Ed Blank trips? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Ed Blank trips?


Bjorn
12-28-2009, 11:55 AM
Hey, anyone have experience with Ed Blank trips for bonefish. If so, please PM me, let me know if it was a good experience. Looking at my dad and I going to Mexico or Belize some time next Fall.

Bjorn

GMflyfish
12-28-2009, 02:55 PM
Hi Bjorn,
I went to Ascension Bay with Ed Blank and company quite a few years ago. I think it was one of the first trips where we went out to an island and camped for about 5 days. As I recall we did most of the fishing from a boat, not wading. Caught some bonefish but not a lot, and I got my first tarpon on the fly - fairly small but airborne. I remember pulling in half a bonefish, with a barracuda getting the other half. Ed was along on the trip. Guides were OK, but probably not super knowledgeable. Trip went pretty well, except I got sick one day from something I ate - not connected with the camping part of the trip. I was not careful enough about food items.
I think we flew into Cancun, rented a small car and traveled south for an hour or more. Stayed overnight, then by boat for a couple hours out to the island. Enjoyable trip, reasonably well run. Decent value. But, as I said, quite some years ago - mid 90s maybe.
I also went with Ed on an Alaskan river trip - I am thinking American River, but not even sure of the name now. Again, that was some years ago. Flew in with catarafts - aluminum frame twin pontoon rowing rafts. I ended up being the oarsman for one of the boats. I think we had three boats on the trip, maybe four. Caught some nice rainbows, some salmon, grayling. Saw a few grizzlies. Overall a well run trip - fishing could have been better, but it was decent. I forget what time of year, perhaps mid summer.
I don't know how many of the trips he actually accompanies now; I think he acts as a broker or arranger for various fishing destinations around the world. I think Lisa was on the Yucatan trip, maybe also on the Alaska river trip I went on.
Overall I would say he did a good job, from my limited experience.
Good luck. GMflyfish

doctorsteve
12-28-2009, 03:24 PM
You can't go wrong booking with Vince Tobia. I've been to a bunch of places with him. He doesn't charge for booking trips either. And he guides for Steelhead on the Catt. His biggest drawback is he's a lawyer, so you can't trust him.;)

Steve

Vince
12-28-2009, 04:02 PM
Here we go with the lawyer jokes!

Just so everyone here doesn't hold it against me I'll set the record straight:

I rarely practice anymore, since I made the decision over 10 years ago to become more involved with what I truly love--fishing. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. (along with marrying my wife Leslie;) )

And when I did practice law full time, most of that time was spent as a county prosecutor--so I was on the good side putting criminals away.

by the way Dr.Steve, how could anyone who enjoys pulling teeth be trusted?:chuckle:

Bjorn
12-28-2009, 04:03 PM
Thanks for the advice/feedback.

I'm looking at trips offered by Vince too. Between the two, I'd say.

titleguy
12-29-2009, 10:20 AM
Ill second Dr. Steve on the trip with Vince... One of the great adventures of my life ( and that includes a complete DIY month in AK). Everything was great, including the price.:D

LeeG
12-29-2009, 12:49 PM
HI Bjorn,
I looked at his website and was a bit confused. It seems like he does the planning and logostics on some trips and on others he just sets you up with the lodge and simply acts like a booking agent. You certainly don't need his help booking a lodge. By reptation, I would definintely look at either of those guys if they were actually leading the trip.

I fished out on Glover's Reef for a week and had a great time catching a lot of small bonefish plus some nice spanish mackeral, grouper and cudas. I believe Manta Resort isn't open anymore but there are some other alternatives out there as well. Belize is neat place; I think you'll like it a lot.

Lee

Bjorn
12-29-2009, 03:35 PM
He'll actually be at El Pescador for a few months next year. Otherwise, I think you are right... it looks like he puts the packages together, sometimes at a lodge, sometimes just at a hotel, lines up the guides... kind of makes an inpromptu lodge... that's my impression anyway. I'm trying to find a place where my dad will have shots at some schoolies without having to put a 70' cast into a 20 knot wind. Looking for lots of smaller fish.

B-

Vince
12-29-2009, 05:37 PM
LeeG is right about being able to book with a lodge directly. Many people/agencies, including myself, act as booking agents for lodges.

Booking direct with the lodge is allowed and sometimes done by anglers, but there are distinct advantages of booking your trip thru a booking agent, especially one who has direct knowledge of the destination they represent.

first of all, with 99% of all reputable lodges it does not cost any more to book the same trip thru your booking agent. The lodges rely on booking agents for the vast majority of their business, and they will not undercut their agents prices for direct bookings, as it would eventually get back to the agents and they would be hurt with less business sent their way.

Secondly, your booking agent should give you the real dirt on any destination, which includes when to go, species available, realistic expectations, etc. . . Believe me there are many lodges that overstate certain aspects of their operation. Many overstate the average size of the fish, or state that a certain species is available, when in fact the odds of getting that species are slim (though there may be a few around) They can give you the real info on bugs, length of boat rides to the flats, food quality, which guides are best, etc. . Not that most lodges would not give you the straight info, but always better to have two opinions.

Third, the agent can usually also assist you better with any travel related questions or issues that arise, whereas most lodges have no idea about some of these things.

Fourth, fly selection and tackle questions are often better answered by the agents. Some agents, myself included, will even lend you an extra rod for your trip should you need it just in case yours breaks.

5th, if you send your $ to a foreign country to pay for your trip and have issues, good luck. Sending $ to an American agent should make you rest easier, especially one with a good reputation.

Of course, you can have the best of both worlds--book thru the agent, glean his helpful perspective and information, and then call the lodge for additional info. If they know you are coming they will be more than happy to answer questions.

It's a win-win situation for the lodge, agent and the angler, who has not paid any additional $ for his trip.

And of course hosted trips are even better, since someone associated with the agency is going on the trip with you. When myself or one of my associates joins anglers on a trip, we are available to help with any tackle questions or problems that arise at the destination, as well as offering any guidance or advice on fishing techniques. We will have extra gear available for use, at no charge, in the event of equipment failure or breakage. If you break your only rod, no problem--we have extras. We also have extra leaders, tippet and flies available at each location, as many lodges do not have any tackle available.

We are basically there to make sure everything runs smoothly. I have worn many hats at certain destinations, from helping the guides actually guide when there are two novices in the boat, carrying the coolers to the boats in the am to get an extra early start, catching conch & snapper so we could have fresh fish and conch salad for dinner, and poling the boat while our guide uses his cast net to catch chum. I also often handle the barracudas for photos, while the guide steadies the boat!

LeeG
01-04-2010, 09:03 AM
Vince-just to be clear, I wasn't saying someone shouldn't book through an agent necessarily, just that I thought the real "value added" came from having the person lead the trip.

Speaking for myself, I've fished Eleuthera on my own for a day or two and if I were going back I would want to book a time when you were leading a trip. Even if it's not a true guided trip having someone spend the time to learn the lay of the land saves a LOT of valuable time and when you're only on vacation for a few days that's huge!

Lee

doctorsteve
01-08-2010, 10:18 AM
LeeG is right about being able to book with a lodge directly. Many people/agencies, including myself, act as booking agents for lodges.

Booking direct with the lodge is allowed and sometimes done by anglers, but there are distinct advantages of booking your trip thru a booking agent, especially one who has direct knowledge of the destination they represent.

first of all, with 99% of all reputable lodges it does not cost any more to book the same trip thru your booking agent. The lodges rely on booking agents for the vast majority of their business, and they will not undercut their agents prices for direct bookings, as it would eventually get back to the agents and they would be hurt with less business sent their way.

Secondly, your booking agent should give you the real dirt on any destination, which includes when to go, species available, realistic expectations, etc. . . Believe me there are many lodges that overstate certain aspects of their operation. Many overstate the average size of the fish, or state that a certain species is available, when in fact the odds of getting that species are slim (though there may be a few around) They can give you the real info on bugs, length of boat rides to the flats, food quality, which guides are best, etc. . Not that most lodges would not give you the straight info, but always better to have two opinions.

Third, the agent can usually also assist you better with any travel related questions or issues that arise, whereas most lodges have no idea about some of these things.

Fourth, fly selection and tackle questions are often better answered by the agents. Some agents, myself included, will even lend you an extra rod for your trip should you need it just in case yours breaks.

5th, if you send your $ to a foreign country to pay for your trip and have issues, good luck. Sending $ to an American agent should make you rest easier, especially one with a good reputation.

Of course, you can have the best of both worlds--book thru the agent, glean his helpful perspective and information, and then call the lodge for additional info. If they know you are coming they will be more than happy to answer questions.

It's a win-win situation for the lodge, agent and the angler, who has not paid any additional $ for his trip.

And of course hosted trips are even better, since someone associated with the agency is going on the trip with you. When myself or one of my associates joins anglers on a trip, we are available to help with any tackle questions or problems that arise at the destination, as well as offering any guidance or advice on fishing techniques. We will have extra gear available for use, at no charge, in the event of equipment failure or breakage. If you break your only rod, no problem--we have extras. We also have extra leaders, tippet and flies available at each location, as many lodges do not have any tackle available.

We are basically there to make sure everything runs smoothly. I have worn many hats at certain destinations, from helping the guides actually guide when there are two novices in the boat, carrying the coolers to the boats in the am to get an extra early start, catching conch & snapper so we could have fresh fish and conch salad for dinner, and poling the boat while our guide uses his cast net to catch chum. I also often handle the barracudas for photos, while the guide steadies the boat!


:hihi: He even chased down my GT in the Seychelles when that bastard was trying to break me off on the rocks. I will never forget Vince running through the water around giant boulders, risking a a broken ankle just so we could get a pic. Lots of hats on that guy.