I owe you this, really I do. It is you who make all
this possible. You have made it possible for us, and
me in particular to fish many places that would not
have ben possible without your support and involvement.
This site and the sponsors keep me supplied with an
assortment of gear and the opportunity to occasionally
even use it. Such was the case on our bonefish trip to
South Andros Island, Bahamas.
I guess this will be a sort of 'product-review' by me of
what I used and why. Let me start with the rods I took for
us, two nine foot Sage TCR (4pc) eight weights and two nine
foot Gatti FR (3pc) eight weights. Why? The Sage are stronger
and if the fish were at long distance they would have given
us the ability to reach out, even in a good breeze.
One the first day, I rigged up one of each. The next day I
only used the Gatti as the fish were in close and the FR
delivered a softer fly at short ranges. Presentation became
a factor, not distance. Here is my point on this though,
how many can afford to take (or own) that many rods?
Reels. No choice there, I took a matched pair of Fin-ite II
by Fin-nor. Light weight, big cork drag ring, and room enough
for 250 yards of 20 pound (Micronite) backing.
Now the fly lines were interesting, very interesting. Did
I have a preference? After the first day I did. Here I am
torn between allegiance to my friends at two companies,
Scientific Anglers and Cortland. I got two of the newest
lines from each before we went down, spooled one of each
on each reel and took the other as a spare. The lines were
the SA Ultra 4 tropic and the Cortland 555 Tropic Plus.
I also took the great portable line winder made by Cortland
to switch out which ever line I may want to. And want to
I did. I swapped out the 555 for the SA Ultra 4 the first
night. In side by side casting the SA shot like a dream,
the hard finish screamed thru the guides like an old silk,
the degree of memory was perfect. Not too stiff and not
too limp. In fact when I got back I even called up Bruce
Richards and complimented him on the great job he did
I told him he should retire now, nothing left to do.
Unbelievably, he told me he has more improvements in
the works and we will hear about them rather soon. I
do not like the drab color, but, it seems that as they
are produced for a world-wide market and some befuddled
folks seem to think that line color is important to fish,
the cruddy gray sells better. I like to see my line, hot
pink would be just fine with me.
We both took two types of wading boots, the oxford height
and the tall calf length. When you are standing on a hot
boat deck, trust me, go with the lower ones, a guy can
boil his feet in the tall ones. For a lot of flats
wading, the tall are just the ticket.
This will be my last trip into hot weather using
Fit-Overs too. My nose, between sweat and sunburn
lotion gets like a sky slope. With another pair
of glasses added to the ones I already wear makes
for a miserable time. The truth is, I can't breath.
Action Optics, you will be hearing from me very soon.
I took a pair of the new Stu Apte goggles down for
my guide Gary to try, he doesn't wear glasses normally,
just polarized ones for guiding. He loved them and has
them now. The fly boxes we got from C&F worked dandy,
hold like a vise and not harm any fly, ever. You might
check them out too.
We both wear those nifty vented fishing shirts of Supplex,
cool and sun-proof, hard to beat that, we have a bunch of
them. Our hats have a string on them for high speed boat
traveling too, if yours don't, turn them around like a
hippie, they may stay on.
On the first evening I talked to another guide who said
they had cast to a lot of fish but they would not take
the flies. I did some figuring, noticed a low pressure
front was due in 36 hours. The next day, after having
a few refusals on flies I know are commonly used there,
switched to more of an attractor pattern, that one of
Al Campbell's, 'Al's Shrimpf.' As the guide had said
nothing was hitting, I figured a new fly might be in
order, it was. We caught all the rest of our fish on
the things. They may even start producing them on Andros,
more on that later.
I guess that about covers it, I had spares of most things,
and a wide assortment to cover most any situation. Having
all of that made it possible to end up with a successful
and enjoyable trip. The end result; nine foot, eight weight
FR (3pc) Gatti, SA Ultra 4 line, Fin-ite II reel with 250
yards of 20# Micronite backing, Al's Shrimpf fly, Supplex
shirts, low flats boots, 38SPF Bull Frog Sun lotion and
two new C&F fly boxes.
~ James Castwell