New kayak fishing program at Black Fly Bonefish club, Abaco

In case you just stumbled onto this blog…. and before I launch into a blatant plug for our lodge in the Bahamas and our new kayak program, I should tell you that I am a part owner of the Black Fly Bonefish Club. This is an endeavor that I swore I would never do again. My wife and I have managed several lodges throughout Latin America and when we decided to settle down back in the states we never dreamed we would be working with another lodge again, much less owning one. Well, the fishing was so good we couldn’t resist. Bonefish, permit, tarpon and tailing mutton snappers all in one place, not to mention all of the offshore possibilities that lurk just off the entrance to our marina. So here we are, owners of the most exciting lodge we’ve ever been a part of and to tell you the truth we’re thrilled to be part of this. Now, we’ve added and new dimension to fishing in the Bahamas and…..

Lean Green Fighting Machine
Vaughn's Lean Green Fighting Machine

WE’RE REALLY EXCITED !!!!!….. The decision has been made by my partner Clint Kemp and myself to bring kayak fishing to the Bahamas. This is unusual because most lodges don’t want you to fish on your own because it takes money out of their pocket. We found that there are lots of dedicated kayak guys who would be happy to pay a reduced price from the normal guided price, not because they’re cheap but because they just want to fish out of a kayak. Our kayak package will be just like a normal fishing package that includes airport pickup, private room, unbelievable Bahamian cuisine and kayak guide.

Kayak bonefishing
Kayak Bonefishing

At most lodges the fishing grounds are somewhat distant from the lodge and not very convenient for kayak fishing.  At our lodge in Abaco, we have the perfect place to fish out of a kayak.  At our boat ramp there is a lagoon and a series of flats that you have to motor through to get out to open water. As we have been fishing and learning the fish routines, we have discovered that we have incredible bonefishing right at our boat ramp. In fact, you can fish right from the main highway on the right tide and see hundreds of fish.  The lagoon is a large but shallow body of crystal clear Bahamian water that has a series of mangrove islands and creeks to fish in. On the western edge of the lagoon is a large creek that meanders through another incredible flats system that you could fish in for weeks and never see it all. We have seen 10 pounders in the creek not to mention snook and loads of  jacks and snappers. No need to paddle far to have success.

We are currently working with Freedom Hawk Kayaks to bring in their special “stand up” kayak that seems to be special made for bonefishing.  This is an incredible boat and perfect for standing up to get a better view while wading the flats. This kayak is in a standard mono hull configuration when paddling, but with the pull of a lever swings open into the configuration that is pictured below. In addition to the stern portion opening as shown, there is an additional stabilizing bar that can be raised if wanted to assist in standing and act as an additional aid to balance.  These kayaks are extremely well built, easy to paddle and a joy to fish from.
We’re sure that this will be a huge hit and a real eye opener for anglers who try this for the first time.

Freedom Hawk Kayaks

Keep checking back with us to find out when the launch date will be or if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, click on the link in the sidebar to start receiving  Black Fly News and you’ll get the launch in our newsletter.

ALSO…Check out our regular fishing packages…. Black Fly Bonefish Club Fall Special from Sept. 15th to Dec. 15th, 2009…..any combination of days…..BRING  THREE ANGLERS, GET ONE FREE !!!!!   Nobody has ever offered a package like this, it’s usually bring seven or nine and get one free.  Take advantage and come visit the construction site of the new town of Schooner Bay and try the unbelievable fishing.  Call the store at 904 997 2220 or read all the details at Black Fly Bonefish Club.

Who we are and why

In my opening post back on the 7th of June, I talked a little about how the title for this Blog came about and just a little about what I have been doing over the years. I would like to take a few minutes of your time to bring you up to date on what I’m doing now and also tell you where I’m headed in this wonderful sport of fly fishing.

When I retired from guiding in the Keys in 2002 my wife Jean (also an accomplished fly caster) and I moved back to my home town of St. Augustine Florida and opened Black Fly Outfitter in the heart of old St. Augustine. Black Fly Outfitter is a retail store selling fly fishing equipment and an Art Gallery where I could display and sell my art work. Although I had retired from guiding, I knew that I would always be involved in the sport. Having a fly shop that geared itself to the local fishery would keep me in constant contact with the changing trends in the sport.

As I was setting up the store and gallery, I knew that I would need a website with an online store so that I could offer my art and branded Black Fly merchandise to the world through the World Wide Web. Once I had the site built I knew I would need someone to manage it for me so I started a campaign to bring my long time friend and newly retired keys guide Capt. Jeff Segallos on board to take on the job. It took a bit of doing, but he finally agreed to relocate to the north and join my team. Capt. Jeff brought not only his computer skills to us but also his years of fly fishing experience to our mix.

In the summer of 2006 we expanded our presence to the Jacksonville area with a new shop located in a sports related shopping mall. This move called for local knowledge of the nuances of fly fishing in Jacksonville waters and of the fishermen in the area. We found the perfect candidate in former guide Capt. Randy Lanier. Randy has been involved with the local fly fishing community for years and brought with him an immediate following. Jean, Randy, Jeff and I have a combined 80 plus years of experience with the fly rod and feel that we can handle just about any fly fishing question that could come our way. We are all active fishermen and fish every chance we get.

The BFO Staff
The BFO Staff

I feel that I now have a “dream team” assembled that will free me up to continue my painting and work on my future plans for the expansion of  the Black Fly Outfitter brand.

We have expanded our web presence in order to present the various aspects of our activities. Upon entering the main Black Fly Outfitter website, you will have the opportunity to visit the Vaughn Cochran Fine Art Gallery where you can view most but not all of my work over the past years. Here you can view my Original Paintings that are mostly still available, the Archive Portfolio containing pieces that have been sold, some of my work that I’ve decided to have made as limited edition prints can be seen in the Fine Art Prints section and finally a Guest Artist section which is currently displaying the powerful work of my friend Frank Monaco. I hope that you will take a few minutes to visit the gallery and look around, if you see a print that you like it will be available for sale in the online store.

The main section of the website is the Black Fly Outfitter Store where you can shop our big selection of fly fishing products and my artwork. From the store you can also visit the Black Fly Bonefish Beach Club and our Destination & Fly Guide.

The entry page also has a link to this blog and for those of you, who may be interested, a link to my twitter page. All of the sites that I’ve mentioned here are available through the links in our Blogroll on the left hand sidebar of this page.

I’m encouraging everyone here to participate in this blog so you’ll be seeing articles posted by all of us. I am also inviting our store customers, friends and fly fishermen worldwide to participate in this blog, sharing their stories, points of concern, and their all around knowledge of the sport.

Peacock Bass in the Amazon

A new friend to us here at Fly Fishing World Headquarters and Black Fly Outfitter, Marcel from Rio de Janeiro has sent us an interesting report of some great Peacock Bass fishing that he enjoys in the Amazon Basin. Marcel is an avid fly fisherman who is fortunate enough to be able to travel to some very interesting and off the beaten path fly fishing destinations. We have come to know Marcel through some recent purchases he has made through our Black Fly Outfitter online store. He found us on the web and ordered some of our tarpon toad flies along with some other travel items preparing for an upcoming trip to Belize and after that a trip to the Austral region of the Amazon Basin, specifically to the Madeira River. Marcel has been making an annual trip to the area for the last 10 years and has become a big fan of this hard hitting, hard fighting fish.

Marcel says they are abundant in these river waters but “like big tarpon, you have to have the “gift” of enticing them to eat a fly.” The average fish according to his report is in the 10 lb. range but in other reading I have done, I’ve found out that the peacock has attained IGFA documented weights of 27 pounds. Marcel has had reports of fish approaching the 34 pound range being caught in these Amazon waters. The fish that he is holding in the photo below weighed in at an impressive 21 pounds.

 

Marcel with a nice 21# peacock bass
Marcel with a nice 21# peacock bass

The reputation that the peacock has for demolishing tackle makes it an even more desirable gamefish to pursue with fly tackle. Marcel likes to use the tarpon toad patterns (see insert in the photo) rigged with a 60 pound bite tippet to entice these fish to eat. He tells us that when he returns from this year’s trip he will be calling us to replace what gear these brutes bust up and to restock the flies that will be destroyed in the process.

The peacock is not really a “bass” at all. Although it strongly resembles a largemouth in general size and shape, it is actually the largest American member of the cichlid family of fishes. More commonly called “pavon” in Latin American countries and “tucunare” in Brazil, peacock bass originate and thrive in South American waters. The real giants of the specie live in remote back-water lagoons off major tributaries in the Amazon drainage of Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia, but other countries, such as Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia all have waters that contribute to the massive Amazon watershed which abounds with peacock bass. The range of the peacock also has grown to include south Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Panama and Costa Rica.

We wish you a great trip Marcel and look forward to the report and photos that we will be able to share with our readers.

Fin clipping for fun and profit, BTT joins Black Fly

Our Black Fly Online World Bonefish Tournament, the first ever by the way, is now working with the BTT (Bonefish Tarpon Trust) to further research into the “goings on” of all the bonefish swimming around out there.  If you’re new to tarpon, permit and bonefishing , there is an organization, of which I am a founding member, that has dedicated itself to the  understanding of these species and their protection.  Their website link is www.tarbone.org

Join the Bonefish Tarpon Trust
Join the Bonefish Tarpon Trust

The BTT is a group of concerned anglers and guides who want to preserve their way of life. Their researchers are scientists working to answer questions about these popular and elusive gamefish. Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is this and more. It was formed in 1998 by a group of anglers, guides, and scientists in the Florida Keys who wanted to learn more about bonefish and tarpon in order to enhance their dwindling populations. Since then it has grown to include concerned anglers from over 20 countries, researchers from throughout the world, and guides committed to working with BTT in order to educate anglers and gather data while on the water.

We started our online tournament in May and will continue throughout the summer and into the fall.  There are new winners every month and the prizes are my artwork. The largest bonefish so far is a 25 and a half inch fish out of Miami.

Aaron Adams, head researcher for BTT, has agreed to send us fin clipping kits to send out to all entrants so that we can help BTT in their bonefish DNA species determinations. This is actually more beneficial to them than tagging as our fish entries are coming from all over the place and therefore more of a sample. If all of our entries were from one place like Abaco then the tagging program would be the best choice.

The tournament has been a lot of fun but we would like to have more anglers fishing in the tournament to help in obtaining more bonefish samples.  To sign up go to our register page and fill out the form. We hope that as the news spreads we will get anglers that are going to the various lodges around the world to join us….who knows you could be the World Champion.  Maybe the bonefish lodges around the world would start to compete with each other as to who had the most World Champions from their lodge.

Anyway, if you’re going bonefishing, you might as well sign up….it’s fun and you could be the next Black Fly World Bonefish Champion.

The results are in!!

I want to thank you all for taking the time to vote on my new Buff designs! I’m delighted that I got so many responses to only my second post on my blog that is only a week old. Your votes, comments and suggestions will be very helpful in determining which of the new designs will make the final cut.

I’m especially thankful for the honest imput and I think this is a good way to involve other anglers in what can be a real hit or miss decision.  With that in mind I’m sure you will have the opportunity to cast your vote in other asthetic decisions that we have to make around here. Thanks again, we hope that you will check back with us if you need any tackle or advice on your next trip.
Here are the results of the voting:

#1 Blue Bones by a pretty big margin.
#2 Bluewate Fly
#3 A tie between Rolling Tarpon, Fly Fish or Die and the Crab Fly.