Saltwater Fishing Podcast
On todays show I get to catch up with a very old friend of mine. In 1991 I was guiding on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho on an overnight trip. A group joined us at camp from my hometown and we instantly became friends. For the next several years their family group returned on an annual trip and I had the pleasure of being able to take “the boys”, Clay and Steen Watson. This was a cool trip for all of us. For the boys, they experienced some freedom by being in the boat on their own. For me, I was guiding some guys that were just a few years younger than me rather than someone 20-30 years older than me as usual. One year, Clay was offered a position as swamper, kind of the do anything guy in the outfit and when his family left, he simply moved into our guide compound and rolled out his bedroll.
Since those days, Clay was in our wedding and he and I have remained friends through fishing, and also physical training.
Clay and his family have continued the annual trip + a few more and they have a knack for researching and finding some really good trips. He has fished everywhere from the Rocky Mountains to New Zealand for trout and from Mexico to the Florida Keys in Saltwater. I value his opinion on destinations and guides because I know what he has seen, I know who taught him to guide and I know his family's standards of excellence.
Clay recently returned from a trip to Cuba fishing a string of islands 60 miles off the south coast that loo very similar to the Florida Keys. The difference is that these islands are pristine and uninhabited. Imagine the Florida Keys 150 years ago, but with a giant mothership with all your supplies and a skiff with an outboard motor. Intriguing, huh?
We find out about this trip by way of a labrum surgery, a motorcycle accident, a few old stories and opinions on lots of things.
I hope you enjoy this conversation. If you do…please go to iTunes and rate and review the show. These ratings are probably the single most important thing for a new podcast. I would be very appreciative if you could take a few minutes to give it a rating and review.
● Clay Watson is an experienced guide and avid angler that Tom Rowland met years ago when guiding on the Snake River. ● Since then, Watson and Rowland have done a lot of fishing, hunting, and training together. ● Watson and his family are known to travel and fish some intriguing locations throughout the world, with the most recent destination being the waters around Cuba.
+ Relevant Links
+ People Mentioned
- Tom Rowland
- Clay Watson
- Will Benson
- Steen Watson
- Joe Bressler
- Adam Brown
Having met years ago while guiding on the Snake River, Tom Rowland and Clay Watson have shared their fair share of fishing stories and experiences all over the world. Intrigued by Watson’s latest experience fishing the waters of Cuba, Rowland invited him on the Tom Rowland Podcast to talk about the adventure. Watson took a 120-foot mothership under the guidance of an Argentinian outfit to fish the islands off the southern side of Cuba. There were nine total anglers on the week-long trip--though the mothership can accommodate 12--with a number of dolphin skiffs available to take participants from the mothership to the most remote fishing spots. He describes it as similar to what he imagines the Florida Keys were probably like 150 years ago, completely uninhabited and a saltwater fisherman’s dream. Listen in to hear all about Watson’s Cuban fishing experience, the attributes he thinks make up the ideal fishing guide, why he wouldn’t recommend going to Cuba or Mexico if you’re looking to get into saltwater fishing for the first time, and why he’s headed to Espiritu Santo Bay, Mexico next.
+ Full Transcript
Tom Rowland: I'm Tom Rowland, and this is the Tom Rowland podcast. Hi everybody. On today's show I get to catch up with one of my old friends, Clay Watson. Clay is a very old friend of mine, probably 25, 30 years ago when I was guiding [inaudible 00:00:28] Outfitters on the south fork of the Snake River I met he and his family and they returned every year after that for many, many years, and when they would come I would have the pleasure of fishing with Clay and Steen, his cousin, who were just a little bit younger than me.
That was fun for me to be fishing with people that were kind of close to my age rather than fishing with people that were 20 or 30 years older than me for a change. I think it was fun for them, because they got a little bit of freedom, but this big group of the entire family would come, from their grandfather all the way down to the youngest kid, Austin, who's not too young anymore, but we had a great time on those trips.
One summer Jackson Hole was super crowded, river runs through, it had just come out, there were so many people wanting to fish that Joe Bressler was short on guides, and he offered Clay a job after their trip on the south fork. Clay just stuck around. He just moved into the guide compound with all of us, and all of the various fishing guides living there. He just rolled out his bed roll and started working. He worked as a swamper at first, and the swamper is the person who kind of does it all.
It's really the best place to start as a fishing guide if you ask me, because you start from the very bottom and you work your way up. I'm talking all the way from changing bearings on the trailers to taking the supplies down to the camp, whether those supplies are a quart of firewood, or all the food, or whatever; you'll just get a tremendous amount of opportunity to gain a lot of experience. Clay was that guy.
Since then, we've done a lot of fishing together, we've done some hunting together, and we've done some training together. Steen also has
remained a friend, and really the entire family has remained a friend. It's been a great relationship.
They continue to go on all of these trips, where they go to an international destination often, sometimes just to Florida or to the Florida Keys, or wherever it may be, but I know what their standards are. I know that their standards are high. I know that they've seen really good fishing. They've fished with some really great guides and some great outfits.
When this family takes off and goes to a location that I've never been to, I'm extremely interested in finding out how it went, because I know the kind of information I'm going to get. I'm sure you've got your fishing buddy, you know that when he tells you something's great, it's great. It's not going to be exaggerated or blown out of proportion; it's going to be exactly like he says it is. If he says it wasn't good, it probably wasn't good; it probably wasn't worth your time. Clay is like that for me, just a barometer of information.
Clay just returned from Cuba. Cuba is a place that I am extremely interested in. It's only 90 miles from my home in Key West. For all the years that I've lived in Key West it is a place that I've always wanted to visit, and I've always thought, "Man, it's just 90 miles." Sometimes I go 90 miles in my flat skiff in a day, most of the time around in circles but that's a 90 mile straight shot right across.
The northern side of Cuba probably has some excellent fishing, but on the southern side of Cuba there is a paradise waiting to be discovered, and that's what Clay did. They took a mothership out to these islands that are about 60 miles off the coast of Cuba and completely uninhabited, and as Clay described, very similar to what he might imagine the Florida Keys were 150 years ago. If that doesn't get your attention, then maybe you're not interested in fishing for fish that have never been fished for, I don't know; I am.
I love the Cuban culture. I love those fish; permit, bonefish, tarpon, pretty much what he's fishing for, and the idea of seeing what the keys might have looked like 150 years ago is incredibly intriguing to me. I sit down with Clay and we catch up a little bit; he just had labrum surgery right after his trip, there's a fisherman for you, he waited until after the trip to get labrum surgery.
I catch up with Clay about that, we talk a lot about Cuba as that relates to the Florida Keys and comparing the two, and we also talk about, just in all his travels, what does he think that makes a good guide, what's his definition of a good guide or a good outfit, what is that X factor that some people have that just make them such an amazing guide. I thought that was a very interesting conversation, and we're going to get to all of that real soon.
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Clay Watson: I do. I like ... There's several of them I like. Tom Rowland: Which ones? Clay Watson: The Forward, Lance Armstrong, I really like that one. Tom Rowland: The Forward, I just found that. Clay Watson: It's great.
Tom Rowland: I like him a lot. Did you listen to that one with Bryan Fogel?
Clay Watson: I haven't, but Jason Isbell and the Avett Brothers were fun-freaking-tastic. Man, they were awesome.
Tom Rowland: I was interested in that one because I watched that movie, Icarus, on Netflix.
Clay Watson: I just watched that the other night. I need to listen to that with Bryan Fogel ... That whole deal was incredible.
Tom Rowland: It blows you away. I don't know, I guess if I got beat by a Russian in something I wouldn't feel that [crosstalk 00:06:58] bad. Did you see the Russian curler, the Russian curler that got-
Clay Watson: ... got busted for it?
Tom Rowland: ... got popped for steroids? Well, I guess he probably got popped for banned substance. There's a big difference, I guess, between steroids and banned substances, could be caffeine.
Clay Watson: True.
Tom Rowland: You could drink two cups of caffeine, or coffee, and actually be hot for a banned substance.
Clay Watson: Which is crazy.
Tom Rowland: More than likely it was probably something else. What do you need to do for curling? What steroid makes you more flexible to get that knee up around your-
Clay Watson: ... chin while you're sliding down the ...?
Tom Rowland: ... your chin, yeah, or maybe it's the sweeping, you've got to sweep faster.
Clay Watson: I read somewhere where that was one of the eighth most difficult sport in the winter Olympics as far as-
Tom Rowland: ... to meddle?
Clay Watson: No, not only to meddle but to, as far as endurance goes, because- Tom Rowland: What? Clay Watson: ... in an entire match you're shuffling or sweeping and skating for four and a half miles on average.
Tom Rowland: Really?
Clay Watson: Yeah.
Tom Rowland: Well, maybe you do need steroids. Clay Watson: I think you need some help with that. Tom Rowland: Then you would have to practice a lot, because we were thinking ... At the gym, we were talking and we were thinking maybe going to the Olympics would be a dream come true, a lifetime accomplishment, right? Maye we could go Jamaican bobsled angle and try to curl. I don't know America's curling team, but I was thinking we would have to find some people that had some heritage in other countries and then somehow work that in.
Clay Watson: Sneak in. I think I would be banned from curling, because I would have too much IPA in my pee.
Tom Rowland: IPA?
Clay Watson: Yeah.
Tom Rowland: The craft beers?
Clay Watson: That's the only way I could do it.
Tom Rowland: Well, that's like bocce ball. Down in Key West we have the bocce ball courts, and I can tell that there's a lot of drinking down there.
Clay Watson: A little bit down there.
Tom Rowland: That's the Cuban heritage, the bocce ball. I think that's a Cuban sport, right?
Clay Watson: I thought it was Italian.
Tom Rowland: Is it? Well, bocce, it sounds bocce. That sounds Italian. Clay Watson: It does. Tom Rowland: Either way, the Cuban culture has taken to bocce ball well. I think we have, in Key West, there's ... The city made these courts, and my friend Shane goes down there and they play, it's almost like a bowling league where they go in there and every ... On a Thursday night, or whatever, there's kind of a league play and you have your bocce team. From what I could gather from Shane there's a lot of beer drinking going on, but that's like curling. I don't even ... You knock the balls off the court, kind of shuffle board style.
Clay Watson: It's a lot more social, I would think, than curling.
Tom Rowland: Yeah, because you get cold after a while, everybody is ready to go home. Clay Watson: Not everybody can skate. Tom Rowland: You don't really skate. You wear those fancy shoes, the different shoes. Those look like curling shoes. What do you have there?
Clay Watson: These, On running, On running. On Cloud. Tom Rowland: On Cloud. Are they cushy? Clay Watson: Yeah, man. They feel great.
Tom Rowland: Somebody else was wearing those.
Clay Watson: I wear them because of the shoestring system, and with my arm bummed up right now I can't tie my shoes.
Tom Rowland: I'm sitting here looking at Clay right now, and he has ... It's not a cast; it's like a soft thing with a pillow and a sling, and there's some Velcro and zippers and [crosstalk 00:10:29] snaps. What happened?
Clay Watson: I had labrum reattachment surgery last Tuesday to address ... I had a twin labrum in my right shoulder in two different places, and that's basically from 44 years of football, wrestling, rugby, lifting some heavy weight every now and then, riding motorcycles and mountain bikes.
I had two pretty good ... I wouldn't call them wrecks, but I came off my mountain bike one time over the handlebars pretty good last October, and then I was also on a trail out in Colorado on my big adventure motorcycle, that I had no business being on, and I went over the handlebars and hit a pretty good size rock with my shoulder.
Tom Rowland: Did you do anything about it, or just toughened out? Clay Watson: No, I took- Tom Rowland: ... rubbed some dirt on it?
Clay Watson: ... I rubbed some dirt on it. You know how I am sometimes. I was wearing protective suit at the time but I didn't realize the damage I had done, and it got to the point where I couldn't brush my hair or brush my teeth with my right arm. I could still cast a fly rod though; that's the main important thing, but ... And so I went and had it looked at and the doctor was like, "Buddy, you have ... Good news is you didn't do any damage to your rotator cuff but the bad news is, is you do have some tears in your labrum and you do need to address it if you want to remain active." The down side of that is six weeks in a sling, six months recovery, meaning I'm not able to do the things I like to do, which is ride bikes, motorcycles, fly fish.
Tom Rowland: Maybe you should read that book, Relentless ... Not Relentless, Adam Brown's book, Fearless.
Clay Watson: I know him, Fearless. I'm reading two good ones right now-
Tom Rowland: ... we were just talking about Adam Brown's book the other day with Matt Lawson on this podcast, because ... We talked about him achieving that level of being a Seal and then going to the next level of going to DEVGRU and he smashed his hand, and then he had to learn how to shoot left handed-
Clay Watson: ... left handed.
Tom Rowland: ... and compete with the best shooters in the world and pass.
Clay Watson: Left handed.
Tom Rowland: Left handed, and his eye was messed up too. He had to learn how to shoot non-dominant eye, non-dominant hand and be among the ... You're talking about just fractions of a percentage that probably is the difference between those guys, and he ... That's an incredible story. If he can do that, I'm sure you can learn how to fish left handed, or write left handed.
Clay Watson: I'll tell you what this has done, and this sounds ... I hope this doesn't sound too corny, but I'm sitting here this week and not really feeling sorry for myself but I'm like, "Man, this sucks to have one hand to button my pants, to put my socks on, to put a shirt on." I think of those military personnel who have come back from, those veterans who have lost a limb, or even two, or even four; I've still got mine and I can't imagine what they're going through. It's put it into a really interesting perspective on my part to where, "It's not that bad Clay, it's going to be good, it's going to be okay."
Tom Rowland: No, it's not that bad, but it is inconvenient. Nobody would argue with the fact that it's inconvenient.
Clay Watson: No.
Tom Rowland: You'll get back to it. You decided to get this done right after your trip to Cuba.
Clay Watson: Yeah. I met with the doctor back in November, and he wanted to do it then and I explained to him that I had this dream trip to Cuba coming up in late February that I wanted to go on it before I had ... Obviously went to have the procedure, I'd be out for a while, and so he decided that was fine, no problem. It's going to hurt while I was there, which I was willing to deal with the pain, but sure. I went to Cuba, basically had the surgery a day later when I got back home.
Tom Rowland: How long have you been wanting to go to Cuba, or considered ... Has it been on your radar?
Clay Watson: For quite a while. I'd say ... Well, since I started salt water fly fishing with you 20 something years ago, easily. It's always been on the radar. The more I started getting into salt water fishing and traveling around the world to some really cool spots the more Cuba lurked out there as a place I wanted to check off and explore. I've always been a little hesitant due to the relationship we've had, our governments have had, or the lack of a relationship we've had.
Tom Rowland: It opened, right? Well, a year ago, or around a year ago I think, there was a major breakthrough.
Clay Watson: Well, a little bit over ... Obama opened it up probably two years ago and then President Trump closed it back up when our embassy started having some issues with some of our personnel that were there, our diplomats were getting sick there in Havana-
Tom Rowland: ... right, with that whole ... They did that thing with- Clay Watson: ... it's like the sonic- Tom Rowland: ... the sonic-
Clay Watson: ... sonar technology, which they've never really proven, but ... Anyways, there was something funky going on, so the Trump administration closed it down. They have in Havana, I think they call it a US essentials office, or something to that matter, which basically just a couple of people there in order to help US citizens who may be there on some sort of trip or mission. You can't go over there as a tourist.
Tom Rowland: Even today you cannot do that?
Clay Watson: Even today you cannot go under the guise of tourism. Tom Rowland: How did you go? Clay Watson: We went under the ... I guess it's called a people to people interaction. We were there for basically research purposes to where the Cuban people that weren't associated with the communist government were taking us on an educational trip. This particular one was to the Garden of the Queen, Garden to the Queen, where we were ... Yes we were fishing and, for salt water fish, but we were also learning about the national preserve that was there, how they protect it.
Tom Rowland: Their national preserve operates like our national park or what? Clay Watson: Similar to that. They do have a protection force there that- Tom Rowland: ... what does that look like?
Clay Watson: It really doesn't look anything like our forestry service. It doesn't look like anything like the military. It's just kind of a trawler that patrols the waters there around the Gardens.
Tom Rowland: Do you think that is mostly to keep out commercial fishermen- Clay Watson: ... it is. Tom Rowland: ... or to keep out other any interests?
Clay Watson: Commercial fishermen mainly ... This is 60 miles off the coast, and then you're another couple hundred north of the Cayman, so there's nothing around you. It's not like you can get there ... You're not going to go pleasure fish there for the day. You've got to make a commitment to go there. It accommodates both fishermen and divers. The diving there is pretty phenomenal as well. I'll tell you this, it's probably the most pristine place that I've ever fished in my entire life. I've been fortunate to go to Mexico, to the Caribbean, to New Zealand, to Belize ...
Tom Rowland: ... and extensively in the Keys.
Clay Watson: ... extensively in the Keys, and what this reminded me of is if you could go back in time 150 years ago, maybe more, to the Florida Keys, that's what the area in Cuba looked like.
Tom Rowland: That's the dream for every Florida Keys angler really, is you're out there and there's just ... The Florida Keys are beautiful and I still think that it's one of the greatest fisheries on the planet, but when you say, "Man, what would it be like if there was no one here and we had the same boat ..." It's one thing to have nobody there and all you've got is a canoe, it's like okay, well, you're not going to be doing the same things that we're doing today.
You might travel 100 miles in a day all up and down the Florida Keys in a little flat skiff with a 90 horsepower motor, you're going all over the place and you're hitting the right tide exactly on the right ... You're going ocean side then back country and you're hitting all these different tides and all these different areas and fishing for all the different fish, especially in pursuit of a slam, you might need to or have or want to go a tremendous amount of places in the course of a day. If you didn't have the equipment to do that, it wouldn't quite be the same.
That's what we used to always say when I was daydreaming about, "Man, how cool would it be if we were here 100 years ago and we had this boat and a tank of gas," and we could take off and we could do whatever we wanted to do, and we could fish the Marquesas in the morning and we could fish Islamorada in the afternoon ... That's a long run but it's possible to do. That's really what this seems like, I guess.
Clay Watson: Very much so.
Tom Rowland: Then you're on a mother ... Well, what was the equipment like? Clay Watson: As far as the boats- Tom Rowland: ... the boats you were fishing in and stuff like that.
Clay Watson: ... we fished on dolphin skiffs, kind of the typical skiff you'd find on the Caribbean or in Mexico.
Tom Rowland: Dolphin is fine. I've seen some pictures where people are fishing out of bass boats.
Clay Watson: I've seen that too. That's more on the mainland when they're fishing- Tom Rowland: ... tarpon. Clay Watson: Right. Of course, there are several different areas around the island, the country of Cuba, that offer the type of fishing where we were fishing for tarpon, bonefish, and permit. This particular one was the farthest and probably the best untouched out of all of them.
Tom Rowland: I'm looking at this map right here, and the way I have this map oriented is I can see pretty much New Orleans in the top left hand corner and I'm looking at the Dominican Republic in the bottom right hand corner, Cancun is kind of ... Or Belize would be in the bottom left hand corner and the Bahamas are just off the coast of Florida. I'm looking at Cuba and comparing it to the State of Florida. Cuba is bigger in length than the State of Florida.
Clay Watson: Right.
Tom Rowland: From Key West, I always considered Cuba to be ... You can almost see it; it's 90 miles. One time somebody, the mayor of Key West, Captain Tony ... Actually you can go there to his bar these days, but to show, during the Cuban missile crisis, to show how close Cuba was to the United States, to illustrate that to the whole nation; he water skied from Key West to Cuba. Maybe it's an urban legend, but he says ... Everybody says he did it. You could; you can water ski 90 miles. He ... I don't know about six foot seas but you could-
Clay Watson: ... or 15 foot tiger sharks.
Tom Rowland: ... he found a good day to do it probably, and then you also have the Olympian, Diana Nyad, that swam-
Clay Watson: ... yeah, just recently.
Tom Rowland: ... from Cuba to Key West. I happened to be driving by and I noticed all these people on the beach, in Key West when I was driving by, and I was like, "What? What's going on here," and there were tons of people there. I witnessed her ... I stopped the car, parked, and I'm watching like, "Did somebody die out there or a boat hit somebody or what is it," and then I see this person come up and I just ... It was such a fluke. I was just
happening to go by but I saw her surface in Key West and actually make it to the beach.
We're looking at a 90 mile span between the Florida Keys and Havana. I've always thought, "Well, you could just go to Havana by boat once this all opens and you could probably have really good fishing," but this northern side is very close and easy to get to, but to get to where you want to go would be the equivalent of really leaving Key West and going almost to the panhandle by boat.
Clay Watson: Right.
Tom Rowland: Just around this coast, Santiago De Cuba- Clay Watson: ... past Guantanamo- Tom Rowland: ... okay, that's Guantanamo. If you went the Guantanamo way, you're talking about longer than Andros Island by one, two ... Three times, three or four times as long along the coastline as Andros Island is. If you've ever fished over there, that's a massive island.
Clay Watson: Huge.
Tom Rowland: Then again one, two Andros Island's on the bottom side of Guantanamo before you even rounded the corner to get to these islands. These islands that you visited are very similar looking to the Florida Keys. It's a chain of islands that has some big ones and some small ones, just like the Keys. It looks like it has backcountry area and oceanside area, a series of tolls like the Marquesas. This is also 150 miles long. Where on this did you think that the boat was anchored?
Clay Watson: Our boat?
Tom Rowland: Yeah.
Clay Watson: We anchored in two different spots. When we came out of the port of Jucaro-
Tom Rowland: ... Jucaro, where is that?
Clay Watson: I don't know if you can find that on this map. It should be ... Well, we landed in Camaguey ...
Tom Rowland: Okay, Camaguey is right there.
Clay Watson: That's in the middle of the country, took a three and a half hour bus ride to the port of Jucaro ...
Tom Rowland: It's probably down in- Clay Watson: From there ... Tom Rowland: Due south you think?
Clay Watson: Yeah, but interestingly in Cuba you go ... To go south you go north quite a bit, there aren't any straight ways down there. Anyways, and then you take a five hour, five and a half hour boat ride out to the Gardens.
Tom Rowland: The five and a half hour boat ride is because you're just chugging along at a slow pace or because of the distance-
Clay Watson: ... 10 knots.
Tom Rowland: Both?
Clay Watson: Both. It's a big boat, you're on a 120 foot mothership that's basically your home for the week, and you do everything other than fish off that boat. Of course, the skiffs are tied up to it. Very interesting way to fish; I know you've done that extensively in the Keys.
Tom Rowland: I've done a few mothership trips. One in particular was the best trip that I've ever taken, and that was to take a mothership in Australia to go to the ... What was that called, Bay of Carpentaria. If you look at Australia, it has a peninsula that comes off to the north, just like the United States has Florida that comes off to the south. In Australia it's on the other side of the hemisphere.
If you go north, you're going more south really; you're going more towards a tropical area. What I thought was really cool there is as I traveled north it became more and more and more Florida like even in themangroves. All of a sudden I'm seeing mangroves and I'm seeing palm trees, I'm seeing all these other familiar plants, stuff that looked like hibiscus and azaleas and all that kind of stuff, flowering trees like I see similar tree ... It was a little different but kind of similar.
Then we go all the way to the tip of that and we take a mothership down this coastline to these river mouths. That was really cool, and still to this day probably the best trip I've ever taken and I would love to do that again. That exact operation is not doing that anymore. They had mothership trips to the Marquesas, mothership trips to the Dry Tortugas, mothership trips to the Everglades. I guess that's the extent of it. The mothership trip is a ... That's an amazing way to do anything. It takes a little bit more logistics.
Clay Watson: A lot more of logistics. That's the one thing that amazed me, was just the logistics surrounding this, because you've got to imagine you're in ... Cuba is one of the last bastions of communism in the entire world. Even on the mainland it's not like there's a Walmart or a publics to go load up and stock your ship with to go offshore for a week and feed ten anglers and a crew-
Tom Rowland: ... before we go to there, what nationality is the outfit that you're working with?
Clay Watson: They're all Argentinian.
Tom Rowland: Argentinians. What if they're Canadians for somereason? Clay Watson: No. Argentina, and it also has an Italian influence as well. Tom Rowland: Okay. You've got this Argentinian outfit that's somehow- Clay Watson: ... Avalon. Tom Rowland: ... okay, Avalon. They have somehow ... First of all, I know from another guy that went there, that they're not new. This isn't brand new-
Clay Watson: ... no, no. They've been there for like a decade.
Tom Rowland: ... they've been doing this for a while. They've got some stuff figured out, but they've got some kind of an agreement with the government where they can go in there. Then you've got how many anglers on the boat?
Clay Watson: We had nine anglers.
Tom Rowland: What do you think the capacity is? Clay Watson: They can accommodate 12 anglers. Tom Rowland: Okay. You had nine and no other ... There was just your party and that's it?
Clay Watson: Correct.
Tom Rowland: Think about that. You're there for how many days? Clay Watson: There for a week, a whole Saturday to Saturday. Tom Rowland: Okay. Saturday to Saturday, nine anglers, breakfast lunch and dinner, freshwater, gasoline, boats, fishing tackle, desserts, booze. What else? Everything-
Clay Watson: We had a hot shower every day.
Tom Rowland: Okay. How does that all work? This is in a place where, when I've heard of people going to Cuba ... You're only the second person that I've ever talked to that's actually fished in this area. The first one that I talked to, we'll talk about that in just a minute, but his trip didn't go quite as planned. Once he got to the fishing it was good, and he would definitely go back, but the logistics ... It sounds like you worked out some of these logistics that he had some problems with, getting there and a bunch of his trip was chewed up with travel rather than fishing.
Clay Watson: I could see that.
Tom Rowland: I think, from what you've told me already before we started talking today, it sounds like they worked some of that out. He went to Havana, and a lot of my friends from Key West have gone to Havana for ... And customers, they have those Doctors Without Borders and stuff like that, so you may have a number of surgeons that have gone down there to offer their services to the Cuban people and can go in, and they go to Havana and they're telling me all about it.
Things are sparse there. Supplies are really ... And I've never been, I don't know anything about Cuba; this is just purely what I've been told, but the cars are 1957 Chevys, and they're like that not because people love antiques but because there is nothing else available, and they keep them spit shined and they look really nice but anybody that knows anything about cars looks at it and says, "Wow, that's a Dodge part, and that's a Ford part, and that's a Chevy part and now they've pieced this thing together over the years because this is what they've had and they've made this thing happen."
One of my friends went there, and he's a car guy, and he saw this beautiful '57 Chevy, it was going to be their taxi. He got in and there were no floor boards in it because they had rusted out completely. That's of interest to me, in a place like that where they're having trouble keeping just an automobile running, how does this place get all these supplies there for this boat?
Clay Watson: First of all, they've got the connections with the government, which is the main thing because they are able to ship that stuff to the port and get it on the boat securely and keep it there. That's the first thing you have to have, is the connection to the government, because the government owns everything down there; everything, but that takes time. You've got to know ahead of time that you've got 10 to 12 anglers coming. You've got to know, plan accordingly what they're going to eat. I was as impressed with that as anything. Their food was fantastic-
Tom Rowland: ... it was?
Clay Watson: ... considering we were ...
Tom Rowland: Did you eat Argentinian food or Cuban food?
Clay Watson: It's Cuban food. You ate rice and beans, was a part of your meal, almost every meal. The beauty of being out there as you ate fresh fish, fresh lobster ...
Tom Rowland: Was somebody staying back on the boat and catching all that on deck? Clay Watson: Yeah, the crew was in charge of getting all that. Tom Rowland: Did that seem like that was any sort of a hustle, or there was plentiful and abundant ...?
Clay Watson: Not at all. We had more food than we could eat.
Tom Rowland: Right. Every day they're like, "Check out this big mutton snapper we just caught," off the back of the boat.
Clay Watson: Yeah. If we ended up-
Tom Rowland: ... you could probably keep goliath groupers there too, no problem. Clay Watson: You could- Tom Rowland: ... I don't think anybody is- Clay Watson: ... you could catch them- Tom Rowland: ... they don't have the same regulations as we do in the United States probably, so one-
Clay Watson: ... no.
Tom Rowland: ... one goliath grouper could go a long way.
Clay Watson: ... go a long way. We saw some big fish, big snappers. If one of us caught one at the end of the day we'd keep it and eat it that night. That was great. The logistic thing was just phenomenal. That's ... On the flipside it was also humbling and scary at the same time, because what if something happened. That's always in the back of your mind; you're in trouble if something happens.
Tom Rowland: Even if you do ... When I went to Australia we did that thing where you-
Clay Watson: ... the global rescue?
Tom Rowland: ... yeah. You had the plane that would come pick you up anywhere, but then when I'm at the northernmost part of this and I had to do two puddle jumpers to get there, I'm thinking, "Well, I'm going to have to do two puddle jumpers to get out for that plane to come get me, or a helicopter, or something," I would imagine that that's the same way with Cuba. There's only so many airstrips probably.
Clay Watson: There are so many airstrips, and I can't remember which company I looked, but one or maybe both of them didn't operate in Cuba, so you were on your own-
Tom Rowland: Did everybody stay healthy?
Clay Watson: Yeah, pretty much. Everybody ... You always got that person that gets hooked in the cheek or the back of the neck. We were dealing with 30 and 40 knot winds every day, which made it tough, but you have to know your tricks to get those hooks out.
Tom Rowland: Well, the hooks out, but mostly on my travels I've seen people have intestinal issues.
Clay Watson: No, they never ... We had a little bit of that, but nothing major, just the normal.
Tom Rowland: You decided that you were not going to go to Havana. Clay Watson: Correct. Tom Rowland: That was ... You consciously- Clay Watson: ... we bypassed- Tom Rowland: ... bypassed that. Why did you do that?
Clay Watson: Well, we had heard that, where US citizens were having the most, or their problems, was in Havana, plus-
Tom Rowland: ... what kind of problems?
Clay Watson: Well, just the whole diplomatic situation there, and that probably the main reason we skipped Havana because I would love to go and see the place, but it was a seven hour bus ride from Havana to the port versus a three hour bus ride to the port going through Camaguey. We really didn't feel like spending ... And being our first time. When I go back I'll probably go to Havana and check it out, but we just decided to bypass it altogether.
However, one of the guys in our group had his passport stolen and had to go to Havana wait out, and that was on Saturday that week-
Tom Rowland: ... you all just left him?
Clay Watson: We just left. He's a world traveler, very well versed. It wasn't his first time in Cuba either. He's home now, he's fine. It just took him five extra days to get out.
Tom Rowland: Dang! I thought that was going to happen to us in Christmas Island. They took all our passports and then they disappeared back into this office, and then when they came back out they didn't have this one guy's passport. He went back in there ... Wait, was that ... No, that was not Christmas Island. Christmas Island was easy; there was no problem there. This was when I went dove hunting in Argentina-
Clay Watson: ... Argentina.
Tom Rowland: We went down there and they came back out of this office and did not have this one person's passport, and so he starts-
Clay Watson: ... that's scary.
Tom Rowland: ... he starts freaking out a little bit, knocking on the door asking to see anybody else in charge, whatever, finally they let him back into the office and he himself goes and looks all through this office and he finds it. Apparently; I don't know if this is how it happened, but apparently it slipped off the back of the desk and it was down behind the desk up against the wall. Now, I don't know if that was intentional or not intentional, but if this guy had not have ... If he had not been so insistent, he would have been stuck there without a passport, and that's not a good thing. That's why you always ... That's why-
Clay Watson: ... copies.
Tom Rowland: Yeah, do you do that?
Clay Watson: I carry copies, and now they also have that little passport card. You can get ... Even though it's not valid in Cuba but you have it and it's a form of ID with your picture on it-
Tom Rowland: Right, it's something. Clay Watson: ... I highly suggest that. Tom Rowland: It's got your passport number on it, it's got all that stuff.
Clay Watson: Yeah, it has all that. It just expedites the whole process. I will say this, Cuban people were fantastic. They were the nicest folks, and for ... We judge them for having nothing just from materialistic types of things. Well, they ... Even though they don't have some of the things we have here, they're happy ... Most of them are pretty happy, from the looks of it. Now, I didn't dig down deep and go spend the day with them outside their homes and hear the real story, but from what I saw they were very nice and cordial to the Americans, to us.
Tom Rowland: You got the feeling that ... It's one thing for the person that's working in the airport, and that's the face that you're going to see, and you could put the right person in that place, but did you encounter some other people outside of ... Like, maybe shop owners or other people that didn't really expect to see Americans there all of a sudden and then they're super nice also?
Clay Watson: I don't know if they didn't expect to see Americans there, they didn't see them as often as you would imagine. They see more Canadians and Europeans; they have been for years, and I think they appreciated the Americans. Most of us are fairly nice.
Tom Rowland: Yeah. Well, I would think that they would appreciate tourism from any country.
Clay Watson: They do, and especially when you spend a little money with them. That goes a long way.
Tom Rowland: The place that my other friend had a problem, and you just ... When we were talking about Havana, that's where it was. He went to Havana and then he took that seven hour bus ride instead of what you did, but instead of seven hours that took more like 11. It was supposed to take seven, and then he was supposed to get on the boat, but this whole thing got delayed like an entire day somehow; bus trouble or whatever he had, and so he didn't get on the boat until a certain ... A day later than he was supposed to.
Then they chug out there, all that time chugging out there, and then he ended up only fishing for ... Maybe he was supposed to fish for four days and he only got three. He did that because he had to go back and then he had to do the seven hour bus ride, which was more like an 11 hour bus ride. That's what he said. He said, "Man, once I got to the fishing, it was great, but until they work out these logistics I'm not going back." It sounds like you worked out, or took a significant chunk out of that.
Clay Watson: It was ... I won't say it was easy, but it was seamless.
Tom Rowland: You get out on the ... How did it work with the ... Did they just have some skiffs, the dolphins, on the boat? Were they on the boat or were they ...?
Clay Watson: They keep a fleet of them ... They have another kind of floating mothership out there just for their diving operations and they keep their skiffs hooked up to it as well. They kept two of the skiffs tied up to our boat then the others were tied up ... They were probably a half a mile away where they maintain the skiffs and fueled them up every day with fuel. They actually keep them out there.
Tom Rowland: That diving operation, it looks to me like, when I'm looking at this map here, right on the edge it looks like it drops off to 1,000 feet deep.
Clay Watson: Yeah, the Jamaican trench is right there. We met some guys scouting for shark down there, on this trip.
Tom Rowland: American guys ... From the Discovery Channel or they were just fisher- Clay Watson: Yeah, they were Discovery- Tom Rowland: ... fisher people?
Clay Watson: No, these are guys who work for Discovery Channel, and he had already filmed a couple of them the previous years. We were talking ... They had seen us fishing, and they were talking about the diving, and he was talking about how awesome it was. They were actually seeing the tarpons starting to stage up and some of the-
Tom Rowland: ... really? Did he say that that reef was alive? Clay Watson: Yeah. Tom Rowland: A lot of the Florida Keys reef is not alive. Clay Watson: I know. It's very much alive down there, very- Tom Rowland: ... that's probably 200 miles of reef that we're looking at. Clay Watson: Yeah, at least that. Tom Rowland: That'd be incredible. I want to go.
Clay Watson: It was fantastic. We'll definitely go back. We really didn't know what to expect.
Tom Rowland: How much of this do you think you covered? The thing is 150 miles long. Do you think on any given day you went more than 10 miles from where the boat was?
Clay Watson: Yeah, because we moved- Tom Rowland: ... how was the boat moved? Clay Watson: ... we moved for like- Tom Rowland: ... let's go through it. Day one, what happens on day one?
Clay Watson: Day one ... I don't have my notes in front of me, so I can't tell you. It goes like the [foreign language 00:41:11], or something like that. I probably butchered that up and I apologize. We stayed in kind of a protected cut in the island the first night, fished around there for like a seven hour day. That's another thing about mothership fishing in general, it's your fishing days are longer. We were on the water at 8 am and you weren't back to the boat until five, and it was all fishing.
Most places you go ... I know in Mexico you're back on the beach at four o'clock, and it takes a while to get to and from the fishing grounds. This was incredible; you were fishing immediately. First day we fished, and [inaudible 00:41:55] seven o'clock. Then you get up the next morning and we headed ... We motored pretty far east because the boat was moving about 20 miles that day, to us, to the east.
Tom Rowland: The boat takes off and you just catch up later?
Clay Watson: Yeah, we catch up later in another protected coast; we fished around there for three days, and then on the last night we moved back to where we were the first night, back to the west, so we could take that straight shot back to the port, and we fished around there on the last day. You have abbreviated first days and last days, as far as for fishing hours, but you're not losing any times getting to the fishing grounds; you're there.
Tom Rowland: The first day and the last day is a little bit abbreviated. Then how many days did you fish in between?
Clay Watson: Five, yeah.
Tom Rowland: Okay. For a lot of people, they might not understand exactly the draw of this, if you haven't fished in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys is just amazing, because of the variety. The one thing that this probably would not have ... I don't know, maybe it would; maybe there would be some rivers coming out here and you could have some Everglades type areas up on the mainland here.
The everglades is a super special place, and that's one of the things that makes the Florida Keys one of the greatest places in the world to fish, is that you have this amazing variety of everything from fresh water and fresh water turning into salt water and these brackish type environments all through the Everglades National Park, which is completely uninhabited, by authority of the National Park Service because the Everglades is a national park, so you can't just go build a house in there, or anything like that.
The Everglades is amazing, and then that kind of Florida Bay turns into the Florida Keys and you have this back country area where there's just big mixing of Everglades water, gulf water, and Atlantic Ocean water and you have these big tidal differences where it might be four hours or five hours different. If it's a high tide at 12 o'clock on the ocean it might be a high tide at five o'clock in the backcountry.
That gives you this amazing ability to move around and hit whatever tide you want, which is really cool. Then you have ... Up in the Everglades you'll have redfish, snook, of course sharks and stuff like that, but also all the way up ... You could take that all the way up and finish for largemouth bass if you wanted to.
Then as you get into this other area, out of this little skiff you could probably fish for about 40 different species of fish in the Florida Keys. Then you can go out front and probably fish for another 40 different species of fish in an offshore boat. That's one of the things that makes the Florida Keys such an incredible place, and really very few places can compete with that; the variety and then the accessibility.
We could be fishing for swordfish 20 miles off the coast of ... Pretty much anywhere in the Florida Keys, and that's going to be water that's 2,000 feet deep. You go off of South Carolina and you can fish for the same sword fish but you're going to take-
Clay Watson: ... take you two days to get there.
Tom Rowland: ... yeah, it's going to take you a long way, way more than 100 miles to get into sailfish water.
Clay Watson: Right.
Tom Rowland: Same thing in a lot of these places is that the fish are there if you are tough enough, have the equipment, the desire to go that far. You don't have to in the Florida Keys. What I'm looking at here in Cuba is that same kind of thing, maybe possibly with the exception of the Everglades, but you've got this backcountry area, you've got this ocean area; it's only 150
miles away from the Florida Keys, so you're going to have all the same species of fish there, which is really important to me when I go plan a trip.
It's like, "Okay, you're going to go someplace to catch bonefish. Well, what happens if bone fishing is not that good, what are we going to do then," because I don't know about you but that's usually what happens. Occasionally if you put in your time you're going to hit it right, but you also, in order to hit it right, you're going to have to put in your time and you're going to have to get it wrong a lot of times.
There are places that you can go in this world where you're going to fish for bonefish, and if they're not there or it's not happening, or if it just got a little colder or if it got cloudy, you're out of luck. You can still fish for them in a lot of different ways but that's the thing about the Florida Keys that I've always liked so much, is that if you go down there for bonefish or permit and all of a sudden it gets windy and cloudy there's still lots of other things that you could do.
You're coming from Ohio, you don't get to the Keys very often; it's not cold to you, right, it's negative three where you live and it's 60 and these guys are crying and saying, "We're not going to catch anything today," and the wind is not blowing that hard; it's blowing 20 and it's 60 but you could still go out and you could catch gag groupers, you could the cast net and catch pilchards and make all kinds of stuff happen.
The snook fishing and the red fishing could be really good. The point of it is, is that there's all these plan Bs, C, D, E, F, G, H and that's why ... That's another reason why in the Florida Keys the guides there can fish 300 days a year, because there's no possible way that it's going to be 300 days a year of tarpon fishing. There's going to be days where you don't even see a tarpon, but there are other things you can do. That's what's so intriguing about this Cuba place to me, is that it's very similar. You've got all of these different opportunities and this is before these guys even discover a bay boat with 150 gallon live well, seriously.
Clay Watson: In the Gardens of the Queen it's fly fishing only. Tom Rowland: By law? Clay Watson: By law.
Tom Rowland: Okay, and catch and release? Clay Watson: Catch and release fun fishing only. Tom Rowland: What about where these guys are catching your dinner?
Clay Watson: Well, that was for the specific game fish, for bonefish, the permit and the tarpon.
Tom Rowland: For those three? Clay Watson: Yeah. Tom Rowland: Do they have snook? Did you see any snook?
Clay Watson: No, they did have snook up by the mainland. However, it's super overfished. It's not as protected as the other-
Tom Rowland: ... well, see that's the other thing than I had heard, and maybe you can tell me if this is right or not, but this group of islands was pointed out to me by Jeffrey Cardenas 20 years ago, and he said that's going to be the place. He said these other places ... And Jeffrey is of Cuban descent and he knows a lot about Cuba.
In fact, there's even a Cardenas Cuba; I don't know if that has anything to do with his exact heritage, but he was pointing this out and he said ... He showed me all these other areas and he says, "Yeah, they can get there and net there, the people can and they need to," because that is a major source of food and that goes back to feed all these villages and everything else. He was basically saying anywhere where there's where there's a road and you can get there, it's going to be tough, because there's going to be a gill net that leaves there all the time. This is-
Clay Watson: ... hard to get to.
Tom Rowland: ... what; 50 miles, 60 miles? Clay Watson: 60 miles offshore. Tom Rowland: How deep is this water, this lighted blue water between the-
Clay Watson: ... I don't know the exacts, but it was ... It was pretty deep, and when we were ... We were in six, seven foot seas coming back. It's deep water.
Tom Rowland: Right. You're not getting out there in a littleskiff. Clay Watson: No, no. Not at all, no. Tom Rowland: Man, that is super cool. That's really my fascination with this, is that it would be an amazing place, and it will be, if you can get this logistics of travel down. Maybe one day, maybe one day they'll have that. Do you think there's more than that one airport that you went to? There's probably airports all over this place.
Clay Watson: The main airports, Havana and Camaguey are your main ones, and then I think Santiago down in the far east is another one.
Tom Rowland: When you're out there talking to the crew, are they seeing many Americans?
Clay Watson: They're starting to see more and more, but it's mainly Europeans.
Tom Rowland: Did they give ... Of anyone I would think they would have the line on what the politics are about opening this up and making it easier.
Clay Watson: Well, they hope that it becomes easier, because they ... Again, they like the American culture, they like-
Tom Rowland: ... and there's plenty of people that would love to-
Clay Watson: ... love to go down there. I think we could, and I'm not saying this as a capitalist by any stretch of imagination, but I think we could bring a lot of good to that area. At the same time I'm glad ... And this sounds crazy, but I'm kind of glad that relations hadn't been that good down there because I would be afraid of what ... If we would have gotten our hands on this area 100 years ago what would it look like today.
Tom Rowland: It'd look like a ... That depends on if you ... It would depend on if you've sprayed for mosquitoes or not, but that's always my thing about Florida. Florida is very popular these days, but you take away air-conditioning and you don't spray for mosquitoes and not many people want to live there.
Clay Watson: You're right. That's true. There's was no Tiki bars or there was no [inaudible 00:51:38], it's just a whole nother ... From a saltwater fisherman, it was just a pleasure to go down there and not see another boat, not see a house. It's just ... Just to be out there in the wild, and that's basically where you were. Going to the fishing part of it, that was just the bonus part. The fishing was ... It was good, but I saw with my own eyes how incredible it could have been.
We were dealing with 30 to 40 knot winds every day and the guides were skilled enough to get us out of the wind, put us in some ideal casting situations. However, it made the permit fishing extremely difficult, but I can tell you what I saw down there in the permit fishing ... And this wasn't sold to us, advertised to us when we were looking into this trip, it wasn't built as a permit spot; it was built more as a big bonefish spot, but the permit around there were numerous, and it might have been the time we were there, but some of the happiest permit I've ever seen in my life.
Tom Rowland: What kind of situations? Were you seeing singles, or doubles, or schools, or ...?
Clay Watson: No. Singles and doubles, because with your experience, the big ones don't school up as much; they're in the twos and the fours or singles, and so you're seeing more of that, but you're seeing the tailing ... I'm talking the hardcore diggers, mainly oceanside fish, that were just patrolling these coral ... Exposed coral reefs in low tide. It was really cool to see these big fish get up in these little tiny skinny water turned sideways to get through certain passages in order to eat these crabs, and then they had the skill enough to get back out into the deeper water. It was very ... As anglers, it was tough to present crabs to them-
Tom Rowland: ... that's hard bottom, like a reef edge? Clay Watson: Yes, yeah and it was so neat. Tom Rowland: ... that's like cultural reef. Outside of Key West they do the same thing, there'll be like waves sometimes even crashing over that-
Clay Watson: ... yes.
Tom Rowland: ... small waves, not surfing size waves but small waves. They look like surfing waves but they're six feet, inches high and they're going and then that fish is up in there and he is on his head, and then the wave goes over and almost to his gills is exposed; I mean, you're almost looking at an entire fish and the guide in the back is like, "Well, did you see that one?"
Clay Watson: Yes.
Tom Rowland: There's a fish out of the water right there; I'm sure you could see that one. That's a cool place. That situation, in my opinion, is a place where you can catch them if you don't get your line hung in the reefs.
Clay Watson: That, yeah, and keep your boat off the reef too. Tom Rowland: Right, I know. That's tricky- Clay Watson: ... that's tough.
Tom Rowland: ... that's super tricky, because those waves are pushing you in and there is a place where it's like a sweet spot. It's like a place where as a surfer you're trying to catch the wave, and if you're 10 feet off of that you don't catch the wave, if you're 10 feet ahead of that the wave crashes on you and you find that sweet spot. The sweet spot in the boat is obviously you want to be back the 10 feet where you don't catch the wave. You definitely don't want to be the 10 feet in front where it smashes you right into the reef. A guide that doesn't do that very often it's very, very easy-
Clay Watson: ... very difficult.
Tom Rowland: ... to do that when the wind's blowing and all you've got is a push pole. That can be really, really difficult to do that. What did you think about the guides?
Clay Watson: I thought they were phenomenal. They were very accommodating. They really knew their territory. They knew their species they were fishing for. What constantly amazes me, whether I'm in Mexico or in Cuba, they don't have GPS, they don't have cell phones; they know when the tide is just by fishing it their entire life and they fish it every day. They are specific on their fly patterns, but they almost know these fish by first name, and they don't get worked up. They don't get down on ... They want you to have a good time. They want you to have success, but success is not necessarily boating a fish, and they understand that.
Tom Rowland: These guys, did you get the kind of feeling the guides that were out there were out there for months at a time and then they would alternate them-
Clay Watson: No, they-
Tom Rowland: ... or they had a staff that stayed all the time?
Clay Watson: They would go basically a week on, a week off, get back to shore to their families.
Tom Rowland: These are Cuban guides or Argentinians?
Clay Watson: They have to be Cuban. They have to be Cuban, which I would rather be Cuban as well. I think they're all-
Tom Rowland: ... that's crazy.
Clay Watson: ... like that in the Bahamas if I'm not mistaken, where their guides had to be Bahamian.
Tom Rowland: Yeah. That whole deal got spiraled way out of control. It was very controversial, very controversial even among the people that I know that go down there and wildly different opinions on which was right and which was wrong. Pretty much no one can fish ... The idea that was proposed was that you could not fish with a hand line, with a Zebco little kid rod for a two inch snapper, or bonefish, or Jack crevalle, or anything; you could not fish without having a Bahamian guide with you.
Clay Watson: Got you.
Tom Rowland: That ... Man, I don't know what I thought about that, because I actually was having this conversation with some people in the Bahamas and the opinions were, it was almost like Republican or Democrat. It was either as
hardcore one way or hardcore the other way. My feeling was I'm not sure that's ... I get the point; I get the point that they're trying to protect that fishery and they're trying to protect the Bahamians way of life, that's awesome.
Clay Watson: Sure, yeah.
Tom Rowland: In doing that, at that extreme ... I took a trip down there a couple of years ago; it's still one of my favorite trips that I've ever taken. We went to a place called Elbow Cay, we rented a boat and then we hired guides. I went and fished with a guide in the [morels 00:58:22] there on Abaco, and right in front of Oliver White's place. I had a guide and we fished right there, and then the next day ... But I also had a boat.
I've got Cynthia and Hannah stay back and we go and fish on this boat. The next day ... This guide was so awesome and the fishing was so good I said, "Hey, could you just take the boys?" I felt totally fine about it. The boys, the next day they take the Fairy over, they get with the guide, they go and do their fishing all day.
Well, me and Cynthia and Hannah get in our boat and we just start doing a little island hopping. I stop at a couple of flats, make a couple of casts, catch a bonefish, catch a mutton snapper, no big deal, just stopped. I've got my daughter, I put her on my shoulders and we're walking through the flat and we catch this mutton snapper; I show it to her and everything. Then maybe she might have wanted to catch a couple of snappers; we catch some snappers and go home, have a great day.
I think that ... In that situation I rented a boat from a Bahamian. I hired a Bahamian as a guide. We paid the Fairy. We paid for fuel. I don't know what else I bought; I probably bought lunch for the boys to go over there from the little shop-
Clay Watson: ... you're giving back to the Bahamians.
Tom Rowland: ... right. The point is, is that if that was ... I know that a lot of people book their trips like that, like I just want to walk along the beach and catch a couple of fish and I also want to go for guided trips. Well, I think that if you took away that opportunity to just rent a boat and try-
Clay Watson: ... to do it yourself.
Tom Rowland: ... it yourself, but you're not going to catch much. Clay Watson: Right. Tom Rowland: You're really not going to.
Clay Watson: You need that local knowledge.
Tom Rowland: Yeah. A guy like me, that wasn't the point of the day. The point of the day was to take my wife and daughter out and maybe I catch something. It would be cool if I did, that'd be great, but that's the whole point of the trip. I gave money back to the economy by renting the boat and by doing all this, and I also gave money back to the economy to do this and I think that overall it's great for the entire Bahamian economy.
There was a faction that was just so dead set that, "No, if you come down here and you fish it's going to be a significant penalty." Now you're like, "Well, I mean, if I just want to try out ... I go to the lodge and I want to just cast my line out there, is that considered fishing, because I'm just practicing for tomorrow. Do I need a guide with me for that," and then it gets to this ... I think that it could get to this situation, to where people just say, "No, I'll go to Mexico," or, "I'll go to the Florida Keys," or, "I'll go to Christmas Island," or ... There's a zillion other places.
I don't think that they're thinking that, that they're thinking, "Man, all these people are coming down here and they are spoiling our fisheries and not utilizing our guides, so we are going to take this extreme." I don't think that they realize, for American anglers or Canadian anglers or so many of these other people, that the Bahamas and the Florida Keys and Cuba and all of these places are just one place that you could go and there's lots of other places.
Clay Watson: No, there's a ton of places.
Tom Rowland: I think that it's a mistake to make it in any way intimidating. I think that you need to open it up more for tourism, right?
Clay Watson: I agree. I think also too they want to keep ... A small part of that is they want to keep that American guide from spending his winters-
Tom Rowland: ... I don't have a problem with that. Clay Watson: ... guiding down there and taking that potential income away from a local. Tom Rowland: I don't have a problem with that. You've got to be Bahamian to guide, you've got to be Cuban to guide; I don't have a problem with that. Now, could you be ... Could you own the lodge as an American? There are situations like that to where the American can own a lodge but he has to employ all Bahamian guides. I don't think that's such a bad thing, because the American may have all of these contacts that it's going to be instant revenue and he's going to employ 10 guides instantly by setting up this lodge. Otherwise, it's going to take 10 years to develop-
Clay Watson: ... to build it.
Tom Rowland: ... or never. They may never build those things. I don't know. I'm not Bahamian; I'm not advocating one way or another-
Clay Watson: No, no.
Tom Rowland: ... I'm just saying that I think that going to the extreme on those things could be a mistake for certain locations. I think it's great that the Cuban ... That they would have to be Cubans, and that's the same situation. They'll let an Argentinian group come in here but they have to employ Cubans.
Clay Watson: Correct.
Tom Rowland: Now, how weird is it for those Cuban guides that are going out there and then returning to their family and they're saying, "Yeah, there are these islands way out there, I didn't even know they were there." They probably have never been there before, right?
Clay Watson: Well, until the first day they went-
Tom Rowland: ... until this big ... Well, yeah, I know. They're living on Cuba and-
Clay Watson: ... and they might have heard stories about it. Living near the port town you hear the fishermen coming back from finding these islands and stuff like that, but it's not like you can just get in there on a Saturday morning in a boat with your buddies and head out there. It's a little bit more than that. The deal is, these guides are in a fraternity of fishing guides in Cuba that ... It's a privilege to get that call to work for one of those outfitters. There's only just a couple of outfitters in Cuba altogether, but that's a great source of income. I think I heard ... And I may be wrong on my statistics, but the average monthly wage was like 29 Cuban dollars-
Tom Rowland: ... what is a Cuban dollar compared to a US dollar? Clay Watson: ... CUCs. It's almost one to one, if my math's correct. Tom Rowland: Then it would probably be nothing for a Canadian or an American to slip that guy a 50 after they have fished?
Clay Watson: Well-
Tom Rowland: ... what was the deal in tipping?
Clay Watson: That was one of the ... I won't call it a deal, but it was 400 CUCs for the week, for the week, and these guys are with you from eight to four, and you had to be real careful because politics did come into play and the role
of communism did as well. They really stressed against ... The group leaders stressed against going all 'American' on these guys and throwing a-
Tom Rowland: ... well, that's what I was going to ask.
Clay Watson: ... a thousand dollars to them, because all of a sudden they're on a ... The whole deal about communism is everybody is equal, or is supposed to be.
Tom Rowland: Right.
Clay Watson: You didn't want to give this guide too much more than the other guide, so we all really made a conscious effort to tip our guides the same, or around the same amount of money.
Tom Rowland: I can see that. I was wondering, when I said what's the deal with the tipping, I figured that the Argentinian people would give you a little coaching as to-
Clay Watson: ... they did.
Tom Rowland: ... "Look, this is too much, don't do this." Clay Watson: ... do not overdo it. Tom Rowland: ... because you're going to ... Unknowingly, you're giving that person a year's salary and now he might not show up back to work because it's ... You just made $100,000. It's like giving somebody $100,000 and does he need to come back? I don't know. You always wonder that. I was in Honduras one time, fishing there, and just did our fishing and we had to go and meet this guide in the most severe third world situation that I've seen, I didn't really think too much about it.
I gave him my sunglasses, I gave him this whole of box of flies that I had because he had nothing and he was really a good kid, and so at the end of the trip I'm like, "Well, I don't need this anymore, I don't need this anymore, I don't need this anymore," I gave him a buff and t-shirt, and he had no sunscreen, nothing; he had nothing. I give him all this stuff, and then I give him $100 bill and just walk away. I didn't think anything of it until I got back and I was like, "Man, that is a lot of money-"
Clay Watson: ... just ruin this guy.
Tom Rowland: ... I hope I didn't ruin ... It was totally unintentional. It was out of, "Man, I'm a fishing guide too and this is what people do for me, and I'm really, really appreciative of it. You did a great job," but is that the right thing to do, really. Do you really just throw somebody the equivalent of a year's salary? Are you doing the guy any favors? You want to, because you just-
Clay Watson: They have families that have needs.
Tom Rowland: ... right. You're trying to help, but are you helping too much, I guess. The Argentinians, they told you don't go all American on them?
Clay Watson: Yeah, pretty much that's what they said, and so we didn't, but they were very appreciative of anything they got at that point. Overall, I was impressed with the Cuban guides. They were very friendly and amicable and approachable.
Tom Rowland: They knew the fishing?
Clay Watson: They knew the fishing, and they knew ... The only ... I would ... For the first time or the new ... A person looking to go get into saltwater fishing for the first time, I wouldn't recommend jumping off and going to Cuba for the first time. We had a couple of those guys on our trip, but they were with other people that helped them along on the way. There's a big drop off when you're learning how to fish in the Florida Keys versus learning how to fish in Mexico or Cuba.
Tom Rowland: You mean a big drop off as to the instruction?
Clay Watson: The instructional part of it. The Americans, the guides here, yes you pay more money but for what you get education-wise and instruction-wise it's just exponentially more. They are going to ... The guides here are going to basically do everything for you but actually put the fly in front of the fish. They're going to tell you exactly where that fish is, exactly what the attitude of that fish is, and when to do it, how to-
Tom Rowland: ... and then on top of that they're going ... You're talking about Florida Keys guides, and they have the best possible equipment.
Clay Watson: They do.
Tom Rowland: It just came out like last week and it's on the boat. If they do break down, which does happen, they know the mechanic and they're right in there and you're probably back out there before lunch. There's a lot of advantages to going and staying in the United States, a lot. You have a problem, you've got a hospital. You've got a problem, there's ... You're there.
Clay Watson: There's a fix.
Tom Rowland: Yeah. The Cuban thing is of interest, just because- Clay Watson: ... it's an adventure.
Tom Rowland: ... I just keep thinking, and I've daydreamed about this for, literally for years, what would the Keys be like 100 years ago.
Clay Watson: Go to Cuba and you'll see. It's truly ... It was the ... The bonefish there were big and ...
Tom Rowland: What do you think the biggest one anybody caught on your trip was?
Clay Watson: I think we had a nine pounder that turned into a five pounder by virtue of a chart, which has happened to me in the Keys many times. I think the largest fish I boated was around seven pounds. I saw a few fish that were well above double digits that, as we were coming onto the flat they were leaving, as most big ones do. I think probably the largest fish probably caught was an eight pounder.
Tom Rowland: That's a-
Clay Watson: That's a nice fish.
Tom Rowland: ... serious bonefish. I would imagine that if you got down there and really- Clay Watson: ... really honed in on them you could find some. Tom Rowland: There's plenty of areas in the Florida Keys where it's a small fish area and they may be more plentiful, but you're probably not going to catch a nine pounder there, but then there's other areas where you're only going to catch nine pounders. I'm sure that if you got down in there and had time to really look around I'm sure you would find the same thing. Did you see tarpon?
Clay Watson: Yeah.
Tom Rowland: Did they talk about the tarpon coming through like they do in the Keys?
Clay Watson: Yeah, they did. There's a big migration there as well, and they have some really big fish that come in.
Tom Rowland: Do they fish them the same way? Clay Watson: They do. Tom Rowland: On the ocean side and on-
Clay Watson: ... on the ocean side, they stake out a lot. The guides love it because it's a-
Tom Rowland: ... yeah, they don't have to do anything.
Clay Watson: ... easier day for them, but the cool thing is, is they can tuck in and go permit and bone fishing. Just like the Keys, it's pretty [dagem 01:11:12] easy to do that, but when the tarpon are on and on, they had a very healthy population of resident tarpon there and baby tarpon, anywhere from-
Tom Rowland: ... and cool places to feed them like back in the States?
Clay Watson: ... cool places ... Yeah. There was a lot of casting under the mangroves through little alleyways and having to pull the fish out and keep it-
Tom Rowland: ... you did not see any snook in those areas? Clay Watson: No snook. Tom Rowland: Didn't see a red fish anywhere probably? Clay Watson: No, I don't think they have red fish. Tom Rowland: What about mutton snapper on the flat, did you see any of those? Clay Watson: Yeah, a couple of those were caught. Tom Rowland: Really, behind rays or just on their own? Clay Watson: Just on their own. Tom Rowland: Really?
Clay Watson: Yeah.
Tom Rowland: That's cool, that's something that was really a great fishery in Key West when I first showed up there, was these mutton snappers on the flats, and they would catch big ones and then for some reason it just dried up. I don't know what happened. Some people would say that that was a learned behavior from a certain population of mutton snapper; that they would ... Mutton snappers typically are deeper water fish but they do have a habit of coming up on the flats. Some people would say that a certain population of mutton snappers would do that.
They would go up on the flats, they would follow rays and they would go and feed on the flats and people were catching those. Of course, anglers would keep them if they caught them, but that wasn't enough to really have this all dry up I don't think. What some people thought was that there was ... This population of fish went out some place and then they got hit with net fishing or somehow commercial fished-
Clay Watson: ... never came back.
Tom Rowland: ... because it just dried up. It just really dried up. People were catching those regularly, like super slam permit; tarpon, bonefish, and mutton snappers and people would catch them regularly, but it just really dried up and then never really saw them. It's happening again, it's starting to happen again, so maybe they're learning how to do it again. That mutton snapper fishing, those things are cool. That's a-
Clay Watson: ... it's a good fight.
Tom Rowland: ... yeah, they fight good. They look a lot like bonefish when they're coming down the flat, kind of gray, but they don't have that fork tail. You think you'll go back to Cuba?
Clay Watson: Yes, no doubt.
Tom Rowland: Do you have other trips on though? Clay Watson: We'll go back to Mexico in November. Tom Rowland: Where do you go there? Clay Watson: I go down to a place called Playa Blanca Lodge which we fish, Espiritu Santo Bay, and it is a fantastic place as well. It's one of those places too that you do see some other fishermen down there but not a lot; it's very hard to get to. It's hard to get to by boat, but for the angler it's pretty easy to get to.
Tom Rowland: You're fishing bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook?
Clay Watson: You do have the opportunity for all that. That's kind of the one trip a year that I sell out and just go 100% permit.
Tom Rowland: Really, because that is ... They do catch snook there, right? Clay Watson: Yeah, and some nice snook. Tom Rowland: That place is known for the super slam, like permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook.
Clay Watson: Yes.
Tom Rowland: Now in the Keys that's one place where you can do a super duper slam, I guess you'd call it.
Clay Watson: You have the snook, yeah.
Tom Rowland: Yeah, the red fish. Permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, and redfish and all in one day; that's a pretty amazing day, but it is possible. That place that you're talking about, permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook; that's super slam and that I think is one of the best places in the world to do it.
Clay Watson: No doubt, it's a phenomenal place and incredible fishery. It's an incredible fishery.
Tom Rowland: Good guides there too, right?
Clay Watson: Fantastic guides. We've going down there for several years, and they're almost like family. They are very knowledgeable, very friendly, and they exist to make sure you have a fun enjoyable day on the water.
Tom Rowland: That's a question I'd like to ask you, you've fished all over; everywhere from where we first started, where we first met in the Rocky Mountains and going down and fishing with the Rocky Mountain trout guides, to Mexico, to now Cuba, Bahamas, all the Florida Keys guides, very notable ones that I know that you fish with. In your opinion, what's the definition of a good guide?
Clay Watson: A good guide? Someone that respects your ability and is okay with that, someone that understands that catching and boating a fish isn't necessarily the and all be all goal. A good guide will customize the day or the week to your ability as an angler to help you learn to maximize your ability as an angler, whether you're catching fish or learning how to cast to a fish. I've always approached it as if I don't catch anything at least I'm going to walk away having learnt something. I feel like a good guide accommodates me with that.
Tom Rowland: You see that those qualities transcend geography... Clay Watson: No doubt. Tom Rowland: That a good guide in the Bahamas is a good guide in the Rocky Mountains and they all have those same qualities?
Clay Watson: You can have a guide out there that you'll go catch a ton of fish with and he could be the biggest A hole in the world, and the flipside is you could have guide that you may go catch a few fish with but you're going to have the absolute best time and you're going to see things you've never seen in your life before with that guide. A lot of the good guides will, every now and then, will tell you to stop what you're doing and look up, "Look at that flamingo over there, look at that cool fish that you're not fishing for, look at that in its habitat, look at the cool flower."
Tom Rowland: Right, because you're going to miss it.
Clay Watson: You're going to miss it if you're not.
Tom Rowland: With all that said, what makes a great guide? Clay Watson: A great guide? Tom Rowland: A great guide, because there are greats. There are levels of guiding that ... You'll have plenty of terrible guides, lots of them, you have some good guides, and you have a few great guides.
Clay Watson: The great guide is someone that's just passionate about the process, the environment that they're working in, but just ... And also just treats that animal or that fish like it's super human, and then respects that fish. Whether it's a half pound bonefish or a 25 pound permit, they're treating it the same way. Not only just physically treating that fish that way but treating the process of fooling that fish into eating your fly. It's treating them one in the same, or I guess playing down to your angler makes a great guide.
If somebody takes me fishing they're going to be different than when they take you fishing, or somebody like a ... One of the really good anglers out there; their names are escaping me now, but they are going to fish the same but they're going to make you feel like you're the best guy that stepped on their boat. That makes any sense.
Tom Rowland: Well, it makes a lot of sense, because what you've said is that they're going to treat a half pound bonefish with the same respect that they're going to treat a 20 pound bonefish. You could say the same thing, in my opinion, about a great guide is going to treat all of their anglers that way.
Clay Watson: Yeah.
Tom Rowland: The guy that comes to visit one time a year or the guy that books 100 days, it's all the same because that person treats guiding as the ultimate profession. There are a few, there are a few out there, and what I find with the great ones is that the clients revere them and covet the time with the great ones.
Clay Watson: There's no doubt. I think ... Something you taught me a long time ago is, we were fishing guides out west, and it was more of a summer job for me than it was you; it was a lifestyle and a passion for you, but the good guides they treat it like a passion and it is a part of their existence.
When you train both physically and mentally for that particular job and you learn the ins and outs of guiding and you do it because that's what you want to do, it's not that you have to do it; it's because you believe that you're put on this earth to do that, and that's a good guide right there.
You don't just up and decide, "Hey, I'm going to be a fishing guide," maybe that's how it starts, but the good ones survive and the good ones are successful and continuously booked with clients because they are passionate about it and are enjoyable to be around. They just ... You slice their wrist and they bleed fishing.
Tom Rowland: For somebody that hasn't experienced that, I know a lot of people that have gone on a lot of trips and they still haven't encountered that good guide ... Well, they've encountered some good ones but they haven't encountered the great one, because the great one ... Some of these people that I'm talking about are not going to go fishing one time a year, they're not going to put a lot of effort into it, they're going to have a call in to me and say, "Hey, who can I go with this weekend."
Well, the good guides, or the great guides; the ones that we're talking about, they're booked a year in advance, or more, and it's difficult to get them but when you do you will see the difference immediately. You will see the difference when you pull up at the ramp and he's already there and he's waiting on you, and his equipment is glistening and everything is perfect, and you start talking and it just becomes immediately ... You could see it in any profession. You could see it really in any profession.
You could see somebody that is good at what they do and then you can see somebody that is absolutely the best at what they do, and it's really cool to see. Like the eye doctor I took turner to, to have this procedure done on his eyes, he invented this procedure and he does more of these in a week than most people will do in a year, and so we go to him.
The second that we walk into his office I'm like, "We're in the right place. Everything about this is right." Then we meet him and it's, just like we're talking about, it's just everything from his introduction to the way that he looks at you and his concern about turner and, "Okay, no problem. I see this all the time, and this is what we're going to do, and don't worry." You just know you're in good hands. That's incredible. You can get the same thing from a fishing guide. You can get the same thing from all different kinds of professions.
One thing I was thinking about the other day, as we start to wrap this up, I used to have this ... There would be a couple of situations where I would think of these situations, these fishing situations and I would call it like a Sunday afternoon kind of a deal, and sometimes I'd be out there with my customers, and everything would just be right.
It's down tide, downwind, down sun, the fish are there, the tide is perfect; I don't even have to try, and the fish are ... There's laid up tarpon everywhere and there's no boats in sight, and I'm like, "Man, this is like going fishing with my dad on a Sunday afternoon when you just ... When
everything is just perfectly right." With all of the experience you've had, fresh and salt water, you think about one of those type of situations, what comes to your mind, like the perfect situation? Maybe you could redo it, maybe you could go back and do it right now. If you could put yourself in that situation, what would it be?
Clay Watson: Like one I've experienced you're saying? Tom Rowland: Yeah. Clay Watson: I don't know. There was a moment on the south island of New Zealand 20 years ago, it was the last day of a two week trip and I had caught a couple of really nice trout on that entire trip; hadn't broke the double digits yet but caught a couple of eight pound brown and rainbows on dry flies and I had a ... We had spotted a fish near the helicopter ... I know that sounds terrible, but that's how you fish down there ...
Tom Rowland: First world problems.
Clay Watson: Yeah, first world problems. Anyways, it was a big fish, and it was one of those deals where back here in the States you're having to fish with a size 20 Midge on 6X tip to catch that type of fish. Well, there it was like a size two hummingbird, which was like a cicada; that was massive, about the size of a tarpon fly.
Everything was perfect like you said, the wind, the fish was happy, I popped that fly out there and he swam about six feet over and ate the fly and I totally whiffed the fish and I knew it was done, because most of the time you get one shot at fish like that and then they're gone., and the guide is like, "Hold on mate, he has ... He's still there," and he never spooked.
I put another cast out there and he ate it, and I said their famous saying down under, "God save the queen," and set the hook, and there he was. It was a nine pound brown trout that gave me a second chance. That's what the trip ended on, and I'll never forget that the rest of my life. It was just ... You don't always get those second chances on fish like that. Very rarely do you ever get a second chance, and he gave me one. That's not the nicest fish or the best fish I've ever caught, but that's one of the coolest situations.
Tom Rowland: Rarely, the super memories are the biggest or the most, but it's about what that made you feel like. A lot of people don't quite get that, like what did that make you feel like. Why is that a memory that's going to stay with you for the rest of your life?
Clay Watson: Well, there's the setting I was in and the ... As I looked up, when I caught that fish, I looked up to where I was and just the place I was in, but I was
... If you've got time I'll tell you another one real quick. We talk about chasing permit, and you can listen to all kind ... You can listen to Will Benson or his podcasts, and he's pretty good on permit, but you've got to be willing to spend a ton of money and be ready for failure and disappointment catching permit. You know that; you're awesome at it.
Well, I've done that very thing and I'm still doing it to this day, but I've caught a few. When I caught my first one in Mexico, it was a 25 pound just beautiful permit. I probably never should have caught it; I'll never forget that day. I remember what I was wearing. I remember who was with me on the boat. I remember my guide. I remember everything about it like it was yesterday.
That one moment where I caught my first permit was a culmination of 15 solid years of chasing these fish around the world and not being successful and being ultra-frustrated and spending thousands of dollars on a week's fishing and coming up empty handed. To have that feeling, that satisfaction of being able to trick a smart game fish like that and eating my fly and actually hauling it in, something that powerful in my hands was just ... It was not of this world. It was awesome.
The interesting thing about that is that doesn't mean anything to 99% of the people in the world, but to those few folks who chase that fish or any type of big game, whether you're on land or water, you understand exactly what I'm talking about. That'll probably be some of the last thoughts I have in this life, is catching that fish and how that bubble was burst. Now, did it make the second fish or the third fish any easier? No. I still get frustrated as I'll get out trying to catch them, but I'll always remember that day.
Tom Rowland: One of the things that you've said about the New Zealand thing was that, asked you why it meant so much to you, and you said that you took the time to look up and look around and see where you were. So often fishing of any sort, any kind of fish; in fresh water, saltwater, spin fishing, conventional, fly fishing, whatever it is, it takes you to these places and sometimes you get so focused on catching these fish that you forget to look around and see where you are. Some of the places and memories that I can think of are times exactly when I did exactly that.
We used to go to Flat Creek, it's one of my places. Flat Creek is one of my places I talk about all the time; if I could have just an hour to fish I think it might be there. To some people, Flat Creek is not going to have the biggest fish in it, it's full of cutthroats, some people think they're stupid and whatever, but they hang out under the bank and they do that little bank feeding thing where they slip their head out and they eat.
I can think of so many days where I had been on the boat every day and dealing with two customers and teaching people how to fish and
everything, and then just deciding today is my first day off and I'm unhooking that boat, I'm not taking all that stuff with me, and I'm going over here. I'm going to put a box of flies in my pocket, and I'm not even taking lunch. I'm just going to sit there and I'm going to work one fish. I don't even need to catch five fish, 10 fish, 20 fish; I want to catch one.
You go there and all of a sudden you're in your short sleeves and the weather is perfect; you're not hot, you're not cold, it's just absolutely perfect and you can see everything, and nobody is bothering you. Maybe you catch it, maybe you don't, but you look around and you're just like, "Man, look at where I am. I'm in the middle of this giant meadow with this unbelievable stream flowing in front of me that's full of these fish. This is crazy." I don't know.
I have some similar situations in salt water in the Marquesas and different things, where you just look out there and everything is going right. Those memories are so important because ... I don't know; to spend your life fishing, most of it is not going to be right. You know what I mean.
Clay Watson: It's true.
Tom Rowland: It's like you hit that day when everything is right, it's perfect. It is absolutely perfect, there's not one challenging condition. The light's perfect, there are no clouds, the sun is blaring down on you. The wind is perfect, the tide's perfect. There's nobody out there in front of you and the fish are behaving like they're supposed to. That's the situation I'm talking about, and those New Zealand situations that you talked about; that's incredible. I don't know, man. Here's to finding some more of those.
Clay Watson: No doubt.
Tom Rowland: Not just the New Zealand ones and not just the ones that we've had, but I look forward to the other ones. I think that's why you've just got to keep planning-
Clay Watson: ... keep going.
Tom Rowland: ... keep planning the trips.
Clay Watson: Keep playing hard. That's our motto, we're going to keep doing it, keep pushing it.
Tom Rowland: That's cool, man. Well, I appreciate you sitting down and telling us about Cuba. Next time you go, I'm definitely interested.
Clay Watson: Good. Yeah, you need to go with us. Tom Rowland: Yeah, it'd be fun.
Clay Watson: Good times.
Tom Rowland: All right, Clay. Thanks. Clay Watson: Yes sir. Tom Rowland: Hey everybody. Thank you so much for listening to this show. I hope you got something out of that. Got just a little bit of news, we have started a weekly show that is designed to be up to the minute videos of what's happening this week, mostly in the Florida Keys but also in other places that we fish as well. We'll be putting that out every week, and the best way to find that is to subscribe to the YouTube channel, YouTube/saltwaterexperience. Search saltwater experience on YouTube, subscribe to that channel and you will get updates of when a new video is published.
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