On site, the Club's Outfitter shop carries a limited supply of essential flyfishing gear as duty and shipping costs make it too costly to maintain on site as complete an inventory of gear as you might want. Working with Vaughn and his noted Black Fly Outfitters operation, we have developed merchandise especially for Bonefish Bimini, and will always have our "must have" items on site for your convenience.
The Bimini Tacklebox
Don't miss a visit to Vaughn's Bimini Tackle Shop prior to your trip. It's not to be missed. What started out as Vaughn Cochran's marine art gallery years ago has turned into one of the most unique destination fly shops in the U.S. - Black Fly Outfitters. It's on-line, with a separate Bimini Tackle Shop section to help you select the right gear in preparing for your Bonefish Bimini expedition.
His knowledgeable and friendly sales staff is also available help you sort through the many equipment options. We encourage you to visit the Bimini Tackle Shop for the best selection of technical fishing shirts by Orvis, Simms and Patagonia, Lightweight fishing pants, Black Fly hats, wading boots by Chota and Orvis and many sun protection products. Vaughn has been designing the "Angler Series" Buffs for many years and that is one sun protection you want to make sure you have. We also have the new Vaughn Cochran "Travel and Wading" belts by Croakies...... lightweight, waterproof and perfect for going through security lines at the airport...it's a composite buckle that won't set off the alarms. We also carry Simms wading packs and wading socks, Black Fly fly boxes, waterproof phone cases, Patagonia raingear, Clear Creek boat and tackle bags and many waterproof travel bags that won't leak while sitting in the bottom of the boat. We use it and recommend it!
Remember, there's a record bonefish out on those Bimini flats with your name on it. Check out our recommendations for gear - what to bring along to make sure you're equipped and prepared for the fight!
What to Bring
Our most important suggestion for what to bring on any fishing trip is a smile, patience and a sense of humor...Hey, you're going fishing. Remember, you're going to be with your fishing buddies, you're heading down island to enjoy great Bahamian food, cold adult beverages, and get away from the phones....Smile, you're on Vacation!!!
Now to packing. Just about every fly fishing trip requires one common element....travel as light as possible but bring everything you need! One suggestion is to lay out on your bed everything you want to take, push the tackle to the side (it's exempt), then only pack half of what's left!
40lbs of gear seems to be the magic number of pounds that most small airlines will allow you to bring on board. They also suggest that you use soft sided luggage as hard shell bags don't fit into the irregular shaped luggage compartments of some of the smaller planes. A couple of travel tips to keep in mind:
- Make your carry-on your boat bag. Smaller is better! If it's waterproof, it's even better.
- A small dry bag is a wonderful thing.
- Never forget you rain-gear! Buy good stuff, it's worth every penny.
- You don't need a lot of clothes. Wash and wear everyday.
- Bring zip lock bags to keep passport, phone and wallet dry and one good garbage bag to get your wet clothes home.
- DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT....we suggest taking a photo of your passport with your phone as a back up.
Bring an 8wt or 9wt for Bonefish, a 10wt for Permit, Sharks and Barracuda and a 10 or 12 wt. for Tarpon or Billfish. Although some anglers still believe that catching a fish on the lightest possible equipment is "macho", it is very detrimental to the fish. We recommend 8 or 9wt. rods because Bimini bonefish can be large plus generally the wind will be a factor on most days. Using a 6 or 7wt. rod will not allow you to control the fish and get him to the boat quickly therefore tiring the fish to the point of exhaustion. These released fish usually do not escape the sharks and barracudas that patrol the flats. Additionally, lighter rods do not perform well on windy days.
If you want to spend your money on anything related to your bonefishing trip, a good reel is the place to start. Make sure you have a good saltwater direct drive reel with a cork or disc drag. Your reel should be capable of carrying 150 to 200 yards of 20lb backing. On a good reel the drag is everything and the quality of the drag is what makes one reel better than another one. Silky smooth is what you're looking for with no jerky movements or erratic stops and starts. A fully adjustable, smooth drag is paramount to success in bonefishing!
Traditionally, floating lines are used in bonefishing and it's a good thing to clean it well before you come. If your line is old (your floating line doesn't float anymore) and has lost it's flexibility or is cracked, buy a new one! It's a relatively cheap improvement that has a major impact on how well you will be able to cast and therefore how many fish you catch. At this time, we do not stock any fly lines in Bimini so we advise that you bring extra flylines as backup.
You may be the type to tie your own leaders, but we prefer using tapered fluorocarbon leaders from Umpqua or Scientific Anglers. The secret is to bring several spools of tippet varying in size from 20lb to 10lb. When your fluorocarbon leader gets short from constantly retying on flies you simply add a piece of tippet to restore the leader to it's original length. If you have calm conditions and you need a longer leader you can change out to a 10 or 12 foot leader, or simply add the desired length to your 9 foot leader.
If you're changing you tippet from barracuda to bonefish, simply cut one off and re-tie on the other, still using the same base fluorocarbon leader. For permit we suggest the Umpqua 16lb Flats leader in 9 or 10 foot lengths. This leader is hand tied with a flourocarbon tippet. For tarpon we suggest the Umpqua standard tarpon leader with 60lb shock tippet or, for the smaller fish, use the Umpqua Backcountry 9 foot Leader with a 40lb shock tippet.
For bonefish we suggest a fluorocarbon 9 to 12 foot leader, 10 and 12lb test.
Sailfish and Marlin Flies
Our Bimini Tackle Shop offers big game sailfish and marlin flies from Saltwaterflytiers.com, Umpqua, Rainey's Flies and the Cam Sigler company. Although we have many tested and proven flies for sailfish and marlin, Cam Sigler is quite frankly, the name in offshore and bluewater fly fishing. Cam Sigler Saltwater Specialties make the best feather tube flies you will find anywhere. Cam's unique tube popper head is arguably the best ever designed and no matter the species, sailfish, marlin, dolphin, wahoo, tuna, you name it, these flies will get you hooked up. Developed over years of bluewater fly fishing, these beautifully tied sailfish and marlin flies are the standard by which all others are compared. Black Fly Outfitter will custom rig single or double hook arrangements, or any combination or variation you would like. Please give us as much advance notice as possible for custom orders.
You've heard a lot about fly fishing in Bimini, but Bonefish Bimini is not a fly only bonefishing destination. For the spin fisherman we recommend longer ( 7'-6" to 8'-6') rather than shorter spin rods in the 10 to 12lb class. The longer rods will throw the lighter bonefish jigs and pieces of conch much further than a shorter rod. You reel should have a line capacity of at least 150 yards or more. We recommend our Black Fly Millie's Classic or Millie's Grizzly Minnow Bonefish Jig Kit.
Vaughn's Fly Box
Our Bimini Tackle Shop sells three different sizes of fly kits for Bimini - the 3 day fly kit for $145.95, the one day fly kit for $60.95 and the 1/2 day kit for 38.95. We vary the flies in the kit depending on the time of year and reports from the guides or returning anglers.
A Florida native, Cochran grew up in the art community of St. Augustine and earned art degrees in ceramics and painting at the internationally known and respected Art and Printmaking Department of the University of South Florida.
Not content with the life of a starving artist, Vaughn moved to Key West in search of a life on the water, dedicated to perfecting his fishing hobby and hoping to avoid adding the title of starving fishing guide to his resume. As luck would have it, skill and good fortune intervened. Playing bass guitar with Jimmy Buffet by night and by day, hunting big bonefish, tarpon and permit across the Lower Keys, Vaughn quickly became one of the most respected and successful fly fishing guides in the Florida Keys.
With money in his pocket and a wanderlust for flats over the horizon, Vaughn moved "down island", coming to managed some of the legendary fishing lodges of the Caribbean and Central America, including Parismina Tarpon Rancho in Costa Rica and Turneffe Island Lodge in Belize. Along the way, he nurtured his early artistic calling, and today his works have been displayed in a one man exhibition held at IGFA's main gallery, and are held in numerous private and corporate collections.
With his quick wit and entertaining laid back style, Cochran is a frequent host and guest of various fly-fishing TV shows including the popular "Spanish Fly" with fishing pal, Jose Wejebe. When he's not presiding over his popular and ever expanding retail business, Black Fly Outfitters, or hold up in his studio painting his newest tribute to the beauty of the backcountry, you'll find him and his flyfishing wife Jean, managing their newest project - Black Fly Bonefish Club, on Great Abaco island in the Bahamas. The Big Bones of the Bahamas are just too alluring for Vaughn to keep him at home, which he currently makes in St. Augustine.
To discuss your travel needs and the fishing opportunities offered by Bonefish Bimini, please call us direct at: 800-867-4764 or for your bonefishing questions or reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Bonefish Bimini Packages
The Bimini Big Game Club, is all about creating top-of-class sporting experiences. Vaughn Cochran's Bonefish Bimini takes pride in offering traditional bonefishing packages tailored to backcountry anglers of all skill levels and interest.
We have some of the best guides in the Bahamas, with legendary experience and world records to prove it. For such a small collection of islands, there's plenty of bonefishing history, beautiful unspoiled flats and most importantly, an abundance of big fish in the waters around our three little islands called "Bimini" - and that includes Permit too!
We have kept our angling pressure low to insure a quality experience ....and don't forget, Bimini holds four World Record bonefish catches, and none is under 12 pounds!
Rates start at 3 nights and 2 days fishing for only $1700.00, up to a week of hardcore all day long bonefishing. To check availability call reservations at 1-800-867-4764 or email@example.com or click here