Blackfly Outfitter Weekly Fishing Report and Forecast – Feb 6, 2016

Both Capt. John Bottko and Capt James Dumas have sent in their Blackfly Outfitter Weekly Fishing Report and Forecast for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas. Both have had excellent fishing the past few days and are looking forward to the good fishing continuing into next week. Listen in for some great information from two of the best guides in the area.

Captain Bottko’s report

Captain Dumas’s report


Blackfly Outfitter Weekly Fishing Report and Forecast – Jan. 21, 2016

Well the dust is settling here at the new and improved Blackfly Outfitters Fly Shop, most of the construction is completed and I have a little more time to begin posting the fishing reports again. This week both Capt. Bottko and Capt. Dumas have sent in reports for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas.
Both captains are give reports and forecasts of the fishing during this winter season. Redfish, trout, flounder and sheepshead are all on the menu this time of year so listen in for some great advice from two of the best charter captains in the area.

Capt. Dumas’s report

Capt. Bottko’s report

Here are a couple of photos that Capt. Dumas sent in from this past weeks activity.

Capt. Vaughn on the bow, check the clear water.

Yes that’s a snook!
Capt. Dumas with a nice selfie.

Over $2K raised to donate to GTMR at the Blackfly Outfitter 2nd Annual Floodtide Festival


All of us at Blackfly Outfitter extend a heartfelt thanks to all for making the 2nd Annual Floodtide Festival a resounding success. Your support and contributions made all the difference and we hope everyone had just as good a time attending as we did putting on the event.
As all of you know the main goal of the festival was to raise money for the GTMR, which is a state preserve dedicated to the conservation of almost 74,000 acres of marsh wetlands in NE Florida. With your support and the generous donations from our vendors, we were able to generate over $2,000 for donation to the Oyster Reef Rehabilitation Project and Spartina Marsh Management Program. These projects are crucial to the sustainability of our local marshes for generations to come, so we sincerely thank you.

We are already looking forward to next year; hopefully we will see you all again next August for the 3rd annual festival!

Floodtide Poster

raffle Vendors 1TBTEast Cape SkiffFlood Tide Marsh

The Aquatic Art of Vaughn Cochran

Below is a reprint of an article from EU Jacksonville, a widely read publication of all things happening in the Jacksonvelle, Fl area.

July 10, 2015
The moon may guide the tides, but the ocean has a powerful pull all of it’s own. As an artist and angler, Vaughn Cochran surrendered himself to the sea long ago, finding inspiration above and below the waves. “I would say the sea embraced me,” Cochran says. “Living on or near the ocean has been an inescapable fact for me. I grew up in [it], so it has always been a part of who I am.”

Regarded as one of the most innovative artists in the world of fishing art, Vaughn’s collection of pencil drawings, watercolors, mixed media, acrylic and oil paintings represents the last 40 years of his work. A multifaceted artist, Vaughn began his career as a potter and is skilled in many mediums including ceramic sculpture, art pottery, printmaking, intaglio, silkscreen, wood carving, batik, metal working and casting.

His contemporary sporting art reflects the world of professional fishing where Vaughn was a fly fishing guide for many years. “In my travels I always had my camera and sketchbook,” he says. “I’ve filled at least three journals with ideas and notes for paintings and sculptures that revolve around fish and life on the water.” Cochran enjoys painting fish below the surface as well as using them in designs above the water. He has also moved into “seascapes” and the tropical landscapes. “I’ve always considered myself a contemporary painter who happens to paint fish. Painting in the tropics has always been my first love. I think it’s the colors, they just speak to me,” Cochran says. “Plus, I hate cold weather.”

St. Augustine Slam

St. Augustine Slam

Cochran’s favorite species to paint are the three fish that he pursues every chance he gets: bonefish, permit and tarpon. “These are the tropical game fish that make up the Grand Slam. I’m part owner in a fishing lodge in the Bahamas called Blackfly Lodge in Abaco, and these are the fish we fish for every day,” he says. “They are all difficult to catch on a fly rod, but that’s the fun of it.”
“All of those venues feature our brand colors, and each venue is decorated with my art. I’m blessed to have ended up where I’m at today, and I never forget to be thankful because lots of my artist friends never made it and had to give up,” says Cochran. “I think it was Gary Player who said, ‘the harder I practice, the luckier I get.’ I practice every day!”

Following a stint in the military, Cochran entered college where he began to concentrate on a career in art from an academic standpoint. “I was thinking I could get a masters degree and teach somewhere. After college I was slated to be the first art instructor at Flagler College, but that didn’t work out, so I moved to Key West,” he says. “I’m not sure if I ever thought that I would have a successful career as an artist. All I knew was that this was what I was going to do.”

As one of St. Augustine’s original surfers in the 60s, Cochran and his friends spent every waking moment in the ocean. After leaving Key West, he took a job managing a sport fishing marina in Mexico. When one of the crew members asked if Cochran could paint a sailfish, he agreed and went to work.

“When it was finished he paid me for it, and his buddy asked if I could paint one for him. I said, ‘I’m stuck in Mexico, so I’ll start painting fish.’ I’ve never been a stickler for tradition because that’s not the training I got as an artist. At school I was taught how to think about what I wanted to do, not, ‘this is how you paint a tree.’ We were more about ‘see that tree? Paint it 50 different ways!’ What counts is what you have at the end. Did you do something that was significant? Did you move somebody? Will anybody care about what you just did? Did you say something new?”

No matter where he is or what he is doing, Cochran is always thinking in terms of color, shadows and composition, and the ocean is never far from his heart. “Someone asked me the other day, ‘Do you have to paint?’ The creative process is not something you turn on or off. If art is what you truly do, you’re stuck with it. It’s what you live and breath each day all day long. It’s what you are.”

In a portion of Cochran’s blog dated January, 2015, the Captain sums up the salt life in an eloquent post about his former brother-in-law and fishing partner who vanished in the Keys. “This is what the ocean does to you. You live on it everyday or on the weekends, and it’s magnificent, powerful, beautiful, stormy, peaceful and consuming all at the same time.”

Mother Mother Ocean….

It’s been a few weeks now. Nothing has been heard, seen or found except his old worn out 26′ Mako. It did have a pretty new engine though because you can’t be out on the water everyday worrying about if you’re going to get back in every night.

I left Key West for a while in the 80’s but I would come back every winter, like any sane person would do if they had the chance, to fish with my Ex’s brother. I was pretty good at it and so was he, we made a pretty good team actually. He knew his way around the complicated channels and flats of the lower keys and I still credit him with teaching me all the shortcuts through and around the lakes passage west of Key West. I eventually found some new ones as time went by but he was my initial guide in the backcountry. We would fish for yellowtail snapper in the early spring and kingfish every winter, sometimes catching as much as 600 pounds of mackerel in a single day on 20 pound test using cheap rods and reels that were “throw away” quality. Because of the tremendous power of that many kingfish per day, the reels lasted only about a week. It just wasn’t worth buying better stuff, they didn’t last that much longer anyway.

Up early, load the boat with ice, drinks, very nutritious snacks from the marina bait shop and try to find the fish before anybody else did. Fish all day in whatever weather we had to deal with, make the long run in, clean fish, clean ourselves up , tie jigs until midnight for the next day and finally sleep. This is no big deal, fishermen still do this everyday, it’s just how you spend each and every day that’s fishable. Me, when the weather was bad, I painted on a painting or worked in my ceramics studio behind my house on Stock Island. Dee, he hit the not so glamorous topless clubs in Key West, worked on his race car which he sailed off the third turn in Daytona and immediately retired or spent the afternoon in the Boca Chica Bar right next door to the car shop.

I was out of town when he had the heart attack, some said it was because they sold the Boca Chica. He recovered, was assigned a shipload of pills to take like the rest of us and continued to fish and take care of his hundreds of stone crab and lobster traps strewn throughout the keys. That’s the way life was for Dee.

I have so many stories about our fishing together and all the insane stupid things that happened to us on a daily basis. It was hard work but we had a blast doing it.

Dee's Boat

Aground at Elliot Key south of Miami

So he’s gone now, without any fanfare, funeral or anything….just gone! An empty boat with no signs of foul play, wallet and cell phone still on top of the console where he always put it in case he fell overboard. Oh yeah, he was a witness in a federal case involving his participation in buying illegal lobster from a local family of criminal neer’-do-wells when China pushed the price of lobster up to $25 dollars a pound. All of his medications were gone from his house! Lots of other little things don’t seem to add up either. He could have had another heart attack and fell overboard, nobody knows and maybe never will.

This is what the ocean does to you. You live on it everyday or on the weekends and it’s magnificent, powerful, beautiful, stormy, peaceful and consuming all at the same time. If you’re married to the ocean like Dee was, divorce can be bitter.

I hope you’re hiding somewhere buddy.