"Neap Tides & Bonefish"
Have you wonder why we picked the time to go on the Bonefish Party we did? It was not by chance. Besides the fact that the northwest is pretty grungy in February not to mention snow in other regions, we chose the time by phase of the moon.
Lefty Krey warned us before the last trip, "Now you have to make sure that you go on a neap tide."
I didn't have a clue what a neap tide was. (Or if maybe it was a neat tide.) So I questioned him further.
"A neap tide is after a full moon and that seven day period of a quarter moon in the middle of the extreme tides." Lefty went on to explain, "On a full moon the tide will be too high. The fish feed in the mangroves and you can't get them. Pick a time where the tide is lower."
The fourth of the moon cycles is referred to as a neap (nor nip) tide. This moon also produces minimal tide changes. Knowing Lefty had visited the Deep Water Cay Bonefish Club several times, we took his advice.
There are a couple of months each year when the Club closes. August and September heat, (plus white sand) make fishing very hot work, so they close. The guides take this opportunity to trap and catch spiny lobster which they call crawfish.
Tails from these lobsters are as big as most Maine lobster, sweet and delicious. More on the great food next time.
During the two months rest the bonefish put on some weight. October brings the fishermen back. Bahamian guides claim the big bones come into shallow water streams and spawn in October. If you are looking for records, the biggest bones are caught during March and December. The Club record is 13 ½ pounds. Wow!
That may not seem like a big fish, but just wait until you have one half that size on your rod ... then we'll talk about big fish.
Good weather may allow the guides a trip across the water to the north end of Abaco Island. Here there are miles of unfished flats where Permit hang out. Christmas winds show up in December and blow into spring. Here is one place where having experienced guides really counts. Deep Water's easy access to many island, cays and channels allows the angler to fish in almost any wind or tide.
The guides have the day planned before you get to the boat. Christmas winds travel in a clockwise direction. If the wind was from the west today, it will be from the WNW or north tomorrow. The sheltered lees have been chosen the night before.
The boats are shallow draft 16 foot fiberglass, powered by 55 hp outboards. Each boat has padded seats, plenty of leg room, and carpeted casting platform on the bow. A unique upside down "U" stainless steel stanchion gives the caster welcome support. In case of ugly weather or engine problems, each boat is outfitted with hand-held radios. All the guides confer each morning with the head guide as to where each will be guiding.
It had been years since I ran around like a bat of out hell in a small boat. Mostly when I was a kid on the Great Lakes in Michigan. I had forgotten how close to pure joy it is. Miles and time slip away.
We did have one occasion in a week, heading back to the lodge in the evening where the wind really came up and the sea was rolling. The boat and our guide were more than a match for the conditions. We never felt we were in any danger at any time.
Is it paradise? Come with us, make your own call on what is paradise.