Fisherman releasing caught Permit Fish back into the water

The Hunt

by Chuck Gestefield on Jul 13, 2018

What is your take? What is your mission? What is your journey? This summer I had
the unique opportunity to visit Steve Brown and his Fly Fish Guanaja’s student
program Fish For Change. As a student leader not only did this experience change
my life but draped new perspective on the true passion, drive and hunt for restoring
coastal ecosystems. Here is my story - welcome to Guanaja.

Guanaja is a place of magic, one where a man can dream of roaming dinosaurs and flying pterodactyls. The green Island had a sense of peace and could calm any rattled soul. It’s remoteness and beauty had me drawn and attentive to each breath of life and rustle of earth. Places were miracles are born and destiny delivered. Guanaja is home to the Queen of the flats (permit).

Each twist of a knot, every cast at my target, each haul of my rod, all one-step closer. Every push and pull is one step closer to that catch of a lifetime. In search of that perfect parallel where all stars align and destiny opens up. My time spent in Guanaja allowed me to embrace the hunt. Born on the water and raised in Florida my only objective has been to catch as many fish possible using all tactics available. Chum, live bait, scented baits etc. I came to Guanaja with this same mindset to catch fish but on the fly. I found that true passion and journey of a fly fisherman is to not take short cuts but to be patient, tactical and be ready to strike when opportunity arises.

Each swing of the tide, every change of the moon, schools of permit hunt their home on the flats. Eyes focused, the tide rushing at my feet, the sun beaming upon my back. A glint of light protrudes the water’s surface, as flickers of light entered my retina I became fully engaged to a wide school of tailing permit. The tip of the
cyclical fins flickered on the waters surface; as each platinum dinner plate push its
nose effortlessly into the surf. Each fish rides the energy of the waves, on the search for its morning meal. My nerves began to break, my heart raced with excitement, no fish has ever given me such a thrill to watch, to admire and to hunt.

Cast after cast I have begun to understand these fish and there habits. Each failure,
each rejection, makes the story of the fish that was caught, a special moment when
the mysterious creature is tricked by a hook and some feathers. What it is to be a fly-fisherman starts at the soul. Fish haunt men at night and drive them up early in the morning; each day is a new opportunity, an opportunity to live, to hunt and to be at peace on a mission to catch the uncatchable, to fish the creatures in life that are elusive yet attainable.

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