Over the weekend I had the pleasure of fishing in the Cuda Bowl. Kat and I had traveled to New Zealand with my parents for nearly a month at the beginning of the year, and getting back home to the salt felt as good as I knew it was going to. Speaking of getting back, here’s to getting back to this blog now that I’ve got some upcoming fishing on the calendar.
The results of the tournament (not ours, more on that later) were impressive. In the spin division the winners were Captain Chad Huff and Andrew Hunt. In second place were Captain Scott Collins and Russell Campbell, and third was held by Captain Bo Sellers and Bob Sellers, his father. The fly division was won again by Captain John Benvenuto and Scott Christian. Their score was a new record in the fly division, and even in the spin division their score would have put them in fourth place. Second place in the fly division went to Captain Pete Heydon and Jim Knowles, and Justin Rea and John Chinuntdet captured third. The team division went to Team Sellers, and that’s how things ended up.
Where last year I was fishing with Ted Margo and John O’Hearn and acting as a “guide”, this year I was fishing my good friend Michael Hetzel and actually making the decisions about where to go. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–being able to fish on the bow of a boat is a far cry from being able to make the decisions on the back, and on the back I wasn’t able to provide Michael with the shots he needed to make anything happen. The fish I was able to get near on the first day were not compliant, and while large they were impetuous. We left them for places far away on the second day, looking to find a big fish that might get us in the running for the largest on fly, though with the score that John Benvenuto and Scott Christian put up this was going to be a chore. My gamble didn’t pay off, and after an hour of working to find nothing I returned to nearby where we had started and dug in. We found some new fish before lines out, though these also made getting a bite hard with their
Being a good angler does not mean that I’m a good guide, and I’m not confused about how much of my past success has to do with people other than me. I’m lucky to fish with the guides that I do, and after spending two days getting blanked as a guide I’m even more aware of how much I owe to the people that I’m lucky enough to fish with.
After the tournament wrapped up I fished with Ian Slater for a day. We had marginal permit fishing for most of the day, and passed the time throwing at some barracuda to prove to myself I could still catch them on the bow. The hour we spent on them restored my confidence, and we landed three for a 40-inch average before we stashed the skinny fly rig and grabbed the permit rod. Ian had a great shot which nearly worked out, and I had a wading shot at a pair of giants that never got lined up. We picked away at the tough fishing until the end of the day, when we found some fish spiking up in the shallow water. I had a total of three opportunities at these fish, and on the second of these was rewarded with a large amount of interest from the animal. I stripped four or five times and watched the fish track the fly each time and come to a stop to inspect each time the fly slowed down. The permit never wavered from its track behind the fly but also didn’t commit to doing anything about it: I was left with no more real estate to tease with before the fish figured out what was going on and slipped away on the tide. We fished hard until we had to make it back home, and that was that.
So that brings us up to current, and these reports will start again as I begin the 2019 season. I’d like to circle back and mention again how impressive John and Scott’s score was in the Cuda Bowl–it’s worth another mention and a hats off, at the very least.
Sunday with Brandon Cyr, Tuesday with Nick Labadie, and the week after that I’ve got two days with John O’Hearn (and a permit mystery guest!)
Much more to come,