Saltwater Fly Fishing

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.

Tarpon Fishing Mexico

Photo by Austin Coit

Tarpon, A Mexican Intoduction

Megalops atlanticus. The name belongs more to a creature in an ’80s horror film than a fish out roaming the flats. They are so big and powerful it is hard to imagine them existing in real life. I saw Flip Pallot and Jose Wejebe cross paths with these monsters…

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…