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Hello,

Just got back from spring break vacation in the Bahamas. Family stayed in Paradise island (next to Nassau) while I booked a day with the Blackfly lodge in Abaco so thought I'd post a lengthy pics heavy report with this being my first time fishing for bones.

As many may know this is pretty much the peak season so most of the guides I emailed to are all booked up but fortunately Clint Kemp had an opening on the day I requested and it was going to be a fly in and fly out single day affair. Arriving at the lodge, I picked out my lunch and was set up with Nick, one of the guides who would then rigged up my 8wt with a tan bunny Gotcha that I tied along with a crab pattern to his 9wt in case we see permits.

A gorgeous waterfront lodge with palm trees lining the entrance and grass fields outside, the inside was filled with pictures of all the great ones, it was fishporn gallore.




I would have loved to stay and fish here for a week, maybe some day....



The boat launch was near the lodge, we were the 3rd boat to launch and followed them out of the marsh area before turning south on the west side of Abaco. It was not long until the motor was shut off, Nick got on his platform and proceeded to pole toward a rocky mangrove outcrop in a light breeze. I grabbed my rod and the stripping bucket and got on the bow, stripped out line into the bucket and got ready with fly in left hand and 4ft of fly line out the rod. Here we go, this just got real!

Bone! Straight from the bow, 40ft, left of that mangrove stick!

Ok...I dont see shit but cast I will. Threw the fly out and started to false cast some line out in a overly excited manner, and not surprisingly wrapped the fly around the rod. Well that was embarrassing, way to go Lou! Fish is gone...

Moving on to a different area where the second fish was spotted. There! Cast 10ft to the left of that stick!

This time I tried to calm myself and proceeded to cast that fly perfectly where instructed but I was still not seeing shit. Strip, strip, strip, strip, strip...

Lou! Slow down! Slow...down..I slowed my tempo and after a couple more slower strips the line came tight! It was on! Yeah! Holy crap it was strong! All the line I stripped out was instantly gone and the reel screamed in a gentle way that Nautilus reels do. It ran out to the right and then left, I looked down to see only a few more winding of fly line on the backing.

After getting it on the boat for some photos I told Nick I wished we had fish like these in Washington state. I'm glad you don't, he said, because then you wouldn't have come here to fish :)


First bonefish ever, 9:15am.



We motored on to the next spot and the wind was really starting to pick up, the smoke from the wildfires was visible from the distance. We came to a small island, a fish was spotted and I cast to it but got no interest. We moved around some more but none were seen so we moved to the next flat. The wind was really blowing now, 20-25+ mph, I was told to change to a heavier sparse white shrimp pattern while Nick was poling upwind along the shore line in somewhat deeper water.





Bones! 40ft straight ahead! Start casting! I really struggled to double haul out that far but by the time the fly drop to the water the wind had already pushed it back 10ft, shit!

Pick it up! More to the left! Cast again! Still the same result, shit! This scene was repeated a few more times...Fish is gone...

He turned the boat around and motored back up for another run at the area hoping that the fish are still there. And they were, shit! Casting against the wind again! Double haul out to 40ft, maybe less, bunch of slack, strip, strip, strip..until there was about 3ft of fly line left at the rod tip and it was on! Unbelievable! I really didn't think I'd catch anything with shitty casts like that but it was on! This one had 2 long runs in it, what incredible power these things
have.





Lunch break was in order, then we pole around at another flat but didn't spot any fish besides the sharks and rays.

Next spot we came up was an expansive flats with mangroves along the shore line. Poling along a large school of bones was spotted, and I could definitely see them this time. They were slow moving so there was time to plan.

Cast there, 3 o'clock! About 50ft out. I can't do it I said, not against the wind like this. Nick got out the boat and proceed to pull the skiff slowly backward to get me in a better position. This is much better, this I can do with the wind on my 8 o'clock. The fly landed where I intended to, in an empty spot between the mangroves and more importantly, in front of that school.





Wait, let it sit...wait...ok now strip slowly, strip strip...I can see the school moving toward the area of the fly but didn't see any fish changing course but yet one of them took it!

It's on! Fish ran out toward the deep and then turned back into the mangroves and wrapped the lines around a few of them. Nick walked in, picked up the fish and got the lines out, a decent one.



It was now time to head back to the lodge, hell of a full speed 25 minutes ride on choppy white caps water. The plan was to fish a bit more before picking things up so I can get to the airport on time.



The wind was still blowing as we looked for bones in this very shallow area near the launch and I can just start to make them out now. Got a few more shots at them but was defeated again by the wind.



We called it a day, 3 bones with the second one being the biggest of them. It was better than I had expected of myself in that kind of wind, a very good day.

 

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Congrats on a successful first time flats trip! Glad you were able to escape "Paradise" Island at least one day to the real paradise of the out islands.

That was a large school. Looks like there were some further back in the mangroves too.
 
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