Written by: RC Cone
Greetings from Andros Island! “What ya saying?” is a local Bahamian greeting that I’m starting to use every day.
Allow me to introduce myself and my new project. I’m RC Cone and I’m currently in production on my second fly-fishing film, Tributaries. My last film, Breathe, was a 20-minute short about how the daily stress and tedium of work compelled me to quit my job, live out of the back of my truck for a month, and speak to local Montanans about how they balance work and fishing. Such an incredible experience.
For Tributaries, instead of a story about myself, I wanted to do something bigger. I want to take a small sampling of International fly-fishing culture through three different guides in The Bahamas, Iceland, and Argentina and compare and contrast them. How are they different? More importantly, how are they the same? I have a lot of ideas on how to answer those questions but my time in The Bahamas has certainly changed my perspective on any preconceived notions. Expectations are futile.
I’ve been lucky enough to be hanging out with Prescott Smith at his Stafford Creek Lodge on Andros Island for the past month. Prescott was literally born into Bahamian fly-fishing culture. His Dad is Crazy Charlie, the legend who invented the fly that changed saltwater fly-fishing forever.
Prescott is a very mellow, warm-hearted flats-drifter who believes in having a strong purpose in all he does. It’s incredibly apparent he doesn’t just own a lodge. His goals, through his lodge, are to support and empower his burgeoning, young country (40 years in July!). He’s worked tirelessly for 20 years to start the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association (BFFIA) and the Bahamas Sportfishing Conservation Association—two of his babies that hope to give local Bahamians jobs and protect the natural environment that gives them those jobs.
He’s an inspiring person and an even better fisherman—he throws a lot of what I learned about fly-fishing out the window. For example, traditional casting technique loads and unloads the rod constantly, whereas his technique keeps the line loaded all the time. He can also cast into the wind like no one else. He shows this off by standing on the bow, cranking the boat up to 40mph, and casting directly out front. It’s pretty amazing.
The flats here are incredible. This place invented color. The blues, greens, yellows are hues I’ve never even dreamed of. Plus, The Bahamas has the largest bonefish flats in the world. I’m a newbie to this saltwater game but I will NEVER look at trout fishing the same again. I love the visual connection required to catch a fish; none of this blind-casting where fish MIGHT be. We’ve been running daily to huge, endless flats that are brimming with bonefish, and we’ve done well. Screaming reels to the backing are a common occurrence here. I think I’m in love.
In about a week I head to Iceland. I probably couldn’t have picked a more contrasting place from The Bahamas. I have NO idea what it will be like but my sense of adventure is pulling me there. It’s simple, though: heed the call and things will be incredible.