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.

Florida Voters Poised to Give Huge Boost to Everglades Restoration

One of America’s most iconic — but troubled — fishing destinations might be getting a helping hand from the voters of Florida on Nov. 4.

If the Land and Water Conservation Amendment is approved by Sunshine State voters, a full third of state fees collected from real estate transactions will go into a conservation fund that could be used to purchase or preserve important lands and waters that are vital to the health of the sport fishery in Florida.

A fly angler leashed to an Everglades snook (photo: Owen Plair).
A fly angler leashed to an Everglades snook (photo: Owen Plair).

According to Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg, some of the money could be used to purchase thousands of acres of land directly below or adjacent to Lake Okeechoboee, allowing for water to be reintroduced into the Everglades rather than channeled into the Caloosahatchee and Indian rivers. If the amendment passes, it could create a $20 billion revenue stream over the next 20 years that can be used solely for conservation purposes in Florida.

Fly Fishing for Everglades Snook

The Everglades National Park, put simply, is one of the best and most incredible all around saltwater fisheries here in the United States. The Everglades provide the opportunity to target a myriad of species on the fly including tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, snapper, grouper, and many more.

Everglades Snook

One of my favorite things about the everglades is the ever-changing nature of the fishing, as tides, weather, time of year and location play their roles. One day you could be jumping 100+ pound tarpon, then run 25 minutes to sight cast to snook, or chase redfish. You can literally do it all in the Everglades which is why it has become one of my favorite destinations to fish.

The Everglades offers up a massive amount of water and area ]to fish, which almost leaves you with the sense that you are fishing water no one else has ever thrown a fly into. As you weave in and out of the mangroves running deep into to the glades, it is easy to feel lost, which for me is one of the best sensations while fishing a new locale. Fully relying on the knowledge of your guide and knowing you are exploring an area that only a select few have ever fished is exhilarating. And, as cell phone service transitions from weak to non-existent and any mark of mankind is left far behind, it gets that much better.

Final 2014 Photo Contest Reminder: 1 Week Left

Each year, come October, we start beating the photo contest drums pretty loudly. The reason is simple: each year we offer a list of prizes comprised some of the best fly fishing gear our there -- and this year is our biggest year yet by far -- and we want to make sure we reach as many readers as possible to insure that everyone gets a crack at it. And, there's more in it for us that just getting to give away some truly killer gear. In the process of doing so each year, we get to assemble a great collection of fly fishing photographs for everyone to ogle for years to come.

Hooked for Life
One of last year's honorable mentions (photo: Finestone).

Only one week remains to enter your best fly fishing photographs in our 2014 photo contest for a chance at over $3,000 in prizes from Orvis, Smith Optics, Cheeky Fly Fishing and Scientific Anglers. If you haven't entered yet, or haven't entered your limit of 5 photographs, head to the official contest page to do so.

Rig Up Faster with Loon's New Rigging Foams

We've written plenty about the idea of slowing down while on the water, praising patience, thoughtfulness and observation. And while we stand by these recommendations, the simple fact remains that flies which aren't in the water can't catch fish. Given such, we all still strive to maximize the time we spend fishing. Loon Outdoors' latest product, its new Rigging Foams, is designed with that goal in mind, seeking to help you get more of your flies into the water, more often.

Loon Outdoors Rigging Foams

Rigging Foams are simple accessories that are built to allow you to tote along pre-rigged fly combinations in an organized, easy-to-handle manner. Whether you pre-rig multi-nymph rigs, dry dropper rigs, multi-dry rigs or whatever else your pleasure is, the rigging foams provide a stackable, re-usable organization system to store your pre-rigged fly setups in a tangle-free manner and access them quickly and easy when you're ready to start fishing them.