We’re The People’s Front of Bud’s Lounge

Flats Fishing Graduate School:

Alarm goes  off at 5:50. Rush through the hotel lobby into car and to 7-11.

7-11 out of Pop Tarts. Get two Cliff Bars, two liters of water for $2, and a pre-wrapped Cuban sub.

6:45 AM–Meet guide at the launch ramp, proceed to flats with visions of first permit.

8:00 AM–Wind picks up to 15-20 knots, with gusts, guide searches for bonefish by looking for muds.

8:30 AM–We find muds. Bones disperse on first false cast.

9:14 AM–We find more bones. They split town when I point at them. Don’t point at them, don’t even look at them. Pretend they’re not there.

9:30 AM–Second of two Cliff Bars consumed. Thoughts turn to 7-11 Cuban samwich.

10:15 AM–School of six bones present themselves at 12 o’clock downwind. Cast about five feet too short. Bone looks at fly, makes movement, says nice try fucker, school disbands.

10:45–Bones cruise by at 3 o’clock, directly into the wind. Forget Rude Boy/Soft Boy, line collapses in a pile 20-feet too short. I hate buck fever.

11:07 AM–First half of 7-11 Cuban consumed.

11:38 AM–Permit presents itself right in front of the boat. My first cast ever to a permit. My fly lands perfectly; the permit looks, laughs, takes a piss on the fly.

12:13 PM–Second half of 7-11 Cuban consumed.

12:13 PM and 33 seconds–Bonefish show up while my hands are covered in mustard.

12:47 PM–A massive school of fish shows up, not spooking. We pole close. They are bar jacks.

12:48 PM–I want to catch a bar jack. I cast in front of the school.

12:48 PM, and 15 Seconds–There are two bones hanging with the bar jacks. They freak out and blow up the whole flat.

1:15 PM–Bar jacks reassemble. We pole close. Bones alert the school. All is lost.

2:00 PM–Last hour of tide, last flat of the day. School of  four BIG bones shows up, plays nice, stops at 1 o’clock to root around. It’s dead into the wind, but this time I get the cast. The fly lands where it should, moves like it should, and the bonefish moves to it. He’s at least eight pounds. He stops, says Just kidding mang, can’t touch this, and we’re done.

2:47 PM–We’re slack, I’m cooked, and I wish I had another day to get after it again.

3:27–Guide hands me my participant ribbon.

3:30 PM to Midnight –Beer.

21 thoughts on “We’re The People’s Front of Bud’s Lounge”

  1. Pete I feel for ya, but hay at least you had a shot. I am sure alot of poor bastards have never even seen a bonefish or a permit let alone a 7-11 cuban samich.

  2. No need to feel sorry or anything like that. I would sign up for another day on the flats in a heartbeat. Just keeping it real. The Cuban was the bomb, on that I cannot lie.

  3. What ever happened to the Popular Front of Bud’s Lounge?…

    Oh… he’s over there……

    Love the lack of varnish on this tale… as straight as they come… great stuff…

  4. Dude, spent a freakin’ year like that. Bloody schizophrenic bonefish. “Oooo, I’m hungry, no, I’m scared, no I’m exited and wanna swim around in a circle. Wait, I hear my mom calling. Gotta jet, bro.”

    All that in about point-five seconds and you’re standing there like, WTF just happened here.

    Ah, bonefishing.

  5. The fish were highly educated no doubt but part of the lack of success was of my own doing. In trying to improve my accuracy I developed this nasty habit of swinging the rod tip down on my forward cast and pointing it at the target. I started off casting fine but devolved into this as the day went on. The guide noticed this, and how by pulling the tip down I was opening up my loop, causing my fly to veer off target, slam into the water, or tail or what have you. It’s a hard habit to break in game, but I’ve been working on eliminating the extra false cast–keeping it to one or two–and leaving a higher release point with the rod tip, if that all makes sense.

    To catch those grad school bones, everything has to be exactly right, it seems.

  6. Yeah, I hear you, Pete. That’s usually one of the first things I have to correct with my clients. Accuracy is important, but so is delicacy. Thing is, if you try to cast it in “soft” you’ll ruin your cast and never be on target. That’s where I teach them the side-up cast (as Lefty calls it). Make your normal cast at whatever angle you want, then on the final delivery you start low and slice the rod slightly up from horizontal. You can also get it to work by sliding your thumb horizontal to the water and pointing it slightly up at the last moment. The fly’s energy will be spent directly out and slightly up, instead of down around and arc and into the water like a spark plug. Sounds complicated, but in practice it’s pretty easy… you know, sometime I think we shouldn’t write about casting at all, it’s sort of like dancing about architecture.

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