News by and about Rusty

Observer first-person story about learning fly casting from Rusty

The art of fly casting: Lessons from a local guide

By Carter Weinhofer | 5:00 a.m. February 10, 2024

Fly fishing? I wasn’t sure people did that down here in the saltwater.

Having grown up fishing in the lakes of Pennsylvania and on the beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, I was intrigued at the opportunity to learn a new method of fishing.

Longboat Key resident and longtime fisherman Rusty Chinnis teaches fly casting to anyone interested, and recently showed me the art of the cast.

I’ve never held a fly fishing rod before, which meant I also never tried to cast one. That was a big benefit, Chinnis said, since most people learn bad casting habits that are difficult to break.

Read the article.
Young man holds a fly-casting rod by the bay.
Longboat Key reporter Carter Weinhofer tries his hand at fly casting.

Observer opinion piece on the evolution of Rusty's conservation focus

My View

Protecting our natural resources is a moral responsibility

We can have all the rules protecting nature we want. Until we enforce them, red tide and other examples of nature degradation will continue.


I have been fortunate to live on the Suncoast in the Longbeach Village on Longboat Key for over four decades. In those 40-plus years, I have enjoyed the coastal bounty as an angler and been rewarded financially as a building contractor.

Over time, I have experienced a decline in the environment that has compelled me to work to protect it. That experience began in the late 1980s in fisheries conservation, progressed to saving land (the Sister Keys), and now centers on protecting water quality and coastal habitats (Suncoast Waterkeeper) including seagrasses and mangroves.

Read the article.

Man fishing
Rusty Chinnis

ABC7 report on post-Ian cleanup of canals in Englewood organized by Suncoast Waterkeeper

Group of volunteers stands by canal they cleaned up.
Suncoast Waterkeeper organized volunteers from Sarasota Baywatch and other groups to clean up canals in an Englewood community devastated by Hurricane Ian. Photo by Rusty Chinnis
Algae fills water around boats in a marina.
As scientists and environmentalist monitor the presence of type of blue green algae called Lyngbya in our water ways, Manatee County officials are looking to minimize it. Photo provided by Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

A feature article with story and photos by Rusty in the inaugural issue of American Fly Fishing magazine’s September-October 2020 publication.

A June 2018 article Rusty wrote for Edible Sarasota magazine about the Sister Keys Conservancy.