01
Dec 19

Day Saver in Oahu

First off, I didn’t expect that much traffic. I was staying at the Aulani with the fam for Thanksgiving and needed to get to the airport flat to meet Kenny at 7:00 AM. I thought 40 minutes would do it. I was wrong.

The bell staff were also wrong that it would be “about the same cost” for a taxi and a Lyft… it was, in fact, not about the same cost at all. It cost me $128 to get to the flat (vs. $38 to get back) and I got there 15 minutes late. I hate being late.

The flat, when we got out there, was glassy clam. No wind rustled the mangroves or the water and it took about 10 seconds to see my first tail waiving at us to say good morning.

Now, it must be said, these fish are kind of assholes. They are so very, very spooky and they’ve seen some stuff, man… they’ve seen it all. They were super skittish in the sheet of skinny water and Kenny let me know it wasn’t ME they were rejecting, but more an overall disposition. Having an almost teenage daughter, I understand the mentality.

We worked hard and didn’t have too much to show for it. I had maybe 10 shots through lunch and I had maybe another 5 after lunch. The shots decreasing as the wind came up and the tails stayed down with the changing tide. I hooked one nice fish that must have run around one of the many, many coral obstacles and cut me off. It was good to feel the tug, but I was still off the board.

The day was waning. My dinner reservations were on my mind as well as questions about exactly how much traffic I might have on the way back West. I told Kenny that, ya know, if it wasn’t going to happen, we didn’t need to keep after it. Kenny said he wanted to try one more spot.

The breakers weren’t being totally blunted and so the ride out on the last flat was a little wild, a confused jumble of swells from different directions meant everyone had to hold on from time to time. To make it a bit more challenging the water was both a little deeper and the bottom seemed to be the EXACT color green of a bonefish. I was seeing phantom fish everywhere. Luckily, Kenny was seeing actual fish and had me cast toward a fish he had picked out.

“Strip long.”

“Strip long again.”

Tight to a fish and it was lightning, streaking across the flat. Backing exposed and recovered. Smiles all around. When I saw the size of the fish I wondered if I had hooked it in the ass, but it was just a strong, ocean-side fish. Not the 10 pounder, but the right species in the right place and sometimes you just need to take what the fishing gods give you.

What a Day Saver looks like and what a relieved guide looks like.

It was a day saver and we were both pretty relieved.

You can find guide Kenny Karas here, and I recommend a day on the water with him. He’s good people and knows his stuff. This is a solid recommendation, not an ad.


16
Oct 19

Fishing Options Post-Dorian

So, you love Grand Bahama and/or Abaco and are bummed you won’t be able to fish there and you are wondering where you should go?

How about Grand Bahama or Abaco?

As the Waypoints podcast pointed out, there are still guides and lodges operating on both islands. While some of the major names are either down for the count (Deep Water Cay) or down for a while (East End Lodge, Abaco Lodge), other options still exist.

H2O Bonefishing is going to be up and running pretty soon, North Riding Point is aiming for Dec. 1 and Delphi and Black Fly are still intact and accepting bookings.

I think travel options are a little light right now, but that will change soon.

Give it a thought.


14
Oct 19

Captain

I have a boat now. It isn’t going to see much, if any, saltwater, and it won’t see a bonefish ever. It takes a lot of effort to put together… yes… put together, and then take apart. But, it’s a boat. I’ve made it to 45 without having a boat and you’d be well within your rights to say I don’t have one now. It’s rolled up in my garage at the moment and in pieces.

It’s a raft. A 13 foot raft with a fishing frame. I call it the green goddess. I don’t have a trailer. I have to strap the frame to the roof of the car in pieces and the rest has to make it into the back of the Highlander. I’ve managed to get it out twice now. Once on a shakedown cruise with a couple buddies and once with my dad and a buddy. Fish were caught. I stayed on the oars. We did a short drift I’ve done probably a couple dozen times in my life, but had only rowed once on my own before now.

It was hoped I’d get my dad out in this and maybe it will happen. His reactions have slowed, his casts have gotten shorter. It was hard for him to get to the lane or stay in the lane. He missed fish and his back hurt, but he got in the boat and out of the boat without injury, which maybe is what victory looks like at this point.

The drive from here to Redding to float the Lower Sac is about three hours and it is about an hour to assemble the raft and about 5-6 hours to fish. Then an hour to break-down and three more to get home, where I have to unpack the frame, at the very least, so some tweaker or opportunistic scavenger doesn’t make off with the aluminum tubing. Long days. Maybe I’ll learn the Yuba, which would reduce the drive by an hour each way, but the Lower Sac and her rainbows of unreasonable size are closer to my home waters and, to the extent I know anything, they are what I know.

I’m contemplating taking my daughter down the S. Fork of the Snake this summer, or at least doing a couple drifts out there with her. Kind of depends what girl I have at that moment, which is hard to predict. She’ll be 13 and sometimes hates being in the car (that’s about a 900 miles roadtrip, so…) and other times she’ll barely talk to me and others she’s still my girl who wants to fish and hang with her dad and look for snakes and frogs. I don’t know what planning looks like for a fishing trip with a 13 year old. These are the known unknowns.

I also need to get my 5.75 year old boy out in the raft. Maybe in the flat water of San Leandro Bay, right by our house. I haven’t figured that out yet, but I will.

So, don’t call me Captain just yet, but I have a raft and a frame and I’m figuring out how to use it… where everything goes, what needs to be tighter, what needs to be left at home. Hoping I see a lot of water in the green goddess and that I get to share that water with my friends and family until I tear a shoulder loose or get a bulging disk.

See you on the water.


09
Oct 19

Waypoints with Jim Klug – Podcast on Dorian and the Bahamas

I didn’t even know they had a podcast. Good stuff. Here’s an episode about the impact on the Bahamas from Dorian.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/582856/1838608-10-checking-in-on-abaco-and-grand-bahama-october-2019-updates-post-hurricane-dorian


07
Oct 19

Deep Water Cay Closes

The first and oldest bonefishing lodge in the Bahamas is a casualty of Dorian. Deep Water Cay is ceasing operations.

Here’s the story.

I got to visit DWC a few years back and can attest to how nice the place was. The facilities and the guides and the boats were all top notch. Such a lot of history has come through that little island on the East End.


04
Oct 19

Video Update from East End Lodge

A message from Rob and Cecile.

To give, go here.


10
Sep 19

Drakecast – Dorian’s Wake

I just listened to Elliott Adler’s “Dorian’s Wake” episode of the DrakeCast podcast.

You should listen to it as well.

Elliott was out there with me in 2018 and caught his first bonefish out of the East End Lodge. He interviews Rob, co-owner of East End Lodge about the state of the Eastern part of Grand Bahama. It’s bad. People are suffering. There are lots of ways to help (money is most in need).

Rob and Ceclie at East End Lodge

Places to give:

Yellow Dog Community Conservation Foundation

Dorian Relief East End Grand Bahama Go Fund Me 

Abaco Lodge Hurricane Relief Efforts Go Fund Me

H2O Bonefishing Hurricane Dorian Recovery Fund

You can also bid on a dozen flies I’ll be tying up through Josh Mills’ “#dozenfordorian” effort that has raised about $18,000 so far. Just put in a bid… it is currently at $75. To be clear… not the flies on the hat. New ones.


05
Sep 19

Memories of Abaco and Grand Bahama

This is the place I’ve spent the most time bonefishing. My first fish came from right near McLeans Town on a trip with my dad. I caught my first DIY bonefish on a little flat on the East End. My last vacation with my mom was on Grand Bahama, which is also when my wife and I began to suspect she might be pregnant. I fished out of Deep Water Cay and visited Water Cay Lodge. After my mom passed we went on a family trip to Abaco and got to see Abaco Lodge. I took my daughter down to fish with the only female guide in the Bahamas. I fished out of Abaco Lodge again before heading up to Little Abaco. I fished for a week out of East End Lodge and enjoyed rum and fishing with Rob and Cecile.

Damn… a lot of good times in that area just leveled by Dorian. Abaco Lodge was destroyed. No word on status of East End Lodge, but I’m not optimistic. Deep Water Cay appears heavily damaged. I understand that just about all the guides and staff are accounted for in most of the fishing lodges, so, that’s good, but they’ve all lost so, so much.

Go Fund Me for Little Abaco.

Go Fund Me for Abaco/Abaco Lodge folks.

Go Fund Me for the East End folks.


04
Sep 19

Dorian Recovery

It is bad… real bad… and the people of the Bahamas are going to need a lot of help.

Abaco Lodge is destroyed (Oliver says they’ll rebuild and most of their crew is accounted for).

No idea yet if East End Lodge is standing (seems highly unlikely) and Rob is in the same camp as Oliver re: rebuilding, but has less clear info on the fate of many of his people.

Cameron over at TFM has a good page going of ways you can help. Here’s a link to that page.

Only thing I’d add is the GoFundMe for the East End Lodge folks, which is here.

Some of the best moments of my fly fishing life have been on the waters around Grand Bahama and Abaco. Heartbreaking to see the destruction.

Rob and Ceclie at East End Lodge
Dinner at Abaco Lodge… it was good.

30
Aug 19

Thinking of Abaco and Grand Bahama – Dorian

Things don’t look real good right now for Abaco and Grand Bahama. Keep them in your thoughts.