Apr 13

Lessons I Relearn Every Now and Again

Someday I’ll learn.


The fish is a bit spooked, clearly. It is agitated, switching directions quickly, looking for an escape route.

Why, at this point, do I make a cast to the thing? Why? Pure and blind optimism, which is just another way of saying “naive.”

All that ends up happening is the fish bolts and spooks any other fish hanging around. I’ve read about fish eating in these situations, which might be why I find myself casting at them every once in a while, but I haven’t had it work… ever. I want to stop doing that. I’m going to try to leave the spooked fish alone.


The fish are moving away. They are cruising, not panicked. I don’t have a good shot at them, and yet, I find myself lobbing a Hail Mary in their direction.

The fish see the fly moving toward them, which is as unnatural as a rabbit hopping up to a mountain lion looking to snuggle, and they G.T.F.O. of there, never to be seen again.

Really, I should give the fish some time to change direction or should look in the direction those fish came from. I shouldn’t make the futile cast. I’m going to try to stop doing that too.

Hurrying up, when I should slow down.

Hurrying up, when I should slow down.

For more ideas about how to step up your bonefishing game, check out advice from the guys over at Gink & Gasoline. Those guys are good.

Apr 13

Perfect Moments

Perfect moments. That is what trips are about. There are a few every trip… those things that remain when everything else is jumbled together in the fog of memory and you can’t pick out one day from another, or one trip from another. There are crystal clear moments that remain. This trip to Grand Bahama had several such moments.

Dinner at Pier One was one such event and another was the first bonefish I caught while wading the day I fished with my dad.

That fish was just so classic.

I had stepped out of the boat to reduce the weight to allow the guide to get a little bit skinnier. He had just told me to wade around the point and he’d pick me up again. I had to look for fish though and I found them. I saw fish moving along the shoreline, coming toward me. What a beautiful sight. I love the moment you realize you are looking at fish, when you identify them and the math comes out in your favor. You are going to get the shot. Now you have to make it happen.

I love those moments and this is one such moment, captured on the ContourROAM camera. This was the Contour’s first trip and my first time playing with it. Clearly, I need to figure a couple things out, but it is fun to actually get something like this on video.


Apr 13

Last Day in the Bahamas

Today we were supposed to do a kayak trip but it was raining so hard the operator canceled (we would have cancelled anyway). The rain coming down in sheets at times, but when it was, at least there wasn’t much wind.

So, I did sneak down to the beach a few times searching for fish. As soon as I walked down I saw what I thought was the murky shape of a monster bone. A few casts and a few follows and then I got a good view of the tail… the black tail. Cuda.

Further down the flat, which had surprisingly good light, considering, and I saw another cuda, but no bones. I put a little wire and a little cuda fly on the 8 weight and just prospected on the way back in, casting out over the darker weed beds. I had one good grab, but not fish.

The girl loved this part of the day.

The girl loved this part of the day.

That was the fishing. Beyond that, my daughter directed a couple of videos with the camera and we went out and built sand castles in the rain (my new Patagonia rain jacket worked very well). Wrapped up the trip with dinner at Geneva’s, a place I’ve actually eaten at twice before. They were out of almost everything and what they did have wasn’t very good. Kind of a downer for dinner, but it won’t detract from the trip.

It’s been a good time, even if the weather was a bit iffy and my one full guided day was a bit of a bust. I got to show my daughter all the things I told her she’d see… we saw a ray as we left our sand castles, which completed the promised viewable creatures (baby conch, blue crab, sharks, rays, fish).

A good trip and I’m looking forward to my next Bahamian adventure.

Looking forward to the next trip.

Looking forward to the next trip.


Apr 13

Grand Bahama Sightseeing

Woke up this morning to the sound of wind. A quick check of the weather told me it was going to blow about 18 mph. My morning clearly would not involve looking for wagging tails on the glassy flat out front. Still, I was determined to have an adventure today and I got my girl ready and we hit the road armed with the knowledge that low tide would be at 9:45.

We headed East to some places I’ve come to know a little bit and love a lot. A little pocket flat was first with plenty of the lime-stone tide pools along the way. We got to the flat and, low and behold, there were a few bonefish. Said bonefish were super spooky though and they weren’t too interested in what I was doing. Every time I’ve come here I have found fish. Every time I have found fish I have failed to hook one. Today was no exception. We threw jigs on the spinner in the creek on the way out and we headed off to the next flat.

A favorite flat, even if I've never hooked a fish there.

A favorite flat, even if I’ve never hooked a fish there.

The next flat, a big, broad, expansive flat of white, hard sand wasn’t screwed up by the wind when we got there and soon after setting out I found a bonefish… who was not interested. The girl, though, found a ton of shells and a good time was had.

A girl with her shells.

A girl with her shells.

We also stopped in Pelican Point at the Shell Lady. Got a pretty fantastic shell for the girl. It was $20, but I figure this lady doesn’t get too many visitors, so I felt it was money well spent.

Shell Lady

The Shell Lady. My second time getting a shell for my girl here.

We got back to the condo (rental, VRBO) and found a  place called Pier One Restaurant. They feed sharks nightly. Now, you may have negative feelings about the feeding of wildlife, and I can understand that. However, my daughter loves sharks and this was a highlight… not just of the trip, but of her life to this point.

We saw many, many sharks and some real giants. We saw the largest lemon shark I have ever seen and the first bull shark I’ve ever seen. There were some massive cobia in there too. It was fantastic.

SHARKS! There are two (at least) in this pic. A big lemon and a bull.

SHARKS! There are two (at least) in this pic. A big lemon and a bull.

It was, as you might expect, a good day. I’m in the Bahamas, a place I love, and I’m with people I love. I also got to blow a couple shots at bonefish. Not too shabby.


Apr 13

A tough day with a couple of perfect moments

Today my dad and I fished with independent guide Sam Taylor out of Freeport. I was going to fish with Tommy Rolle, but didn’t manage to get a hold of him for a couple days and simply couldn’t wait to see if we could connect or not. So, my day with Tommy turned into a day with Sam.

The day was tough. That is going to be the lasting impression. If we go solely by fish count, it was a bit of a disaster. Just two bonefish were landed. I landed both. My dad got blanked. My dad is a steelhead and trout angler and the salt is still pretty new to him. He got shots, but he needs several in order to convert and he didn’t get several, he got a handful (less than a handful). He hooked up, briefly, and cast to a pig (Sam said it was “12-14 pounds”), but it was short lived. Like I said… it was a tough day.

Dad and Sam on the flats of Grand Bahama

Dad and Sam on the flats of Grand Bahama

We had clouds for a lot of the day. The sky wasn’t wall-to-wall grey, it was mostly blue with a few big, white clouds. Several of those clouds seemed to seek us out and park right above us, dimming the lights on our flats.

We had wind, but mostly at our back and it wasn’t really an issue.

We had big and beautiful flats full of fresh feed marks and devoid of fish.

It was a tough day.

While it was tough, there was also some beauty in the day. I got to fish with my dad, something rare these days and treasured. I also had two perfect shots which produced nice fish.

Sam’s boat is, from what I understand of these things, a Carolina Skiff and it doesn’t draft particularly shallow. At one point I offered to get out and wade so we wouldn’t hit any more rocks. Sam pointed the path he wanted me to take where I’d get back in the boat. As I was wading out that way I spotted a bonefish. I saw it at about 90 feet and watched it get closer. I made four casts as the fish moved closer and when I made the last cast I could tell it was on. The fish diverted and started following the fly. It sped up and ate, but the strip set pulled the fly from the fish. The next strip saw the fish pounce on the fly again and it was hooked. A nice 4 pound fish. I got the whole thing on video and I’ll put that up when I get back and get to edit it.

Later we stopped to wade a really expansive flat. I waded for a long time without seeing anything while my dad and Sam waded together about 150 or so feet away. At one point I actually saw a bonefish, but it didn’t eat. It didn’t spook, but it just passed on the offering. As I was changing flies another fish came by, not spooking either, but just casually passing. A few seconds after I finished retying I saw another fish. This one was about 40′ away. I made one cast and the fish followed and ate and exploded. This very nice fish was somewhere between 22″ to 24″ to the fork, making it a legit 6 pounds and possibly 7. Fish of the trip and I had found it myself, which was nice.

We looked for Cudas a bit, but the wind was coming up and the clouds were building. We called it a day, a tough day for sure, but memorable as well.

Local knowledge is key, but it helps to have the sun and a bit of luck.

Apr 13

Deep Water Cay Day

I brought my wife along for the tour and half day at Deep Water Cay.

Big mistake.

I don’t think I’ll be able to get her to go to another lodge. She loved it there and it wasn’t hard to see why.

First, I have to say, if you haven’t been to DWC in the past few years, you really haven’t been to DWC. Things have changed… a lot. There is so much new and so much that is awesome about what they have done there it is hard to really put it all into words.

Deep Water Cay... awesome.

Deep Water Cay… awesome.

They have a new “gateway” to the lodge over on the edge of Grand Bahama which is just top shelf. There is boat storage, boat docks and boat launches. A huge step up from what was there the last time I was on GBI in 2010. We met Muff at the entry way and he showed us around the “on land” facilities.

This is the view my wife would like.

This is the view my wife would like.

Next, we had a short hop over to the actual lodge where we met Bill, the manager, and his wife, Lisa. Bill gave us the lowdown on the improvements which were largely self-evident and impressive. Julie, a decade long employee of DWC led us on a tour of the rooms and facilities.

The rooms… yeah… views to kill for, and I’d consider it. One thing you might not know is that DWC is making a big push to include families. There are kayaks and boats you can play on with the kids and there is snorkeling and diving and blue-water fishing. DWC has moved to include much more than the bonefishing they are so well known for. My wife was enamored with the place, as was I. I have not seen an operation like this before. Everything they do, they do very well. It shows.

Yeah... it's nice.

Yeah… it’s nice.

Lots and lots to do for the family.

Lots and lots to do for the family.

We wrapped up the tour and boarded the Hell’s Bay skiff of our guide for the afternoon, Ted. Ted was a real nice guy who loves his island and knows it very well. It wasn’t long before I had blown my first and second shots, and maybe even a third, before I connected. It was odd, seemed to take me a few flubs to get the jitters out before I started actually getting my casting where I wanted it.

Nice fish.

Nice fish.

Managed some nice fish and saw many, many more. Several schools we saw numbered in the hundreds of fish, usually with a shark escort that was making them a bit nervous. We saw cudas and rays and even a dolphin for good measure. It is such a vibrant ecosystem out there and its health is evident on every flat.

Getting the fish on its way.

Getting the fish on its way.

We even stopped at a cut and threw a spinning rig for some jacks and had a good time.

Deep Water Cay is clearly at the top of their game and one of the top lodges you are going to find anywhere.

Not too shabby... not too shabby at all.

Not too shabby… not too shabby at all.

I left wondering what body part I’d need to sell to get back there with my wife and daughter. I am not really using my left leg that much… wonder what it will fetch on the open market. It would be worth it.

(PS – there are permit there… saw about a 20 pounder, maybe bigger… didn’t spook on the cast, but it did on the strip)

Mar 13

Travel Day


We are on our way. The 6 year old did well with the red eye and now we wait… for hours, in the Charlotte airport for our jump to Grand Bahama. The weather here is wet and rainy, but the forecast for the Bahamas is pretty decent with high 70’s and low 80’s in store. I hope that holds.

My trip that was going to have only one day of fishing has turned into three days, with my partners rotating from my daughter to my wife to my dad.

I am skeptical of the concept of being blessed, but I do feel fortunate.

We will be in the Bahamas by the early afternoon and I figure I could do a little beach patrol in the evening in search of tails. Why not?


Mar 13

The Quiver

Here’s what I’m bringing to the Bahamas… for my “family” vacation.

I’m bringing three fly rods.

I’m bringing one spinning rod (first time for that).

I’m bringing three fly reels.

I’m bringing one spinning reel (thanks Charlie).

The quiver for Spring Break 2013

The quiver for Spring Break 2013

The gear is almost all mine and almost all on the budget side of things, with the major exception of the Abel Super 7/8n. I’m going to fish the TFO and Abel as my go-to set-up here with the 10 for the cuda and the spinning rig for my daughter and wife.

I think the lines on the fly reels are all RIO. Pretty sure the Lamson’s both have RIO Clouser Tropical lines, which have been kind of my standard lines in the salt, but which, as far as I can see, isn’t in the RIO lineup anymore, although maybe it has just been re-branded. The Abel has the new RIO Quickshooter, which I’m interested to try out.

Mar 13

A tour of the boxes

I’m done tying… for now. I’ll need to tie more for Florida, but for this trip, I really can’t put much more in the boxes. I even added a generic box to my Cliff Box line up so I’d have a place to go. I’m guessing it is about 600 flies. I tied about 90% of these (I have a couple poppers, two crab flies and two different tarpon patterns I didn’t tie).

The boxes.

The boxes.


Nice lineup.

Nice lineup.

I'll be throwing some of these in GBI, 100%

I’ll be throwing some of these in GBI, 100%

Even some crabs in there.

Even some crabs in there.

A bit of everything

A bit of everything

Looking forward to putting some of these in the water.



Mar 13

Full Swing

It may have happened later than usual, but my trip planning and obsession is now in full gear. The workday flew by as I was constantly interrupted by thoughts of the Bahamas and things I might need, either for myself, my wife or my child.

The iPad and charger cable for the flights. The back-up battery pack. Cameras. Chargers. Tripod. Sun gloves. Spare fly line. Backing. The long pliers. Pack of long white socks for wading. Some e-books to read to Anna at bedtime. Some snacks for the flights. Cash. Rain jackets. Anna’s rain jacket. The parental consent form that split custody parents need to take their own child out of the country.

Even with all this thinking I’m bound to forget something.

I’ll have about 600 flies with me… for no good reason. I tied all but 40 of them or so.

I’ll also have some Desitin along. Anyone who has needed it will know why.

Trip Saver.

Trip Saver.

What’s something odd or different that you bring along on a trip?