The FR&R Angling Expedition Sweepstakes
The FR&R Angling Expedition Sweepstakes
Win the Ultimate Fly-Fishing Vehicle... and drive it to your choice of three incomparable angling adventures!
- By: Paul Guernsey
A brand-new Ford Expedition, fully customized for fly-fishing, is only part of the Grand Prize FR&R will be giving away in the Angling Expedition Sweepstakes. The winner and a companion will also get to drive The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Vehicle to his or her choice of three deluxe lodge-based fishing trips that will include all meals-unbelievable meals!-as well as at least six days of guided fly-fishing. During my nine years with FR&R I've been to a lot of top-notch fishing lodges, and it wasn't easy choosing the three of them-well, four, actually, since Dream Trip #3 will be divided between two terrific places-that I thought would be the most enjoyable for our Sweepstakes winner.As I thought about my experiences at all the lodges I'd visited, however, one very special trip kept bringing a smile to my face. Before long, we were on the phone to David Bishop, owner of Quebec's Dunkillie Lodge, a superb Atlantic salmon operation on the Gaspe Peninsula. I was delighted when David readily agreed to participate in the Sweepstakes. It was on Labor Day, 2000, while fishing out of Dunkillie Lodge, that I landed the finest fish of my life-a 46-pound female Atlantic from the Grand Cascapedia River. This fish jumped three times and took me almost an hour to land. What made my Dunkillie experience even more special was that this was my first experience at Atlantic salmon angling! Despite my inexperience, not only did David's excellent guides, Lee Foran and Perry Coull, teach me everything I need to know from a technical standpoint, but they also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the Gaspe's salmon-fishing history and traditions. And most importantly, when I finally hooked that fish-of-a-lifetime, they coached me and kept me calm. Without them, I never would have landed that salmon. My big fish was such an amazing catch that these days, when I'm telling people about her, (and I do love to tell people! ) I often neglect to mention the 34-pound male that I landed earlier in the day-or the other male, which Lee and Perry estimated at about 40-pounds, that made a spectacularly high jump before spitting out my fly. At the end of the day, the guides told me, "Paul, you had over 100 pounds of salmon on your line today." Of course I admit that I owe all of the above to a terrific stroke of beginners luck; not only was I at the right place at the right time with the right guides, but it seems as though the fishing gods decided to have some fun with me that day. (Usually, their fun takes quite a different form, but that's another story…) Luck or no luck, however, the Grand Cascapedia is one of the most dependable "big-fish" rivers in Canada-or in the world, for that matter. It's one of a small handful of destinations for hard-bitten salmon anglers who want a shot at capturing the Holy Grail: An Atlantic salmon over 40 pounds. And if the Grand Cascapedia isn't producing on a particular day, or if her main pools are all spoken for, there are many other famous rivers that David Bishop and his guides can put you on. The list includes the Petite Cascapedia as well as the Madeleine and Bonaventure rivers. There are also some giant book trout in the Gaspe rivers, in case you want to take a break from salmon fishing… Dunkillie Lodge itself is extremely comfortable; there seems to be a warm glow to everything in the place, including the staff. The food, from entres to desserts, rates five stars on the FR&R scale, as does the well-stocked bar. Since my visit, David has opened Salmon Lodge, (ck) another Gaspe facility that extends the fishing opportunities of his guests. Heading for Gaspe from most places in the US, our Sweepstakes winner would most likely drive the Ultimate Fly Fishing Vehicle to northern Maine via I-95. It's a beautiful trip any time of the year-but especially in the late summer or early autumn, which is when the largest fish tend to be taken from the Gaspe rivers. (Early summer is when you get the most fish.) From the northern terminus of 95 in Houlton, Maine, the Angling Expedition and its passengers would follow Route 1 to the Canadian border, before taking New Brunswick's Route 17 to Campbellton and the bridge that crosses Chaleur Bay to Gaspe. From there, Route 132 will lead the Ultimate Fly Fishing Vehicle and its new owner to the turnoff for the town of Grand Cascapedia and Dunkillie Lodge. A winner from some locations, however, might prefer to travel to Grand Cascapedia via the Trans-Canada Highway. In any case, a stop in Grand Cascapedia itself, to visit the river museum at Cascapedia Society headquarters, with its rich exhibits of Gaspe salmon-fishing history, is an absolute must. If you'd like some further information on Dunkillie Lodge and Gaspe salmon-or brook trout-angling contact David Bishop at .418-392-6768; www.gaspesalmon.com. For information on Angling Expedition Sweepstakes Dream Trips #2 and #3, be sure to see our March issue! (Trev, could do this in pull-quote style.) Our Grand Prize: Fly Rod&Reel's Angling Expedition: The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Vehicle The 2003 Expedition that Ford Motor Company gave us, before we added any of the custom fly-fishing touches, was pretty spectacular to begin with. Of course, it comes with a Control Trac 4X4 system; it's also got a big 5.4-liter overhead-cam engine; a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission; four-wheel disk brakes with ABS; power brakes and steering; and air conditioning with front and rear temperature control. Some of its other many features include a Securilock anti-theft system; fog lamps; leather captain's chairs in front; a third-row bench seat; adjustable tilt steering and a door-mounted keyless entry keypad (which ought to bring peace of mind to any angler who's ever misplaced their keys at a remote river or lake.) Ford tells us the vehicle is also the safety leader in its class, with the largest brakes, largest rear axle and highest towing capacity (for those of us who like to pull boats around.) Other Expedition Firsts: It's got the largest cargo volume as measured without removing the seats (110 cubic feet); the most first-, second and third-row hip room; the most second-and third-row leg room; the most rear cargo width at the wheelhouses, the largest front center console, and the highest base and maximum payload. Anglers who like to fish with all their fishing buddies-and maybe a relative or two as well-will appreciate the fact that the Angling Expedition can carry eight people! To all the above, Cabela's, official outfitter of the FR&R Angling Expedtion (www.cabelas.com), added a tough-but-gorgeous grille guard; a Garmin V Deluxe GPS system; a full set of Husky custom-molded floor liners; seat covers, to shield the leather from wet waders; a molded wood dashboard kit; Husky mud guards; Cabela's hood shield; an Igloo Kool-Mate cooler-and a Cooler/Warmer that plugs into any 12-volt D.C. accessory outlet. The RodMounts company (www.rodmounts.com) pitched in with its deluxe Rod Loft Pro fly rod rack, and Cortland (www.cortlandline.com), Diamondback and Hardy contributed $3,000 worth of gear, including Diamondback rods, Hardy reels and Cortland fly lines. Some other, one-of-a-kind touches include a Truck Vault lockable storage unit, a couple of custom-built fly-tying tables and Advanced Graphic vinyl appliqués that dress up the rear windshield and side rear windows with exciting fly-fishing scenes. Be sure to fill out the entry forms and coupons you find in FR&R-and if you haven't already entered the contest online (you can do that one time only) be sure to visit www.flyrodreel.com now! - Second Prize is A Creek Company ODC 1220 two-man pontoon boat, available exclusively through Cabela's and valued at $999.99. In a recent review of the ODC, New Gear editor Buzz Bryson praised the craft's "Extremely sturdy rowing system," and added, "Fishing from the ODC, there was little I missed in comparison to a conventional drift boat." - Third Prize is a 7-piece Cabela's Drake Stowaway rod and reel combo (retail value $235.) in the line weight (4-10) of the winner's choice. The 40-million modulous graphite Stowaways boast nickel-silver hardware and their own handy and handsome rod-and-reel carrying case. In his 2001 review of the Stowaway rod series, FR&R New Gear editor Buzz Bryson called the Stowaways "Quite a handsome rod… Well finished and [at the price], outstanding." The Drake reel is the finest reel Cabela's offers in its Stowaway rod-and-reel combos. - Fourth Prize: Cabela's will be giving away 40 14-piece terrestrial fly assortments. The flies come complete with a medium-size foam fly box. See the FR&R Angling Expedition "In person" This Winter…Get a Look at the vehicle and visit the staff of FR&R at one of three East Coast Fly Fishing Shows: - January 10&11 in College Park, Maryland, Rockford Armory, at the University of Maryland - January 16-18 in Marlbrough, Massachusetts, at the Royal Plaza Trade Center - January 23-25 in Somerset, New Jersey, at the Garden State Exhibit Center Come by our booth and we'll give you an extra opportunity to enter the Angling Expedition Sweepstakes, even if you have already mailed in all your coupons/entry forms and entered via our Web site (www.flyrodreel.com). For more information on the 2004 Fly Fishing Shows, visit www.flyfishingshow.com, or call 800-420-7582. Paul Guernsey is FR&R's Editor-in-Chief.