2004 One Fly Event History
Bonehead Conspiracy Takes Team Title
By Sepp Jannotta
Ask Dave Robinson how he fared at the 2004 Jackson Hole One-Fly and he’ll flash you a wide grin before telling you a beautiful fish tale.
Of course he’ll tell you about earning a team title with the other anglers of The Bonehead Conspiracy, about taking third place in the individual amateur competition, about soaking up two fantastic Wyoming fall days while raising money for stream conservation, and about winning a raffled drift boat worth $8,000.
You might also hear about his whopping first-day point total that had him leading comfortably going into Sunday and seemingly a lock for the individual title.
A tree ate Robinson’s fly. Or did Guide Jason Sutton’s enormous, Afro-style hairdo swallow it? Maybe it was the Devil that took it.
“What can I say after scoring a 666 on the first day, and then I go out and put my fly 50 feet up in a tree at 9:10 [a.m.] on the second day,” Robinson said after Sunday’s awards ceremony. “But honestly I’d rather tell people that it ended up lost somewhere in Jason’s hair.”
Whichever of Robinson’s conspiracy theories you believe, because One Fly anglers are limited to a single fly during each day of the contest, the loss of Robinson’s “Jimmy G” deer hair special opened the door for Allan Wolfe.
Fishing a Rollins stonefly pattern, Wolfe won the amateur title with a two-day score of 710 points, while John Kelleher took second, amassing 674 points over the two days.
Sutton had Wolfe in his boat Saturday, when he said he watched in amazement as the Georgia resident took advantage of a productive day and hooked practically every big fish that gave his fly a look.
“The conditions were great and he just had a good day,” Sutton said. “The big fish ate his fly and loved it. … And he never came close to making the same mistake that Dave made.”
To earn his third-place finish, Robinson finished with 668, buoyed by the two-point “dink” he caught just minutes into fishing time on Sunday. Anglers earn points on a scale according to fish length, with fish under 12 inches earning the minimum of two points.
Robinson did not give in to greed or despair, despite Sunday’s unfortunate turn of events. Though Sutton, like most One Fly guides, was ready to make an extraordinary effort to rescue the fly, Robinson would not allow his guide to climb up to the precarious snag in hopes of keeping his title bid alive. Instead he tied on another fly and proceeded to catch a host of fat and healthy Snake River cutthroats, just for the fun of it.
“It’s just a damn fly, it’s certainly not worth dying for,” said Robinson, who has fished all 19 years of the One Fly competition and won an individual title in 1998. “It’s not about the individual deal, it’s about picking the best team members.”
Joining Robinson in victory on The Bonehead Conspiracy were Jimmy Gabettas, Mike Lawson and Larry Bashford. The team finished with 1,731 total points.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Drifters – Mark Rockefeller, David Perkins, Stephen Peet and Nancy McKinnon – scored a second-place finish in the team standings with a total of 1,527.
The Boys – Stan Chatham, Jim Fisher, Peter Moyer and Bud Chatham – took third, finishing with 1,473 combined points.
Joe Palmer caught the largest fish, reeling in a 21-inch cutthroat on a Chernobyl Ant. Doug Easter won the individual pro category with a combined total of 594 points. Oolie Piram earned the top Idaho guide honors, shepherding his clients to a combined total of 964 points on the South Fork of the Snake.
Veterans of the One Fly contest will tell you that success requires a good measure of the following ingredients: fly selection, location, skillful casting and knot-tying, dogged determination and good old-fashioned luck.
Those key factors converged for veteran guide Boots Allen, who drew Robinson on Saturday and Easter on Sunday and cruised to a top Wyoming guide total of 1,557 points.
Easter gave Allen an early challenge, however, when he snagged just 30 minutes into fishing time, before he had caught a single fish. The rescue required some careful maneuvering along a tricky bank, but Allen said after a little teamwork Easter’s Bareback Rider came free.
For Allen, a third generation Jackson Hole outfitter, the top guide honor was a first in his five years of guiding the One Fly.
“I’ve come close a few times,” he said. “But this was that perfect combination of talented casters and great conditions. It’s awesome. It’s huge.”
And for his part Robinson was eager to credit both Allen and the rest of the guides for the success of the One Fly.
“I feel like we won the high school prom deal,” he said.
That and a brand new drift boat.
The origin of the Jimmy Z came during the original One Fly in 1986. Dave Robinson and Jimmy Gabettas decided to combine the calf tail wing and chartreuse body of Reynolds Pomeroy’s winning 1986 Lime Trude with the deer hair head of a Muddler Minnow, which was also a high scoring fly. A few years later they borrowed the silhouette and rubber legs from the Turck Tarantula, giving the fly its current form. The name came from the combination of Jimmy Gabettas first name and Dave Robinson’s fishing style similar to Zorro’s blade.