Yvon Chouinard has led a pretty interesting life. He founded Patagonia, sure. But he’s also lived the life that Patagonia has supported… he climbs, he surfs and he fishes. He fishes for Atlantic Salmon in remote reaches of Russia, he fishes for Steelhead on the Babine River in British Columbia, has been seen at Three Dollar Bridge on the Madison and he’s been seen wading the muck in the Marls of Abaco on the series Pirates of the Flats.
Is there an aspect of bonefishing that stands out for you when contrasted with the other species pursued with a fly rod?
Both Lefty Kreh and I think it’s our favorite fish because it’s like a combination of hunting and fishing. It uses up all the senses especially if you don’t fish with guides, which I have stopped doing. The working out of tides and spotting them on your own is one of the most satisfying parts of the experience.
With bonefish habitat spanning the globe along predictable latitudes, do you find yourself drawn to the same waters and the same flats again and again, or do you seek to explore?
I like to fish different places. My favorite is to go to the Tuamotos in Tahiti with my surfboard and fly rod, and fish the flats near the lagoon entrance. Trouble is these flats small and the fish are big and even with 30lb tippet they break you off on the coral.
Great anglers have great teachers. Have you had any particularly influential bonefishing mentors?
Yeah, Lefty. He is the best teacher there is. Also, Moana on Christmas Island, who has only one eye, but is unbelievable at spotting fish. He just says “fish coming over there” and nothing else and looks for the next one while you deal on your own with it. Why can’t there be more guides like this?
While one might be able to catch bonefish along the popular beaches of Los Roques, most bonefishing is done in a wilderness setting. In the wilderness things are, well, wild. Is there anything you’ve seen out on the flats that stands out as remarkably wild, interesting or unusual?
Some of the flats in the South Pacific are so full of sharks that sometimes I’ve been driven off the flats because they are so aggressive. I have to carry a long pole to fend them off.
Pirates of the Flats was a great series. What do you hope viewers take away from it?
The most important thing is to get the fish in quickly and leave it in the water. Forget the hero pose.
When I think of bonefish I also tend to think of Kalik and Cracked Conch. Are there other associations you make when thinking about bonefish?
I just love walking the flats and observing all the life around.
Thanks Yvon. Appreciate your thoughts.