After having fun catching two-pound Bonefish from
schools off the island of Exuma in the Bahamas, it was
obvious no type of de-tox would ever rid the addiction
for Bonefish that now possessed my fishing partner Jack
and me. Every run make by a hooked Bonefish tested the
knot which attached our flyline to the backing. If these
"little guys" could do that, what about a really big bone?
Many places on the face of this earth are hosts to big
Bonefish. We have seen videos of some of the monsters
off the east coast of Africa, our own Florida Keys are
known for producing huge bones, and the Bahamas
advertise being the "Bonefish Capital of the World."
Because we choose to take our wives along on our
Bonefishing trips, our choice was back to the Bahamas and
to Andros. (Africa is too far, the Florida Keys provide too
many opportunities for wives to shop thereby making the trip
We found a place called Emerald Palms near Driggs Hill
on Andros. Andros is the biggest of all the islands in the
Bahamas and it is sparsely populated. It is also know for
larger Bonefish and very, very few shopping opportunities!
The resort is situated on the beach and is surprisingly
beautiful and elegant. Unfortunately, the lodge is managed
by the government. While the food menu had many choices, most
often a selection was not available. Each day we heard, "We're
out of that till the boat come in next Tuesday." We had no
brewed coffee for several days and a tea-bag-style decaffeinated
verson is all we had for the morning wake-up. It appeared some
bureaucrat back in Nassau controlled what was to be ordered
for the dining room. We, we were there to fish, not eat so
inconvenience was not a major issue.
Simon Bain was already booked for our time in April but
he helped arrange for someone to get us out onto the flats.
Stanley Forbes, known as "Jolly Boy" showed up to take
us on the "Bite" separating the south and middle portions
on Andros. Stanley is no more than 5' 5" and weighs a
little over 300 pounds. Agility is not his long suit to say
the least. However, he has the eyes to spot bones and
was raised in the area and familiar with all the creeks, flats
and channels. We made clear we were after bigger Bonefish
and Stanley managed to get us into casting range of many big
cruising Bonefish. One learns quickly that Bonefish don't get
big being stupid. Too many false casts, noise on the boat or
a poorly placed fly will spook a big bone and have it on it's way
toward the ocean at the speed of light.
On our second day, we waded a narrow flat adjacent to a deep
channel next to Mangrove Cay. We had been there the day
before and spotted several large bones from the boat. One
cast and they were gone. Today, the tide was a little lower
and the wind was stiff. Three large bones came up out of the
channel and headed our way onto the flat. The wind was coming
at us too. Jack was off to my right. I tried a cast into the wind
attempting to get my fly ahead of the oncoming bones. The cast
was close enough, but the bones made a turn toward Jack and
his cast was on the mark. The lead bone burst ahead and took
Jack's fly. Jacks line followed the big bone across the flat to
the edge of the channel. It sounded like someone ripping a huge
piece of canvas as the line sliced through the water. "Keep that
pole tip high!" Stanley ordered. Jacks arms were already over
his head and he was many yards into his backing. There were at
least three more similar powerful runs. The smile on Jacks face
will no doubt remain there well into the next century. One the fish
was landed and a few photos were taken, Stanley estimated the
weight to be about nine pounds. The bone was released and it's
education had just been increased a notch. The activity was
enough to assure us no more bones would be on that flat for
quite a while so we got back to the boat and headed to another
Our fishing method was one of us would be on deck with rod in hand
while the other sat and helped spot until a fish was caught, then we
would alternate. We were forced to modify our method and changed
it to either rotating when one caught a bonefish, or, after five opportunities
were "blown." It's embarrassing to write we had to employ the modified
method far too many times.
There are several fishing lodges distributed on all the bites
of Andros. Fortunately, the area is large enought that seeing
another fising boat is very rate. We say only one. It was
Simon Bain with two guests. Our guide Stanley recognized
Simon's boat as it slowly approached us on our second day
out. Simon came over to "hello." I yelled out, "Simon Bain!"
He responded: "Uncle Don, is that you?" (Even if our guide had
not said it was Simon Bain, it would have been obvious anyway.
On the bow of his boat is a large sticker that reads: I GOT A
Before I close, yes I too did get a few big bones. However,
my biggest was estimated at only eight pounds so I feel any
glory was earned by my partner Jack Hendrickson. Neither of
us caught any real monsters but we feel we satisfied our goal to
catch some "bigger bones." Are we going back to Andros?
YOU BET! After all, we got some more education too.
For ref; Jack Hendrickson used an 8 weight 2 piece 9 foot St
Croix he made. I used a 7 weight 4 piece Loomis. We both
used Scientific Anglers Bonefish Taper flylines and our packaged
9-foot leaders were shortened to between 7 and 8 feet, 10 pound test.
Fly patterns were variations of #4 gotchas and Crazy Charlies and
those NOT TIED SPARCELY worked best. The colors
Tan and White will be what I tie for the next trip. ~ Uncle Don