Mousing Hallows

Frank let the oars hang loose in the locks as the current pulled the boat towards the takeout. The day had started early but fall days also end early and Frank was looking forward to a cold beer, reheated pizza and fast forwarding through commercials on the DVR.

Mousing Hallows

As the bow of the boat grated against the bank Frank hopped out and steadied the craft. While Frank's attention was focused on ensuring that neither of the sports went swimming he couldn't help glancing up the road to the empty space where his truck should have been parked. Had Seth left him stranded?

Not wanting to trouble the anglers, Frank chatted them up about the better fish of the day hoping that while he was stowing the gear Seth would roll in. After fifteen minutes of stalling he finally let the sports in on the problem hoping it won't affect his tip.

Why are Barracuda So Under-Targeted on the Flats?

As I stood on the bow of a panga which bobbed heartily in the chop running across Mexico's Ascension Bay, stiff 9 weight doubled over and my arm aching from battling the barracuda that was leashed to the end of my line, I thought mostly about landing the monster that had been thrashing about at the end of the line threatening to unbutton the jam knot on the wire leader that held on my fly. We'd been at it for almost 20 minutes and the barracuda showed no signs of tiring. Having not gotten a great look at the fish before it emerged from the depths to attack the gaudy fly I had been stripping through the water at the fastest pace I could manage, I was eager to see the beast. Surely it had to be 20 pounds. Possibly 30.

Barracuda. (photo: Chad Shmukler)
Barracuda. (photo: Chad Shmukler)

Truth be told, I had missed the cuda was battling. It came upon the boat quickly, and by the time we fumbled the appropriate rod out its holder, the fish had passed. As I started to slide the rod back into its holder, my guide Antonio shouted, hurrying me to get a cast launched and the fly into the water. So I turned and raised the rod, ready to fire a cast at the no-longer-visible fish's tail, or at least where I presumed it would be. "No, no! That way!" He pointed at 10 o' clock off the bow, which was virtually in the opposite direction the fish was headed. A jovial exchange of profanities ensued and, after the target was confirmed, I launched the best cast I could in what seemingly anyone would consider the absolute wrong direction. "Now strip! As fast as you can. No! Faster!".

Seconds later, shouts of "It's coming! It's coming." emerged from both Antonio and my boat mate, Chris. My eyes searched for my fly in the water and as they located it, the barracuda -- which had performed almost a 180 degree turn and dove beneath the panga on its way to attack -- torpedoed from below at an almost incomprehensible speed and exploded from the surface with the fly in its mouth.

Everglades: America's Wetland

If you haven't already noticed, we've been on a bit of an Everglades kick this week. Owen Plair introduced us to fly fishing for snook in the glades and Chris Hunt detailed the opportunity to provide a major boon to Everglades restoration that Florida voters are hopefully about to seize. These two pieces provided compelling insight into of the issues that the Everglades have long been facing as well as their importance and value as a fishery. But the reasons to care about Everglades restoration don't end with its standing as one of the most spectacular saltwater angling destinations in the nation; the Everglades is the keystone of southern Florida's economy, is the source of drinking water for over 7 million people and is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful wildernesses in the world.

Everglades: America's Wetland Cover

A new book by Gainesville, Florida photographer Mac Stone aims to introduce a wide audience to the beauty, splendor and importance of the Everglades. The culmination of over 5 years, 1,000 hours in the field, and the culling of more than 70,000 images, Everglades: America's Wetland contains over 240 photographs and 15 essays.

David Yarnold, President of the National Audubon Society calls Stone's book, "Fervent and stirring. Stone's visual storytelling is breathtaking. Everyone who treasures the Everglades will want to revel in this book."