Hurricane Lenny was making an assault in the Caribbean.
Tickets had been purchased, bags were packed and
Bain booked for a six day Bonefish trip on Andros Island
in the Bahamas. Hope was building as Weather Channel
reports showed Lenny heading eastward and away from Andros.
So we left Montana and headed for an overnight stay in
Ft. Lauderdale. We had already arranged for a charter flight
to Fresh Creek (Andros Island) for the following morning.
Three of us arrived on Andros and were encouraged to find
the weather rather pleasant. Simon Bain and his cousin Herman
Bain were waiting for us as we arrived at
Tranquility Hill. Greetings were kept to a minimum as we
rushed to change clothes and get ready to fish. With three fishermen
and two boats, we flipped a coin and Jack got to fish single with
Herman Bain that first day. Dan and I headed out with Simon.
During our stay, we each fished as a single for two days and
and paired up for four days.
Once on the water we enjoyed only a very short period of relatively
calm wind and water. To the east of us, Hurricane Lenny was making
a northward turn and the relative calm changed quickly as winds picked
up and blew hard our first two days. They finally abated and the
remainder of our stay was comfortable with winds that only presented
the minimum of casting problems.
Our experience fishing with Simon and Herman as guides will always rank
very high. In fact, of our three Bonefishing trips to the Bahamas they
have been the best guides by far. Any future trip to Andros will be
planned around fishing with them again. Here are some examples of
why we three think so highly of them.
On my third day, I fished as a single with Simon, while Jack and Dan were
with Herman. Simon traveled to a location where the high tide had the Bonefish
feeding in a large shallow bay. As the tide started to drop, the Bonefish
had to exit the bay and pass within casting distance of our boat. There
was no need for Simon to pole the boat so he was invited to pick up
my other rod and join in when any moving Bones were spotted. Later,
he instructed me to cast about 40 feet, at eleven o'clock as a school of fish
approached. The fly dropped, Simon commanded me to strip and ZIPPPPP,
a Bone was on and heading toward sea. Simon cast at once and again,
ZIPPPP went his line. We had a double going. With my large arbor reel, I
managed to quickly get my fish in and back into the water. Simon yelled
"They're still coming, cast again!" Before Simon could get his fish in, I
had another hook-up and two reels were screaming in concert. Simon
said we had just achieved a two-man triple. Between the two of us, we
hooked 22 Bonefish in that spot. An annoying 5-foot shark appeared
later and made a meal of two of those fish before we could get them in.
On our way back to the lodge, we made one last stop that was less than a
mile away from the dock. Here there were several small bays ringed with
mangroves adjacent to one another. Simon poled the boat into one of
the bays and at once we saw some tailing bones far into the bay. Simon
could pole the boat no farther and the fish were out of my casting range.
So we stepped out of the boat, and like trying to sneak up on an elk with
my bow during archery season, we worked out way close enough until
Simon ordered me to cast. Two very large Bonefish (compared to the 5
to 8 pounders we were catching earlier) were tailing, and looked like
college cheerleaders excitedly waving pompoms. Unlike many other
opportunities, I didn't screw up my cast this time and laid the fly a foot
away from the nearest Bone. He took the fly at once! That Bonefish covered
every inch of the small bay, my line cutting the water and kicking up a
rooster tail, and then made a run for the mangrove rim that surrounded it.
Simon said to let him run as the feisty Bonefish got into the mangrove
roots. The Bonefish ran through the mangroves with Simon running close
behind. My reel was screaming! Simon was splashing water as he charged
behind the Bone ripping up mangrove roots to clear my line. The sight of
him flying across the bay after the fish reminded me of movies of
Alaskan Bears chasing after Salmon in shallow streams.
I caught up to Simon and the Bonefish was now running in the next bay. My
line was now free and clear and I did my best to turn the Bone and bring
him under control. Once again he headed back into the mangrove roots.
This time however, since the fish had consumed most of his strength,
Simon was able to reach into the water and pick him up. With two hands
high in the air gripping my biggest Bonefish ever, we yelled like a couple
of kids. "It's a ten pounder Uncle Don" Simon said. Before we put the
fish back Simon planted a big kiss on the nose of the Bonefish and I did
the same. It was too bad the two cameras I had along were still back on
the boat. It will be a long time before the image of the fish, as well as
Simon's pursuit of it, will disappear from my mind . . ., if ever.
Jack and Dan had been fishing a huge flat with Herman Bain that
day. Herman never stopped looking for fish. With Dan on one
side of him and Jack on the other, he managed to keep them very
busy casting at approaching schools of Bonefish all day long. When
it was my turn to fish as a single again, Jack and Dan asked to be
with Herman again so they could return to the same flat. On that
particular day, the full moon had generated the highest tide and many
larger Bonefish had come up onto the flat to feed. Herman spotted
a huge cruiser that passed between Dan and Jack. Jack was able
to get his cast off and the big guy took his #4 Gotcha. When
Jack related the story afterwards, he said there were times when the
fish was in water six inches deep and half it's body was out of the
water. As it turned out, that big Bone, which Herman estimated to
be 14 pounds, won the battle and got off before Jack could land it.
One last story to relate has to do with Simon. When we were
fishing together, Simon had hooked a Bone and reached for my
rod while he had the fish on. He said, "Let me show you what
we do in tournaments." Simon placed the rod with hooked Bonefish
between his legs and cast the second rod, placing the fly into the school
that was still nearby. Yes, he hooked a second one and had two on
at the same time! I DID get a picture this time, it's the one to the left.
If you plan on heading to Andros and want to have among the best of guides,
I strongly suggest you contact:
Simon Bain - 1-242-368-5060
Tranquility Hill Fishing Lodge is a good place to stay, but
it's not where I would take my non-fishing wife. It is strictly
a fishing camp in my opinion. If we return without out wives,
I'm sure Tranquility Hill will be our primary destination.
Herman Bain Phone: 1-242-368-4222
Jack used an 8 weight, 9 ft. St. Croix he had built. Dan used
an 8 wight 10 ft Winston (5 piece) and stubborn me, stuck with
my 7 weight Loomis (4 piece.) again, tan colored varieties of
Crazy Charlies, Gotchas and my Tan Shrimp that
Simon said he will forever call "Uncle Don's Shrimp", all
size 4, worked the best.
~ Uncle Don