JC, my husband, received an invitation. It came by
email, seems real mail is no longer in vogue for such
things, but nevertheless it was in invite to compete
in the "International Bonefish Tournament,"
being held on Grand Bahama Island, the first
part of November.
Before you get all excited for him, I need to tell you
I am not in favor of fishing tournaments. I know they
are popular in places, and some big fund raisers for
charity. I'm not in favor of the Bass Tournaments either.
I would hope that every person who competes in such
tournaments knows all there is to know about catch and
release, and as they say, "no animals were harmed in
the filming of this episode." But sadly that isn't
always the case.
My dislike of fishing tournaments is also because I feel they
foster and promote the idea that how many fish you catch,
or on how small a rod, how light a leader, or the size of
those fish, somehow makes you a better fisherman or
person! Fly fishing is an individual avocation, a frame
of mind, a challenge, a solace for the weary mind and soul.
It is a place where we each judge our success or failures
on the basis of our own personal experience. The rewards
are being there - not the numbers game.
There has been a Bahamian competition for Bonefish Champion
for some time, each island sends its best to compete against
other guides each year. It's pretty obvious that being the/a
Champion can have a great influence on the guides income for
the next year. So for them, it's a big deal, and I would hope
all who compete do know about proper release of their fish,
since it is the continuing health of the fishery which is
But since neither of us has ever competed in such an event,
we may have an unfair bias. The decision was made.
JC is going. He has his plane reservations (we paid for
the airfare) and once he gets to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,
the Bahamian Tourism people pick up the expenses for
everything else. It's not cheap to fly from SeaTac
airport to Florida, but on the other hand, he does have
some actual FAOL business which needs to be handled while
he is there, so I guess that can be justified.
The competition will consist of invited anglers, and the
winners of the five island's competition. The indiviudal island
contests will be held on Thursday October 31, and the Championship
on Friday November 1st. The invited anglers who have
confirmed are: Bob Stearns, Al Pfluger, Sandy Moret, Jim Birkholm (JC),
Bob Nauheim, John Cave, Chris Clarke and Raz Reid.
A set of rules for the competition was sent, and while
it seems to contradict itself, the gist of it is a
combination of number of fish over a certain size, and
the largest fish. Most interesting is all casts must
be to spotted fish, no 'blind' casting, only fish measuring
22" (from lip to fork of tail) shall count towards scoring,
and only 2 fish may be caught from any school. Tippet
material must not exceed 8 pound test.
There's more, but that's the important info.
Once the decision was made, all sorts of things kicked into
gear. What rods, reels, lines, leaders, flies, clothing,
all that necessary stuff to make the trip a success. There's
no point in competing if one doesn't intend to give it their
best shot. Does he stand a chance against the best of the
Bahamian guides? Could happen. The luck of the draw on
which guides, where one fishes, wind, weather all sorts of
things can affect the outcome.
Those who know JC understand he is very logical. The logic
started with the selection of rod, two Sage TCR
8wt, 9 ft. (one of them is mine). The reels, two (one mine)
Finnor 8/9 Fin-ite II, lines, both Cortland and Scientific
Anglers newest bonefish lines, one on each rod, backing on the
reels is Cortland 20# Micron Teflon. A call to Seaguar and
they responded with 9ft, 8# fluorocarbon leaders and tippet
material to match. We don't know if any wading will be
part of it, but to be covered, the Chota Flats Boots go,
the suplex pants and shirts, a Cortland flats hat, JW Outfitters
Belt Pack, BullFrog SPF-30 sun screen, Ultrathon bug dope,
JC's favorite Micro Leatherman tool and from Stu Apte, goggles.
He should be prepared to do battle with the best.
Did I mention flies? Got to have bonefish flies! The
really important part! McKenzie is sending some, JC has
some from previous trips to the Bahamas, and Al Campbell
sent his special collection. You may recall Al tied up
some very successful flies for his trip to
Last but not least, the camera, Nikon Cool-Pix 775 Digital
and it's waterproof AquaPac goes. I hope he will have a
personal story on what really happens at one of these
tournaments, maybe some good photos of the events (and a
fish or two) and when he gets back, I expect to hear about
both sides of what this event really accomplishes. It's
obvious to me at least it gets the name Bahamas, and the
word bonefish out to the public. That may be it.
But attempting to be open minded, I'll listen. Hope
you will too. Stay tuned.
firstname.lastname@example.org ~ LadyFisher
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