Jon Cave

The Black Hammock near Oviedo, Florida

I love immersing myself unobtrusively in natural surroundings and testing my skills against a fish’s instincts and the forces of nature.

Waters you call home

Saltwater - Mosquito Lagoon and the Greater Indian River Lagoon System; Freshwater – Upper St. Johns River. Both of these world-class fisheries are within a few minutes drive of my house.


Jon is a Sage and RIO Ambassador member who has an M.S. Degree in Natural Resouces with special concentration in fisheries and water resources. He spent over 25 years as a fly-fishing guide and is the founder of the longest established fly-fishing school in the South. His articles, casting tips, columns, and photographs have been featured in many fly-fishing publications. Furthermore, he’s the author of Performance Fly-Casting and Fly-Fishing Odyssey, The Pursuit of Great Gamefish. He’s also contributed to several anthologies including Gray Ghosts and Lefty’s Deceivers, Fly-Fishing Wisdom from the Masters and Feather Brain. The results of his research on hooking mortalities have been published in several prestigious journals including the Progressive Fish Culturist and Journal of Freshwater Ecology. He created the popular Rattler Fly patterns and his ground-breaking Wobbler Spoon-Fly is exhibited in the American Museum of Fly-Fishing as the forerunner of all spoon-flies. Jon is only one of a handful of individuals to be honored with the prestigious IFFF Silver King Award for his contributions to saltwater fly-fishing. He currently serves on the advisory council for the ASMFC and has served on the IFFF Casting Board of Governors.

Personal beliefs on fly fishing

I’m pretty traditional in my approach to fly-fishing – that’s part of what drew me to the sport. I love immersing myself unobtrusively in natural surroundings and testing my skills against a fish’s instincts and the forces of nature. It’s the polar opposite of the annoying in-your-face hip-hop style that seems to have become increasingly in vogue.

Species you specialize in

I generally consider myself an all-around flyfisher since I spend a great deal of time pursuing a variety of gamefish in both fresh- and salt-water (flats, offshore, and inshore) in different parts of the world. However, my favorites are: Saltwater – redfish and bonefish. Freshwater – trout and largemouth bass.

Preferred fishing method

I simply love all types of fly-fishing, but sight-fishing on shallow, clear-watered flats really gets my blood boiling.

Favorite RIO Line

Very difficult to choose just one, but I consider the RIO Permit Line to be the finest saltwater line ever made – by far. Like all RIO SW lines, it floats higher than SW lines from other manufacturers – so much so that it can also be used for largemouth bass fishing - plus its floatation is incomparable when dragging line along while wading the flats. In addition, the long head makes it easy to achieve greater distance while the front taper allows for a silent presentation. Perfect!


RIO never rests on their laurels and always stays cutting-edge through a great symbiotic relationship between knowledgeable technical staff and professional flyfishers.

Favorite Knot

Every flyfisher should develop a repertoire of knots with which they are thoroughly familiar and that will provide service in a variety of situations. Depending on the situation, I use over 20 knots on a regular basis with no particular favorite.

Special Rigging Techniques

When connecting lines via a loop-to-loop system, go through twice for a stronger, tighter connection and to prevent a weak clove hitch from forming. For more info, check the RIO blog for detailed instructions and photos. As a leader fanatic, I also recommend paying special attention to leader length, knots, taper, and tippet for easy casting and quality presentations.

Best Fly Fishing Tip

Practice. Fly casting skills are key to the enjoyment of fly-fishing; and, the formation of an efficient loop is the cornerstone of that skill. Executed to perfection, it is a blending of art, athleticism, “feel,” and physics – fly line, leader, rod, angler, and fly moving as a synchronized unit.

Parting thoughts

Give your fly-fishing predecessors and mentors the credit they deserve and then pass that information as well as your own accumulated knowledge along to future generations. We all stand on the shoulders of someone else. My deepest thanks to Ed Mueller, Charlie Waterman, and Lefty Kreh for their generous help and support over the years.