Photo: Greg Dini

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beauty and the Beast in One


Perpetually stoked!
The "key ingredients" that saw the job thru...

Bow to the King!

Had an unbelievable day out on the water today. For one reason or another the stars decided to align. We have seen "the beast" for at least two years now and have finally convinced her to feed. She took a fly that I tied up this past fall for Vermont pike that I am now calling "the critter." We had partly sunny conditions with a blowing east wind. I drove way up wind of the honey hole and set a drift that looked good.  Standing on the back poling platform during the drift I spotted her from way out. Once my lucky positioned drift closed in on the honey hole I  picked up my 11 wt with 10 lb tapered bonefish leader(100#+ wire)  and flung my 350 grain out. Letting the fly sink deep I thought she hit bottom. Sometimes the fish just does not realize that its hooked and opts to set up anchor. After about 4 seconds the fish took off taking all my line with it. She jumped multiple times. Seeing her mid air I absolutely lost touch with reality. A fish this big is a once in a lifetime kinda deal. Chances of me catching another this big ever again are slim to say the least. IGFA record fish potential without a doubt. FYI if I was not driving the skiff during this fight and gaining line I WOULD have lost her! 
Tight Lines
p.s. this is the fish I was talking about last week! Click Link

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snook and Tarpon Food

Saw a lot of bones this morning. Two of them being 9 lb range. Didn't fish for them though was focused on finding a snook. Didn't see any rough high tides. Im sure they were there just deep in the mangroves. On a different note i saw a gar in the 5 foot range. Never seen one close to this size. Did some spear fishing and saw a goliath grouper in 60 lb range. Massive! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Had an epic morning on the water. Drove 30 miles out to the middle of nowhere in search of poon on my favorite flat. Instead I found myself surrounded by ghosts. All in all I saw around 150 fish in a short period including a bone in the mid teens, no joke. I wish the rod was out at the time. Still, I managed to hook and land a 10 lb.+ behemoth. Driving home and seeing four bottle nose dolphin was the icing on the cake. Wahoooo!  

-Click Link for Video of the beast!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lady Fish AKA Poor Mans Tarpon

On my way to the Do It Center today I checked out the boys secret Lady Fish spot. The fish are resident and very big. A few in the 5 lb range. Anyways I saw the group of about 7 and snuck up on them. These fish are incredibly smart and once you hook them its usually over before you know it. Like their cousin the tarpon they take straight to the sky and snap your mono with a swish of the gill plate. The fish were onto me from the start. No luck! Either way I thought i'd get in some practice before tomorrows tarpon outing. Heading 20 miles out on the bank and into the middle of nowhere. With the SAT phone in hand lets hope things go according to plan. 
-Tight Lines

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calm Before the Storm

Jumped on the vise for a bit tonight. Eric Peterson's infamous spawning shrimp! 

Had a quiet day in the fishing department. Snuck out for a half hour or so before a big storm came through. I cannot emphasize enough the importance on always taking (learning) something from an outing. One might even argue that you can learn more on a day where you are constantly scratching your head wondering…where the heck did all the fish go? Getting inside a fish’s head is quite impossible.  However, if you spend your time immersed in observation and write it down the day of, you will become more and more consistent at producing shots. Yes, because unlike your fishing buddy you will have notes upon notes full of dates, tides, lunar phase etc…. to pull out of the archives. For the past 15 years I have done just this and boy does it help. Without writing ones thoughts and observations down one could never make the complex connections. Especially, on the days with tricky conditions. 
Anyways back to my 30 minutes session on the water. I have heard that guides in the Bahamas find that bonefish are sensitive to barometric pressure changes and act in a spooky manner. From what I have heard places like Christmas Island it is the opposite. Being so close to the Bahamas I have always found the fish to be sensitive however, they still tend to engorge themselves. Today I went out to prove just this. Arriving on the flat I immediately saw a great mud. The flat was very shallow and to see a mud of this magnitude I was very surprised. Either way, with 7 or so tails a hundred yards in, I realized I forgot the wading boots. I’m sure I would have bagged a bone if I waded into the ankle deep water. The water was skinny and I was lazy pure and simple. Here is a quick clip of the adventure.

-Tight lines

Feb 20 bones and all

Had another great day on the water yesterday. Spent the morning polling and then got out on a solo mission for a half hour in the afternoon. Polling, fishing, and filming at the same time is tough. Its an anxiety that is well worth it with or without the fish. Here is a quick clip of a fish, a broken off fish, and a spooked school. Still we caught a lot of bones!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Feb. 19 Report

Saw and caught a lot of bones today. Spent the day way up in the canals searching for the new zone. Got back just in time for the evening tail! All in all a productive day on the water. 
Tight Lines! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18 Report

Saw 8 or so fish in the 8 lb+ range this morning while polling. Very tough to feed. Got out again before dark for some wading. Spent most of the time on my knees watching fish tail left and right of me. A true site to see with bonefish tails and splashes as far as the eye can see! All in all we probably saw 200 fish today, easy. 

Here is a quick clip to test your vision, prior to the tail! enjoy! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bone Vision and Giant Cuda

Saw some very big bones today. Stood 50 yards from a draining canal and waited for the fish to come out of the mangroves. These fish operate on time every time. It is literally a 10 minute window on the outgoing that they leave. Was only able to fish for an hour. Look at the camouflage the fish is sporting once I land her. Stunning. On a different note I polled off the flat and into a battleship barracuda. Absolute monster waiting in a deep hole for the bones to leave the flat on the outgoing. Seeing the fish from way out I was not able to set up a wire leader on my 9 wt in time. Drifting closer and closer the cuda spotted me 15 yards out. I threw anchor and the fish did laps around the skiff. I threw the fly at her many times in hopes of a territorial response. Just a bunch of mock chases but no grab. Big fish do not get there by being stupid. Good news is I’ve seen this same fish for the past 2 years now and I know she is a resident. Might have another go tomorrow! 
Cool shot of me "talking" to the fish via strips! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bones and Bones

Caught many bones today. Jumped a 30-40 lb poon as well. One jump and that was all she wrote. Still was surprised to find them there. Find the minnows = find the poon. Epic day with great visability. Yehahh!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back in TCI

Back in the Turks and Caicos Islands for rest of the winter! Snuck out on the flats 15 minutes before sunset and saw four fish in all. The first was nervous in the skinny water. The second shot was at a group of three fish tailing in the sunset. Nothing beats the stalk on a group of tailing fish when a western redish glow refracts and glistens through a silver tail....Nothing! The sight was so beautiful that I had my camera at the ready opting to film the magnificent site instead. 15 yards out I decided to put the camera away and make a cast. Couldn't resist. The chase and feed was beautiful. Three fish shoulder to shoulder fighting at who gets to eat. I had the luxury to get a tying lesson with Eric Peterson yesterday. I threw his infamous spawning shrimp. One of THE most deadly patterns out there. 
Gave the craft a rub a dub today. 

Just in the nick of time!

It must have been the good luck cap! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Trout Unleashed

Click above video to see through Julien Jarrys' third eye. Talented to say the least. Its amazing how much one can do within a thirty minute session on the river. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Big Fish Beware

                   Just bought a new 11 weight Hardy from the Bedford Sportsman!

Check out Andy Mill put the rod to work on some Spinner Sharks. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snow Trout Preview

I thought I'd put a behind the scenes shot of yesterdays 30 minute session on the river. Check out the edit on Julien Jarrys' camera and my gopro at Willy Vallely Vimeo

A well thought out execution on the first drift thru a hole is crucial. More often then not it is the first drift that ends in a tight line. Coming up on a hole one really needs to sit back and study the water. The only thing constant within a river is change. The flow is irregular. Visualize the drift and the manner in which that trout might be feeding on a given day. Remember, when in doubt set the hook. Especially in the winter when the takes are light. As you can see her my indicator does not even go down instead it lags for just a split second. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10

Had a very tough day on the East Branch in Brewster NY today. We ended up moving a good fish just before dark, but missed the hook set. Bug activity was as quiet as it has been in past week. That being said the river usually has less flies on it then some of the CT stretches we have been hunting this week. Either way we fished hard and worked for the short lived hook up. Still, it was a beautiful site seeing a big brown shake its head five feet under. Got my rain gage outside right now. Should be interesting to see how much precipitation we will be getting in the next 24.   Three days and counting till I am back in Caribbean for rest of winter. Until then I am looking to trout set one last time for the winter!

Since I got the skunk today I thought I'd put up a classic quote from A River Runs Through It,
"If our father had had his say, nobody who did not know how to catch a fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching him." 

Fish Report

For those of you itching to get out on the water. Today could be the day. With a low pressure system on its way now is the time to get out! No wonder the fishing has been off the hook (or should I say on the hook?) Farmington River is looking very nice. Tight Lines

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2011 Slabs

Had another great evening on the water scouting some new area. Very excited on what was found.   Fishing continues to be as good as it gets on SW CT and Southern NY rivers with these above normal temps. Thought I'd put up some fish porn of the 2011 season. 

VT spring smallies

VT Atlantic

VT Steelhead

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Snuck out on Mianus River before dark. The bight was red hot. We got hung up in log jams on two fish and caught another two. Batting 500 I'll take it any day. Fishing micro nymphs with a green flash is where its at. Fighting these fish with such a small hook keeps things interesting. Here is Tuckers' bruiser of a brown. Kype still somewhat fresh from the spawn in probably December of last year. Stokin'!