Tag: FIBFest

An Andros South junkie’s secrets revealed

I know an Andros South junkie. This bonefish addict rolls over to the casa one evening, and over some cheap pizza starts spilling his secrets.

I also know a loudmouth…me! So I’m coughing up one of these precious tips. It’s Paulson’s Bunky Shrimp, a dead sexy Idylwilde pattern I was told is one of the must-have flies for the southernmost part of The Bahamas. After checking this fly out, however, I realized I’d like to have a few in tan (they’re offered from the factory in just pink), and maybe a bit bigger. So I brewed up my own.

They’ve been tied a little sparser than normal – in size #2 I think they are already have good profile yet remain light enough for the shallow flats we’ll be hucking across most FIBFest days. I used thicker eyes (out of 60lb mono, since that’s all I had), and tossed a little blaze orange thread on the back for a spawn sack of sorts. What’s the body composed of? Quite possibly THE toughest material to find, and I wound up placing a lot of calls for a lot of samples before making the score.

The source? That I WILL keep a secret for now.

MG signing off (and watching my back because I ran my mouth)

Editor’s note: Yes, that’s the infamous 957 Vise in the picture. Still kickin’ baby!

Twenty-six days until FIBFest 2011

Deneki Outdoors‘s FIBFest starts in just twenty-six days, as in before the month of March is over. In the grand scheme, there is no particular significance to the number of days until launch, unless that also happens to be part of your ATM card PIN (mine is “2626”). But there is a fine crew participating (whose count is now up to six) in what will surely be the epitome of unbiased travel-related opinion-making.

Never mind.

In the absence of the aforementioned journalistic integrity, we’ll be drinking like sailors, swinging from tiki bar rafters, and sleeping in ’till noon catching a lot of bonefish.

Documenting it online too. In the most colorful manner possible.

MG signing off (to find a new schtick, as the sandbagging has already been called out)

Once you’re lucky, twice you’ve got the ass kissing down to a science

Deneki OutdoorsThere comes a time in a person’s life where they need to either shit or get off the pot. The original goal might have been altruistic – specifically, finding a cure for cancer, or non-specifically, creating world peace, but now re-evaluation becomes the order. You’ll likely flip the self-interest switch, focusing on reaching the summit of Mount Everest or redlining a Ferrari on the PCH – thrill you or kill you. But alas, you’re now sitting on the couch watching Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Network, or MotorWeek. That’s defined as failure. Time to let someone else use the commode.

When I was young, I too had a dream – it was to catch as many fish as possible before someone stuck me in a wooden box. At the time I didn’t think much about the path to achieving such a lofty goal – as I sat by this little pond down the street, taking in the mid-afternoon sun and picking off bream with a beat-up popper, I figured it would just come to me. Someday.

Decades later I’ve finally figured it out…to bag a lot of fish you have to smooch a lot of behind. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

A passerby once inferred that I wasn’t a half-bad fly fisher. They were obviously steeped in heavy narcotics – I was certain it was all dumb luck. And when Andrew Bennett, head honcho for Deneki Outdoors, called me last April to ask if I would join a crew in South Andros for some bonefishing and blogging, my suspicions were [seemingly] confirmed.

For the past year I’ve been running around casting flies at anything that moved, and attributing the opportunities to a steady diet of four-leaved clovers and Feng shui. Then the phone rang [again], and my conclusion was submersed in turmoil. See, there’s going to be another FIBFest, and despite the stratospheric bar tab and brazen larceny at the poker table during the previous, I’ve been invited back.

I’m now chalking it up to skill, not in fly-fishing but in kissing that which crosses the threshold last. And I’m not going to apologize for it either.

MG signing off (to pucker up, and pack for The Bahamas)

The first rule of FIBFest: Gear gets given away because of FIBFest

Deneki Outdoors FIBFest may be over for those that were on the ground water, but it ain’t over for the rest of you. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and the prize is such that you definitely won’t mind having missed all the bullshit I spewed at the daily after-parties (which made the crap I regurgitate here seem like a half acre of fresh roses).

Want a Sage 890-4 Xi3 rod, a Sage 6080 fly reel and a matching Rio Tropical Clouser fly line line? I thought so.

The rig comes straight out of Andros South, and was not even cast by yours truly (so you know it’s still in pristine condition).

Click here, wait a minute, and a little window will pop up asking if you’d like to receive Deneki’s email newsletter. You definitely want that newsletter, and signing up also has the added benefit of getting you entered into a drawing for the rig described above. A randomly selected winner will be made known around June 25th.

FIBFest attendees are disqualified from the contest as the FIBFest bar tab is still being tallied.

MG signing off (to buddy up to some lucky winner)

The FIBFest epilogue I wish I didn’t have to write

FIBFest has come to its conclusion. The standard response to this would say something like we caught a bunch of fish, drank too much beer, had a lot of fun, the trip back was long and tiring, and that Deneki Outdoors’ Andros South Lodge is so awesome that I can’t wait to go bonefishing there again.

While that may all be true, I woke this morning thinking just one thing: I already miss the people I met there. I now find it necessary to kiss a big pile of ass thank them, as I know for certain that if I never picked up a fly rod again I’d still feel my life in fishing was made complete. They are THE reason.

First and foremost, the management team at Andros South

  • Andrew Bennett – You picked a damn fine crowd, and run a damn fine operation. I wish you much continued success – if any group has 1/10th the fun we had, you’d still be the best gig in any town.
  • Rick Sisler – Your family rocks, your attitude rocks, and your management style rocks. Me thinks you’ve got all the bases covered, and I am jealous. Have a great time in Alaska!
  • Matt Hynes – You are a gentleman and a scholar. Thanks for putting up with my gear repair requests (and calling that pair of kings you didn’t know I had). Best wishes to you and your gal in Alaska!
  • The guest new friends list

  • Dick Pitini – Your one liners are so grand you should pick up a retirement gig as a stand-up comic.
  • Mike White – Thanks for not calling my all-in on that flush draw. I’ll show you the cards next time too, but only if you fish with me first.
  • Bruce Smithhammer – I am so grateful to have shared that outrageous day far down south with you. The memory of the shark attack, the bonefish rodeo, and the skies that broke over that sandbar as we hooked yet another triple will remain etched in my mind for eternity.
  • Kirk Deeter – Flyfishing is metal, baby. I’ve got a lot more to say, but…I’ll see you next week!
  • Johnny Spillane – Keep on fishing, and keep on skiing. You do many very proud, but some of us have seen and heard your bongo drum play, and think that’s even better!
  • Sam Spillane – See you on the Yampa, my good man. Sam Spillane dot com awaits the world!
  • Pete McDonald – I sleep more soundly now that I know Fishing Jones is so much more than a mere online identity. Hope our next outing is lengthier, and please remember…the stingray is your friend!
  • Louis Cahill – A little air was released from our bubbles the moment you disappeared. Hope to see you again, and soon!
  • The guides who put up with my inability to change casting direction on split second notice

  • Torrie Bevans – Everyone should fish with you their first day out. Gotta get the skunk off early, don’t ya’ know!
  • Norman Rolle – We ripped plenty of lips even when I unraveled. Best wishes with the club!
  • Freddy Dames – You should be the sidekick in Dick Pitini’s comedy troupe (when you’re not being such an incredible guide)!
  • Josie Sands – I’ll listen to you anytime. Anywhere. And every time!
  • The lovely ladies in the dining hall

    I fished all day, everyday, and still managed to gain eight pounds! I wish I could cook half as good as you all.

    About that schwag

  • Smith Optics – a pair of Backdrops in black Polarchromic Copper Mirror did not leave my face all week. With good reason.
  • Sage – 790-4 Xi3/6080 – I caught fish on this rig despite myself. Review to follow once my notes dry out.
  • Rio Products – The Tropical Clouser WF8-F never tangled on deck, and made it through plenty of mangroves without a scratch. Can you say love?
  • Steamboat Flyfisher – The site of every local in a South Andros Island night club with logo’ed regalia on was all the image I needed.
  • And finally…

    Short, simple thank yous go to Scott Fly Rods (S4S rods in 8 and 10), Waterworks-Lamson (Litespeed reels in 3.5X and 4.0), Simms (shade hat and wading boots), Rio (for the flouro stuff), P-Line (Adaro pliers), and Buffs (how did anyone ever do without). Additional thanks go to Trout’s Fly Fishing, Orvis and Discount Fishing Tackle (for fly tying materials) – with the exception of a single weighted crab pattern which I used on the West side on the last day out, I cast my own flies all week (and caught an awful lot of fish). I lost count on the third day, where doubles and triples became the norm, but I’m certain the totals were more than anyone could ask for in a single trip.

    Finally (finally), special thanks go out to my next door neighbor, who took me to the airport even though his family was in town when I left, and the two young ladies who took care of my collie dog while I was gone.

    I ain’t going to miss you FIBFesters one bit. And damn my lip hurts!

    The story ended way too soon. But it was a heck of a good one just the same.

    MG signing off (to get back to work…ugh)

    UPDATE: A few more folks that deserve thanks: LaVado McPhee, Camp Hand/Maintenance; Ethlyn Smith, Kitchen/Housekeeping Manager; Tiffany Johnson and Joanne Gibson in housekeeping; and more thanks for putting the pounds on me with that outstanding chow go to the kitchen staff…Essie Holbert, Gloria Brown, Karen Rolle, and Maggie Rodgers.

    Listening on the Reunion Tour

    Kirk Deeter and I were paired up again today. The Rolling Stone is a colossally fine angler, and I’m just a fair listener. In other words, we had a hell of a time. I know, I just lost you.

    Our guide Josie Sands noted early on that the conditions were the most difficult a bonefish-chasing fly angler might ever face in his or her life. The water was so skinny that Vanity Fair wouldn’t bother photoshopping it; the light so flat that Hugh Hefner would have taken a pass too. All you get are tails, and they often disappear in the blink of an eye.

    So listen to your mentor-for-a-day, and listen well. If he says start false casting and don’t drop the fly until he gives the ok, don’t ask any questions. The guides at Andros South know precisely what they are doing, so you do as you are told. And for goodness sakes, don’t blink!

    You might get fair to midland results from this advice…

    MG signing off (to listen to another, as the stakes just went up)

    Two men enter. Three men leave.

    Losing count of the number of fish you caught is usually a sign that things are going pretty well. Forgetting how many double hookups you had means it probably got downright silly.

    With almost two hours remaining until lunch, Bruce Smithhammer and I debated pulling out the Sage Xi3 7 wt/6080 reel combo we’d carried along to test. Then we just handed it to the guide.

    All we know for certain is that by day’s end we wound up with eight TRIPLES – even more ridiculous because we chased barracuda almost exclusively between noon and three.

    And nabbed one of those too!

    Deneki FIBFest host Andrew Bennett, along with his right hand men Rick Sisler and Matt Hynes, said South Andros Island bonefish weren’t too particular about their food. But heck, they’re even eating my flies! And so darn frequently that I’m starting to run out.

    The MG Cudaceivers I tied are another matter – they were specifically designed for single use.

    MG signing off (to scrounge up a tying vise)

    FIBFest. flickr. fotos. free.

    With Louis “Quality plus Quantity” Cahill, you get exactly what you’re looking for…

    And then there’s a few pics from the cross-eyed dude with the Gotcha embedded in his left shoulder (yes, Smithhammer hit me!)…

    These sets will get updated each evening, so come back around anytime.

    Meanwhile, yesterday’s fishing report is officially canceled as we had a Keith Richard’s sighting last night at the tiki bar (a.k.a. Slack Tide). Dealing with the paparazzi was a bitch.

    Good for you, however, because the first person to guess who our Rolling Stone impersonator is wins a free Andros South cap!

    MG signing off (to find some Tylenol for my aching head sore casting arm)

    Uncle Boy’s boat ramp

    You cross Deep Creek in a makeshift limousine, compadres alongside, anxious about the day’s events to come.

    Pulling up at the boat ramp, you move around to the back of the van to gather your belongings. Uncle Boy, Master of the Ramp, is there to greet you.

    A vibrant and overtly non-suspicious Border Collie Uncle Boy is, and his stock in trade is sniffing all outgoing guests for expert bonefishing skills.

    Yesterday morning I fooled Uncle Boy by stuffing my wading pack with beef jerky. He took to me like I was wearing a freshly woolen coat, herding me every which way until the moment I stepped on the skiff. It’s hard to have a bad day when such a fine pup starts it for you.

    The team of Kirk “Cool Backhand Luke” Deeter and Michael “I’ll lose this fly I tied if it kills me” Gracie tallied 15 bones to hand. Cool Hand was an “A” student while the impetuous author scored 66% – three modded Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp and a Creature Feature attached to about a foot of 1X IGFA tipped are now firmly ensconced in the mouths of southern tip shrimp patrols. You can do the math.

    Our guide, part-time tide clock repairman and full-time wisdom dispenser Torrie Bevans put us on schools of fish sometimes several hundred strong, and often within minutes of when he told us impatient bastards trout-oriented anglers they would be there.

    “Mine is a boat for chillin’…Once the rod is loaded, there is no more loadin’ you can do…Bonefishin’ makes sense mon,” Torrie says. “And if your cast don’t make sense to you, stop, think about it, and recast.”

    “After I pull the fly out of my hat,” I retort.

    MG signing off (to meet my maker – so stay tuned)

    Anticipating arrival

    Onboard an aeroplane at 12:30am. Landed in Congo Town at 5:25.

    Show to my quarters. Now I really need the bar.

    A short walk from point A to point B. Sand drifts effortlessly between foot and sandal.

    It is a familiar feeling.

    A few beers later I am bouncing off the walls. Even though there aren’t any in this tiki hut.

    Anticipating the flats.

    It feels like I haven’t caught a bonefish since I started losing my hair shaving my head.

    I didn’t pack near enough razors. And with good reason.

    MG signing off (although sleeping WILL be an issue)