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.
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).
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.
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.
The Trump Administration recently announced some expanded travel restrictions for Cuba, because, ya know… they are super, super, super duper a threat to our way of life and, also, he’d like to keep Florida red in 2020.
I talked with Kristen Tripp, Program Director for Cuba at Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures and I asked her what the impact of this latest news would be on their program.
First, Kristen expressed her frustration and sorrow for the people of Cuba who have been through a lot, make due with very little and are certainly being hurt by some of these very backward looking policies. There’s a shortage of just about everything in Cuba, including chickens, and people really are being put through unnecessary harm.
Second, Kristen explained that things have changes since I went to Cuba back in 2012. The whole operation has worked hard to make their trips legal (read, not just sneaking in from Mexico). This new policy makes that harder, but not impossible and they’ll be trying very hard to maintain above-board Cuban trips this year and into the future. Trips are still being booked to Cuba and any already on the books are grandfathered in. Still, there will be changes and the exact fall-out is a bit still to be worked out.
Cuba was a fantastic experience for me… one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was pretty obvious how bad the Cuban people were hurting back then and it hasn’t gotten better since. It is all a travesty and I hope some intelligence seeps into our Cuban policy that doesn’t revolve around Presidential politics.
For the latest developments, there are few people better suited to answer your questions than the folks at Yellow Dog and Kristen in particular.
I’m not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea. So does Foreign Policy (that liberal rag). The Guardian thinks sanctions don’t work. Fortune seems to think it is a bad idea.
It is bad policy… a failed policy that didn’t work for 50 years. Let’s get past this.
I don’t think I want to go for a swim in here, but the tarpon look FUN.
I really need to get into another tarpon.
I’m just going to say this… there is usually no point to just casting your fly back and forth more than, oh, twice. I call that “casterbating” while you may use another term. Whatever it is, it isn’t shadow casting from a river runs through it, which isn’t a thing anyway.
In that video the angler is doing two things I’d change. First… cast closer to the shore. If you are as short as he is, so frequently, that’s not doing you any favors. Put the fly in front of the fish. Second… get that fly out of the air and into the water.
Costa Rica… yeah… on the list, but the list is too long.