In collaboration with Flylords, Orvis is excited to announce the most ground-breaking and exclusive fly-fishing destination event in history, to be held this summer on a little-known, remote island in The Bahamas. Featuring the biggest names in the sport, astonishing angling opportunities, luxurious accommodations, and amenities that will blow your mind, the Flyre Festival takes the possibilities offered by fly-fishing travel to a new extreme. We expect tickets to sell out faster than a Springsteen show in Jersey, so don’t wait to book your trip to paradise, where you will become the fly fisher you always dreamed you could be.
A Meeting of Minds
Like most great ideas, the concept for the Flyre Festival was hatched during a late-night drinking session. Sitting at the beachside, thatched-roof bar at Deep Water Cay, Tom Rosenbauer was sipping a dry martini—made with Battenkill Gin, of course—along with Jared Zissu of Flylords and Dan Davala of Orvis Adventures. They were bemoaning the fact that, whereas angling gear sees exciting new developments every year, there just didn’t seem to be anything new in fly-fishing travel destinations. “We need to think outside the box,” Zissu said. “What hasn’t been fished yet?”
Suddenly, a voice behind them boomed, “How about Ernest Hemingway’s private island?”
The three turned around to see a dashing older gentleman dressed to the nines—dinner jacket, white linen shirt, and silk cravat—emerge from the shadows. “Well, I’ll be damned,” Tom said under his breath, and he turned to his companions. “Gentlemen, meet my old friend Lewis Coleman.”
A legendary, yet reclusive figure in the fly-fishing world—and considered by many to be the best angler who ever lived—Coleman has been the subject of wild rumors for decades, so both Dan and Jared were speechless when confronted with the mythic figure in the flesh. Tom, on the other hand, had run into Coleman decades earlier on a lonely flat in the Seychelles, and they’d been friends ever since. (Check out Tom’s podcast with Coleman from 2014.) They shook hands warmly, and Tom asked, “What island are you talking about?”
“Few people know that Hemingway owned his own island in The Bahamas,” Coleman said, “but I acquired it from the family when they fell on hard times in the Seventies. I think it’s time to tell the world about this magical cay.”
The sun was peeking over the horizon when the foursome left the bar, and plans for the inaugural Flyre Festival had been hatched.
Go Big or Go Home
After almost a year of intense planning, the revolutionary event is scheduled for this summer–August 17 to 23, 2019–on the remote Papa’s Cay, and it will be like no other fly-fishing experience the world has ever seen. Our motto during the development process was “It’s not over unless it’s over-the-top,” and we believe that the Flyre Festival lives up to this billing.
Festival attendees will:
- Have access to unfished flats teeming with bonefish, permit, and tarpon;
- Rub elbows with an incredible list of angling celebrities;
- Receive instruction from the world’s best fly-fishing guides, who will be teaching their most innovative techniques;
- Take advantage of sporting opportunities—including exotic wingshooting—not available to the general public; and
- Enjoy a downright opulent level of luxury lodging options, meals, and entertainment.
Only 100 spots are available for this ultimate bucket-list experience, so don’t wait to book your place at Flyre Festival 2019. Read on for all the details.
While we will not be revealing the exact coordinates of Papa’s Cay—to deter party-crashers and angling paparazzi—we will say that it lies between Grand Bahama and Great Inagua and features more than 80 square miles of the most spectacular, wadable flats you’ve ever seen. The bottom is white sand, coral, and marl, which makes cruising fish stand out like Tom Rosenbauer at an American Girl Doll party, so even novice flats anglers will have no problems spotting fish. There are also several other small cays with flats within a short boat or floatplane ride, so you need never fish within sight of another angler.
The island itself is lush, with palm trees and stunning sandy beaches. There are no permanent structures, so everything for the Flyre Festival will be transported to the island and then removed afterward, living up to Orvis’s true “pack it in, pack it out” environmentally friendly ethos.
The fishing program will be nothing short of incredible, so much so that we can guarantee every Flyre Festival attendee will achieve a saltwater Grand Slam. We have teamed up with Dr. Aaron Adams of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to create the world’s first flats-stocking program. Starting last summer, Adams and his colleague Dr. Alphonse Moreau began rearing genetically modified bonefish at a mobile hatchery set up on the island, and these fish will be released just before the festival begins. In addition, we have hired local commercial fishermen to catch large bones, permit, and tarpon from waters in a 50-mile radius and then transport them to Papa’s Cay for release. Finally, all Orvis-endorsed lodges in The Bahamas will be providing another 100 bonefish for release.
To raise the stakes, we’re flying in three specially tagged giant trevally from Alphonse Atoll, and any lucky angler who lands one of these exotic fish will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Orvis-endorsed lodge of his or her choice.
In another innovation, the folks from Flylords worked with a dock-illumination company to produce solar-powered underwater dome lights that will be installed throughout the flats, enabling nighttime sight-fishing on the flats for the first time in history. Floating bartenders will serve anglers who wish to fish during cocktail hours.
Daily fly-outs aboard our specially outfitted Lear 55 private jets on floats will give you access to thousands of more miles of flats and incredible solitude. There will also be a wide array of flats skiffs, souped-up Jet-Skis, and even Dolphin Boats to take you wherever you want to go.
Wingshooting with Porky
If you want a change of pace during the festival, you can take advantage of an amazing and unique shooting opportunity. You may have heard of the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay, which are a popular tourist attraction. We’ve discovered another population of feral pigs on a cay not far from the festival location. This island is also home to Bahama pintails and several species of doves, which make for great shotgunning.
We sent teams of wingshooting guides to the island to train the pigs to hunt these birds, making for a remarkable, one-of-a-kind shotgunning experience. When you’re jump-shooting the ducks, the guide sends a swimming pig out to put the birds up, and the porcine helpers will even retrieve downed pintails. (Although getting the duck from the pig can be a real task.) The pigs will also flush pigeons during walk-up hunts, making you feel like you’re following an ugly Springer Spaniel with a glandular problem through the brush. So, if you want to shoot with the pigs, you can shoot with the pigs.
The Guest List
For Flyre Festival 2019, we’ve assembled the most incredible list of world-class angling celebrities and instructors. You’ll learn from such revered guides as Pete Kutzer, Pat Dorsey, Hilary Hutcheson, George Daniel, and April Vokey and rub shoulders at the bars or fish alongside some of the most revered names in entertainment: actors, talk-show hosts, musicians, and supermodels. (I think you can guess whom we’re talking about.) Each day, every festival attendee will get the opportunity to share a flats boat with an angling hero or celebrity, and on the poling platforms will be some of the world’s best saltwater guides—including Capt. Oliver White, Capt. David Mangum, and Darcizzle. Daily pairings will be determined by lottery to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to fish with Tom Rosenbauer, Hilary Hutcheson, or even the great Lewis Coleman(!).
We also have a special treat, something that would be impossible without the latest visual technology. One evening, festival-goers will gather on the beach to watch a mixed-reality hologram of Joe Brooks teach the secrets of saltwater fly casting.
In addition to daily fishing excursions, there will be high-level instructional sessions where you can learn the most cutting-edge fly-fishing techniques from modern masters. Here is just a sample of some of the incredible learning opportunities Flyre Festival attendees can take advantage of:
- George Daniel on Euro-Nymphing for permit
- April Vokey on Spey-Casting for barracudas
- Conway Bowman on Fly Patterns for whale sharks
- Jenny Mayrell-Woodruff on Tenkara tarpon
- Oliver White on tropical beard maintenance
- Pete Kutzer on the Triple Haul Cast for distance, accuracy, and style
When you’re not fishing, learning to become a better angler, or relaxing in your luxury accommodations (see below), you’ll be treated to nightly performances by a dazzling array of world-class angling musicians on the festival’s main stage. This gives you the chance to, say, spend the day casting on the flats with a legendary guitar player, and then listen to him tear through his hits that evening. Each night will feature musicians and bands in ascending order of popularity, culminating in the granddaddy of them all: an all-star jam that will surely send you heading home wanting more.
Lodging and Meals
If you’re sold on all the incredible angling aspects of Flyre Festival 2019, wait until you see the room-and-board options. Choose the one that fits your needs or satisfies your wildest desires. But don’t wait too long because we expect to sell out within the first 24 hours. Reservations open at 9 a.m. EDT today. All prices are for seven nights, per person, double occupancy.
First-Class Beach Yurt (60 guests)
Each of these remarkable temporary structures offers all the creature comforts of a fine-hotel penthouse, including two queen-size beds, full bath, flat-screen TV, and well-stocked mini bar. You’ll feel as if you’re on Park Avenue, rather than on a remote island far from civilization. Enjoy your meals in the common dining area or at one of the pop-up food stands that will appear throughout the event.
Houseboat (20 guests)
Prefer to be rocked to sleep by the gentle motion of the Caribbean? Then book a room on one of our lavishly appointed houseboats. Cabins are equipped with queen-size beds, full baths with whirlpool bathtub and two-person sauna, and a magnificent sitting area with leather seating and a full home theater. Meals prepared by an on-board, Cordon Bleu-trained chef, who is on call 24/7 to fulfill your every gastronomical desire.
Luxury Yacht (12 guests)
Prefer to relax away from the crowd? Want to spend time with a fly-fishing celebrity? Our two luxury yachts offer the chance for one-on-one time with Tom Rosenbauer (aboard the Throatwarbler Mangrove) or the man behind Flylords, Jared Zissu (aboard the MadamX). The state rooms are downright sybaritic, and you’ll be pampered by a doting staff. Meals will be cooked by celebrity chefs Monica Geller and Artie Bucco, who will alternate days, giving those on both yachts the chance to sample their innovative and delectable creations.
Shoot clays from the deck, hit balls on the front-deck putting green, swim in an on-board pool, and enjoy private performances from local Bahamian musicians each evening.
Superyacht (8 guests)
Our most luxurious option is Lewis Coleman’s personal mother ship, the The Dinghy. The 195-foot vessel features five-room suites, a formal dining room, an indoor-outdoor pool, a movie theater, full teak bar, and Mr. Coleman’s private aikido dojo. Each pair of guests will stay in a six-room suite with a full-time concierge satisfying every whim. Mr. Coleman will be available for drinks and dinner each evening–stunning meals will be crafted by chef Eduardo Garcia from the day’s catch–and guests are encouraged to join him on his dawn 5-mile swim each day.
The select few anglers who are lucky enough to attend this inaugural Flyre Festival will enjoy bragging rights for the rest of their lives, so do not miss this opportunity! If you want to bask in the tropical sun, enjoy the world’s best flats fishing, and spend time with the world’s most famous fly fishers, then click the link below to book your spot on the ultimate Bucket List experience!
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