Bone Fish Party 1998

Last Year's TripBonefish Party!

Fly Angler's OnLine

James Castwell Prepares for the Bonefish Party

February 2nd-9th, 1998
Deep Water Cay Club
Grand Bahamas

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Gettin' Ready

Part 2 of "Wow, What a Trip"

We couldn't miss the lodge. It sets on a slight rise, wood and glass with the emphasis on glass. Two story high, hip-roofed with a wing on each side. Gray stained wood with aqua trim. The cottages resemble a Bahamian village. Each painted shiny white with a pastel trim of pink, yellow, aqua, or lavender. White roofs sparkle in the twilight.

Sidewalks bordered with huge crinum lilies. Bougainvillea at our steps. An unknown hummingbird flitting from branch to branch. It is warm, a breeze is blowing and the sea is forty feet from our door. If they feed us, and if there really are fish, we've got it made.

Dinner is served. Red snapper almondine, fresh green beans, potatoes o'brian, fresh baked bread and white wine. Oops, dessert too; caramel flan or chocolate cake.

"Did you fill out your lunch tag?" Our hostess checked with each guest to make sure they understood the procedure. A printed tag, something like an oversized baggage tag, contains a variety of choices for lunch each day. You check your choices: i.e., roast beef or turkey, blt, ham and cheese or others; choice of drinks, ice tea, lemonade, soda pop, beer or whatever; cookies, snacks, fruit, candy bars ... and it appears at the dock each morning packed in a cooler with a half gallon of drinking water and ice.

"Eight-thirty at the dock," Sherri announced to the new arrivals. Castwell and I walked back to our cottage and sat on the porch. Tired, but too excited about the next mornings fishing to get to sleep. Finally we just couldn't find another excuse to stay up.

Happy voices of the kitchen staff walking up to the lodge woke us. We would later learn most of the thirty-three person staff takes the "ferry" from the main island to Deep Water Cay twice each day. Not what we were accustomed to seeing as a ferry, this one had the now familiar blue and white awning on a large pontoon boat. The ferry would make a trip back to McLean's Town to pick up the fishing guides, local produce, or guests. Some guests fly into Freeport by major airlines and then hire a taxi to take them to the end of the road. A phone call to the only phone at Deep Water Cay (a cell phone in the office) sends the ferry back to pick them up.

Breakfast is served at seven-thirty. A variety of fresh baked goodies, french toast, cereal, sausage, bacon, fresh fruit and fresh orange juice are set out as a buffet. Lots of coffee and tea and good humored kidding about who had caught what the day before.

The guides are at the dock. Boats have been fueled from the fuel barge anchored at the dock. Lunches arrive from the lodge in coolers. We are introduced to our guide, Joseph Pinder. Courteous and friendly, our Bahamian guide offers a hand aboard. We have brought our rain jackets. It isn't raining, but the run to the flats can be chilly in the morning and evening. Especially when you realize that you are about to take off in a sixteen foot flat bottomed boat with a fifty-five horse Mercury outboard on the transom.

Castwell and I zip up, hang on and we're off. Snowy egrets fly off as we hit the channel north. The water is crystal clear. A twenty minute run takes us to the edge of a mangrove flat. The tide is just coming in. Joseph runs full speed and, in an instant, shuts the motor off and pulls it out of the water. We skim over water six inches deep to look for fish.

Pole in hand, our guide steps onto the gunnel. Soundlessly, moving the boat toward the mangrove shore. "Who's first?" he asked. Castwell retrieves a six-weight Gatti rod from its holder, hands it to me and laughs as he replied, "The Ladyfisher, of course."

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