Our first ever trip to the Carribean was on assignment to
write a fly fishing story for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters.
The publisher contacted the resort and made it official.
Under usual circumstances the resort would have 'comped'
just me, but they footed their own bill for accommodations,
food and guiding for both of us. Very gracious. Of course
they would get the benefit of the article. If you've ever
wondered about that, yes, it does pay off for the resort
big time. Our only real expense was the transportation.
A problem for those of us who live on the left coast, flying
anywhere 'back east' is darm expensive. A flight for the two
of us, not including private plane transportation to this
lodge which is on a small island ran about a grand. That
was nearly ten years ago.
We keep telling the Bahamian Tourism folks they really need
to get a flight directly from Ft. Worth, Dallas - any big
airport in Texas. It would cut a full day of flying off
the limited time most have for a holiday. In turn, the
difference of not having to fly to Florida to get to the
Bahamas would increase tourism from the west coast tremendously.
It has been in 'process' for a couple of years, but I guess
these things take time. We sure would like to see it happen.
Like everyone who makes their first trip to chase bonefish,
we read everything we could. Set the date for a neap tide
week, started gathering up clothing and flats shoes.
Dinner at the lodge was a social event, dirty fishing
pants not acceptable. More clothes. My dad used to say,
"take half the clothes and twice the money." Good advice,
especially when you must haul your luggage from the commercial
carrier to the chartered plane service (actually in another
The one thing which after many years still stands out was
the flight over to Deep Water Key in the chartered plane.
As we dropped altitude to land at the private air strip
at the lodge, the surrounding flats were lite up in amazing
colors. Varying shades of deep blue, turquoise, purple,
lavender and streaks of white coral swirled through like
a fine opal. I hadn't ever seen anything like it - including
the hundreds of photos of the flats. None really do justice
to the color.
The fishing was wonderful; we caught lots of bonz. Once our
guide spotted a large fish by itself and JC got out of the
boat and stalked it. One nice long cast, one ten pound
bonefish caught. What a neat thing to see. I caught several
bonz as well, but nothing as big as the ten pounder. In fact
the first ever bonefish I caught was small and I was absolutely
astounded at its strength and speed. There was a wake
following the fish and the sound of the line in the water
was similar to tearing a piece of fabric. Just great fun.
We had a fine time, a small cottage on the beach to ourselves, excellent
food and all the services one could ever hope for.
Over the years we made two more trips to the same place.
One trip was a disaster, JC caught one fish, the weather
was awful, and guides we had become acquainted with were
gone. Seems a dispute about pay ended badly. Some lodges
set a flat fee for guide service which they collect as part
of your bill. This particular lodge also made it very
clear the fishermen were expected to tip the guide not
less than $35. per day. As it turned out the lodge was
keeping the guide's fee for themselves and the only pay
the guides got was the 'tip.' So the Pinder family which
guided for the lodge had quit, moved to Grand Bahama Island
and were guiding for the Pelican Lodge. JC had the
pleasure of running into them when he was down there for
the International Bonefish Tournament.
All in all we've made I think six trips to the Bahamas.
We aren't wealthy people and it is a lot of money to
spend on a week or ten days.
So why do we go back?
We love bonefish. Bonefishing is absolutely addicting. We've
caught many species of fish, and unfortunately for us, bonefish
are the favorite. There just isn't any comparable game fish.
(You can certainly have your favorite too, but if you haven't
caught a nice bonefish I don't want to hear about it.)
Catching an eight-inch trout just doesn't compare.
In fact, bonefishing has spoiled us - and probably nearly ruined
our fishing for most anything else.
The saving grace is we have a Fish-In coming up in Ephrata,
Washington in early May and the fish there in Rocky Ford Creek
are lovely, big rainbows. No, they aren't as strong a
fish - but it is sight fishing with a dry fly and that counts.
If you haven't been bonefishing yet, you might keep this in mind;
it may spoil you and leave you wishing you were fishing in
Be careful what you wish for.
~ The LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!