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Entries in Florida Keys (11)


Sportfishing Loses A Legend

Bernard “Lefty” Kreh, one of the most well-known and beloved of America’s fly fishermen and fly-casting instructors, passed away on March 14, 2018, at his home in Cockeysville, Md., at age 93. Lefty is most known for being one of the pioneers of saltwater fly fishing and his book, Fly Fishing in Salt Water, is considered the seminal volume on the subject.

Lefty was born February 26, 1925, in Frederick, Md. His father taught him to fish at a very young age.

He began fly-fishing in earnest in 1947 while serving as a guide for the famous fly fisherman, Joe Brooks. In 1965 he moved to Florida and became the cirector of the Metropolitan Fishing Tournament. He wrote for various fishing magazines. He was a big believer in catch and release.

He began to fish for salt water species in the Florida Keys. It was during this time that Lefty, Joe Brooks, Al Pflueger, Tom McNally, George Hommel, Stu Apte and Bob Stearn pioneered the techniques that modern saltwater anglers use to pursue fish with fly fishing gear.

In addition to his fishing accomplishments, Lefty was an active outdoor writer for more than 45 years. He wrote for most major outdoor magazines. He was the retired outdoor editor of the Baltimore Sun and held a staff position on several outdoor magazines. Lefty was also an accomplished photographer.

Lefty’s Deceiver is an artificial fly commonly categorized as a streamer fly which is fished under the water's surface. It is a popular and widely used pattern for both freshwater and saltwater game fish. It is generally considered one of the top patterns to have in any fly box.

In 1997, the American Sportfishing Association presented Lefty with our Lifetime Achievement Award. We extend our sincere condolences to the Kreh family on the passing of one of the greats in recreational fishing.

From American Sportfishing Association


Tribute to a Fishing Friend

We fished Venezuela's Guri Lake for peacock bass.Yes, we fish to catch fish. But one of the reasons that we keep fishing is because of the friends that we make and the memories that we share. That's especially true as we move into our "golden years."

That's certainly the case for me and my friend Norm Klayman.  Back in the mid 1980s, Norm caught what was then the Missouri state-record smallmouth bass, and I used him as a source for several magazine articles, including one entitled, "The Bassin' Dentist of Bull Shoals." We've been fishing together since.

Norm fillets Bull Shoals fish for me to take home.He lives less than a minute's drive from Pontiac Cove Marina on Bull Shoals, and I normally make the 4 1/2-hour drive to visit him and his wife, Sue, and go fishing two or three times a year. Also, he's filleted many bass, walleye, and crappie from that clean, clear water for me to take home, and he gave me my favorite recipe for fried fish.

We caught big lake trout on a cold, windy day on Manitoba's North Knife Lake Lodge, and then warmed up by the fire before lunch.We've also fished together in Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Florida Keys. I've learned much from his expertise. And we've caught  double-digit bass, tarpon, lake trout, northern pike, and peacock bass.

Tarpon on in the Florida Keys.

But what I treasure most is the time that we've spent on the water together and the memories that we've shared.

What prompted this tribute to fishing friends in general and my friend Norm specifically is that we recently had a great time catching smallmouth bass together on Bull Shoals.  For reasons not related to Norm and Sue, I had not visited them in much too long. Several years, in fact. Reunited, I realized both what I had missed and how valuable friends are, especially fishing friends.

Lunchtime margarita at Angler's Inn on Mexico's Lake El SaltoIf you're an angler, you know what I'm talking about. Yeah, we'd rather catch fish than not. But that's not what going fishing is all about.


Young Angler Chases 'Bucket List' of 71 Species


At just age 11, Tristan Hill already has a "bucket list." That's what he calls the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Saltwater Fish Life List. His goal is to catch all 71 species,  and he is already off to a great start.

Last fall, Tristan submitted photos of himself with 10 of the species on the list, allowing him to join the first tier of the Saltwater Fish Life List Club rewards program. He received a T-shirt and certificate for his efforts.

For Tristan though, participating is about more than earning prizes and recognition.

“I hate seeing fish wasted. When I saw my first fish, it was gorgeous and my mind was blown,” said Tristan. “I don’t think I can give up on that. I think it would be amazing to catch all of them with my family.”

Tristan caught his first fish when he was 2 ½ years old in Fairbanks, Alaska. Living in Colorado at the time, his father, Josh, noticed that when Tristan wasn’t fishing, he just wasn’t happy. So Josh took matters into his own hands and began looking for a job near the water.

The family of four, including Tristan’s little sister, moved to the Florida Keys in June 2016, purchased a boat and Josh began working at Lower Keys Tackle in an effort to learn more about the sport his son had taken such an interest in. Shortly afterward, they found out about the FWC’s Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs via Facebook.

“Tristan has a love and respect for fish, and is very passionate about them,” said his father. “He is the real deal. He is a master of fishing.”

Today, they fish every chance they get, and Tristan continues to mark fish off his list.

“It is way more fun than video games, and it is free food right off the water,” Tristan said.

So far, he has caught a bonnethead shark, blue runner, black grouper, white grunt, cero,   great barracuda,  tarpon, and reef shark, as well as gray, lane, yellowtail and mutton snapper.

FWC hopes you will join Tristan in participating in not only the Life List, but also two other Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs: Saltwater Reel Big Fish, which celebrates memorable-sized catches, and Saltwater Grand Slams, which awards anglers for catching three different specified fish species within a 24-hour period.

You can keep track of Tristan’s pursuits on his Facebook page or at the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page.      


Florida Official Wants Sugar Land for Reservoir to Stop Damaging Diversions

As Lake Okeechobee continues to rank as one of  nation's best bass fisheries, discharges of its nutrient-rich waters  to the east and west are feeding toxic algae blooms that devastate ecosystems on both Florida coasts. And the same time, the Everglades to the south slowly is dying of thirst.

With this year arguably the worst ever for algae blooms, many are demanding quick and decisive action. One of those is new Florida state Senate President Joe Negron, who recently promised to push for a solution that is opposed by Gov. Rick Scott and the sugar industry.

Negron wants to buy 60,000 acres used to grow sugar cane to build a $2.4 billion reservoir to hold Okeechobee water that now is discharged via man-made diversions to both coasts. From the reservoir, it would be released into the Everglades, after pollutants settled to the bottom.

"We must buy land south," he said. "That's what I believe is the next step forward."

Before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led the way in building dikes and replumbing to allow for development and minimize flooding decades ago, that's where water flowed naturally. As the Everglades was replenished, it served as a filter for the water on its way to Florida Bay.

In response to Negron's announcement, the Everglades Foundation said, "This project is vital to re-connecting Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Keys. By storing, cleaning and sending Lake Okeechobee water south, the project significantly reduces the amount of polluted water being dumped east and west."

The environmental organization also called Negron "an Everglades champion."  And it added, "He has placed his political capital on the table in an effort to not only bring relief to his constituency along the east coast, but to begin a project that will provide significant benefits to America's Everglades."

Scott, meanwhile, favors using property the state already owns to finally finish other Everglades restoration reservoirs and water treatment areas.

"We are reviewing his (Negron's) proposal and will continue to review all options that will help with water quality in our state," the governor's office said in a statement released as a response to the new Senate president. "We look forward to working with the legislature as session approaches."


Join the Fight to Keep Florida Fishing

The list of initiatives to ban or severely restrict recreational fishing and boating access in Florida is growing every day. Over the past decade, the misguided attempts to manage fisheries include Biscayne National Park, the Everglades, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, southeast Florida marine sanctuary request, and red snapper on both coasts. These bans and restrictions are often initiated by well-funded and coordinated special interest groups who leverage their influence at the state and federal levels to achieve their particular agendas.

That’s why Keep Florida Fishing was created.

The mission is to ensure Florida’s resident anglers and visitors have abundant fisheries, clean water and access to both. But your help is needed.