To understand April Vokey, you may want to check out her interview over at Eat More Brook Trout, or read this blog post she wrote herself. I don’t know much about April, but I know that she can fish and women who can fish are a role model for my little girl. April is a steelheader, primarily, as makes sense if you are up in BC. As happens to all sorts of anglers, the salt finds a way in. April was also recently included in Buccaneers and Bones, a crew I’d very much like to be a part of.
April, you are known more for your pursuit of freshwater chrome than for silver bullets or kings. How do bonefish fit into your fishing life?
Saltwater fishing won my heart some time ago.
For me (with every fishery) it is the allure of the hunt that fills me with excitement; the stalking, the silence, the necessary precision and ‘no room for error’ tendencies…
Naturally, the ever skittish bonefish keeps me in predatory mode and I have admittedly fallen in love with large solo flat wanderers who peel me straight to backing.
I saw you were included in Buccaneers and Bones. How was that experience?
It was a fun one (a short one as I was only there for three days)… but certainly a good time.
The guys were nothing short of entertaining and each of them was a pleasure to fish with. The Bahamas is a very special place and this particular location had some beauties strolling the flats.
Is there someone you can think of that had a particularly big influence on your saltwater fly fishing life? Who were they and what did they share with you?
Hmmm, good question.
From a casting standpoint, it was relatively simple to just apply the techniques from freshwater fishing to the salt.
As far as gaining an appreciation for tides, species, techniques, etc., I have a few friends who come to mind; Travis Holeman taught me to pole a boat and helped me to understand the ocean’s behavior (from the marshes of Louisiana to the Florida Keys flats), James Christmas (in the Seychelles) helped me to understand permit and kicked my butt until I was competent on a 12 weight, Wil Flack in Belize touched my heart with island culture and opened my eyes to the importance of conservation of the flats.
What steelhead skills have you developed which have proven particularly useful for chasing bonefish, permit or tarpon?
Understanding the ocean current and how my fly might react to the flows (no lie, I hooked a permit while swinging my fly) and having creative casts when the wind is blowing in my face.
I’m wondering if being a woman is a plus or a negative when you head to a place like the Caribbean to fish. Is it a negative, a plus or a mixed bag?
This really depends. I would say that the number one commonality is the assumption that I won’t be able to cast (though to be fair, I would say that this is the number one assumption of all of us guides towards a new client).
From a cultural standpoint, with the exception of strange stares from people in the airplane, I don’t receive much more attention than what I would assume the guys get. I get far more response in North America (both positive and negative).
What’s your go to rod/reel for bonefish?
An eight weight Loomis NRX (or Cross Current) and a Hatch 7 Plus.
Which do you feel is more important when it comes to bonefishing… the rod or the reel, and why?
This is a hard question… instinctively, I want to say it’s the reel. Palming a screaming reel on already sunburnt and cut hands simply doesn’t sound that appealing to me. However, without a properly loaded rod, I risk the chance of a sloppy turnover and that excites me (and the fish) even less.
If I had to choose? I’ll say the rod as I would rather hook the fish and deal with the repercussions later.
Thanks April. I appreciate the time you took to get this done. Thanks for all you do to promote the sport, the fish and the fisheries.