Monday, August 24, 2015

Howler Brothers

‘So glad to have Howler Brothers products in the web-store…’Lord knows, they’re in my closet…and once you spend time wearing them, they’ll wind up in your own!

Not just another attempt at outdoor clothing…’actually something new, and not JUST for fishing and hunting! My Howlers are not only with me every moment that I’m in a skiff, or afield, but they get to go on motorcycle rides, out to supper, airplane trips, deer hunts, and to important meetings.

At Howler Brothers, they’re tuned in to the needs of outdoorsmen because it’s their own lifestyle…They know! They listen! They bring it to market!

Late Summer Special in the Web Store!

Save 30% on ALL Howler Brothers!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cecil Keith- by Flip Pallot

I suppose that Cecil will ever be associated, among other things, with the pocket at Buchanan Bank. His ashes, as did his presence, will haunt tarpon there forever as they migrate north.
As I remember Cecil, I can’t help recall a steamy June morning as I launched my skiff at the Toll Gate ramp on Long Key. I was with my fishing companion Dave Vatter, and the only thing looming in our combined consciousness was the summer migration of tarpon. The stern of the skiff slipped off the trailer into the oily, slick calm of the boat basin….the ripples shattering the reflection of star shine. The in-line six cylinder Mercury roared to life, clicked into gear and the bow came north toward the point of Buchanan Bank.
Beating Cecil Keith to the Pocket was no small feat in those times. He seemed to grow out of the marl there. If the little hand of your watch was past five A. M. you had little chance! As I came along the east side of the point and glanced at my watch, I thought…..You’ll be in the second spot today Cecil.
I rolled the skiff hard west through the cut south of the Pocket and looked toward the north horizon…No sign of Cecil. It was the top of the tide and we’d have falling water in the Pocket till after mid-day. PERFECT!!!!!!!
I eased off plane, poled across the bank, staked down in the Pocket and breathed a sigh of relief. Dave and I were in the Cat Bird Seat till after noon and then some.
Dave and I broke out breakfast, opened the thermos of coffee and talked of things Fishical until the glow of sunrise fulminated up to the east. Fish could come along at any moment.
I reached up to my throat where my Polaroid sunglasses should have resided…..they were not there. They had missed the boat ride. I knew in a flash that they lay on the dash of the pickup back at Toll Gate. The prospect of a day on the shimmering flats, without sunglasses, was unthinkable!
A Coast Guard quality drug search of the boat failed to reveal a spare pair of glasses (a lesson carried long into the future). Three things were certain…the sun was most certainly rising, I had no sunglasses, and finally, Cecil Keith was coming very soon to claim the Pocket!
A plan developed. Dave would ease overboard and stand in the Pocket, guarding our spot with a spinning rod as I fogged it back to Toll Gate to fetch the glasses. Off I went as the sun hour-glassed up over the horizon.
Dave must have wondered as he stood in the waist deep Pocket…what about birds looking for a place to roost? What about crabs, sharks, stingrays? My thoughts were of nothing but sunglasses. Tarpon still occupied some distant folder on my hard-drive, but it was that pair of Polaroid’s that guided my course back to Toll Gate. Round trip from the Pocket to Toll Gate took most of thirty-five minutes on a high plane at sunrise.
It was the custom in those times, as today, for the first arrival to Buchanan bank to occupy the Pocket. Later arrivals lined up behind the Pocket along the bank at intervals averaging 30 yards between skiffs. As I arrived back at the bank and peered toward the pocket, I could see Dave standing waist deep in the pocket. Thirty yards behind him was Cecil’s skiff. Behind Cecil, incrementally, were three or four
other skiffs, the occupants of which were peering into the rising sun hoping to catch a glimpse of a rolling tarpon approaching the Pocket….none concerned that the person occupying the Pocket was four miles from the hard road and without a skiff.
I idled in to the south edge of the bank, poled across, picked up Dave and then staked down once again in the prime spot. Cecil never said a word. It was as though such antics occurred every day.
Another guide might have protested, but Cecil, ever confident in his ability to find fish for his anglers, never uttered a protest. Another lesson that I endeavored to carry long into the future.
I’m hopeful that I’ve done so!

Thanks as always for reading and please stay tuned for more.....much more!!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

TFO's New IMPACT Fly Rods!

Every year there are “NEW” fly rods introduced but very rarely are they actually “NEW”! The TFO, IMPACT family of rods is truly new in a number of ways. New proprietary materials, a new process and highly technical actions have created a package capable of the most technical requirements called for in any fishing situation.

You must try it yourself...…not for everyone, but a combination of qualities available for those who choose to invest in casting skills sufficient to take advantage of THE “IMPACT”!   - Flip

Here's a press release from my home shop over at Mad River Outfitters that features my friends Brian Flechsig and Blane Chocklett: 

Incredibly light and incredibly strong, the Impact feels like nothing you’ve ever cast. At first glance, it seems shockingly slow for a high-end rod – and then your cast doesn't fall apart as you overpower it....your loops actually get tighter. And then it dawns on you, like a very subtle joke, that this rod is DIFFERENT…

The culmination of several years’ worth of development and some of the top minds in the industry, Temple Fork Outfitters’ new high-end rod has been one of the most anticipated sticks of recent history.  Versions of the Impact have been in the hands of some of the country’s top anglers and guides for over a year, as TFO continued to tweak their new flagship. 
Now the Impact is hitting racks across the country, and anglers ought to prepare themselves to be astonished. 
In an era where performance is equated almost solely with blisteringly fast rods, the Impact approaches the concept from a different direction. The Impact isn’t a slow rod – in fact, it’s one of the most powerful pieces of graphite available. 
It’s just different.
“If we can equate high-end fly rods with muscle cars, then it’s easy to see the Corvettes out there, and the Camaros – as well as the Mazda Miadas,” said guide and outfitter Brian Flechsig, of Mad River Outfitters, one of the first dealers to get their hands on the new rod. “If that’s the case, then the Impact might be more like a Tesla Roadster. It doesn’t look like a Corvette, it doesn’t sound like a Corvette, it doesn’t even drive like a Corvette…but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that it performs like a Corvette, or even better.
“It’s just that different,” he said. 
Flechsig first took up the Impact as an experimental version in an 8 weight while fishing for bones off Andros Island. He immediately noted the rod’s slim profile – almost half of the blank diameter of other 8 weights, and one of the lightest on the market. 
“I fished it for five days straight,” he said. “I didn’t even take another rod out of my quiver.”
Blane Chocklett, Virginia’s musky hunter extraordinaire and originator of such pivotal recent flies as the Gamechanger, was on the team that advised rod designers working on the Impact. He’s been fishing the rod for around a year, in both his home waters and around the world.
“Usually, to get something out of a rod, you have to give up something else,” he said. “That wasn’t the case here. The new technology being developed [at TFO] let’s you get everything you want in a rod without making sacrifices.”
Chocklett acknowledges that the rod feels different but says that, once the caster stops trying to overpower and lets it work as it was designed, it’s a dream, turning over large flies and casting into the wind with ease. He notes that, like most rods, finding a line that properly complements the Impact is important; he said he’s found Scientific Angler’s Titan Taper to be a great fit.
And the elasticity of the rod, coupled with its strength, means that when you transfer the energy of the fight where it belongs – to the butt – the rod continues to earn its keep. With a traditional fast rod, the extreme stiffness of the butt means the fighting energy of the fish is transferred to the angler, and the emperor’s new clothes are suddenly revealed: most expensive rods are exclusively casting machines that offer precious little in the way of fish-fighting power – not the best thing when wrestling a powerful saltwater gamefish, and not the best thing for protecting class tippet, either. 
“I took a 34-inch false albacore on an 8-weight Impact, in the 20 pound range,” he said. “It was going crazy and I was really putting the wood to it. You’re able to feel everything – almost like fiberglass, which allows you to fight the fish way back on the grip, how you’re supposed to.”
“This rod is just stronger,” he continued. “It’s not going to break or fail nearly as often as other rods. That’s even more incredible when you consider its weight and the diameter of the blank.”
Chocklett believes the rod could revolutionize angling for hard-fighting species such as carp, redfish, and bonefish – but, in the hands of the right angler, the Impact could end up being the go-to rod for even bigger quarry: he recounted a battle between the Impact and a monster 40-inch flathead catfish last summer. 
He also thinks TFO is onto something significant with the new ultra-high modulus carbon fiber debuted in the Impact.
“They’re going to do all kinds of different things with this new technology,” he said. “This is only the beginning.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Filming some of the very early Walker's Cay Chronicles-

I have been scanning some old slides for use here and on the new website and bringing back some wonderful memories........

"Dozer" Donnell and I hooked up to a tarpon filming the show pilot...

Bruce Buckley filming a permit that I caught during another show with "Dozer"...

Buckley filming Jose Wejebe fighting a white marlin in Venezuela...

Buckley filming "Lefty" Kreh landing a cuda in the Bahamas................(more to come)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thoughts about Flip Pallot

You wouldn’t think I’d even be having thoughts about hogs, period…but lately, I seem to be thinking about them often…’Guess ‘cause I’m seeing fewer of them all the time.
Growing up in the Everglades south of Alligator Alley (S.R. 87) and east of the 40 mile bend in the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) , we NEVER saw a hog…EVER! I, and friends, airboated all of that country all the way south to the Everglades National Park boundry. We hunted it hard during season for marsh hens, snipe, ducks and deer, rode it during the rest of the year, explored the tree islands, and frogged it at night all year long. There was not a single hog!
Then one day, at the Airboat Club landing, a story was told of running up on a boar hog south of the Loop Road. “Did you kill it”, someone asked ? “No”, came the answer, “Thought it was a bear at first but as I got closer saw it was a huge boar hog. He splashed up into a long hammock near the Crack Up Camp.”
Some believed the story as it circulated about among hunters in the Glades. Most did not…and because I spent so much time in those woods without seeing a hog or sign, I doubted the tale.
A year later, during an early season, archery hunt for deer, south of the Loop Road, I poled my canoe away from the road before light…pushing for a string of small islands where I had seen three bucks a week earlier. It was coming day as I approached the islands and I heard heavy splashing in the shallow needle grass glade to the southwest. I let the canoe glide, looking toward the splashing sound, I could see a giant, reddish boar hog running across the glade, heading to the next small island to the east.
I poled hard to head the hog off and got to a custard apple tree thirty yards before the hog did and jumped out of the canoe, took up my bow and stepped up to the tree…waiting as the hog came almost straight in my direction. He came past me at ten steps, completely unaware. I left an arrow behind his shoulder…he huffed and continued his trot to the island and I marked the exact spot where he left the water.
Back in the canoe, I poled the 75 yards to the tree island and could see the water droplets and tracks where the hog had crashed his way through the cocoplum fringe around the small, cap rock outcropping of an island. I could hear him growling a few steps beyond the thick bushes. As I stood in the water, making a plan, the hogs growling become softer and suddenly I could hear the kicking that often accompanies the dying of an animal.
It had all happened so much faster than the telling that now, for the first time, I had a chance to shake from the adrenalin rush and exertion or poling the canoe and wading to the island…the WONDER of killing a hog in the Everglades closing around me for the very first time.
I sat for ten minutes or so and watched the sun getting up above the sawgrass prairie to the southeast…the feeling at that moment understood only by hunters. I made my way through the cocoplums following an ample and short blood trail to the hog, only then realizing how very big he was! I touched his still warm side and examined the enormous cutters and whetters sticking out of his jaws. He had no scars on his body, neck or head and I could tell he had lead a solitary life without contact with other mature boar hogs.
Greatfully, the drag back to the canoe was a short one and once there, the hog being so big, I had to submerge one gunnel of the boat and float him aboard…then bail the water out of the canoe. His weight in the bow leveled the canoe and made the polling back to the Loop Road very easy. When I got back to my truck I loaded the canoe but could not begin to load the heavy hog into the bed of the pick up so left the hog in bushes beside the road and drove back to the game check station at Tamiami Trail and got Dave Balman to return with me and load the hog. 
Back at the check station my hog was the central focus of the morning as it was the first hog that many of the other hunters had seen!
Within a very few years, hogs were no longer uncommon in the southern Everglades and became a GAME ANIMAL in the minds of hunters throughout the Glades. An animal that was wonderful table fare and could be hunted the year ‘round.

Sadly, The deer and hogs are gone from the southern Glades (another very sad story for a later time) and as each year goes by, fewer folks remain who remember those shining times in the Glades when it was a free marsh. Thoughtless water management and ridiculous Government regulation of the entire Everglades having reduced a treasure to a limited access wasteland!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just added the TFO Bluewater Family of Rods to the Web Store!

These rods are designed for some serious Heavy Lifting!!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Good friend and "Sidekick", Gordie Hines made this incredible painting.....and intimates that a left handed version of Flip is on the bow of this's GREAT ART!!!! from a GREAT ARTIST!!!!

Stay close.....more Tall Tales on the way!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Be Very Careful What you Wish For.....      by Flip Pallot

What a wonderful job you have Flip! What a wonderful life! Fishing all the time in exotic destinations around the world.:I wish I could have a job like that! Folks say that to me almost every day...and you know what...Theyre absolutely right! It is a wonderful life and a wonderful job. But as with all things, theres a price. And a job, even a great one, is still a job. I know this because I still fish frequently for fun and its much different than fishing in front of a film camera.
Just about thirty years ago I was involved in my first television fishing film. Stu Apte invited me to join him as a boat captain in Costa Rica to film an episode of the A.B.C. American Sportsman series. Football ledgend, Dick Butkis, was to be the guest on the show and Stu was going to teach Butkis how to catch Pacific Sailfish on light plug casting tackle. I was going to operate the boat. It was a dream come true! It was Costa Rica...It was Dick Butkis...It was the American Sportsman...It was my hero, Stu Apte... it was sailfish...and all I had to do was drive the boat, hang with Dick and Stu and watch the sun go down over a far away ocean!
It was one of the best weeks of my life. My dreams came true and I never had a stressful moment during the entire filming. Stu, on the other hand, was stressed to the point of going Postal. It was his responsibility to insure that I ran the boat correctly, that the camera boat was in the right position, that we found fish and that we could get them on film. He was stressed about the weather and Customs and getting the film back into the States without its being X-Rayed. He was stressed about the connecting flight to San Jose and stressed over whether the editor in New York would have enough material to make a quality film. Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out what had happened to my good fishing buddy Stu. He had always been so convivial. So much fun to be around. Why, all of a sudden, was he consumed with non-fishical things such as overweight baggage, currency exchange and a missing role of film?
Much later in my life I would come to understand Stus preoccupation with these items and to accept the responsibility for making certain that I and the film crew were in the right place at the right time and that fishing opportunities were not missed. Oddly, much of my training for the making of fishing films came from many years of guiding in South Florida and in Montana.
Mostly, I guided folks who had a limited time to accomplish their fishing dream. Often that dream involved a bonefish, tarpon,snook or permit and often the time frame was not much more than a day or two. Some folks were there for the total experience. I really loved guiding them. Others were totally focused upon catching fish. These are the folks who keep guides on the top of their game and are the folks, who in many ways, prepared me for the film business..
In 1989, the idea for the Walkers Cay Chronicles was germinated. At this point, the American Sportsman and the Outdoor Life series had both ended their runs on network television. I had just finished two seasons with a show called The Saltwater Angler on TNT. Pat Smith, who had been the producer of both the American Sportsman and Outdoor Life had spoken with me many times about our doing a series together which would feature wonderful destinations, real anglers, and relationships. The timing seemed right. We brought a group together which formed a production company and we made a pilot film to show to prospective sponsors and networks.

When the pilot was completed, we needed someone to narrate the series. We gave this question a lot of thought. We really didnt want a generic sounding voice and we really didn’t want a regional sounding voice either. After listening to a lot of voices, we decided to try for a popular singer/song writer named Hoyt Axton. Hoyt had done a number of popular commercials and his voice was well known, if not recognized.
Hoyt’s office was in Nashville and was mostly a recording studio. He knew nothing about fishing and had never seen a fishing show but was interested in speaking with us about the narrating gig. Pat and I went to Nashville. My brother Scott joined us...Hoyt was one of his idols.
After introductions were made and a little was said about the film, we began projecting it on a screen in Hoyts office so that he could get a feel for what the show would look like. The opening scene was my skiff, being poled along a mangrove shoreline in the Everglades by good friend John ,Dozer, Donnell. I stood atop a casting platform on the bow of the skiff with a fly rod in hand, ready to cast at  tarpon. I wore a T-shirt and some fairly short, short pants.  Hoyt, who held the remote control, all at once froze the frame and said...”Hey Flip, are those your legs, or are you standing on a chicken?”  We Had our narrator!
Joining the team soon after were Rick Patterson, sound recordist and producer along with Bob Hana, camera man and producer. Rick, Bob and myself were in the field together for almost 16 years, while back in New York, Angelo Bernarducci put it all together in its final form. Poor Stu...If he’d had a team like that he wouldn’t have gray hair today. Being able to share responsibilities in the field allows me to concentrate on the fishing while Rick and Bob concentrated on production. All three of our ideas are reflected in what was generated on location.

Guests on the show were always friends who were excellent anglers and generally had some tie to the location. On of our last shoots, in Florida, the guest was my great friend Bill Bishop. Bill loves to explore and especially loves tarpon, so we made it Bill’s show. We went to a new, secret location and hunted tarpon. All in all a wonderful experience, but it was work for me...‘still worrying about all the things that have to come together to make a show worth watching... BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!!!!!