Our recent trip to South Andros had some
wonderful times, and (well other than not
fishing for 2 days because our bag was missing)
some frustration which turned into an interesting
opportunity to learn something else.
The next to last day was very windy, Uncle Don's guide,
Herman Bain, is based on North Andros and the trip across
the byte is about a mile. Herman, who is an excellent
seaman, started across and turned back. None of us fished
that day. We could have fished from the dock, but really,
it just wasn't fly rod weather.
The next day was our last day to fish, we were leaving early the
following morning. So even though we knew it wasn't going
to be easy, the decision was to fish. The wind was still
blowing, but down to about 35 mph, and we all thought if
we stayed on the south side we wouldn't be in much danger,
and might even see a fish.
Uncle Don had mentioned on another day he got frustrated
and was just blind casting toward mangrove roots or any
structure. He connected with a couple of mangrove
snappers (good eating) and had fun with them. In fact,
his guide even dug one out of a coral cave when it hid
upon seeing a large barracuda.
Our guide, Gary Francis, did know of some inside
channels where we could get out of the wind and
where the bottom wasn't riled. We saw some VERY
big bonefish but missed shots at them. Eventually
we came out on the flat itself, and the bottom was
riled so visibility was quite limited.
So my husband, JC, discussed our options with our
guide Gary. When JC had the opportunity he was blind
casting ahead of us. We had no idea of what might
take the fly. I must say that was interesting in
itself - the variety of fish there is a big difference
from what we have available up here in cold water.
In the many times we have been bonefishing, occasionally
under poor conditions, no guide ever suggested standing
on the deck and casting to see what the gods might offer.
We were caught in a couple of squalls, got drenched
(it was warm, we dried fast) and at one point it was
rough enough that JC stood in the boat casting instead
of on the deck.
We did catch a couple of bonefish that day, regardless
of the poor conditions - and JC caught a barracuda,
lost a mangrove snapper, and had a needlefish bite
off his fly. Eventually we were both just tired out
and told our guide to head for the dock. Not a perfect
ending, but we didn't get skunked either.
In an email, Capt. Scud Yates mentioned he hadn't heard
enough about the actual fishing on this trip, and that
for him, bonefish and tarpon were as close to pure sex
as fishing ever gets.
I've only caught one tarpon, and that was many years ago.
The parts I remember was the take and the initial run.
I had never seen anything like it and was in absolute awe.
I also remember the rod was far too soft to efficiently
land the fish, it was about 60 pounds, and my ex-husband
ended up bringing it in. There is a difference between
dry fly fishing and fishing for saltwater fish - but some
of the sameness certainly is in the take - and casting
to a fish you can see. However, I have to say the
speed of bonefish still amazes me. One of our friends
who has fished steelhead and bonz made the comment,
"Tied tail to tail, a bonefish will strip the scales
off a steelhead in nothing flat!" I believe that.
Is fishing in the Carribean a romantic dream? For
many I'm sure - and there is certainly something to
be said about big fish in warm water who suck up
your fly and take off for parts unknown.
I'll close this with JC's big fish story.
We're drifting across a shallow flat, wind at our backs,
about 30 mph, and JC has been blind casting ahead of us.
Long casts with the wind sailing the fly line zinging
it out. The guide says, "Big Bonefish! Twelve o'clock!"
We see it! It has JC's fly in it's mouth!
It's swimming toward us...we're drifting toward it.
(Oh yes, he had three buddies with him, about the
same size, 14 pound range.) JC is stripping line
as fast as he can...nothing happens. He keeps
stripping. The fish keeps swimming toward us. It's
dragging the fly line behind it. Strip some more.
Finally, JC puts the reel under his arm pit and is
stripping with both hands!
The fish swims directly up to the boat, spits out
the fly and continued on his way. JC never had
control of the line to set the hook. So the big
fish story is just that, a story.
We've talked about it several times since we've come
back - and there doesn't seem to have been any fix
for the situation. I remember asking old David
Pinter at Deep Water Key, what to do when a bonefish
swam directly at me instead of taking off in another
direction. He looked at me, and just laughed.
We may laugh later.
~ The LadyFisher
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