Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Preparing for the Silver Ghost

H: February 13, 2012: 6 weeks till I head down to Andros island in the Bahamas for my first taste of bonefishing. I've been reading everything I can find on the internet about bonefish—their physiology, behavior, habitat, as well as gear requirements and strategies for catching them on the fly. I definitely have my work cut out for me! 6 weeks to get comfortable with an 8 weight rod, master the double haul on it, and pickup some tips for casting in heavy wind and casting quickly with minimal false casting. Oh, and while you're at it, throw in some new knots to learn so that I can make my own bonefish leaders and tie on my flies with a rapala knot.

A couple of weeks ago, Josée and I met up with fellow Juliana's Anglers, Shannon Brightman (our president) and Marcy Beitle for dinner. We hadn't seen either of them in over 9 months! It was a fun evening—good food, wine, company, and naturally lots of fly fishing talk. Well, it turns out that Shannon was in my shoes last winter. She was going on her first bonefishing trip in the spring and had 2 months to prepare. Every weekend, regardless of snow, sleet, or frigid cold, she went out to Chelsea pier with her new 8 weight rod and practiced casting. And that practice paid off. She caught her first bonefish on Andros with a gotcha fly that she tied herself. Shannon, you are a kindred spirit!

I too, have been practicing on the weekends with my 5 weight. Except for this past weekend (brrrrrrrr!), the weather had been cooperating. But Sunday morning, with wind chills in the single digits/low teens, I grabbed my new loaner 8 weight rod (merci beaucoup, Antoine!), bundled up, and went to Central Park to meet my good friend and FFF certified casting instructor, Craig Buckbee. He was being videotaped for an upcoming issue of So Fly magazine, a new all-video online fly fishing magazine that's the brainchild of Aaron Jasper and Justin Massimo. Apparently they met about 5 years ago on a river. Justin was a novice fly fisherman and wasn't having any luck that day on the Raritan. Aaron came wading down river, catching fish left and right. He gave Justin some pointers and they have been friends and business partners ever since.

Casting and shooting in Central Park, NY
I was Craig's student for the shoot, getting a lesson on improving my double haul. With 4 layers on, I felt like I was headed to the ski slopes rather than a casting session. Justin and Alex (the camera guy) were so low key/inconspicuous, that I almost forgot about the shoot (except for the times when I whacked Alex with my line ; ). Craig was his ever patient, methodical, encouraging self. I'm looking forward to seeing the video footage of him and will post a link when it's available. Meanwhile, I can definitely say that the lessons and practice are paying dividends. The 8 weight felt surprisingly comfortable in hand and the timing on my double haul is improving every week. Now, back to leader formulas, knots, and getting the rest of my gear in order.

I know that when I get to Andros, I'll be learning plenty, on the fly. But with more confidence in my cast, a few new knots under my belt, and an academic understanding of my quarry, I hope to focus on other things—like trying to spot, hook, and land a silver ghost (or two : ), and hopefully have tons of fun doing it! Wish me luck...

No comments:

Post a Comment