“Breaking the Surface” starring Diana Rudolph & Kim Bain-Moore film at Black Fly Bonefish Club, Abaco Bahamas

I love it when I have too much to say on the blog. We just had an incredible week of fishing at the Black Fly Bonefish Club in Abaco with our guests, Diana Rudolf and Kim Bain-Moore of the new TV show “Breaking the Surface”. This great new show hasn’t been on too long and you can find it on the Sportsman Channel. We will announce the air dates on this Blog and our Twitter page @ twitter.com/blackflyvaughn
Diana Rudolph & Kim Bain-Moore
Diana Rudolph & Kim Bain-Moore

The week started with overcast skies and winds roaring around 25 to 30 miles per hour, a true test of your casting skills. Oh well, you have to make the best of what you have! I’ve done a ton of TV shows over the years including “Fly fishing The World”, “Spanish Fly”, “Fly Fishing America” and sometimes you just have to “go fishin”. I did one show with Jose Wejebe in Belize and I know that the wind was blowing over thirty. We were laughing when we left the dock thinking this was going to be a first in TV fly fishing. You literally couldn’t stand up without spreading you feet out to compensate for the wind…it would blow you over. Well, we actually caught fish! Jose caught 3 I think and I caught one. I remembered the advice, keep the wind blowing over your left shoulder. The weather for this show wasn’t that bad but it was tough for the ladies and the guides too. Kim had the advantage as she was using spin gear. Kim is an excellent angler and is the only woman on the Bassmaster Tour at this time. She did very well over the course of the four days using only artificials. To be honest, in the Bahamas, I think that the fly angler has the advantage. Diana, world record holder and fly fishing celebrity, fought off the temptation to go to spin gear and stuck with the fly rod the entire time. The first day was a struggle but she landed several bonefish that not many anglers would even have tried for.

Leaving the dock for a great day on the water
Leaving the dock for a great day on the water
Kim and one of many bonefish she released.
Kim and one of many bonefish she released.

Day two was better, more fish were landed and everyone was beginning to get into the swing of things on Abaco and island time. My partner Clint Kemp and I were responsible for providing all the food for this trip. Clint is an excellent chef and has been using his family recipes to add pounds to our guests with no complaints. Every night we had some kind of seafood dish. One night we started off with Clints conch fritters, then conch salad and finally lobster tails in garlic butter. Did I mention the ice cold Kalik beers? We had fried snapper, cracked (fried) conch, cracked lobster, more conch salad and more conch fritters. I’ve been to lodges in the Bahamas and never had a Bahamian dish the whole time we were there. Come fish with us just for the food!

Capt. Vaughn and his patented Vulcan Bonefish Release
Capt. Vaughn and his patented Vulcan Bonefish Release
Capt. Clint and a couple of nice bonefish
Capt. Clint and a couple of nice bonefish

Back to the fishing…..Day three was beautiful with much lighter winds, clear skies and mucho excitment. Fish were every where we went and the camera crew got more footage than they could use. Big fish, medium size fish, permit, snappers, cudas and everything in between. The highlight of the day was Diana’s permit. It was a beauty and without a scale we all guessed that it weighed in between 25  and 30 lbs. It was caught at the end of the day so there was not time to go for the tarpon to complete the slam but there was always tomorrow. Did I mentioned all of the ice cold Kalik beers to celebrate the permit?

Diana scanning for tails on a beautiful day!
Diana scanning for tails on a beautiful day! Photo by Kim Bain-Moore
The second fish in the SLAM
The second fish in the SLAM. Photo by Kim Bain-Moore.
Catch and release of a beautiful permit!
Catch and release of a beautiful permit! Photo by Kim Bain-Moore

All right…..now, down to business. This was our last day, beautiful sunrise, no clouds, flat calm seas….did I go to heaven? This is unbelievable…First we went for the bonefish because the outgoing tide is perfect and the tarpon don’t seem to move until the tide turns around. With four bonefish caught early, head guide Paul Pinder – our partner in Black Fly Bonefish Club and Director of Fishing – Diana and camera crew head off to the tarpon flat. The action was quick … here they come, six tarpon in a string slowly working their way along the 3 foot depth line. Diana has a small Keys-type buggy looking shrimp pattern on. She makes the cast to the lead fish but the one next to it flashes out ahead of the lead fish and inhales the fly….she’s on!   Jumping, singing drag, jumping, bowing, down and dirty, he rolls over and she got em!  OK, she’s got the tarpon, the bone and now the rest of the day for a permit. I’m not sure how many permit we saw and cast to over the four days of fishing, maybe 80 or more, but it just didn’t happen on this day.

Well, she had a slam in two days and caught I don’t know how many big bonefish and that was good enough for Clint, Paul and I. I guess the point that we as lodge owners wanted to make was that we have the diversity of species here at Black Fly Bonefish Club and that is rare in the Bahamas. The fishery here in Abaco is more like fishing out of Key West … but you have the place to yourself. I’ve fished in a lot of countries and managed three different fishing lodges in Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize and I’ve never seen a fishery like this one. I even got my personal best bonefish on that last day…. over 10 lbs.

An Interview on the beach....
An Interview on the beach….

We’re still  building our new lodge, but for now you can come visit us at our interim lodge, Black Fly Beach Club and sample what we have to offer.  Give us a call, 904.997.2220, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Did I mention the ice cold Kalik beers?

That's a Wrap, Great Trip!
That’s a Wrap, Great Trip!

Peacock Bass in the Amazon

Our friend and Peacock Bass enthusiast Marcel de R. from Rio de Janeiro has had a busy summer of fly fishing in the Amazon with the completion of two trips this year. His first trip was to the Austral Amazon Basin, specifically to the Aripuana River where he had landed a 21 lb. Peacock Bass last year.

marcelB
A nice bass taken from the flooded Amazon

The trip was almost a disaster; the water was too high due to the annual flooding conditions. The river was at a 50 year high, cresting at 19.8 meters over the normal level. The people who live along the river live in floating houses or on the few high ground river banks that can be found in some areas. Nature is on a pristine stage in the Amazon with an awesome array of animal life that is encountered around each bend of the river. Marcel and his group travel for 18 to 20 hours upriver, really very far away from any other humans or their civilization.

marcelA
A black barred on the left and a tiger on the right

On their trip last year they encountered a black Jaguar swimming across the river. In the surprise of seeing such a beautiful animal so close, they couldn’t manage to find the camera they had stowed out of the weather until it was almost too late. Unfortunately it was late in the day with poor light and a blurry image was the result.
When the rivers reach such a flood level, the fish move up into the “woods” and feed voraciously on the fingerling’s and other small bait fish. They could hear them up in the jungle cover crashing baits all day long. In 5 days of fishing, 10 hours a day, only 11 fish were landed all under 4 lbs. That action was a result of a school of fish hanging near a rock in the river and then it was over! The next 4 1/2 days without a bite. It was devastating, but that’s the Amazon!

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A tackle busting black barred peacock

Three weeks later he was there again this time on the Sucunduri River, this trip much better! No trophies but the fish were cooperative and they released 147 fish over 5 days of fishing with biggest fish weighing in at around 14 lbs. As they brought their hooked fish to the boat they could see a lot of some very big fish swimming just beneath the hooked ones looking for an opportunistic meal.  He saw some very, very big fish especially on the spawning beds. These encounters helped take the sting out of the first trip.

Caption here
Two more nice fish

Marcel uses a variety of toad flies that John Baker ties for us. He finds that the bass prefer them to any other fly he has tried. He has used both the foam and the standard fiber head toads in a variety of standard colors, a thickly tied marabou tail, tied on both 1/0 and 2/0 hooks.  Marcel likes a clear or ghost tip line and 12 to 14 foot leaders that he hand ties using “heavy mono” to help get the fish out of the heavy cover that he sometimes finds himself in.
If you’re planning a trip to the Amazon to go Peacock Bass fishing you can’t go wrong with the selection below.

Toad flies that John Baker ties for us.