Welcome to Eye of the Guide

Part Fifty-seven


Bains and Bones
(A bonefish expedition on the tail of hurricane Lenny)

By Don Cianca (AKA Uncle Don)
Photos by the Author


Hurricane Lenny was making an assault in the Caribbean. Tickets had been purchased, bags were packed and Simon 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.

Not an atom bomb, the end of bad weather from
Lenny

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.

Uncle Don with average size Bone.

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. Jack and Don flats double

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

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.

Simon's One Man Double

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

Or
Herman Bain Phone: 1-242-368-4222

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.

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

Just Beautiful Andros Water

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