Every fall I think about taking a wintertime trip to get away
from the cold and snow here in Iowa. For the past few years I
have headed to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. They were fun
trips, but too many people. This year a new twist was added. JC
and Ladyfisher came up with the idea of having a Bonefish party in the
Bahamas. Now I'm not one to turn down a good party, especially when
fishing is involved.
For the last three years my barber, Nolan Collins, put together a Canadian
fishing trip usually for the months of June or July. I had to make a choice of
the bone fish trip in February or waiting until the summer. I decided
Deep Water Cay Club would be the place to try something different.
Saltwater at it's best!
With the plane tickets bought and the deposit paid, off I flew to
Ft.Lauderdale, Florida. Sunday evening I met Jim and Deanna for
the first time (JC and Ladyfisher). It was great! It was like we
had known each other for years. We were to fly out to the Club
the next day. The weather was somewhat of a concern, a big
storm was coming across the Gulf of Mexico and would be in the
area Monday. Not knowing what kind of aircraft the charter
service used left me guessing whether we would be able to
leave at all. And I was ready to go!
I've spent a lot of time in small aircraft (including jumping
out of them — on purpose) and the flight from the mainland to
Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, was pretty smooth
considering the fierce wind; darn good pilot. I've been on worse
rides in clear weather. We went through customs with no
problems, and landed at Deep Water Cay Club about 2:00 p.m.
Allison and Paul Adams, the managers, were there to meet us
at the landing strip. They had one of the electric golf carts to
haul our luggage and selves to the big lodge. We rode to our
cottages, unloaded our gear, and it was off to check out the
accommodations and settle in for the evening.
JC was kind enough to bring along a new STH 'turbine-drag'
fly reel and a nine-foot, six weight G. Loomis rod for me. (You
can rent the gear at the lodge if you don't want the hassle of
bringing your own. Their equipment is good stuff and well
maintained.) The next step was a casting lesson from the
teacher himself . . . J. Castwell. A very good teacher and he
makes it easy for the new guy. The only thing I couldn't quite
get was the double haul that first afternoon. He did switch me
from right, to left-handed casting, which was a big help.
The weather was tough — rain and high winds. I was not comfortable
using the flyrod, so the first few times out I rented a spinning outfit instead.
I was lucky enough to get Walter as my guide. Walter has been guiding for
ten years at the Lodge. If he couldn't see the fish they were not there.
We hit the water Tuesday morning about nine to see what the flats were
like. With the wind blowing and the rain stirring up the flats we didn't spend
much time out on the water. I decided to give the dock a try, at least I had a
line in the water. Snapper and other different types of fish were there. All
of them with teeth.
Wednesday, after a good breakfast, we gave it another try.
Sight fishing is a different critter for me. Having the guide
tell me where to cast and how far to cast was a new concept.
Walter was kind and patient; I got one good cast in that day.
The weather was again so bad that I went back to the dock
and fished with Walter and Adley. Thursday was
another day with new hope of catching a bonefish. The wind had
slowed down and the flats were starting to settle. I managed a cast to
a bonefish that Walter had spotted — it ended up being a long
I finally landed my first bonefish that same afternoon. Sorry purists, I
did it with a spinning rig. The wind was still a little to tough for my fly-casting
ability, but had dropped from the 80 mph to a more reasonable 30 mph.
Walter told me where to cast and how far out. I couldn't see the darned thing.
He gave a blow-by-blow description of what the fish was doing,
and then said, "Set the hook!" I did. There was no LDR on this
fish. As on the TV, the reel screamed, I nearly did, and my
semi-old ticker went into over drive. Walter grabbed my
camera, got some shots and just laughed.
Friday we went out again; this time with flyrod in hand. I
was determined to get one of these bad boys on a fly. The fly of
choice, by doing some local research, is the pink puff. We arrived
at a nice, calm area on the flats.Walter got out the push pole
and started to look around. I will swear that he can smell them!
"Twenty-five feet, at 11 o'clock," he said. I made the cast but I couldn't see
any bonefish anywhere. "Strip . . . strip . . . stop," the same thing again. "Set
The Party was on! The reel screaming, "Oh boy," (that was me.)
To experience the feeling is to be there. On the first run, with most of
my 100 yards of backing gone, I hoped the drag would hold — it did fine. In my
favor, the fish stopped. To make a large story short, after a
great several minutes, he ended up in the boat. My first
fly-caught bone-fish — about six pounds.
Do I want to go back? Heck yes! I'm planning on going back.
I am going back! The service was the best, the people were
great, the accommodations were all I could want, and they got
Bonz! My suggestion ... go on a diet before getting there
because you will gain ten pounds in a heartbeat. ~ Noel Wight
March 2nd, 1998
Noel Wight's home waters are in Iowa. Visitors to our Chat Room may
recognize him as Host Noel or Coachman. By the way, Noel also has
a serious interest in food — especially smoked and barbecued — as
both a affectionado and as a professional caterer. We appreciate his
view on the 98' Bone Fish Party! ~ DLB