This is my dear friend Sarah Henry. The one who has pictures of herself fly casting in her wedding dress. The awesome lady who caught a world record rooster fish on her honeymoon. And this is a ridiculous bull trout from her recent trip up to a big lake in the BC interior.
Well, Sarah and her husband recently (finally, Dave!!!) bought themselves a beautiful 20ft HCM jet boat, and have been burning through gas like it costs 39 cents again. That's 39 cents per litre, for the benefit of my friends to the south. Curtis and I went out with them a few weeks ago and helped them dial in on sturgeon, and Dave has been guiding on his days off and loving it. After his first day guiding I believe his words were "Best day of work...EVER."
One thing us better halfs of boat owners have been dreaming about is a girls day out on the water in one of our boats. Sarah and I finally made it happen. In the midst of torrential rain, and a rising, colouring up river, we met at Island 22 boat launch in Chilliwack. Sarah had just gotten her boater's license the week before, and while she'd driven the boat and trailered it a couple times in Fort Langley, this was her first chance to do it all.
And do it all she did. I was there to offer moral support, a few words of encouragement and the odd suggestion or two. Other than that, I sat on my ass while Super Sarah backed the boat in, drove it off the tailer, parked the truck, drove us up river, pulled in to shore, anchored the boat up, then after fishing for a little while, pushing the boat off, heading to another spot, and finally re-trailering the boat (on her first real attempt - and the river at Island 22 is pushing WAY faster than in Langley). And... we even caught a few fish.
I have to say, I am so proud of her, she kicked ass, and will continue to do so. Sarah is one of those people who makes my life complete, a dear friend who I admire, respect and aspire to be like. And, to top it all off, she loves to fish.
So this post is basically to say congrats to Sarah for her first successful solo trip in her gorgeous new boat. Thanks for taking me with you. Here's to many more fabulous Girls' Day Out.
It’s always been one of those places talked about, but was never in the top 3 of my tropical destination bucket list. Belize, Seychelles, Christmas Island… Heck even Nicaragua, Ascension Bay, Bahamas and Cuba seemed, well, just more exotic. But when a very good friend suggested in September that Ape and I head to the Keys this spring, with his help arranging everything, it seemed like the right thing to do.
In the next 8 months, plans were finalized, guides booked, house rented, and copious amounts of gear acquired. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive, as stories echoed in my head of boats lined up side by side, educated fish that would turn their nose up at flies, demanding, impatient guides… Coupled with my lack of experience with sight fishing and warmwater fishing in general, I can’t say my expectations were high.
One thing I can say, is after hearing about 16 different colour combos of toads to bring, 12 different ways to tie leaders, and at least 7 ways to strip the fly and set on the fish, I threw all advice out the window and decided to just do what my guide recommended. Which turned out to be the thing to do.
To keep a long story short, here are just a few of the highlights:
always pack a change of clothes in your carry on, that way when your luggage doesn't show up the first day you don't end up wearing black sweatpants on a flats boat;
30 mile/hr winds suck;
though fish were scarce, we did see singles, pairs, and a couple of schools;
my first and only tarpon hooked and landed on day one;
my first and only (huge) permit ate and spit the fly on day three after a grueling chase;
the Canucks won and lost;
Matt got his ass kicked by two girls, more than once;
sharks, rays and turtles all came to visit;
fell in love with flats, mangroves, flats boats, sight fishing and the Keys in general;
got to spend a week with two of the best friends a girl can have;
met some fabulous new friends and incredible guides - Don Gable, Billy Thompson, and Travis Holeman;
What did I take away from Florida? Well, a new obsession for saltwater flats fishing, for starters. A fierce need to go back to the Keys. The realization that I need to work on casting into the wind with a 12wt rod and 2/0 tarpon fly. And most of all, some great memories.
Thanks Ape, Matt, Lemons, Don, Billy, and Travis.
Margaritas at the Dallas airport
Miami International - thanks for keeping our luggage an extra day
Day one - rain?
Thanks for the loaner lucky hat and shirt Don! Sweatpants in Florida? Not fun!
Well, hello Mr. Tarpon!
Thank you, thank you, thank you....
One of the strongest, wildest, most beautiful fish ever.
Our fabulous guide, Billy Thompson
Watching tarpon swim by the boat is the most exhilerating thing.
Looking for permit.
Billy Thompson and Don Gable; Keys guides
Uh Oh Ape, are the Canucks losing?
Nope, we won!!!!
Um yeah. That's mine. I wish.
Ape tried poling and did a fabulous job. Even got me some shots at baby sharks, which are the cutest things ever.
Day 5, 5am wake up, and still excited.
Early morning off Cudjoe Key.
Travis and April
Travis Holeman, another incredible Keys guide, and so much fun to spend a day with.
Travis showing us how its done.
Last night of the trip, hoping to catch the Bahia Honda worm hatch, to no avail.