The week started with overcast skies and winds roaring around 25 to 30 miles per hour, a true test of your casting skills. Oh well, you have to make the best of what you have! I’ve done a ton of TV shows over the years including “Fly fishing The World”, “Spanish Fly”, “Fly Fishing America” and sometimes you just have to “go fishin”. I did one show with Jose Wejebe in Belize and I know that the wind was blowing over thirty. We were laughing when we left the dock thinking this was going to be a first in TV fly fishing. You literally couldn’t stand up without spreading you feet out to compensate for the wind…it would blow you over. Well, we actually caught fish! Jose caught 3 I think and I caught one. I remembered the advice, keep the wind blowing over your left shoulder. The weather for this show wasn’t that bad but it was tough for the ladies and the guides too. Kim had the advantage as she was using spin gear. Kim is an excellent angler and is the only woman on the Bassmaster Tour at this time. She did very well over the course of the four days using only artificials. To be honest, in the Bahamas, I think that the fly angler has the advantage. Diana, world record holder and fly fishing celebrity, fought off the temptation to go to spin gear and stuck with the fly rod the entire time. The first day was a struggle but she landed several bonefish that not many anglers would even have tried for.
Day two was better, more fish were landed and everyone was beginning to get into the swing of things on Abaco and island time. My partner Clint Kemp and I were responsible for providing all the food for this trip. Clint is an excellent chef and has been using his family recipes to add pounds to our guests with no complaints. Every night we had some kind of seafood dish. One night we started off with Clints conch fritters, then conch salad and finally lobster tails in garlic butter. Did I mention the ice cold Kalik beers? We had fried snapper, cracked (fried) conch, cracked lobster, more conch salad and more conch fritters. I’ve been to lodges in the Bahamas and never had a Bahamian dish the whole time we were there. Come fish with us just for the food!
Back to the fishing…..Day three was beautiful with much lighter winds, clear skies and mucho excitment. Fish were every where we went and the camera crew got more footage than they could use. Big fish, medium size fish, permit, snappers, cudas and everything in between. The highlight of the day was Diana’s permit. It was a beauty and without a scale we all guessed that it weighed in between 25 and 30 lbs. It was caught at the end of the day so there was not time to go for the tarpon to complete the slam but there was always tomorrow. Did I mentioned all of the ice cold Kalik beers to celebrate the permit?
All right…..now, down to business. This was our last day, beautiful sunrise, no clouds, flat calm seas….did I go to heaven? This is unbelievable…First we went for the bonefish because the outgoing tide is perfect and the tarpon don’t seem to move until the tide turns around. With four bonefish caught early, head guide Paul Pinder – our partner in Black Fly Bonefish Club and Director of Fishing – Diana and camera crew head off to the tarpon flat. The action was quick … here they come, six tarpon in a string slowly working their way along the 3 foot depth line. Diana has a small Keys-type buggy looking shrimp pattern on. She makes the cast to the lead fish but the one next to it flashes out ahead of the lead fish and inhales the fly….she’s on! Jumping, singing drag, jumping, bowing, down and dirty, he rolls over and she got em! OK, she’s got the tarpon, the bone and now the rest of the day for a permit. I’m not sure how many permit we saw and cast to over the four days of fishing, maybe 80 or more, but it just didn’t happen on this day.
Well, she had a slam in two days and caught I don’t know how many big bonefish and that was good enough for Clint, Paul and I. I guess the point that we as lodge owners wanted to make was that we have the diversity of species here at Black Fly Bonefish Club and that is rare in the Bahamas. The fishery here in Abaco is more like fishing out of Key West … but you have the place to yourself. I’ve fished in a lot of countries and managed three different fishing lodges in Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize and I’ve never seen a fishery like this one. I even got my personal best bonefish on that last day…. over 10 lbs.
We’re still building our new lodge, but for now you can come visit us at our interim lodge, Black Fly Beach Club and sample what we have to offer. Give us a call, 904.997.2220, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Did I mention the ice cold Kalik beers?