Bullbuster In Action:

Flats Rocket Scientist Turned Fishing Dad Extraordinaire

Author: Bullbuster Team

Dr. Michael Larkin, A Role Model For Us All

Chances are if you have been a part of the flats fishing world, you have heard of Dr. Bonefish.  Dr. Mike Larkin spent almost a decade studying South Florida bonefish populations at University Of Miami's bonefish and tarpon research center.  Mike worked with top flats guides in the industry as well as many hardcore flats fishing enthusiasts.  The insights he gained will help provide a baseline bonefish populations for years to come.  If you have not heard about the bonefish guru in the past few years, that is because he has taken a more important role (no not a role at as a fisheries biologist for NOAA), the role of dad extraordinaire.  

Bonefish Recaptures By Region
Mike used a boots on the ground (or skiff)  approach to make waves in the fishing community which lead to a number of bonefish not only being tagged but also recaptured while working under Dr. Jerry Ault at University Of Miami's Bonefish & Tarpon Research Center. 

Bonefish Tagging
Several bonefish tagged during Dr. Mike Larkins in captivity study to determine how long tags stayed in bonefish.

As a young research scientist Dr. Larkin (then just Larkin or Mike to those who knew him) connected with many due to his passion for fishing and his I'm not afraid to say what I mean attitude which often got him into a bit of trouble but truly connected him with the fishing community. 

Mike's friend and world famous bonefish Captain Joe Gonzalez: I first met Mike at a U of M Bonefish Tarpon Trust (back then it was called BTU or Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited) meeting while he was trying to generate interest and participation of fishing guides to collaborate with a bonefish tagging program he was working on under Dr. Jerald Ault while he was going to the U of M. I quickly learned that Mike was a dedicated and passionate scientist studying and taking interest in a species of fish that I too was not only passionate about but making a living guiding sport fisherman from the US as well as other foreign countries to pursue bonefish. I can remember one instance where Mike got himself in trouble with Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission by removing seine nets on the bonefish flats targeting many different species which can decimate an area of sea life. The FWC asked Mike to leave nets alone after he had reported them but he insisted and did haul said nets out getting him in trouble and if not mistaken arrested. Here is a guy who was more worried about the fish and or fisheries than his own skin! I have fished with Mike several times as well as doing Acoustic telemetry studies. This is a person who pays attention to detail and understands the components and biological facts of an ecosystem that need to be protected for his son his sons son and so on.

Fellow UM PHD graduate and friend Mark Fitchett: 

"Mike was the first friend I made when I visited Miami prior to moving there for grad school. From day one, all he wanted to do was to fish or talk fishing- whether it was looking for whatever jack or snook ventured up in the canals on UM’s campus, chasing bonefish in Biscayne Bay, or trying to find a way to cast a line after long days of field work. His dedication to bonefish research and his incredibly friendly demeanor are two things that nobody can ever match. But his greatest achievement is his success in his most important job: as father. And so it was no surprise to me (or anyone) when he’d send or post photos of his son Rylan fishing as soon as he could hold a rod and reel. Mike and Allison are raising two great kids, and there is no doubt that fishing is more than a shared family pastime- but also as a conduit to educate to them the importance of conservation."

Mike's latest accomplishment has been to help his son Rylan capture his first bonefish and permit!   

Rylan's First Bonefish

Rylan's first bonefish capture was during a 2016 family trip to the Bahamas. 

Rylands First Bonefish
Ryan had the patience to pick through a bunch of barracudas and needle fish and ended up with this bonefish.

Rylan's First Permit

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