Last year when I first came to Fly Fish Guanaja on Jones Key, I didn't know what to expect. I have heard people talk about Guanaja and how the fish here are all a challenge to catch. The first day in the flats with Rankin was more than I expected. The wind was blowing aggressively and some shots at the fish were 70-80 feet. Rankin taught me so much more than I previously knew about saltwater fly fishing. I gained so much knowledge that day on the flats and that week. The amount of skills there is to learn and know about fishing for bonefish and permit is insane to me. He taught me and made me understand what it takes to punch they fly 60 feet into the wind and how slow or fast to strip the line in. All of these small tips are eventually going to add up and help me catch a permit. I always thought it was amazing and super interesting to learn about how the fish react in the water and how they want to see the fly move in the water. I travelled back to Guanaja this year to improve my skills and interact with the community as a whole.
One day, after we got back from fishing in the flats, my friends and I walked into Mangrove Bight to try to hookup and catch some tarpon and snook. Within twenty minutes of being there, three young kids that were seven years old came up and were interested in what we were doing. One of the boys asked to try casting the fly rod once. This turned into 30 minutes of me teaching this young boy to fly fish. I taught him how to shoot more line out and how to cast farther. These kids were so interested in fly fishing and had so many questions to ask us about it. It was awesome to be able to answer these questions and better knowledge these kids about the art of fly fishing. He stayed with us for the whole two hours we were there fishing. We were talking and laughing the entire time. He told us a little about his life and his favorite things to do on the island. It reminded me of my first day in Guanaja and Rankin teaching me things that would improve my fly fishing skills. This moment in Mangrove Bight brightened my view on this amazing island and the people in it. I loved how i got to pass on my learning to these young boys and hopefully now they can continue fly fishing and become as passionate about it as I am. This experience was an eye opener for me in a sense that it made me realize how amazing it feels to teach someone skills and things that I was once taught.
This all ties back to one of the pillars for Fish For Change - education. To me, the “educate” pillar has a lot more meaning to it then just the word itself. It means that we should take every opportunity we have and share our knowledge them of the things we have been taught. Fish For Change has really had a positive impact for this island and people that live on it and also the people that get to come visit it. It has had an amazing impact on me and has given me so many opportunities that have enlighten my life and better informed me about the outside world and how good it feels to give.
- Henry Lewis 6/19/19