Just before midnight on March 27, 2009, South African flyfishing outfitter Gerhard Laubscher and his FlyCastaway guide crew were several hours deep into an end-of-the-season bender on the island of Mahe, the principal destination for tourists in the Seychelles.
It was a Friday night in the capital city of Victoria, and the guides, having just finished their last day of a season that began in October, would party most of the night and board a plane in the morning, headed for home in Johannesburg. Meanwhile, more than 700 miles to the southwest, near a tiny speck of coral called Assumption Island, the 116-foot Indian Ocean Explorer—which Laubscher, his guides, and 11 flyfishing clients had disembarked earlier that afternoon—was being hijacked by Somali pirates. The captain, a 43-year-old Seychellois named Francis Roucou, had a gun in his face and angry men pouring in around him. He didn’t know whether he or his crew would survive the night, or ever be allowed to see their families again. Three months and many nautical miles later, he got his answer.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.