Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas in the Caribbean

When I was little, if I was not fishing on a Saturday morning, then I was watching my favorite fishing shows.  I always enjoyed watching Spanish Fly, Walkers Cay, and Hunt for Big Fish. A lot of the time these shows took place in the Bahamas, flyfishing for tailing Bonefish.  I have always wanted to be standing on the front of a flats skiff, flyrod in hand watching 5 or 6 tails slowly swimming towards me.  Last week I got my chance, I finally got the opportunity to catch a bonefish on the long rod.
While on a family cruise in the Caribbean and at one of the port calls, my mom surprised me with a 3 hour Fly fishing excursion for bonefish.  I met Captain Tony at the dock and within 15 minutes I was on the bow searching for bonefish.   It didn’t take long for Capt. Tony to say “11 o’clock there are a few”.  I made a 30ft cast right in front of the cruising fish.  A few strips and BAM! Fish on.  A blistering run with screaming drag abruptly ended when the fish ran into the mangroves and broke off.  I quickly re-rigged and was back out searching. 

A few minutes later a massive school of at least 30 fish came down the flat.  I made a long cast and almost immediately a bonefish hit my shrimp fly.  This fish took off away from the mangroves and down the flat.  I was amazed by how fast this fish could move against a strong drag.  After a good fight I worked the fish to the boat where Capt Tony grabbed the fish.  The fish was about 18in long and very healthy.  After a few quick pictures and a release, it was back to the bow looking for more.

There was a ton of life on the flat.  Blacktips, bonnetheads, and lemon sharks prowled the flats along with massive stingrays.  Another cool sight was seeing giant triggerfish finning in only a foot of water.  While I was seeing a lot of life, it appeared that the bones had vanished.  With about 30 minutes left in the trip, Capt Tony poled around a point and there they were.  Just like on TV, I saw one tail pop up, and then another, and another.  There was a group of about 6 NICE size bonefish tailing my way.  Once we got into range I laid out a good cast, and then everything went into slow motion…
                                 Strip… Strip… Pause… Strip… Strip…
                                                    BAM! FISH ON!

Immediately the fish dumped all of the flyline off the spool and half of the backing.  I could tell that this fish was substantial.  I worked the fish back to the boat where it took off again, dumping all of the flyline again.  The power in these fish is incredible.  The fish made several runs over the next few minutes, but Capt Tony did an awesome job poling us away from the mangroves and eventually it slowed down.  I fought the fish back to the boat and Capt. Tony grabbed it.  This fish was about 23in and fat.  I was excited to have a day just like the shows I used to watch.  It was everything I hoped for; seeing the tails, making the cast and feeling the power of the bonefish.     

If you are ever in the Bahamas and interested in catching these awesome fish, checkout South Abaco Adventures.  Here is there website…