The first week of March ushered in another fine group put together by Andy Kurkulis of Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters.
Photos: Andros South Staff & Guests
This year’s group welcomed back Gordon Grey and Josh Freivogel and Andy K of course. Some of the new blood this year like Sue Mathewson and Mary Gilmore were chasing bonefish for the first time and they really took to it well. They boated the most fish on the first day out – go get ‘em ladies! Eric Gastevich and his father-in-law Ralph Nardi were also first timers who quickly picked up on the ways of the bonefish, they also explored other fisheries as well, like the wily barracuda, and did quite well.
Josh spent a lot of time at the vise this week coming up with some likely candidates for the fly of the month club. He caught fish on just about all the flies he tied up which really made the vise time worth while – especially after the guys (and gals) gave him such a bad time about some of the patterns he came up with.
The weather was pretty nice overall, but we did experience some wind, which made for some bumpy boat rides in the afternoon. Thankfully the fishing held out during the windy days and most of the bumps were quickly forgotten with a cold Kalik at the Little Creek Bar. Andy helped out as well by confirming that it was the nicest weather he had seen on any of his trips to Andros South and we should all feel so lucky. Thanks Andy!! And see you next year.
What a mix of guests for the second week of March. First we had Takuya and Makie Shimizu all the way from Japan, via Seattle. The infamous brothers Hubbell, Billy and Bobby joined us again for another go. These two have been visiting Andros South since the dawn of man and they know how to have a good time. Mac McGee from Choo Choo Fly & Tackle joined us again and brought two small groups down for half week trips. Mac’s group added some fine southern influence into the eclectic group of guests.
Takuya and Makie started out the week with a tough day on the water, but with persistence both of them caught their first bonefish by the second day on the water. They always had a smile on no matter what the fishing or the weather threw at them. They were truly a pleasure to meet and spend time with. Thank you Takuya and Makie and we hope to see you in Alaska some day.
Mac’s group kept us busy with new southern slang as they proceeded to put the hurt on quite a few fish. We even went down to the Deep Creek Bridge one night and harassed the local fish and a few Kaliks. One nice 25lb ‘cuda was landed in the dark. It’s always interesting to night fish – you never know what you have until it’s at your feet. Toothy critters in the dark always make for good fun.
The third week of March welcomed back Bill Gibbs, Bill Mellinger, Tony Cochiarra, and Steve Jacobs (for his second trip this year). The new guys in camp were Doug Beighle, Mike Benbow from Avid Angler in Washington, Scott Hagen, Jack Tonkin and Jim McRoberts. Jim Pigott also joined us for the first time, for a few days. Many of the guests this week were world travelers with many fine destinations logged over the years. Bill Gibbs and Jim Pigott have fished with us at Alaska West and it was nice to show them a totally different fishery and climate with the same Deneki ideals.
The weather this week was quite nice overall, but as usual Mother Nature had to throw a little wind at us. Not a problem though – it kept the bug population down for the evening Slack Tide reunions. The fishing worked out very well for the group with good fishing for bones and barracuda. The schoolies were in action for the guys looking to put up some numbers and the guys caught a few larger fish as well while messing with the schools. The fishing for solo, double or triple cruising fish was also quite good though it made for more technical fishing. These single fish are much more tuned into the surroundings and all efforts need to be made to keep from spooking the fish before they have even seen the fly. Most of the guests find these fish more challenging and therefore more rewarding when they get them. Quite often they are larger fish as well which is just icing on the cake.
The end of March blew in quickly. We had challenging weather, creating rough seas and tough visibility, but that didn’t slow us down. Jeff Becker arrived with his good friends, mostly returning visitors, all experienced and ready to hit the water. And they weren’t only after bones! There were many sharks that were seen and then some caught. Barracudas were at large, filling the bellies of the guides and locals at the docks. As conditions were challenging, the discussion sometimes turned to the fly. What was working and what would work better…as conversation grew, the vises were pulled out each night, helping build the magic for the next day. There was no lack of talent in this group as it was led by Captain Jeff Becker, Nate Harris of Stone Rivers Outfitters and Mark Wayne who ties professionally. What tie would work better and what fish were crushing what, on that particular day seemed to echo the camp walls – not like this was a new thing to fishing camps!
And Anthony, oh so helpful Anthony! If only pizza was available down the street for pickup! What we got was pick up the pizza out of the sand! Who let Anthony carry a tray of pizza across the sand to the Tiki hut? Wasn’t Anthony’s ability to fall down at any point while wading the flats apparent? This should have been a dead giveaway!
Filling the other half of the lodge for the week was Tom Craddock of Telluride Outside from Telluride, Colorado. He joined us with his own group of anglers from the South. Though all were new to the lodge, this was by no means their first trip to the world of saltwater fly fishing. Tom, Clay Williams from Louisiana, and Ford McTee of Texas, joined us a day earlier and got to it on their own, wading the flats accessible by car. This warmed them up for the big week ahead. To fishing off the week, Ford celebrated his 50th – the ladies in the kitchen took care of him with a great cake and song.