Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bahama Bonefish-Great Inagua

For many years....

....I have anticipated fishing the shallow flats of the Bahamas for the elusive bonefish. Thanks to new friends from the east coast, my dream was to become a reality.

I had been communicating with Walt for over a year about his experience in the Bahamas, and his description of Greater Inagua, with no formal lodges, or fancy accommodations, seemed to be the perfect getaway.
Since Inagua is considerably south, just off the tip of eastern Cuba, cold fronts pushing down from the states, are rare. However, the week before, cool temps, clouds, wind and rain enveloped the island, and continued through our week. Most tropical species are "put off" by cool water temperatures, and we found that most of the bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook, were indeed sulking in hiding places away from the shallow flats where we could find them.

Each day began with a pickup ride, towing the skiff, to our launch point. Beautiful beaches like this ran for miles, with sugar-like sand, and coral or sand flats off shore.

Coral flats, like this one, were huge, and when the sun was out, we were usually greeted to schools of bonefish. Unfortunately, cloudy conditions made scenes like this rare. These areas, when deeper with the tide, held some impressive permit, one of the most difficult fish to catch with a fly

I intercepted this typical Inagua bonefish, as it moved out of the mangroves, and onto the coral flat, with the falling tide.

This happens to be Sam Kleckley's first time fly fishing.......and his first bonefish! What a thrill to be with Sam as it "all came together" for him. I was fortunate to find one myself, just about the same moment! These 3 to 4 lb. bonefish were typical and an average size for us. We did see and have opportunities for double digit fish, but Walt's 8 lb. bone topped our efforts for the week. Again, Walt was the hero, catching a beautiful 20 lb. permit, our only permit of the trip!

My favorite permit fly, the Crusty Crab, was also a hit with this nice bone!

In addition to the Crusty Crab, several other patterns worked extremely well. Darker bodies, of brown or olive, with long silly legs, were very effective.

I couldn't resist snapping this "Corona Moment", which was our usual routine after a day driving narrow, bumpy roads, wading flats, and pulling on line-screaming bonefish!

Many thanks to Walt, Sam and Bill for making this an awesome trip, even with the poor conditions. What a great bunch of guys!
We are already making plans for a return in 2009!