Saltwater Fly Fishing

Photo by Josh Idol

Silver Lining Kings. Long walks on the beach in Southeast Florida.

Wild Steelhead are not corn, wheat, or cattle. They are not oranges, apples, or anything that we can control with expected specific outcomes and pounds delivered to market. Put them in a box and they will swim right out of it.
Even among anadromous fish, steelhead are the least predictable of any salmonid swimming the North Pacific. They are never a species of multitude, like Kings, Coho, or even Pinks, that come home in a rush of biological delivery to the rivers spanning the West Coast. They cruise along the edges, arriving to their natal rivers in fits and spurts, with dozens of life histories across each watershed. In short, there were never that many steelhead to begin with.

Drake Magazine Summer 2020 Socotra Slider

Photos by Ray Montoya

Stranded on Socotra

On March 13, 60-year-old retired schoolteacher Ray Montoya arrived on the Arabian Archipelago of Socotra, intent on landing what is thought to be the first permit on a fly from the war-torn country of Yemen. Three weeks later, the talented fly-tyer, photographer, artist, and angler was still there, grounded like the rest of us. But Montoya is not like the rest of us. A Navy veteran, he grew up in a third-generation military family, bouncing around the U.S. as a kid. He became a teacher after college, and in the late ’90s began teaching internationally with his wife, Kerry.

Baja Bait Ball in Magdalena Bay.

Photo: Nick Price

Mag Bay Magic

Survive, is what an angler does the first few minutes after hooking a striped marlin. My friend Nick and I shout with joy, accompanied by excited words in Spanish from our new friends. We watch a reel getting emptied and watch the fish leap, flip, and dive. Thirty minutes later and it’s the post-release chatter,…

The danger of development and “shifting baseline syndrome”

Drake Magazine Florida Bay

Water, Florida Bay, and Bonefish

When sight-fishing as a sport debuted in the Upper Keys and Florida Bay, boat-makers modified their hulls, fishing companies developed faster and lighter rods, and tackle shops sprouted up all over the islands. By the 1950s an entire industry was formed around a specific shallow-water grassland habitat dominated by tarpon, redfish, permit, snook, and bonefish.…

Barracuda Blues

Barracuda Blues

For every good shot at a tarpon, permit, or bonefish, there’s a cast-per-hour-of-effort ratio that on most days looks like a line graph of the U.S. economy. Then there are those days that you instantly know you’re losing, like a cold February morning when even the boxfish are lurking deep and you’re just hoping for…