February 15, 2018



On The Fly Outfitters is a new fly shop that has opened in Brunswick, Georgia. Owners Jared DiVincent and Adam Hein have now been open for business since November of 2017. They recently participated in their first First Friday event in downtown Brunswick and drew a big crowd. The store is located at 1501 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, Georgia 31520. Drop by when you are in the area or check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/ontheflyoutfitters.




The First Friday Event at On The Fly Outfitters.

Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club Meet & Greet


The Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club is hosting their 4th official Meet & Greet on March 3, 2018. This is their flagship event that has gotten bigger and better every time. The activities take place at E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin. A family friendly round of activities are planned, along with their biggest raffle ever. Vendors will be on site representing many local companies from the fishing industry. Food will be provided by Tampa Food Trucks, offering a variety of food options.

Anyone interested in sponsoring or vending can contact the club via e-mail at tampabayfishingclub@outlook.com.

Bonefish Successfully Spawned in Captivity

The Bonefish Restoration Research Project (BRRP), a major initiative sponsored by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, has successfully induced spawning of wild bonefish and hatched the fertilized eggs into larvae. This is a first for this species, and a major step in the organization’s efforts to spawn and raise bonefish in captivity. 



The project, which is based at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, achieved this milestone during field experiments in January in the Bahamas. A team led by Dr. Jon Shenker of the Florida Institute of Technology and Dr. Paul Wills of FAU-HBOI successfully used reproductive hormone injections to induce final mature eggs in a female that had been captured from the wild in a pre-spawning state of development. The female was stripped spawn and the eggs fertilized by a stripped spawned male, which resulted approximately 24 hours later in live bonefish larvae.

“We now know that we can indeed get bonefish to spawn in captivity,” said Dr. Shenker. “This success will help us optimize methods to induce spawning of fish brought in from the natural habitat, and to spawn fish maintained for a long time in a controlled aquaculture facility. Our newly-hatched larvae will also enable us to start learning how to culture these very unusual leptocephalus (“slender head”) larvae.”

“Observations of development and behavior of bonefish larvae will also indicate critical habitat and larval drift characteristics needed for refining oceanic models of larval dispersal that other Bonefish & Tarpon Trust research has developed,” added Dr. Paul Wills. “We are gaining a wealth of information about the biology of this species from this one successful spawn and future spawns will only yield more.”

Through BRRP, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, is seeking to pioneer the methods of spawning and rearing bonefish in captivity as a means of providing fish to replenish the Florida Keys bonefish population as part of the broader restoration strategy. The primary goals of the five-year-long program, which began in mid-2016, are to learn how to spawn bonefish in aquaculture systems, rear the resulting larvae and juvenile fish, and ultimately help habitat restoration efforts in the Keys ecosystem.

Bonefish are integral to Florida’s travel and tourism industry. It is estimated that bonefish, tarpon and other species in the ‘flats fishery’ contribute more than $465 million to the economy in the Florida Keys.

“This is a great step forward in our research and development of methods to rear bonefish in captivity,” said BTT President Jim McDuffie. “Our team was able to produce eggs and larvae from wild bonefish that had not gone through the species’ usual spawning behaviors in the wild. Ultimately, success in this project will give us another tool in our toolbox as we work to restore the bonefish population in the Florida Keys.”

Comprehensive Oyster Restoration Plan Announced in Maryland


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources today announced a comprehensive plan on oyster restoration, including its intention to recommend Breton Bay and the upper St. Mary's River as the fourth and fifth tributaries to satisfy the state's commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement goal of restoring native oyster habitat and populations in five tributaries by 2025.

The department's selection complements ongoing large-scale oyster restoration activities in Harris Creek, the Little Choptank River and the Tred Avon River.

"Maryland is committed to restoring the oyster population throughout the Chesapeake Bay for both ecological and economic reasons," Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. "This keystone species builds the foundation of a healthy marine ecosystem, cleaning and filtering water, while also serving as the backbone of our fisheries-based economy, be it aquaculture or commercial harvesting."

The recommendations will be shared with the Maryland Oyster Restoration Interagency Workgroup, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The department will also gather input from citizens, communities and stakeholders in an open and transparent public comment process.

Breton Bay intends to be restored with the assistance of the state's federal partners while work in the upper section of the St. Mary's River would be conducted by the state. All contracts for seed planting and substrate placement in the final two restoration sites will be competitively bid.

"These restoration recommendations strike the right balance between the environment and the economy by concentrating limited yet targeted resources on existing sanctuaries with the most potential for success, based on the best available science," Belton said. "These two sites have the broad support of environmentalists and riverkeepers as well as county leaders and watermen."

Along with its restoration selections, the state also plans to study and survey existing state oyster sanctuaries around Annapolis and the Lower Eastern Shore. For the first time, the department will design and develop oyster management plans for the Manokin, Nanticoke and Severn rivers to determine how the strategic use of state investment and resources, including seed, shell and spat, could spur natural oyster growth and reproduction.

Lastly, the department intends to move forward with developing a rotational harvest system, designating a seed study area, and renewing the state's oyster shell collection and recycling programs.

The state's oyster restoration plan was formed, in part, from feedback from the Oyster Advisory Commission, which includes academics, conservationists, legislators and watermen.




January 15, 2018

Legendary Guide Steve Huff Headlines Florida Fly Fishing Expo

The 2018 Florida Fly Fishing Expo in Crystal River on February 9-10 has scheduled legendary Florida Keys guide Steve Huff to show and tell some of his secrets for catching giant permit, tarpon, snook and other trophy gamefish on a fly rod.

Huff, who has been described as “the top fly fishing guide on the planet,” tops a schedule of more than 20 expert-led seminars and new fly fishing product displays at Plantation on Crystal River on Florida’s west coast. Admission to the two-day expo is $25 but free for those 12 and younger when accompanied by an adult.

The Florida Fly Fishing Expo is put on annually by the Florida Council of Fly Fishers International. President Tom Gadacz said, “We are so pleased to have Steve Huff coming to the Expo. This guy has a bank-vault of knowledge about catching big fish on the fly and he’ll share some hard-earned insights.

After earning a marine biology degree at the University of Miami in 1968 Huff started guiding in the Florida Keys. He pioneered fly fishing for tarpon, permit and snook in the Keys and also led clients to IGFA record tarpon near Crystal River and Homosassa. Sandy Moret, his good friend and a fellow fly fisher, once described Huff as “without question, the top fly fishing guide on the planet.”

On Friday, Feb. 9, Huff will present a tutorial about how to locate and catch permit on the fly. On Saturday he will discuss the importance of and how to make quick fly casts in all directions. As the featured speaker at the Expo’s closing banquet on SaturdayHuff will share insights he has learned from 50-years of guiding fly fishers to saltwater trophy gamefish.

More than 20 other sessions about how-to fly fish, fly cast and tie flies are scheduled indoors and outdoors at the spacious, waterfront resort of Plantation on Crystal River.

  • Fly Fishing for snook at night by Capt. Rick Grassett
  • Paddleboard fly-fishing by David Olson.
  • Fly casting tutorial for women by Mona Brewer, youth fly casting by David Lambert, emergency casting clinic by Pat Damico, and casting games led by John Hand and Jim Patchet.
  • Beginner and intermediate fly casting demonstrations by Capt. Pete Greenan.
  • Fly fishing for warm water fishes in North Florida by Tom Logan
  • Wading the flats by Leigh West.
  • History of women in fly fishing by Jen Ripple.
  • DIY bonefishing in the Keys and Bahamas by Capt. Bryon Chamberlin.
  • Fishing Mosquito Lagoon secrets by Capt. Frank Cantino.
  • Fly fishing for baby tarpon in the Indian River Lagoon by Capt. Eric Davis.
  • Effortless fly casting by Joe Mahler.
  • Fly fishing the Everglades by Ed Tamson.
  • Fly tying with synthetics by Dave Schmezer.

Sandy Moret Named Fly Fisherman Conservationist of the Year

Photo Credit: Sage Fly Fishing photo by Greg Poland.

Photo Credit: Sage Fly Fishing photo by Greg Poland.

A founding member of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Sandy Moret serves on the BTT Board of Directors and is the leading force behind the Now or Neverglades coalition. Moret, owner of Florida Keys Outfitters, has been fighting Florida's water management policies that favor Big Sugar for more than 40 years. He has worked to protect the Everglades and, of course, the region's amazing fisheries. Check out the organization at gladesdeclaration.org and learn why his partners at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust nominated him.

A Call to Action for Anglers

 Photo credit: Paul Dixon

 Photo credit: Paul Dixon

In November, the Atlantic States Marine Fishing Commission, will decide on proposed changes to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for menhaden.
         One of the most critical issues for anglers is the development of menhaden-specific management metrics that account for the ecosystem-wide benefits they provide, including their critical role as forage fish. But we must also urge the commission to immediately move management of menhaden to a conservative harvest, while giving ASFMC experts time to develop these menhaden-specific metrics.
         Our future days on the water—not to mention the $27 billion in economic activity that recreational anglers generate depends on sportsmen and women taking a big stand for this little fish. We've made it easy to be a part of this public review process online—share your story with decision makers now.
         Support bringing forage fish management into the 21st century and ensure that future generations will have an opportunity to scan the horizon for the frenzied swoop of birds and the roiling waters of a striper blitz.

Beyond Bait

Photo credit: Paul Dixon

Menhaden are also the most heavily commercially fished species in the nation, though you will never see it on a menu or in a fish market. Billions are ground up and used in products such as fertilizer, pet food, and cosmetics. More individual menhaden are caught each year than any other fish species, and they are second only to Alaskan pollock when measured by pounds harvested.
         That commercial harvest could be costing sportfish a valuable food source. Unfortunately for the "most important fish in the sea," current management of menhaden stocks does not account for their critical role in the marine food chain. As a result, menhaden are managed in a way that puts gamefish populations, and our recreational fishing opportunities, at risk.
         However, anglers now have a brief window to speak up for improvements to the immediate and future management of menhaden, which would benefit sportfishing, water quality, and coastal communities.

Modernizing Management of the Most Important Fish in the Sea

John Gans - Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Anglers up and down the Atlantic coast know that a shortcut to finding gamefish is to follow the birds. When birds are working on the horizon, dive-bombing schools of menhaden—the meal that's also critical to many popular gamefish—you can't get out of the no-wake zone fast enough. It is going to be a good day of fishing.
          Atlantic menhaden, also known as pogey or bunker, are high-protein forage fish that striped bass, tuna, mackerel, sharks, drum, cobia, and tarpon from Maine to Florida depend on for food. You name it, if you are casting a line to it, it's most likely feeding on menhaden.
         Menhaden also help filter water and improve marine habitats. By feeding on algae-causing plankton, an adult menhaden can filter 2.4 gallons of water per minute. Their importance to the ecosystem is clear. Remove them, and the system breaks down.
         Simply put, there is no fish that means more to the East Coast than Atlantic menhaden, and their future is being determined right now.

Cold Snap Unlikely to Kill Florida Snook This Time

Brett Fitzgerald - The Snook & Gamefish Foundation

It’s chilly out there. In fact, it’s downright cold in some of Florida’s typically balmy coastal regions. Whether you appreciate the break from the heat or you are suddenly longing for our typically warm weather, it is worth taking a minute to think about how the weather impacts our snook and other tropical fish.

For many, the current dip in weather immediately reminds us of how badly snook were impacted back in 2010. Luckily, the current weather event is not projected to be nearly as impactful. Back then, we had freakishly cold temperatures for over a week, with drizzling rain and consistent wind. That led to a lot of ‘cold kill’ fish deaths.

So far, this event is shaping up to be less severe for a few reasons. First, it shouldn’t last nearly as long. Water cools much slower than the air, so a couple days of chilly nights and cloudy days is far less damaging than a week or more. It also has been a little cooler for a few days, which might have provided a signal for snook up in shallower waters to skedaddle to deeper, safer waters before the chill sets in.

Another difference between this snap and 2010 is the wind direction, which has a bigger impact on the fish along the west coast. Waters from the Everglades up through the Tampa area are a lot more shallow than on the east coast, where deeper waters – warmed from the tropical Gulf Stream – are right next door to many fish hang-outs.

If you’ll recall, the 2010 freeze featured consistent NE winds which blew the west coast tides out and never let them come back in. That trapped a lot of snook in the shallow back country, where they froze by the tens of thousands. If the current winds hold, there might be enough water in the cuts and runs for snook to head to the safety of warmer, deeper waters for a few days.

All that said, there will be cold related fish kills over the next week or so, and many of them will be snook. As usual, you can expect to see more of that along the northern fringes of the snook populations.

Usually, as the trapped snook start to chill, they will slow down and start to swim erratically near the surface, then eventually roll on their side or back and lay still in a stunned state. If it is only a short cold snap and the sun warms water right away, they might survive – at least for a while. But more than likely this leads to death.

As retired FWC snook guru Ron Taylor has pointed out to me many times in the past, many snook that survive the initial cold blast end up dying within a few weeks because their slime coating and/or immune system is damaged, and they are more susceptible to parasites and diseases.

If you are on the water a lot, you will probably see some stunned or dead snook. Here’s what you should do.

First, don’t touch them. If they look dead, they might not be and bothering them in their severely stunned state won’t be doing them any favors. And if they are dead and an FWC officer happens to find out you are grabbing them up, you won’t be doing yourself any favors either.

Your second move should be to report the killed fish to FWC’s Fish Kill hotline. You can do this by phone (800-636-0511) or online at http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/health/fish-kills-hotline/. This is actually better than calling your regional FWC office, even if you know there are snook researchers there. The reason is, the hotline is where the information is consolidated across the state, and that is the source of info that will tell the regional offices where to look for issues.

Finally, this little snap needs to serve us all as a reminder of the importance of logging all of our catches in iAngler, using the app or website (www.angleraction.org).  The 2010 snap is what started the iAngler program in the first place. Since then, the data has been used in stock assessments for a variety of species in Florida, and has branched out to help other fisheries better their understanding of the fisheries (most recently Atlantic Red Snapper). But it only works if we log our catches. It’s free, and it is a superior personal log book for you. Visit your app store and download the free app, iAngler, and start logging ASAP. This will help across all facets of fishery conservation, including how best to respond after a cold episode like this one.


November 15, 2017


War Heroes will compete with world-class anglers at the 6th Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament, November 16-18, 2017, at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Florida. In honor of Veteran's Day, the event will host two war heroes to join the competition. The acclaimed event was inspired by President George H.W. Bush, an avid Keys angler and a regular visitor to Cheeca. Proceeds benefit the locally based nonprofit Guides Trust Foundation (GTF) for Florida Keys guides in need.


"This is a great opportunity for these war heroes to join discerning anglers from across the country as they hunt for the most elusive game fish in the world," said General Manager Bob LaCasse. "They have earned this chance to unwind and join the other anglers, while enjoying the fabulous fisheries of the Keys."

Anglers fish on a guided charter boat or their own boat with a licensed guide. They compete for trophies and awards for releasing five different species of inshore fish: snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and permit. Individual and team trophies will be awarded for fly, general tackle/spinning/conventional and artificial lure divisions. Live bait is permitted in the general tackle division.


Social events are held at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, a sportsman paradise renowned for its barefoot elegance, with fishing departing from nearby World Wide Sportsman.

This tournament kicks-off on Thursday, November 16, with a cocktail reception, rules meeting, patriotic banquet on the beach and auction. Tickets to attend the kickoff dinner and auction are available to the community with advance reservations.

Competitive fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, November 17, and Saturday, November 18, 2017. The tournament culminates on Saturday with an awards ceremony and banquet, where anglers can mingle with fishing celebrities such as world-famous fly angler Stu Apte. Awards for Individual Grand Champion, Individual Runner-Up, Grand Champion Team, Runner-Up Grand Champion Team, Champions in the Fly, Artificial and General Tackle Divisions will be presented.

More details are available at cheeca.com/all-american.


How anti-erosion measures hurt fish—and living shorelines may help.

by Amorina Kingdon - Hakai Magazine

Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

The land beneath Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is sinking. Couple that with climate change, and the sea level is rising twice as fast as the global average, chewing away at shorelines and drowning islands. Private landowners, who occupy about 85 percent of the shoreline, have responded with walls, rocks, and barriers, which have helped slow the losses. But evidence is growing that this coastal hardening may be insufficient at holding back future seas, and is doing serious damage to more than a dozen fish and crustacean species. Now, planners and landowners are hoping engineered living shorelines can solve both problems at once.

A hardened shore makes life more difficult for trout, perch, crab, and other species that need a natural shoreline to thrive, says Matthew Kornis, who recently published a paper evaluating the effect of shoreline hardening on these species.

Kornis, a fish biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, studied hundreds of sites in and around Chesapeake Bay, from natural beaches and marshlands, to shores lined with riprap (cages of loose rock) and bulkheads (walls, often wooden). The harder the shoreline, he found, the harder hit the species. This was true even for riprap, which is often considered more environmentally friendly than sheer walls.

Kornis says natural shorelines offer things hardened shorelines don't: juvenile fish live in the nooks and crannies of rocky shorelines, for instance, and these environments serve as nurseries. Fish also feed within beds of seaweed and seagrass. Hardening decimates these complex habitats, leaving nothing to eat and nowhere to hide.

Hardening isn't unique to Chesapeake Bay. Estimates suggest that about 14 percent of the United States' coast had been hardened, and the shorelines of Europe and China are also heavily armored. While the motivations for reinforcement vary (development, industry, sea level rise), most Chesapeake Bay residents are trying to protect their property from rampant erosion. Sea level rise is a relatively new problem for many coasts, but land subsidence means it's been the norm in the Chesapeake for a long time.

"Erosion has been happening for centuries," says Zoe Johnson, climate change coordinator with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Chesapeake Bay. Tide gauge data shows the water rose nearly a third of a meter in the past century. Similarly, the sea moved inland by roughly half a meter a year on average. But these rates are accelerating as climate change adds a rising sea to sinking land. "The influence of global factors will outpace the land subsidence," she says.

In the early 2000s, Maryland convened a climate change task force, including Johnson, to study how to better adapt to these future seas. They identified one promising method that seemed to stand up to the sea: living shorelines.



The Backcountry Fly Fishers of Naples, Florida was formed in 1993 to:
• Provide members a place to share fly fishing experiences in the interest of fun and fellowship
• Assist and educate members to improve their fly fishing skills and knowledge of the sport
• Promote conservation of natural resources
• Promote the sport of fly fishing in the community

Today the club has over 200 members. We have a monthly meeting featuring an expert speaker and fly tying demonstrations. Monthly outings provide an opportunity for members to fish in an interesting variety of area locations. Casting and fly tying classes are held monthly for beginners and advanced skill levels. Members receive a monthly the newsletter, the e-Breeze.

The Backcountry Fly Fishers is affiliated with the International Federation of Fly Fishers, an international organization of over 300 clubs, whose purpose is to provide a strong voice in the state and national conservation movement. The Federation provides fly fishing education programs and teaching aids.

The Backcountry Fly Fishers is affiliated with the American Casting Association (ACA). ACA is organized to foster national and international amateur sport competition in the sports of angling and casting.


Club meetings are open to the public and guests are welcome.
Meeting Location
Tiburon Golf Course Clubhouse
2620 Tiburon Dr., Naples, FL
On Vanderbilt Beach Rd., turn north onto Tiburon Dr.
On Airport-Pulling Rd., turn east onto Tiburon Blvd., then south (right) onto Tiburon Dr., to clubhouse.
Meeting Dates

Second Monday of the month October through May
Meeting Schedule
6:00-6:30 PM Socializing, activity sign up, raffle ticket sales, fly market
6:30-7:00 PM Announcements, activities schedule, business meeting
7:00-7:15 PM Demonstration
7:15-7:30 PM Break, activity sign up, raffle ticket sales, fly market
7:30-8:30 PM Program
8:30-8:45 PM Raffle
8:45 PM Adjourn
Next Meeting
December 11, 2017

After the Hurricane

Jimmy Jacobs Editor .jpg

Needless to say, when major hurricanes sweep through an area, our first concern is for the people living there. In the aftermath folks close enough pitch in to help rescue those in need and later look for the missing. The rest of us that are far removed reach for our wallets to provide support for those efforts.

It is only later that we begin to ask how the fish and fisheries faired during those disasters. We now are far enough removed to ask those questions regarding both Harvey’s impact on the Texas coast and Irma’s in the Florida Keys and along with that state’s southwest coast where she made landfall.

Along the South Texas Coast, both strong winds and flooding were the dangers from Hurricane Harvey. In Houston’s Harris County alone, at some point, more than 1300 square miles were under water.

Fortunately for saltwater fly fishers in Houston, as soon as the week following the storm the three Fishing Tackle Unlimited stores, the Orvis Store, Bass Pro Shops, and Gordy & Sons Outfitters were all open for business and striving for some normalcy. Farther down the coast near Corpus Christi the popular Swan Point Fly Shop at Rockport did sustain damage, but by the end of September it too was up and running.

Obviously, the guide business took a double hit on this coast. Many guides were off the water trying to put their lives and property back together. Additionally, their local clientele was busy with those same chores, leaving no time for fishing.

As for the fish, most reports point to little to no effect. Redfish, trout and flounder have all been reported to be present, hungry and getting less fishing pressure. The biggest hazard for fishing has been the amount of debris in the water, necessitating extra care while running boats.

As for Hurricane Irma’s effect on fishing in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda and surround isles, who knows? Those places are still in recovery mode and the infrastructure is in no shape to support visitors to find out.

The Florida Keys from roughly Cudjoe Key to Islamorada took the brunt of Irma and those islands were not opened to visitors until early this month. The entire stretch still is cleaning up and rebuilding. Hotels, restaurants, fly shops and guide services all are spotty at the moment.

Some reports filtering out point to the fishing having been basically unaffected. But, of course, as in Texas, debris in the water can be a hazard.

Along the Southwest coast of the Florida peninsula, it is a mixed story. Chokoloskee, Naples and Marco Islands all took a beating and much like the Keys are still recovering. Up at Fort Myers, the storm turned inland ravaging some of that city. But, the barrier isles of Sanibel, Captiva, Cayo Costa, as well as Pine Island and its namesake sound, were basically spared. They are open for business. Whitney’s Bait & Tackle and Norm Ziegler’s Fly Shop, both on Sanibel, have their doors open and are dispensing fly gear and fishing tips.

The staff of Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing was on Pine Island Sound the week following Irma’s visit to assess the fishing. While the waters were churned up and quite murky for that time of year, the area was alive with tarpon of all sizes. Up around the mangroves the snook were also feeding. Once the water clears, this part of the coast will be back to business as usual.   

Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair

The 4th Annual Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair is slated for September 16, 2017, at the Ocean Springs Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The event is co-sponsored by the Gulf Coast Council of Fly Fishers International and the Historic Ocean Springs Saltwater Fly Fishing Club.

The public is invited with free admission for introductory classesfly tying demonstrations, regional fly fishing seminars, vendors, outdoors-related auctions and raffles of equipment, clothing and artwork. 

            Proceeds from the event will benefit programs at the University of Southern Mississippi – Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Gulf Coast Council efforts, which include fly fishing programs with the Atchafalaya High Adventure Camp and other regional Scout troops and summer camps at the GCRL and various conservation projects recently including a reef building project on Mobile Bay.

Many of the best casting instructors and fly tiers in the region will be attending. Anyone who has ever thought about learning to fly fish, or just improving their skills, has a great opportunity to learn from the best. 

For more details visit gulfcoastfff.org.