Everglades on the Fly

Capt. Bruce Miller looks is a grizzled redneck who has spent the better part of 30 years guiding clients from Everglades City about an hour south of Naples, Florida in the fabled Ten Thousand Islands. When you ask for him at the dock, he’s likely to spout, “Bruce? Oh I heard he was in jail!” My friend Kevin and I were turned on to Bruce from the legendary Jeff Legutki of Backcountry Fishing who was booked shooting a show with the even more legendary Jose Wejebe that weekend. We’d hit the jackpot, Bruce was in many ways the man who could puts on the fish during touch conditions, heavily stained water in some areas and on a half-day deadline.

On his Hell’s Bay Boatworks skiff, we zipped out out of  Lane Cove and in no time were skimming by hundreds of island as we dove deep into the backcountry in search of redfish, snook and trout. Sadly, the tarpon were pushed out of the bay by a couple of days of wind, they just couldn’t be found, so Kevin and I turned our task to a slam and trying to put as many different species in the boat that morning as we could. He’d be using a spinning reel, I would be using my 8wt flyrod, a GLH2O, that the Fly Shop had graciously fedexed directly to my Naples condo after breaking it on large bucketmouths a week earlier in Texas.

We pulled into a very quiet bay twenty minutes later and fished the lee side of islands out the wind, casting up into the Mangroves. It was a lesson in patience and exercise in accuracy that paid off eventually with a redfish on a brown deciever, played carefully to the boat. My first Red! Kevin hooked up immediately afterward at Bruce’s suggestion that he cast right back in where I had, probably a small pod of them, he mused.

My first red had not one but three beautiful black spots!

Later, we found a pile of a few juvenile snook, a number of short speckled trout, a flounder and even a mangrove snapper on the fly. I had a 20+” speckled trout on 10lb leader and  my guide was able to touch the leader as he broke free and fell back into the flats. He would have been a triumph to get into the boat, but his quick release was just as fine.

Here Be…Speckled Trout

I’m heading to Choctawhatchee Bay, or if you prefer, Destin, Fl for five days of sun, sand and seafood. The area is reknown for its redfish and speckled trout, so if I’m lucky, I’ll get into some sort of piscatorial trouble in-between meals with the in-laws. In fact, I went up to Kensico today to practice casting with my new 8wt broke-in the 8wt GL-H2O  with L2A large arbor reel from the Fly Shop. It packs power, first cast, 60 feet. It was sensitive, stripping in a woolly bugger I felt a little tiny “bump” which produced the biggest perch of my life, he was easily 1.5 lbs.  Though I’ll admit I was hoping for a smallie to really test the rod. I should’ve went to Cross River, oh well.

So! Choctawhatchee Bay used to be known as Santa Rosa bay, was mapped by the Spanish originally in 1700 or so… The “resort” were staying at has both bayfront and beachfront, so there should be plenty of opportunity for a little of this…

Hangover Cured by Angling Films

Owwwww, my head. Spent a lazy Sunday watching angling films online recovering from a 3am bender at my local, Lady Jays. Owner Sam Mason is a great host and if you’re a foodie you know him from his transcendent eatery Tailor in Soho (now closed) where he was also the chef. If you’re into music you may know him as the host of IFC’s Dinner with the Band. Thanks for the whisky and pickle back (that’s a pickle juice chaser and honestly its really good)!

So, because I really couldn’t do anything else today, I started watching the fly-fishing films to get a sense of casting technique, but soon I was drawn into the story and cinematography. These short and full-length documentaries could be classified as outdoor adventure films, not unlike Dick Proenneke’s masterpiece Alone in the Wilderness.

Quite a few of the angling films are extended trailers for films in production or DVDs. Fly-fishing journal The Drake, runs an annual film festival so I got caught up watching those too. Of the films, I am really looking forward to seeing– Low and Clear stands out. “Drift” and “Rise”, both by Confluence Films (I’ve ordered on DVD) tell stories of special guides and rivers from all over the world, bringing a good human story to the films.

You’ll see these films have a few things in common, beautiful landscapes and scenery, drama, great fishing action, and adventure.

Here are the best of the selection I viewed today. Surely there are more great angling films–and if you know of them, let me know, leave a comment with name and a link.


“Low & Clear”

“Eastern Rises


The intensity of the Tarpon fishing action in this, the closeness, just blew me away.


“No Passport Required”


“Redfish Can’t Jump”

“Once in a Blue Moon”

You’ll never look at a mouse the same way, I promise.


Short Films

“Alpine Bass”

“North Woods”

“Desert Bass on the Fly”

“The Heart of the Marsh”

This fantastic short was made in response to the BP Oil Spill about the resilience of the Lousiana marsh. I fished the gulf in September and it was amazing and clear, Cobia and Amberjack were healthy and delicious.

“Musky Country: Zero 2 Hero”

I’ve never gone Musky fishing, but its now officially on the bucket-list.

“Red Like Winter”