Long Island, Bahamas - Yah Booy!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by ibn, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    ** Warning - long post **

    I spent the last week in the Bahamas with 5 other fishermen, a couple members from this board, Hutch, Anil, and RedFive. My dad, Russ, and my sister, Sascha, also joined in the trip, not to fish, but just to soak up some rays and party with us after the sun was down.

    Most reports people breakdown their trip in a day by day style. I'd like to just share a few moments that stuck in my head.

    The first was the end of our first day of guided bonefishing. I had hooked 2 but yet to land a fish, and I'd blown 6 or 7 other shots already. I didn't feel like I was fishing very smart, and I could feel the rust, both in casting and seeing fish. Bonefish are the most skittish fish I've ever targeted. You can't seem to cast within 10 feet of them without spooking them, you have to inch along so as not to make any out of the ordinary disturbance in the water. You must keep your voice down to a whisper, and as you get closer it's necessary to crouch down low. Some even go so far as to wear blue colored shirts, and tan pants so you're camo with the sky and the sand in the flats. The point is, they're f'ing hard to catch.

    Back to the first day... The end of the day was near, we were walking the last flat we would fish that day. Our guide was walking with the other person in our group, so I was on my own trying to spot fish. I saw in the distance Hutch and his guide so I started heading their way. As I was heading towards them I saw large circle of nervous water, followed by a flash every now and then, this was a BIG school of bonefish, probably 1000+ fish, and they were all happily rooting around in the sand feeding. I gave a quick whistle and pointed to the fish, hutch saw them and we both approached from opposing ends, this time I didn't rush things, I took my time and tried to anticipate where they were moving to, making casts to the very edge of the school. I was lucky in that I was playing it safe, on my 4th or 5th cast I finally hooked up, felt the tug tug tug, strip set, WHIZZZZZZ goes the drag. I fought the fish for a couple minutes then it popped off. I was disappointed as this seemed to be the theme for the day for me, but luckily the school was still there, and still happy. By this time some of the other guys in our group had moved in closer to see what was going on. 4 of us ended up fishing to this giant school for almost an hour, I remember looking around and 3 of us were hooked up at the same time multiple times.

    The 2nd to last night there we made our way up to a flat that Anil had discovered the previous year. It's a super shallow flat, and relatively small flat, maybe 12 inches deep at the deepest point, for the most part it's 4 to 6 inches. This means the fish are moving around with their dorsals and backs out of the water. Anil and RedFive figured out that this flat gets LOADED with fish in the evening. These fish are special in that they seem to be extra spooky given how shallow the flat is, and they seem to move much much slower then normal bones. Since the flat gets so packed with fish, and one fish spooking will spook another fish, this makes it really hard as you can almost clear out the entire flat with a chain reaction of freaked out fish. It can take a while for them to settle back down. This was my first time on this flat, so Anil gave me the lowdown, he even recommended jokingly that I just sit down in the flat and wait for fish to come by. I had not fished for bones outside of fishing with a guide on this trip to date, so it was nice doing it all on my own. I had spotted several fish already, but most were moving the wrong direction so I had not made any meaningful casts yet. The sun had just set and the sky was erupting with colors from yellow to red to orange to peach, and even some violets. There were several thunderheads in opposite directions of the horizon that kept generating lightning, it was all very surreal. I saw a fish cruising right towards me at about 75 feet, I laid out a nice cast about 15 feet in front of it just off at an angle, when he got close I started stripping and I watched him turn, speed up, then eat. Tug tug, strip set, WHIZZZZZZZ. It felt good to have done the whole thing from spotting the fish, to catching and landing it entirely on my own and with such a dramatic backdrop (I'm not talking about Anil fishing naked either).

    On the last day of guided fishing, my partner was Anil. I was stoked to fish with him, as I probably fish with him more then anyone back in WA. We started out the day hitting a school of fish within an hour of fishing, I managed to hook and land 1 fish with Anil's help, my biggest bone of the trip around 4lbs or so. Shortly after that our guide spotted a school of fish tailing from what seems like miles away, I was blown away at how good he was at spotting fish. Anil and I creeped in on the school, taking nearly 30 minutes just to walk over to where they were milling around. I lucked out and had the school head towards me, I hooked a fish which caused the school to spook, somehow Anil managed to hookup with some swass casting. This was the first of 4 doubles we had that day. Feeling already satisfied with the day, our guide spotted another large school of fish, easily 500+ fish. The first thing our guide said to us "Big school of fish there boy, can have some fun with them". The school was in a flat that had only 1 exit that was somewhat difficult for them to reach. For the next 3 hours anil and I spent time hooking and releasing countless bones out of 1 single school. We would hook up or double up, then rest the school and let them get back into feeding mode, then approach again, and repeat the same process. At one point we had the heavens open up on us and dump torrential rain. However, there was no wind, the heavy rain broke up the big school of fish into 5 or 6 smaller schools of fish, it also kept them from seeing us. We both were able to basically stay in 1 spot and have schools of fish swimming and feeding as near as 5 feet away, it made for some relatively easy pickins. It was something I'll never forget.

    Though not fishing related, this was pretty funny. At some point in the trip RedFive decided we should make a pact to shave mustaches since we had to stay a night in Miami on the way home, it made perfect sense. At the end of the trip we all ended up shaving and looking like 110% badasses.

    I spent a lot of time snorkeling with Hutch, no regrets there, we saw some awesome fish, spent a ton of time in the water cooling off. We also got some killer underwater photos. Hutch got a really nice pic of a Lion Fish, and I got some good shots of a HUGE 'cuda. One spot we snorkeled was somewhat freaky, a blue hole that is 660 feet deep. You go from snorkeling in a 5 foot or so deep beach, to suddenly having the earth drop off below you, there is something eerie about swiming over the top of it.

    All in all it was a great trip, gotta thank Anil for setting everything up, if you ever get a chance to fish or travel with Anil or Clark, make sure you do it. They really do have their shit together and put together some mean trips.

    I've attached some pics, taken by me, hutch, or Anil, I know RedFive has some killer pics to, but I haven't got them from him yet.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. dsteady

    dsteady New Member

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    ibn,
    I fished Long Island 8 years ago with a guide friend from CO. We were trying to come up with a budget bonefish trip and did a pretty good job too. Although it was hotter than hell and the fish were scarce. We caught a few though. Were you there during Regatta time? Did you fish with Wilbert or Wellington? Did you pound Kalicks at Craggie Spratt's?
    Daniel
     
  3. dsteady

    dsteady New Member

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    oh, and yeah, that bule hole dive is f-r-e-a-k-y. we saw a cuda in there too.
    dn'l
     
  4. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    We had pretty good weather, lots of clouds rolling through, constant breeze, it seemed like we saw way more fish then we did the year before (2nd trip to Long Island for me). We were there during Regatta, it's quite the party. We watched a ferry come into Clarencetown full of cars, the ferry has a giant crain on it, it would lift the cars up off it's deck then plop them down, pretty fun to watch as they're pretty carefree in their work :)

    Never heard of Craggie Spratts, we stayed down near Deadmans Cay, the middle of the island, we did enjoy many, many Kaliks though!
     
  5. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    Damn Ibn, That looks like that was a sweet trip! hopefully some day I will be able to go on a trip like that. I am going to New Zealand at the end of the month for 5.5 months so I have to get in some NW fly-fishing before I go. Hit some rainbows in lakes, hit some shad and try for early steelhead in the Cowlitz. Damn that trip sounds weak compared to yours. Sounds like you had a great trip, oh yeah if you ever need another person for steelheading let me know I will be back this winter. See ya
     
  6. Manannan Mac Lir

    Manannan Mac Lir Professional enabler

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    ibn,

    Sounds like good times. I might find myself in the Bahamas next fall. Having never cast for bones, I've been reading up. Everything I've read says 8wt. What rod, reel, line etc. were you using to fool dem bones?

    MML
     
  7. espja

    espja New Member

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    Great report Ibn!
    That's just cool.
    Sounds like you guys had a blast.
    Hopefully one of these days the wife will fully appreciate what I'm missing out on and let me go with you guys.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Joe
     
  8. Ken II

    Ken II LIB

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    nice job ibn. Exciting reading.
     
  9. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    Manannan - a 7 or 8wt rod is appropriate, I was tossing a g-loomis crosscurrent GLX 7wt, with a Tibor everglades, and a rio bonefish line. I think the most important thing is to make sure you get a warmwater line, don't try and bring your floating steelhead line, it will turn to mush in the heat.
     
  10. Steve Rohrbach

    Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

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    Damn ibn, now I'm not gonna get any work done today. Thanks for sharing an awesome report. I am enjoying Jon's blog updates as well. Just one ting mon, I was terrified opening a photo titled, "Anil Big Bone."
     
  11. coonrad

    coonrad New Member

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    Yeah boy! great photos...

    I'm hoping you guys grubbed ample conch fritters?
    What about conch salad? I can't get that conch salad out of my mind, and the jerk chicken, and the fishing too... I think I'm just hungry.
     
  12. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    LMAO.

    The hint as to what the picture really was about and why you needn't have been terrified, Steve, was the use of the adjective "big". :D
     
  13. jabseattle

    jabseattle jabs

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    Sweet Report!!! Man I want to go....Is this the best season for bones down there? Like Hutch's Tarpon too...
     
  14. mrpunkin

    mrpunkin Bryan Corey

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    Where did whoever get that "Trust me... I'm a flyfisherman" shirt?
     
  15. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones flytosser

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    Great report, Ibn. Man that sure looks like fun. It looks a lot more enjoyable than chasing winter steelhead on the Methow and having your felts freeze to the ground.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jim
     

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