Project Permit

On April 7th, 2014, as part of Costa’s Project Permit, we ventured out and successfully placed the first ever satellite tag on a Florida Keys permit! Costa’s Project Permit is joint effort between Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and Costa Sunglasses to address data shortcomings specific to the permit species. The catch and recapture data will finally inform us on permit movements in Florida waters and provide managers with new data that might be applied to management zones.  For more visit Project Permit.

original content Bonefish and Tarpon Trust

Alaska Steel

From good friends Bryan Gregson and Austin Trayser comes a sneak peak at some fly fishing in Alaska for the almighty steelhead in some fantastic surroundings.

original content Hatch Outdoors

Amirante Tails - A Seychelles Experience

As if there aren’t enough reasons to travel to the ends of the world, why not one more!  Grant Wiswell yet again capturing some great footage while on location in the Indian Ocean in pursuit of all things fishy.

original content Castaway Films

The Bahamas Initiative

The Bahamas have some of the best bonefish fishing in the world, thanks to many miles of shallow flats, and to a community of fishing guides that act as stewards of the fishery and its habitats. In a study conducted in 2009, during the height of the Great Recession, the recreational fishery for bonefish in the Bahamas had an annual economic impact exceeding $141 million (USD). With more recreational fishermen traveling today as the economy recovers, that number is certainly higher. The fishery not only supports jobs, but also allows a culture that relies on the sea to continue.

Despite its economic and cultural importance, the fishery faces trouble. The trouble comes in the form of gillnets, resource extraction, and coastal development.

Gillnets: Despite regulations that prohibit the capture of bonefish with nets, the use of nets to target bonefish is increasing. The most troubling case is on Long Island, where gillnetting on the flats has already negatively impacted the bonefish population, and is threatening the future of the fishery. Despite these illegal acts being reported by fishing
guides and others, enforcement has been lacking. Whether the bonefish are being used for bait or are illegally sold at market, their capture brings significantly less economic value than if those fish remained alive and part of the recreational fishery.

Nevin Knowles, head of Long Island Bonefishing Lodge, said, “If this keeps up for five years, our bonefish population in Long Island will be gone. They’re using, at the last estimate, a $58,000 bonefish to catch a 90 cent snapper, and they’re killing our industry”, referring to the estimated value of a single caught and released bonefish given the overall value of the fishery. He continued, “The tourists go to the Out Islands for the fishing. That’s the only thing that attracts tourists to Long Island. They’re killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.” In the recent past, similar episodes have been reported on Grand Bahama Island and South Andros.

Dr. David Philipp, Chair of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, sums it up well:

“Bonefish are very susceptible to capture by netting, and removal of those fish could crush the Long Island bonefish population for years to come. This would destroy an extremely valuable industry that benefits the entire community. Everyone in those communities should act to prevent those irresponsible persons from stealing the Bahamas’ natural resources for their own purposes.”

Resource Extraction: The flats of Grand Bahama Island are world-renown for their large and plentiful bonefish. One of the first bonefish lodges in the Bahamas was located on the east end of the island, adjacent to the expansive sand flats that extend for miles to the southeast. This area has been proposed as a National Park to provide protections to the bonefish fishery and other fisheries important to residents. These sand flats are being proposed as a site for sand mining, with sand dredged to a depth of 16 feet. Of particular concern is the area near Bursus Cay. After a public meeting in McLean’s Town in May 2014, Eric Carey, Bahamas National Trust’s Executive Director noted, “The East End Communities, especially the fishermen, have made a strong case for this proposed
national park. Noting the importance of Bursus Cay as to the sustainability of their fishery, and the threat that the proposed dredging represents, they have asked Bahamas National Trust to expand the original proposal, to include this important area.” In a story about a similar meeting concerning the proposed park and possible dredging project as reported in, local fisherman Cecil Leathern said, “We all know what will happen if this dredging is allowed; how it could destroy not only the bonefish flats and our lobster grounds, but also affect them down in Abaco. We need it all protected.”

Coastal Development: After years of research and working with fishing guides, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust researchers have identified a bonefish spawning location on Abaco. Early data suggest that this may be the only spawning location for bonefish that inhabit the world famous Abaco Marls. Bonefish that live in the Marls for most of the year migrate to the spawning location each winter, and return to the Marls after spawning. A proposed resort development along the migration pathway and near the
spawning site would disrupt spawning, with inevitable impacts to the bonefish population and the fishery.

Bonefish Conservation: Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has been working with collaborators to address these threats to the bonefish fishery in the Bahamas for the past 8 years. BTT is working with science partners, fishing guides, and lodges to conduct tag-recapture research to identify the home ranges of bonefish. We’re also working to identify the migration pathways to spawning sites, and to identify spawning sites. This information is then used to develop habitat and fish conservation plans to ensure a healthy bonefish fishery. We’re hopeful that information gained in recent years on Grand Bahama Island and Abaco is being used to enact protections for the bonefish fishery and habitats on those islands. We are now applying efforts to other islands, including Long Island, Andros, Great Exuma, Acklins, and others.

Contact the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to get involved.

original content and photo Dan Dow and B&TT

Simple Fly Fishing - Tamworth, NH

Over 100 years ago Dr. Remick was the only town doctor in the small community of Tamworth, New Hampshire.  His legacy was passed down through the…

Over 100 years ago Dr. Remick was the only town doctor in the small community of Tamworth, New Hampshire.  His legacy was passed down through the years, as many other physicians accepted his torch from their predecessors.  His farmhouse has since been converted into a museum rich which history.  Children revel at the facility during field trips.  In the winter some of them even come to witness the archaic, ongoing art of cutting blocks of ice from the farm pond to be used throughout the year.  And that pond is full of brook trout.

Fishing is restricted to those under age twelve, making this water the perfect place to learn to fly cast.  I visited the pond today with my four children who are learning the art.  A good friend gifted me a Tenkara rod, which proved to be very intuitive and easy to cast for the kids. It’s a much easier, more fluid way to gain one’s rhythm than the days of my youth, when I learned the art with a heavy, nine-foot Shakespeare outfit from the local hardware store.

My earliest days fly fishing took place at a weed-choked pond in Maryland.  The sunfish swarmed in packs around ratty poppers.  An occasional bass would thrash at simple soft-hackle patterns.  The pond was owned by my barber, whose name was actually Mr. Barber.  His haircuts were terrible, but my father and I always patronized him as a way to repay him for his generosity. It was simple fishing, albeit with a reel, pure and uncomplicated.  There were no currents to read, no hatches to match.  The experience was unworried, productive and easy, just the experience I needed to firmly sink the addictive hook of fly fishing into my own scissor.   I learned patience, which would serve me well as I graduated to the freestone streams where I’d wade in old Chuck Taylors or Vans, casting that same Shakespeare rod for picky trout.  Those trout turned their noses up at every one of my flies for years before I landed an honest fish.  It became a pursuit to which I was addicted, and the product of landing a fish became a rare treat to top of what I revered as great days on the water, even though they were fishless.

At the Remick pond we only came up with one small fish, and despite the truth that to a seven year-old tadpole chasing is more interesting than dragging streamers, it was a magical day in the community next to ours.

Today, I am the town physician in Tamworth. It’s a special place, simple, beautiful and full of kind people.  And the art of fly fishing remains as pure and as simple as the day I cast my first fly.  My children find it curious, but deep in their eyes, where the light is as dark as the pond water, I saw a spark.  Now, by fanning the flames, I hope they too will see what I saw in the pastime over thirty years ago.

original content and photo Brian Irwin


We should never forget the simple things in life and how much those can mean to an emerging generation. 

original content Joe Cummings

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