts in the channel for Tarpon. I blind cast a Pure Black bunny across and swung the fly back with no action. The sun was starting to turn Gold and the daylight would soon fade, it had been another special day. I cast my line out blindly in order to simply load my fly line back on to the spool. As the line straightened I began to reel the line back while looking at the guys and chatting. Yes you guessed it, a hard tug followed by an explosion on the surface and yes I was playing a Tarpon. No need to get the line back onto the reel obviously! The moment was just incredible and completely hilarious we all laughed while I played the fish. Every time you hook a Tarpon you wonder if it will shake the hook. The Tarpon always had the advantage. This time around I was completely confident we would land that fish . We did and I had done it. A Grand Slam

Some days you fish skilfully , some days you catch nothing ,Other days all you luck comes at once. Who would have it any other way.
Many thanks to Mika and Dubbs both of whom were great people to share that day with.


Sunday, 1 November 2009

Cape Cod 2009 Report

In June 2009 I hosted our 5th trip to Cape Cod. I had two groups of 4 guys alongside me for a week at a time. Cape Cod has started to feel like a second home for me these days . Seeing as I am 5 Months behind schedule with this report .I will keep this report short and sweet.


Week 1 I was joined by Ant and Richard who had both fished alongside me the previous year also Stuart and Chris from Ireland our new recruits.

It was with an element of uncertainty that I hit week one. All the reports from the internet and friends were indicating that the Stripers were running early this year. The sheer volume of fish running North along the coast is collosal . I figured there would still be fish around. The weather forecast was pretty good . I have found that the better the weather the better the fishing on the Cape. Happy weather equals happy fish. Week one was certainly not up to the standard that I have become accustomed too over the years. The shore fishing was pretty tough at times. I remember a couple of days where the wind blew pretty hard. There’s always somewhere to fish on the cape and tuck out of the wind. The tough days on foot were counterbalanced by great fishing from the boat. I joined the gang for a session on the boat one day and witnessed a very large shoal of BIG stripers cruising around on the surface and desperate to hit a fly the moment it hit the water. This created chaos upon the boat as all of us played 37 - 40 inch fish . Some would hit the fly with 2 feet of the boat. I barely cast the fly more than 5 yards at times, more a case of slapping the fly down in the water next to the boat. (Highly technical stuff!!)

Week 2

Mike Russ Jamie and Ryan
Week 2 found the fish in better spirits and willing to feed closer to shore. The weather turned warmer . I have fond memories of shore fishing at dawn around Race point. I also remember a great session on my own flats fishing in P Town harbour. All the guys were afloat leaving me to fish alone , sight fishing the flats of Cape Cod represents the best shore based striper has to offer, over the years this has replaced the chuck and duck fishing that I first experienced. This is always weather dependant so if the sun comes out head to the flats with your Polaroid’s. As usual the boat fishing was excellent. I would not consider a trip to the Cape that did not involve a couple of days out on a Centre Consul boat.

This definatly provided far better shore fishing than week one. I managed to catch several keepers from the shoreline. I also bumped into a few old faces as usual. Those charecters are as much a part of the appeal as the landscapes , wonderful architecture and those big Striped Bass.

This trip has become a big part of my life. I hope to be wading the flats and beaches of the Cape Cod for many years to come.


Friday, 16 October 2009


In 1999 Cally and I travelled around the globe I carried a surfboard to Indonesia , South Africa, Australia, California and Fiji . It was during our time in Austaralia that I found saltwater fly fishing. The fishing overtook everything else and surfing and kitesurfing vanished. Lets be honest . Fly fishing doesn’t exactly burn off the calories and during this period my waistline increased. I had gone from slim surfer to fat fly fishermen over the course of 8 years . This winter it suddenly hit me . I moved to Cornwall for Surfing . I live less than a mile from the Uk’s most respected wave and I have been living like a old man. This summer I managed to address this. Most days I run along the beach or surf. This has provided essential balance and im packing 10 kilos less to date.

Bass fishing in the UK 2009
This has been a strange year . The bass fishing was great in May with blitzing bass everywhere on every visit. Then I spent two weeks striper fishing on Cape Cod in June. When I returned the weather had turned terrible the baitfish had vanished and the bass with them. My guided bass fishing bookings were down on the last couple of seasons. So the summer was somewhat of a non event. I did have the pleasure of sharing a few great days with clients during early September. I missed the best tides of the prime month due to the Tarpon fishing trip to Costa Rica in September and here we are now , its October and once again I will miss some great tides while we are in Los Roques Venezuela .

Saltwaterflyfisher is born

Globetrotting has been my passion all my life. The travel side of my business has been expanding all the time , while retail side contracted in 2009 . The URL has been registered with us for several years and the concept has finally come to life . The new website should reach completion sometime soon. The ethos is simple and pretty much a case of back to roots. To provide a personalised service built upon on visitor experience. It’s easy to stock pile destinations to send your clients too, download a few images of fish, bedrooms and scenery . Assimilating a portfolio of destinations that you or your colleges have been to that you can offer ‘’hands on advise’’ about takes time. The concept goes further and runs deeper and there are other elements besides travel.

This Blog needs an enema !!

Its been almost a year since I last made an entry, thats shameful. Its been an eventful year with plenty of highs and a couple of lows. Its certainly been a year of change and reflection.
The business
After 4 years of obsessive hard work I came into the year on a high. Despite the recession business had never been busier. This coincided with the launch of the long overdue upgrade to the retail website along with the development of the new Logo. A total overhaul of our accountancy systems was also called for. The business had grown and we had no database or decent data management in place. When you run a tiny business from a bedroom then you can afford to be inefficient, as the business grows these weaknesses’s start to cause havoc. Add the birth of my daughter in January and I had my hands full , looking back , no wonder I was so stressed out!
Then it went thud ! Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more it went worryingly quiet! After re investing all of the profits from the last couple of years that came as an un welcome change. Five months later I feel I know what needs to be done. Its a case of going back to our roots . I have switched the investment back into new flies and fly tying products.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Los Roques Saltwaterfly fishing October 2008

Los Roques trip October 2009
It’s amazing the way that something’s fall into place. A chance encounter, one phone call to a friend and before you know it you find you have booked a flight and are headed to Venezuela. I speak to a fair few guys that have made the pilgrimage to Los Roques and I have quite fancied a trip to its flats for a long time. Everyone who has been has been has great things to say about the Island its friendly inhabitants and the fishing.

Los Roques certainly lives up to your expectations, As we made our way through the clouds in our flying sardine can the seascape of aqua blues, turquoise and greens are breathtaking, amid spectacular if maybe slightly worrying cloud formations , the 1/2 hour flight from Caracas was certainly memorable, The regular charter plane being was in the hanger for servicing so we were squeezed into a light aircraft . We buckled up and then the captain flicked the switch on the ignition . There was a sound somewhat reminiscent of a Volkswagen Beetle with a broken starter motor, Click then silence, Click then silence. A few expletives from the captain later or at least I suspect that’s what they were, we were asked to vacate the craft while essential repairs could be made. No doubt the large hammer was sent for. Half an hour it was all systems go. I joked to Peter that they were probably circling the airport testing out the plane for faults, moments later the plane was landing on the runway!
In comparison the landing on the small airstrip on Los Roques was smooth and uneventful. We were greeted by Raphael our guide for the next week. No need for a taxi from the airport, we made our way to the lodge on foot through the sand, The lodge is owned by an artist the creative attention to detail of the rooms and living areas combined fine Italian food would impress any visitor


An hour later we made our way to the beach to fish for the afternoon. As we hopped up onto the Panga good sized Bonefish were right in front of us chasing down fry, young children were swimming in the shallows playing. These bonefish were quite relaxed and willing to share the water with the children. This was rather a shock to the system. Los Roques is a unique fishery and that was evident straight away . Our first afternoon was spent avoiding the thick black tropical storm clouds and plucking small Bonefish from the beaches and flats. It was pretty early on that were informed by our guide that the fishing was not going to be at its best, Los Roques was recovering from the recent Hurricane which had just missed the Island by 200 miles. This is not the kind of news you want to hear after a long journey across the Atlantic but that is the chance you take. The rough seas had dispersed the baitfish, upset the equilibrium and made the fishing tough. If this was tough then I would love to be here when it’s at its best!

Dog and Bone !
20 th
One thing that my fishing partner had told me about on los Roques was the variety of species you can target. Our second day was an odd one or at least it was for me. Over the course of the day I landed , Baby Tarpon , Bonefish , Yellowtail snapper, Spanish Mackerel ,Bonito ,and Pompano, One of each , no more ,no less. Once again we were shrouded by thick storm clouds and at one point we were forced to sit out a Tropical downpour. Fatigue is as much the enemy as any Tropical Low and the long journey the change of time zone and the heat did get to me. The famous pancake flats were quite deep ,as we waded and the sun was interspersed with cloud. I really struggled to spot the bonefish over the darker patches as sweat and suntan lotion leached into my eyes. It always takes a couple of days to settle in and find your feet. Excitement will only get you so far before the fatigue due to the long journey, a change of time zone and heat catches up with you

A Baby Tarpon on a Gummy Minnow size 2
A decent night’s sleep can make all the difference. Refreshed and somewhat more adjusted to the time zone I felt ready to fish . We headed across to Crasqui, a favourite spot of Peters. This white sand beach offers great sight casting for Bonefish cruising the margins in search of a meal. Pelicans were diving and Bonefish were hassling the Birds to release their catch. Peter fished the Floating Gummy while at this point I stuck with the Christmas Island special. We were both hooking the bonefish via diferent methods. The floating gummy is a great fly to fish, you may not catch quite as many as you would do with a traditional gummy but the thrill of watching the Bones circle, target and attack your fly takes some beating. A change of location was called for so we headed off to another one of the many quays with wade able flats. Our arrival was well timed as a large shoal of Bonefish were cruising quite deep down . A long and accurate cast would always result in a hook up. At this range we were very prone to dropping fish, several fish were landed and plenty managed to shake free, the fly of choice was a Christmas Island Special size 6. We decided to have a rest and hoped back onto our boat we enjoyed our Tuna Burritos in the shade of the Bimini. It’s hard to eat when you have a shoal of Bonefish within casting range. I decided to experiment and tied on a very large and very heavy Permit Crab Pattern. A long cast found the shoal and the fly was allowed plenty of time to get down deep. While the fly made its way into the depths it was taken on the drop. It was obvious that this was a decent fish as I stripped line from the reel and felt heavy. Today the fishing Gods were smiling upon me. At one point the fish went straight through a loop in a mooring rope. With aggressive persuasion and a great deal of luck I managed to steer the fish back through the ropes. We landed and decided to weigh the fish and she hit the scales at 7 1 /2 Lb. That’s my best bonefish to date. The rest of the day has been forgotten, eclipsed by landing such a fine fish.
7 1/2 lb Bonefish on a Permit Crab
If the fishing Gods had smiled upon us the previous day then I would have to guess that somehow we had offended them, with a red wine hangover I boarded the boat. The weather looked fine, several hours later and zero fish later we were sheltering from the torrential rain. This was followed soon after by the attack of the Kamakazi Mosquito squadron. These bugs took no prisoners, Clothes were no match for these elite troops, and they simply sucked the juice through your clothing. We ran for the sanctuary of the open sea. Mosquitoes clung to our clothes and faces in the breeze. I had been warned about the mosquitoes and apparently this was worse than ever due to the rains. Clouds seemed to hug each quay and flat hampering our chances of sight fishing, you just get days where every direction you go you seem to hit a brick wall. We were heading towers a total blank. Blitzing Bonito rescued Peter and I was forced to hit the spinning rod with a surface popper. One Horse Eyed Jack was landed and one was released at long range we finally made our way back to Grand Roque, Not the greatest of days but that’s fishing. The resident Bonefish of Grande Roque are always awaiting you and a few bonefish at dusk rescued an otherwise slow days fishing.

Horse eyed Thugs (Jacks)

23 rd
We headed out full of hopes for the day. Our plan was to hit the Pancake Flats , once again the forces conspired against us , thick clouds hugged the flats , the lights were switched off, sight fishing over turtle grass with cloud cover is tough going at the best of times, had the water been shallower we would have been able to spot the tailing bonefish. A change was called for we followed the sunshine and the Birds. Jacks, Bonito and blue runners were chasing bait in shallow water .We encountered bones on remote sand flats close to deeper electric blue coral filled holes. Birds were resting on the sandbanks, Bonefish cruised within inches of the shore line, and we cast too and landed a couple of nice fish prior to spooking the shoal. The variety of flats you encounter on Los Roques has amazed me, The Pancake turtle grass flats, Sand flats in the middle of the sea, and Beach flats where bikini clad Venezuelan women watch you cast at the bonefish within a few yards of the shore. The day had turned out to be a tough one, half a dozen bonefish each and a couple of pelagic, We encountered a Permit around the coral flats and Tarpon on the Town beach, The cloud cover had risrcteds our movements as we followed the sun

Birds sunbathing !

24 th
The last day always comes around too fast. Once again the remains, waiting for the town bonefish and pelicans to clock in for the early shift . In the distance forked lightening pierced through the clouds spiking the sea. Not the best omen you would say, soon after the heavens opened up, one or two casts too many resulted in a soaking as I ran back to the Posada. Like a fool I had locked myself out so was forced to sit the storm out. A young boy with a spinning rod followed me into the shelter, we sat there for half an hour, we had a great chat, he in Spanish and myself in English. He asked me for my Costa sunglasses I smiled and said nice try
Once again our options were going to limited by the blankets of clouds. Our home Island was bathed in sunshine so we opted to drift along the down beach, Bonefish were harassing pelicans close to shore, the decision to hop out and wade the town beach resulted in a few Bonefish


This Bone shot straight around the jetty. Time to walk the plank!

We headed back to the same areas as the previous day, upon arrival we immediately spotted a large permit cruising the flat, the fish zig zagged its way through the mixed ground and turtle grass. Head down obviously looking for a meal, the Permit rod was ready to go along the Large crab fly. We hopped out of the skiff and began to stalk this very large Permit. My mouth dried out instantaneously as I stumbled over loose coral beneath my feet. We had to get up wind and ahead of this fish, meanwhile a huge tail swung back and forth as the fish burrowed or crabs. I made one weak cast after the other, suddenly my casting had gone to rats, the large crab I had been casting earlier in the week had turned into a brick . My guide wanted me to hit the fish on the head with the fly or at least get the fly very close indeed. The pressure was starting to show as my casting worsened with each shot. My greatest fear was spooking the fish hence my cast was too short most of the time. I did manage to arouse the attention of this fish for a moment. The Permit chased my fly for possibly ten yards before turning away. In the process I had lured the fish uncomfortably close to Raphael and me. We both crouched down and covered our faces below the brim of our hats as the fish came closer and closer, eventually the fish was within two rod lengths of me tracking up wind and into the sun. The fish started to vanish. I knew my chance had gone. It had also been a great chance. Once again I have been left feeling helpless confused and perplexed by this creature. My Permit saga goes on. I know I should head to Mexico or Belize and cure my Permit problems but too be honest I want one of these big Atlantic swimmers the type I have chanced upon in Cuba or Los Roques. Later over dinner my well travelled fishing partner owned up. That was the largest Permit he had ever seen, at least forty pounds
Were not Tackle Tarts! Promise!

Tackle and Flies
Bonefish and Gummy minnows are synonymous with the location, but what did surprise me was the diversity of species that you can target . Be prepared to chase the blitzing fish and Birds. Gummy’s will catch just about everything that swims around these waters. For some reason I did not pack any Clouser minnows, that was definitely an oversight. Next time I will pack a few size 4 with heavy eyes and tied very sparsely. The reason being that when the birds are blitzing and you strip your fly like crazy to stimulate the Bonito and Jacks into a hit , your fly will ride straight across the surface , the Birds will pick up your fly , this can become highly frustrating . One morning Peter managed to land three terns and a Pelican .At least I saw the funny side

More Birds

Spanish Mackerel on a Gummy Minnow
A Christmas Island Special size 6 will suffice for a great deal of the Bonefishing situations, throw a few superlight flies and Bonefish Bitters in for fishing the Pancakes. Gummys should be size 6 or 4 for the Bones , size 2 and 1 for the Baby Tarpon and size 1/0 for the larger Tarpon. Decievers and seducers are preferred over Toads and Bunnies. For the Permit pack a bunch of Crab flies and take them to a priest and ask him to bless them.
I laughed when Peter boarded the boat with two eight weights rigged, one with a Gummy and the other attached to a Christmas Island. This turned out to be a great idea as you end up switching between those two flies all day every day. I will do the same next year. A sturdy Ten weight should do for the Tarpon . Always leave a rod rigged and ready for that Permit.

January through to June can have the best Bonefishing . This is apparently the busy season for visiting anglers. For Tarpon then visit during October and November. Personally there’s a limit to how many bonefish I want to land in a day . Variety is the spice of life for me so I would elect to sacrifice the best bonefishing in favour of a shot at Tarpon. I guarantee that you will still catch plenty of bonefish, they are everywhere. And then there’s the Barracuda I never got around to telling you about those did I !

I will be hosting 2 trips to Los Roques in 2009. If you would to join us or have any further questions then please contact us. 0044 1326562753

Monday, 27 October 2008

Los Roques Trip October

I will ammend this with a great deal more detail, What a great place!!!

Will be going back . Heres a few pix

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Great Company and Great fishing this week.

200 fish in three days !!

After a great start with a 9 lb fish from the shore I had the added bonus of three days boat fishing lined up. This the time of year to get out as much as possible. I will continue to do that for the next few weeks .


I was joined by the editor of Total fly fisher Steve Cullen and Dave Edgington . We had a great days fishing around the Fal with plenty of fish landed. Steve landed a nice 4 lb fish casting tight to the banks Most of the other fish were taken on the drift with fast sinking lines. All fish fell to the Sparse Olive Frosty Fish Fibre Clouser size 4.


Fished within the estuary with Jason Lowe and his mate Alex - 7 am - 4 pm. We had exactly or we think exactly 100 fish . It took around 1 hour to get the last 2 fish but we thought what the hell. Lets be morons.
That was made up of 21 Bass all 2 - 3 lb class - 7 Mackerel and the rest were all Pollack ranging in size from 2 oz - 2 lb. Most fell to Sparse FFF Clouser . Most of the others fell to a horrible Christmas tree style Blobby baitfish pattern, at times this monstrosity was hit straight away. It was a shame to see it work as well as it was a horrible looking thing .


Fished the with Jason and Alex. It was hard to match the fishing from the previous day. The wind had switched from NE to E and picked up in speed. This proved to be rather bumpy so we hugged the shoreline staying in the lee of the land. After a slow start we eventually started to catch consistently with fish falling for sparse offerings rather than Jason’s Sparkler. (Much to my relief!! )

Alex lost a good fish. At the end of the day
the whole estuary is stuffed with Herring fry. Fish busting around the margins all day . I cant wait to get out again.


Monday, 22 September 2008

A Big Bass on fly for 2008 at last!

2008 has been a tough year down here in Cornwall. The weather has hampered us as you would expect. Beyond that, the one thing that has concerned me this year is the lack of larger fish, make no mistake, large bass are almost always hard to come by regardless of wind and tide. My guided customers have all had what they would regard as a great days fishing, they go home happy having landed a load of different species and several bass at around 2 ½ - 3 ½ LB. This happens daily. I’ve had a few thousand of those now so I am always on the look out for the larger specimens. I’m not complaining about the day job as I love taking people Bass fishing in Cornwall. What a great job and for that I am thankful.

If you fish for Bass in the UK then you have to understand that we are fishing for the left overs, the ones that have slipped the net, so to speak. These fish are subject to so much abuse and mismanagement. The commercials harvest fish that have not spawned and most UK recreational sea fishermen are the sporting equivalent of thugs. I’m afraid that threes only a small proportion of UK based fishermen who have grasped the essence of sport fishing. , Catch and release, Fair Play! When you catch a mature Bass from the shore you have to consider the incredible journey that has brought this fish to you and the sheer odds that that fish has had to survive. Any Bass that makes it past the Dolphins , Seals , Pair Trawlers, Gill netters, Livebaiters, Moronic recreational sea fishermen deserves a bloody medal !

This fish measured in at 29 Inches that’s around 9 lb in weight. Trust me to leave the scales on the boat when I headed out on foot tonight!!

This fish was released and I will be standing on the same Rocks at exactly the same time next year hoping she has survived in the face of all the odds