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Chico Fernández

Chico Fernández is a renowned fly fishing instructor, lecturer, and author who developed or helped develop many of the modern saltwater flyfishing techniques and fly patterns in use today. He is also on the editorial board of MidCurrent. Chico’s most recent book is Fly-Fishing for Redfish (Stackpole Press, September 2015).

Author Articles

Making a Redfish Leader

I’m going to choose a good all-around leader for redfish— a 10-foot leader for an 8-weight line with a 16-pound-test tippet—and use the popular formula of 50/30/20. You can’t go wrong with that. Just remember that while the explanation below takes some time, when you learn to make your leader, it only takes a few minutes. First, let’s gather...

Deep Thinking

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, I hosted a group of eager fly fishers for a week of bonefish and permit angling in northern Belize. Upon touchdown at the little airstrip, however, I quicky realized that every palm tree in the area was bowing deeply to each passing gust, and as I stepped off the small airplane my mind raced with backup plans for any type of fly fishing...

Saltwater: "Tippet In Your Favor"

ON A WINDY MORNING a couple years ago, a friend and I were chasing reds when a spring squall hit. There had been plenty of fish on the flats, and the tide was rising to the right stage, so we endured the weather. There was just one problem: The breeze prohibited my cast from turning over. I was fishing a 10-foot leader and had added three feet of 15-pound...

Saltwater: "Advanced Placement"

MANY OF THE QUESTIONS that I field from other anglers concern casting — not only how to but also where to. The truth is, fly placement depends as much on the circumstances as it does on casting mechanics. Just as you have to adjust your casting motion to account for wind, obstacles, and distance, you need to calculate fly placement depending on the...

The Permit Puzzle

THE LIGHT WAS PERFECT as I aimed my telephoto lens at a skiff working across the flats. The bow angler made some beautiful practice casts, and I was sure the photos were going to be nice. All of a sudden, the poler pointed to the right, and the angler started to cast again. But this time, there was no loop. His backcasts were hitting the water, and finally...

"Close to the Bone"

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of fly fishing for bonefish is the proper approach, which should leave you set up to cast accurately and within your range, with the best wind conditions and visibility possible. The targeted fish should not sense your presence to any significant degree until he feels the hook. And when you call pull this ruse on, say, a...

Bonefish: The Retrieve, Hookup, and Fight

THE FLY LANDED in the right place. You let the small shrimp imitation sink to the proper level, and the bonefish seems to have noticed it. It's time to start acting like a shrimp. You begin a series of very short strips, trying to make the fly imitate the slow progress of a small shrimp that hasn't yet spotted the predator closing in on it. But the bonefish...

Saltwater Utility Flies: "Anywhere, Anytime"

MY RITUAL of always carrying what I call the Miscellaneous Fly Box (MFB) began out of fear. A few years back, after returning from a trip to Alaska, I had only a couple of days to turn around and pack for a bonefish trip to Belize. By departure day, I was running late, rushing out the door when my wife, Marilyn, asked if I had everything. "Yeah, yeah...

Saltwater Flies: "Basic Black"

EARLY LAST WINTER, a friend and I launched a narrow skiff out of Flamingo, the southern-most part of the Everglades, and headed deep into the backcountry to fish for snook and baby tarpon. We ran across the giant Whitewater Bay area and then veered north through a series of winding canals and remote lakes bordered by red mangroves. Still farther, we cut...

Line of Sight

IT'S BEEN SAID THAT a fly fisherman can buy his way around the world to find any game fish, but he always has to cover the last 50 feet on his own — meaning the cast. This salty aphorism is never more true than when sight-fishing in the flats, where an angler's skill and tackle must work in perfect unison. As big and plentiful as deep-water fish can be...