H: February 29, 2012: This past weekend I met up with Craig for part 2 of my bonefishing prep lesson. My double haul is now somewhat respectable, so it was on to the next order of business—learning to cast effectively in the wind and learning the speed/quick cast. When trout fishing on our small East coast rivers, wind plays a negligible role. You can easily alter your approach and presentation to adjust for it. But for the saltwater angler, the wind is the ultimate nemesis. Josée and I learned this the first time we went out for stripers and blues in Jamaica Bay. The wind ended up blowing 30 mph, and being novice fly anglers, it definitely got the best of us. Trying to beat the wind is a losing battle. But you can try to tame it.
Saturday's forecast called for strong winds. Boy, were they on the money! Gusts of 60 mph and a steady westerly wind of 25-30 mph greeted us at Liberty State Park. But I wasn't deterred. Craig demonstrated strategies for casting with the wind coming from all directions. We covered every possible scenario. Having a decent haul helped immensely, as well as refining my technique to throw tighter loops. After 2 hours of practice, I found that I could make a decent cast in all but the strongest of gusts. And when I couldn't, I refused to get frustrated. I accepted the wind's victory...at least until the next cast : ). Besides, if it's blowing that hard on the flats, I won't need to make a long cast. We won't be able to spot a fish more than 30 feet out. Lesson learned: harness the power of the wind when you can and use the speed of a haul to tame it.
Craig has generously offered to lend me one of his #9 rods. I'm a very lucky girl, blessed with not one but two fly fishing fairy godfathers (Craig and Antoine ; ). I feel a bit like Cinderella, heading off to the Bonefish Ball with her borrowed finery. Hopefully, I will meet, get to dance with, and land my Prince—a handsome, 10 pound bonefish—before the strike of midnight!
After the lesson, we drove over to Tight Lines to pick up the rest of my gear for the trip. The shop was pretty crowded. There were a few other customers but also a group of about 5-6 men sitting around a table and it looked like they had been parked there for a while—the "fly shop groupies". I'm sure this same scene plays out in shops all over: a congregation of diehard fishermen escaping spouses, families, and domestic obligations; chatting about the latest rods and gadgets; swapping fly recipes; retelling the same old fishing stories over and over again; killing time... "Honey, I'm just running out to the shop to pick up a few feathers. Need anything?..." Then 6 hours later they return home.
Excuse the intrusion, gentlemen, but a flygirl needs to get her fix too! It was great being able to go beyond the wiggle test (the major drawback of Manhattan fly shops). I cast a few rods behind the store, developed a crush on one of them, bought another bonefish line for the #9 rod, plus all the fixins to make some bonefish leaders. I watched Dave skillfully and meticulously tie a bimini twist/double loop with my new gel spun backing. I have to admit it was pretty cool and a very fun day! Before I knew it, I was running late for dinner. God, I hope 10 years from now, I'm not a fly shop groupie... ; ), although the odds are not in my favor.
Sunday morning: winds were blowing 15-20 mph. I went to the park to cast—it felt rather effortless! What wind? ; )