Today, in Guanaja, Hal Gray was wading along the barren flats in search of the coveted bonefish. He had been scanning for hours by this point and had multiple opportunities to connect, yet the fish were not cooperating. Hal continued scanning for any sign of fish when he decided to adjust the way his line was situated on the surface of the water. He, without thinking, blindly roll casted his line just to the right to set it up for an easier cast. He continued to scan while his fly lay just to his right, when suddenly he felt a violent jerk on the end of his line, yet as he looked to his right, the line snapped and the bonefish quickly darted away with his fly. Many times in life we don’t pay attention to certain aspects or events and miss an incredible opportunity that may never present itself again. No matter how small or irrelevant something may be, always be aware of hidden opportunity.
By: Carter Stokes and Hal Gray
One Cast Closer to Enlightenment
After a month of heavily gusting winds the atmosphere begins to calm and the Guanajan coast takes a breath. The salty water slowly drifts back towards the deep ocean. Finally, a calm morning we could see the mainland of Honduras stretching along the horizon. Showing signs that today was going to be a good fishing day. First pull and the motor of our 40 horsepower Panga was rumbling, ready to receive more fuel. No less than a mile, I had my first shot on the buggy whip at a school of 10 permit. The first cast landed right to their side, another cast landed behind them spooking them into a frenzy. They came back around and the third cast was perfect. As they muscled towards my fly with a sense of urgency I felt an eat. I set the hook and the line started flying but something didn’t feel right. My line was wrapped around the bow line on the front of the boat so I jumped forward to free it. At that time, we realized it was not a permit that ate my fly but a yellow jack. My excitement was soon exhausted but I was thrilled anyways to get a fish boat side. Our guide Darin with a cool relaxed manner jumped down off the poling platform and said let’s go find some more pompajack (permit) while this tide is still high. One pull and we were off on a mission to find any sort of tail.
So we cruised casually and cool just how Darin likes it to the North side of the Guanaja. Where we were met with gusty winds and shallow empty flats. We continued our voyage in search of the elusive.
Darin cool and relaxed, slowly was pulling me onto a shoreline with some scattered
bonefish. I dropped a spawning shrimp fly on my first cast right in front of a bonefish tic tic tic he started to follow chasing it all the way to the boat and never attacking. Soon after a couple other shots Darin says cast into that Mud hole. On the first cast I let it sink for 5 long seconds until WAM I felt a hit and set the hook keeping my rod low. This was my first tango with a bonefish. What felt like an hour was more likely a mere 7 minutes. I leapt into the water fish vs man slowly letting some line out as to not loose tension. I grabbed the leader and let the fish meet my hand finalizing our match.
I had thoughts that I was going to leave this fishing mecca without a fish of my dreams
but the universe opened up with only 2 days left. I got the privilege of catching one of the
earth’s finest creatures with my brother Kyle and my camera man Erik. I couldn’t ask for two better people to have with me for that moment. Being a fisherman is simple but being a fly fisherman is deep. Fly Fisherman have a unique connection to the land growing closer to it with ever cast. Giving us the ability to appreciate the resources around how we can make a difference in this world through our passion for world and people. Always striving for that one extra cast that can make the most change.
Guanaja is like no other place on this earth it’s a place that will not be forgotten for its
were pine trees meets with salt air. A smell so powerful that is brings a man one sniff closer to understanding life. Never take for granted the simple moments, even experiencing a new smell can be just as life altering as catching the fish of your dreams. A big thanks to the staff and crew of Fly Fish Guanaja (Fish For Change) for making these two weeks life changing and inspiring. I know we are going to do some great things for this world and look forward to seeing you all in
A rusty metal and concrete fence separates the Government School in Mitch from the skinny road that connects the nearby towns of Savanah and Mangrove Bite. A worn-down soccer field lays in the front yard of the school just feet from the nearby classrooms. As we arrived the students focus quickly shifted from their teacher’s activities to what we were up to. We made our way to the classrooms where they were learning Math and English, it was almost instant that we connected to the students like we had known them for years, helping them solve math problems and writing translations from Spanish to English on the board for them to practice. All the students were eager to learn whereas in the United States that is not nearly as common. As the students focus shifted from Math problems to English lessons we quickly made our way to the soccer field where students became eager to challenge us in a match. We tried to decide how we should split the teams up, but then someone suggested that it should be all the local students versus all the people from the student program. As we started the game it was quite apparent that the local students were not only very good but had an insanely amount of fun playing to. As we wrapped up the game and started to make our way back to the car it became apparent that the local students did not want us to leave. As we said our final goodbyes we exchanged high-fives, hugs and things people do when there saying goodbye but don’t speak the same language.
Looking back on the whole experience it is very noticeable that these children value their education greatly and are extremely thankful to even be in school, however in the United States this privilege of getting of go to school every day, getting to go on awesome trips and having nice things gets taken for granted far too often.
By: Flynn Kenney and Cooper Neblett
You step foot onto an island for your typical big time fishing trip. Dressed from head to toe in brand new Colombia fishing gear. You take a boat driven by your friendly neighborhood Walter, who cracks hearty jokes on your way to the island. You finish a long day of travel with a dinner of plentiful portion and warm food. Then the days begin to gel together into a cohesive product called a fishing trip. Each day you’re presented a morning full of fantastic fly fishing in the beautiful island of Guanaja, the idle moments filled with the exuberant guide’s hilarious banter. You catch the fish you desire: either the strong, dark bonefish; the gleaming silver tarpon; or the holy grail, the elusive permit, a creature of magic and fable. In the afternoon, your immersed deep within a magical native culture, filled with smiles of young children and hospitality of the villages hardworking elders. Lastly, the nights are comprised of delicious dinners and plentiful laughs. In your opinion, the trip comes to an end far too quick. The rods are put in their cases, the guides given their tips, and a final sad goodbye is given to your newfound friends made along the way.
As your plane lands your phone springs to life with friends nagging to hang out, parents awaiting the stories of your expensive venture , and the return of your comfortable, daily life. After a warm welcome from your parents and a trip to your favorite restaurant, your long day of travel almost reached its end. On the very last step of your journey, your cut off on your drive home from the restaurant by an irresponsible driver, causing you to slam on your brakes, bringing traffic to an abrupt halt. As expected, your sudden stop brings an onslaught of angry shouts and honks blaring in your ear. Then it hits you. Fish For Change finally makes its “change.” However, the change isn’t in the country of Honduras, but instead it’s in the minds of each of the young anglers the student program has touched throughout its lifetime.
Your epiphany brings you to an incredible realization, you finally see the country of Honduras and its people for what they truly are, an instrument to teach the rest of the world what’s really important. The people of Honduras have so little materialistically, but so much emotionally and ethically. They are a culture devastated by drugs, natural disaster, and poverty, yet every Honduran person you meet has a smile on their face and love in their hearts. While “first world” countries may have the latest and greatest technology, they are overcome by greed and the power of the dollar. People look out for only themselves fueling their own eternal desire for the newest material possession of the day. It is this change that finally shows you what’s truly important, it’s not the fish you catch of the things you acquire, but instead it’s the meaningful time you spend with those around you, rich or poor. You realize that Fish for Change has shown you a part of what life is all about, being able to spend time with those that you love, and simply the ability to fish another day.
By: Carr Urschel