: RIDICULOUS! Winter bonefish clave
Last year I had the idea to expand the scope of our claves to the sunny archipelago of the Bahamian chain. We never did it but Eddie and I explored the possibilities by finding a place in Exuma he knew about and found the adventure quite interesting and rewarding. We found fish regularly, hooked up all but one time out, and I lost a bonefish that I would estimate at 11-12 pounds to a broken leader and loss of breath. This is the winter for the first annual "ridiculous clave".
Last year on the web I found properties that could accomodate 10 people for less than $300 each for the entire week; including a mini-van, 17ft whaler with 70hp motor, two sea kayaks. This property was on Deadman's Cay with 91 private acres.
Since then the search results have been clouded by new sites so I am re-starting the search and ask that anyone who can help me find the right accomodations please help out.
I am intrigued by Acklins as it is the most uninhabited of the chain, and is known to be a stumble from the front door and hook bonefish type of destination with over 1,000 square miles of bonefish flats. However it involves a lost day in one direction due to connections.
I would like to stay away from the popular islands as this is primarily a DIY trip, although a percentage of the time with a guide is recommended.
I am thinking once we find the den of bonefishing iniquity we will need a pre-payment to join, which should be around $250-300. This will secure the property and if you need to back out you will have to sell your share or lose it. This is the only way we can allow others to make flight reservations, plan vacation time off, etc. It will be a Sat-Sat rental in a particularly miserable time of year to emphasize the sense of escape.
Step #1 - please post the details of places you find on line. We will choose one from the resulting list.
Here are some examples:
11-13-2004, 11:36 AM
Got the ok from the commandant, but it's gonna cost me.
It might cost us but not in US dollars... check this out for $158.33 each if 6 people rent it... FOR THE WEEK!
And it's waterfront on Eleuthera...
Or at 148.75 each for the week, lose the "almost" this IS heaven!
11-13-2004, 12:28 PM
When is this tentatively taking place? If its like March....I'll be home from the desert and VERY interested.
11-13-2004, 12:32 PM
If your going to go, my vote is for the Caicos / Turks. Not much farther, a whole lot better. Found a nice place on N.Caicos, reasonable, bottle creek lodge.
11-13-2004, 12:36 PM
Pretty busy place, popular with the tourists. Don't know if thats what your looking for.
When is this tentatively taking place? If its like March....I'll be home from the desert and VERY interested.
March might work... but most likely it will be February when it's coldest and most miserable in the northern hemisphere.
I guess we should consider storm seasons and other factors. Early April was nice last year.
Any input on seasonal trends in the Bahamas is appreciated.
11-13-2004, 12:43 PM
Middle Caicos Island, Blue Horizon Resort. Some fine places, reasonable.
Thanks for the suggestions! I hear T&C is nicer, although that would be more important for the "couples" clave down the road. I think we would only care about proximity to the nearest carribean bbq joint, cold Kaliks, and bonefish flats. What would the flight / lodging cost be for these places?
For comparison: R/t flights to Nassau are about $348 from Boston in mid-Feb. If one of these $148 per person / wk cabanas works out, that could get the cost down to $600 flight + lodging for an entire week. Many places provide a car, bikes and kayaks.
But the playing field is wide open, anything that makes sense will be considered!
11-13-2004, 01:00 PM
This could be a big chunk.
Hope I can find something better than 1500 samolies!
Your city to Nassau approx: $350 adv purch / sat stay round trip
alt: your city to Ft.Lauderdale, Bahamasair to destination
($326 Seattle to Ft.Lauderdale in mid-Feb)
Nassau(Ft.Lauderdale) to Eleuthera (or other island) approx: $128-$150 round trip
Lodging shared approx: $150 per some of the options found thus far
Approx cost for the week: $650 plus your personal spending.
I would assume that with $50 each we could fill the kitchen to capacity. We found a place in Georgetown where nightly BBQ specials cost $6 and you could barely walk if you got a side of peas and rice with a beer.
I might ask for the airline ticket for an Xmas gift, cutting my pocket spending down to about $300 while simultaneously getting buy-in from the commandant :)
11-13-2004, 01:20 PM
If you want to stay "up there", Acklins / Crooked would be my choice. I think from a fishing standpoint, there's no contest.
11-13-2004, 01:39 PM
If you didnt want to fly from Nassau to Eleuthera there is a high speed catamaran run by Fast Ferry called the Bo Hengy that is about $100 round trip. Most days it goes to Spanish Wells then on to Harbour Island. Some days it goes to Governors Harbour...
Keep me in the loop on the next trip...I would be very interested
frank in Winthrop,MA
That's a great option. It's cheap and there are three times of departure on Fridays from Nassau.
One caveat is that the aerial photos from the small plane were directly responsible for locating great flats, and might be worth the trouble at least on the way there.
However that's not as important as getting there and the option of taking a fast ferry is very valuable indeed, thanks!
This flat was located by plane, the road identified by shape. There was an incredible mangrove inlet that pushed water out on the ebb, and there were 150 or more bones gathered there when I stepped into the water. I hooked up immediately, then waited for Eddie, who got a fantastic head-on shot and hooked up on his second cast. The next day, Eddie and John both landed multiples at the same spot. I saved my luck for the afternoon at another flat, where I hooked and landed a few including a 6-7 pounder. Right after that I hooked and lost the 11-12 pound beast, a fight I will never forget.
Eddie's on... and not a soul in sight in either direction.
This one fell victim to the all-arounder (two-handed bonefish :cool: ). They aren't always big but they're always fun.
and sometimes they are big AND fun...
11-13-2004, 02:10 PM
I am looking out my window at the cold Atlantic and snow on the ground and I have to look at those pictures of Bahamian flats!!!!! grrrrrrrr
I have done Spanish Wells and Harbour Island and mainland Eleuthera.
There are many flats on Eleuthera but you need a rental car because they
are so spread out as some of you already know but it is a good DIY site.
I, personally would like to see Acklin's or one of the more southern islands because I have never been, but no matter where you all decide count me in.
Juro...have you ever communicated with Mark Dougherty on the boards..he is a wealth of info on the Abacos...in fact he and I were going to do a trip but it got ruined by the hurricanes...I will have him chime in with info.
Awesome news Sean!
Jay things might work out afterall for your return from the middle east in March; I found out that the Seattle fly show is Feb 11, 12, 13, 2005 at Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue and hope to attend the Kaufmann's Spey Days on the Skykomish the following weekend so I might be SOL for any additional time off in February.
Late Jan; early or late March or early April work best for me.
Flyfishing Forum will have a booth in Wilmington March 12-13. I'll make the Sandy Clave in May, then the flats light up around here.
11-14-2004, 12:41 AM
I've missed the Sandy Clave the last 2 years due to "unforseen obiligations." I am making the next one come hell or high water. I cant bank on being back for the show in mid feb. Its hard to tell. I am working out some post-military employment kinks as we speak. That'll ultimately determine what my schedule works out to be. If I can swing a trip like this, I will. I'll do a little research on bahamas weather pattern trends. But, its looking good and I shouldnt be employed until the first week of June (when the fishing season starts in AK).
11-14-2004, 11:11 AM
Current historic complete weather data in any time duration format you wish can be found at the following link. I did a monthly view for the months of March looking back over the last 4 years. I do not know if the precip. data is accurate or incomplete. The Icon said rain, but the precip data was blank.....on all graphs I could dig up. I dont know if its accurate. It has to rain sometime...right? Anyhow, this link should give the planners a better idea.
Weather Underground Kicks @$$! I went to NOAA first, but Goverment websites when looking for usable data arent very friendly.
11-15-2004, 02:03 PM
I have fished Abaco a few times.....the Marls , Cherokee Sound..Robinson Bight,,,
I have stayed in places for $75 a night (2 bedrooms, fully equiped) and have split the costs with a few other folks for a 4 bedroom , 2 full bath with laundry for $1700 a week (On Casurina Point) I have some good contacts there for meals
that are out of this world for $15 a night !!! I usually DIY a fw days and guide a few....here is a link for the casurina point house...cool place....hope this helps...
and YES i am up for a trip !!!
One more decent place in Cherokee.....
First a few points:
I respectfully suggest that we only post direct links and such if accompanied by a cost estimate and summary of it's endearing characteristics. We could easily get to the point where we have too much information, which is better than not enough but still let's keep this very focused.
Secondly, we need to settle on some core parameters: What, when, where, who (then how, how much, etc).
What is a given; when is next, then where.
I would like to do this in December, March or April. Any thoughts on timing out there?
11-17-2004, 09:41 AM
I would be interested in March or April depending on cost and exact dates. December is tight with the holidays and all and would make the turnaround time tough. It is a bit of a toss up between March and April for me. I think the later in Spring you get the more favorable the historical weather but then its closer to our prime fishing time. Are we definitely thinking Bahamas or is Mexico, PR or others an option. I think it would make sense if we could just pick a two week time frame and then search based on how many would like to go. If we don't nail down the who and when the where becomes difficult.
11-17-2004, 09:48 AM
My financial advisor (wife) hinted that she may be agreeable to me heading down to Abaco in December. I plan on guiding 3 days and 2 DIY. Where: Marls or Cherokee Sound or both with guide.....Robinsons and Little Bay DIY. Housing:
....guess it depends on # of guys....big house 4 guys 425 a pop....small place fewer guys....nickles and dimes....I was thinking mid-month, baby moon time.....
I saw some tide charts......looks like we could hit the rising tides in the morning and have a shot at them around 1-3 PM....
11-17-2004, 10:17 AM
Does this board have the option of starting a Poll. That would at least get us pointed in the right general direction wouldnt it - to narrow down the "When" portion?
March or April works for me (as it stands right now)
11-17-2004, 11:58 AM
Just thinking out loud here...there's no doubt that the more participants, the more 'offset' the cost of lodgings and vehicle rental is. I do offer though that a group "too large" can work against the DIY aspect. If you've got 10 guys and only one or two vehicles...competition for casting room on any DIY flats would be fierce!!! With that many folks in the fray, the potential for "hard-feelings" would certainly be high. Also, the more "prime" the season...the more competition from other "non-boneclave" anglers you're going to have.
I'd vote to go to Mayaguana and rent/bring/borrow/steal some sort of watercraft so folks could all spread out. This is one location that having a large group of anglers would be a benefit...re: the price of a charter/scheduled flight there isn't as reasonable as Andros or Eleuthera but when you have a light planeload...well?. The DIY (with light watercraft) flats there are vast I understand and close to home. One rental vehicle or even taxi could shuttle the group in a number of trips without trouble. Also...I don't believe Mayaguana has ever been recognised as a DIY destination only because there are easier/cheaper places to get to.
I seen from your earlier posts that you've shown a fair bit of interest in Spanish Wells...I'd reconsider that aspect if I were you because you're trapped on a small Island that receives heavy DIY pressure. You'd be better off finding someplace on South or Central Eleuthera (below the Glass Window Bridge because it's verging on impassible). Lots of flats and places to stay down there.
My Bonefishing trips (at this point) are already booked for the time being...just trying to offer a few ideas for you fine folks to throw around.
I hope you don't mind me budding in on your serious efforts to put together a wonderful adventure.
Best regards buddy,
Bahamas archipelago - Acklins, Eleuthera, Grand Bahamas, Abaco, or other DIY destination with lots of bones
March or April (tbd)
Probable who's include:
... (already enough to make a good rental opportunity happen!)
(Deerhaawk, others from previous posts... please confirm interest)
Converge on an island, share a car / lodging / fly tying table / stories / stogies / kaliks and walk, stalk, rock the flats!
BTW: Example of a special fare from Boston to Ft.Lauderdale connection point to bahamasair is $163 round trip if booked before Dec 31, 2004 and flight orig. on or before April 1.
man does this sound awesome! Too bad all my vaca time is already booked up.
RE Spanish Wells. We rented a place on the water that had small bonefish all over right in front. It seemed not ideal though from a fishing standpoint, as there was a lot of grass covered "flats" of about 3-4 ft not ideal for wading. Now that was on the NW side of the island, and i never really ventured much further on foot.
Regarding boats...watch it around the reefs!!! We went through "the devil's backbone" off of SW and man even with GPS and a keen eye, that Staghorn came popping through the water a bit too close for my liking a few times. Renting the boat was awesome though, as it opened up a whole other scenario of reef fishing for large jacks and what not.
11-19-2004, 01:20 AM
Sounds like a Blowout, but I just can't make the #s and dates jive. Just signed up for classes and I got to stick with that comit. Besides I got friends South, bout 1 1/2 hours out of La Paz that have been sayin "Amigo, no mas La Paz?" I think I will be staying "Westside" this time.
Big trip back East next Summer / Fall, got to start saving for that.
Its a tough one....
11-19-2004, 07:40 AM
This is looking pretty good....
March or April 2005 would be fine for me...either one.
It would be fun to see one of the islands way down south in the Bahamas but
I am open to anywhere there is good fishing and the group decides.
The Abacos have a lot of great DIY sites but the distances require a rental car
and that is expensive but with a group you could do it. Eleuthera is similar.
There are a couple of guys on the net that have Abacos information on
the flats to go to and house rentals etc.....I will tap their knowledge if we decide
on that island group.
Mark/Chris are you out there ????
Keep me in the loop...and thanks Juro for your help in all of this.
11-19-2004, 08:07 AM
For the Washingtonians.....
I am finding flights from Seatac to Ft. Lauderdale during march and april from 200 to about 275. Flights on from Lauderdale to Nassau are between 100 and 200 bucks. these are all round trip fares.
From the adventure standpoint, Acklins is the place. 1,000 square miles of bonefish flats... on the lee of one island (including Crooked Island). It's not convenient in fact we will have to lose a day of fishing one way unless we charter a plane for about $300 each r/t vs. $100-150.
From a convenience standpoint with big returns on cost, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, heck they are all good values.
Not critical but a rugged destination won't help me gather information to set up the couple's clave next year. The ultimate clave... they shop, we fish :)
I do not want to go back to Exuma DIY because of the Exuma guide's association and their feeling that people have no right to fish on their own. This is not true, in fact the Bahamian government sells permits to fish on one's own. Although no one will check it's good to have this paperwork because it guides will have to acknowledge. I loved the island and would go back if I was hiring a guide in a heartbeat though. I just don't want to be hassled about fishing. Andros, although the premier destination for bonefishing, is bottled up pretty tight from what I hear as well. Another place to go on planned trips but not necessarily DIY. So let's rule these out this time around.
Grand Bahama has tons of amenities, cheap lodging and three primary areas to stalk flats (west, north, east). Frequent flights to this main island. Car rentals are easy to find and cheap as is lodging, Port Lucaya is a spring break destination (cheap amenities). Good exploration point for a couples clave as well.
Abaco and Eleuthera seem to be similar, although I hear the Eleuthera is the prettier of the islands and might be the best all-around package. I am sure Abaco would make a good follow-up setting as well for a potential couples clave. Both would require car rental to get around, but if shared that is not a big deal. Driving on the other side of the road is a trip but you get used to it.
Long Island has some of the most walkable DIY flats in the chain, and great lodging with amenities. It's in the rural category from what I hear, so if we are going rural without the future scouting potential then we might as well go all the way and explore Acklins. Car would be required as well in rural settings.
All of the Bahamian chain has more bonefish than where we come from. I think any of the islands would be fun and productive. So it boils down to DIY quality, amenities, cost, and lastly sniffing out the couples clave location for 2006.
What are the thoughts... wild and unexplored (Acklins) or convenient with follow-up benefits? My sensible side says "scout out the couples clave possibilities" and my wild angler side says "Acklins mon!"...
11-19-2004, 10:04 AM
Making the Buck stretch the best is my only concern. I figured there was fish to be had just about anywhere. Since this is also a scouting trip for the "couple's clave" we might as well kill 2 bones with one fly. Those are my pennies.
Since I have never been to the Bahamas before, or fished for Bones before.....Its gonna kick some major @$$ no matter where it is from my standpoint. As long as there is a cold beverage, a little sunshine, and some fly fishing.....not much else is too overly important. :cool:
11-19-2004, 11:24 AM
The wild remote sure sounds appealing. Hassle free DIY is a must. Scouting for a couples venue would be great if you could do it but it seems you could do that remotely (net, word of mouth) thus should be low on the list of priorities.
11-19-2004, 12:56 PM
Yeeeeesssssss!! :Eyecrazy: :Eyecrazy: I've been waiting for this thread all year. I don't care what the date is I'm in. I don't know anything about the Bahamas so I don't know how reliable any research from me would be, but I 'll do anything possible to help out.
Enthusiasm is a major ingredient of a successful trip! You're in buddy.
11-19-2004, 07:11 PM
After an afternoon phone call with Juro, I broached the subject with my darling bride. I'm not too sure what this means, but she started to laugh. Not just a simple laugh. But one of those uncontrolable belly laughs that's accompanied by tears rolling from the eyes and a trip to the bathroom. :confused: I left her in the throne room and went to work. A call to home 2 hours later found my wfe laughung so hard she couldn't speak. :confused: :frown:
My wedding anniversary is in 2 days. This could get costly. :wink:
11-20-2004, 09:47 AM
Juro. I have e- mailed Dick Brown and Stephen Vletas. Both athorities on the fishing in the Out Islands and will be back with their responses ASAP. Asked Steve for a sponsorship. I think Dick is a member as he found me on this site for questions about Andros. Please include me for this Clave. Have you checked out Green Turtle Cay off Abaco? I want to go there really bad! Great flats on the Nortn and south end! I will send an a great shots from satellite.
11-20-2004, 10:00 AM
Hope this works! If not just type out www.go-abacos.com and click from there.
We're looking for:
a) DIY hassle-free and easy conditions
b) pricing per head with 6-10 participants (currently at 7/8 heads)
c) amenities - car, boats, kayaks, promixity to flats, etc.
d) potential for couples clave in 2006
Can you confirm Abacos based on this criteria for the group? Thanks!
BTW - I certainly appreciate and look forward to having your enthusiasm and great team spirit on our oddysey.
11-20-2004, 05:31 PM
Juro. Yes I can. $160-$230 roundtrip to Ft. Lauderdale. $250 roundtrip to Treasure Cay via Bahamas Air. $16 roundtrip ferry to Green Turtle Cay. Housing is $1800 a week. Golf carts are only transportation and hold four at $50 a day. Boston Whalers are available for $80 a day on your dock of chosing. I would say we could do it with ten for about $750 per person all said and done. My wife's cousin has traveled extensively in the Out Islands and says Green Turtle is a Jewel!!!!! Also perfect for couples that don't mind the rural aspect of this small island.
Check out www.flyfishingconnection.com and look for Green Turtle Cay. Great article.
Due to it's size I would suggest fishing in pairs and rotating shots at fish while the shouldered rod sights fish and sharks. That way we don't have 4-5 on a flat all fishing at the same time. The bones on Green Turtle are shy enough at it is but VERY large. Spanish Wells is a definate no no! Too small.
February-March are fickle months for cold fronts. I say the south tip of Long Island below Deadmans Cay is our best bet and this comes from Steve Vletas who just emailed me. Says to check out Chez Pierre for accomedations. I will look into it.
Steve co- wrote the book Bahamas Flyfishing Guide with his wife. He also has a great web site that provides free advice at www.bahamasflyfishingguide.com
Told me today we need to go as far south as possible in February and March to avoid cold fronts.
11-20-2004, 05:58 PM
Juro. http://chezpierrebahamas.com has cottages for about $10 per night double with breakfast and dinner included. I'd rather stay in a home but 10-12 guys! That's a lot of bedrooms! Check this out for the spouses though. May be more to their liking. I will look into rentals. This is a DIY destination that I think we should really consider. The roundtrip flight will be pricey because of it's distance from Fl. but it will be warmer than any island to the north. Thus, more time spent on the water is priceless!
11-20-2004, 06:00 PM
Whoops!!!!! Sorry. $130 a night at Chez Pierre.
11-20-2004, 06:57 PM
The trip I been waiting for,for ages,unfortantly I've just lost my job and started a new one so I'm going to have put it off for a year.I'm gutted! :(
Just looking forward to seeing the report.
Very nice accomodations indeed, however I am not sure this is what we all had in mind for cost. $130 per night in half times 6 still equals more than the whole trip could cost by more modest rental arrangement, a vacation rental home to be specific.
I think we could do the whole trip for around the same as the lodging would cost here. We should keep this in mind for the couples clave though.
I examined Green Turtle Cay by aerial and found that it has only one flat at the south end of the island. Is this the right cay?
IMHO (open to discussion) 4 people on a flat is fine. Two would work in one direction, the other two in another direction and small walkie talkies are handy. In Exuma, I worked the wrong way in the morning while Eddie and John went the right way hooking multiples with plenty of shots. After lunch, I returned the favor by taking the right way getting countless shots and hooking multiples including the badass that broke off after a long fight an easy 10 plus#'er. Two and two per flat is not a big deal provided they are working different patterns on a flat, in fact there were some flats where 20 people could have worked segments of the same flat without a problem (lee side Barraterre flat in the evening for example).
It's about the same as Monomoy, give or take, and we have a lot of experience with that as a group.
Tell Steve thanks, his book was our guide the last time down in the islands!
We'll be doing this every winter!
11-20-2004, 07:43 PM
After a breather from all the excitement of having a Bonefish Clave I did some serious thinking about the enormity of all this. It's one thing putting a trip together with a buddy but 10 or 12 is realisticlly going to be a tremendous challange!!! Also beware that any traveled Bahamas fishermen will tell you horror stories about Bahamasair. Any hopper to the Out Islands should be chartered so as no one gets left behind or their baggage lost. The Rip Trips were a piece of cake compared to this HUGE undertaking. Hats off to you if we can pull it as a group. Not trying to burst any bubbles.
A date MUST be chosen first and foremost so that members can research and commit to an airline. A hotel must be arranged near the airport in the event the hopper charter can not fly that afternoon or evening. Not everyone will arrive on time for the hopper because morning flights into Fl. are not always available. Everyone coming must be physically fit to withstand the sun and heat and have the patience to stand on a flat for long periods of time. They hopefully can cast into the usual 20 knot breezes the magazine articles neglect to spend time talking about to the tune of 60 feet. So on so forth. Do we bring only experienced flats junkies or teach a new game to those less knowledgeable. Cold fronts are serious problems for flats anglers and although no one can predict the skunk days one must be happy to just be there regardless of the weather. I will gladly commit to the southern islands in February but nothing north of Long Island. Been ther done that. Cold fronts stink!
Visuals to heighten the mood!
Last year Eddie and I talked about renting a boat and camping on the Exuma Cays chain. Check out the string of islands, and the flats structures on these islands (shown in detail on these aerials). This would eliminate our hotel costs, and four to a boat would put us in a good situation with two boats, 8 people. I believe the maximum distance between cays is only several miles, and there are 365 of them. Safety in numbers, two boats, etc. It's kind of crazy, something to think about - but then again this is the ridiculous clave :cool:
11-20-2004, 08:09 PM
Juro. The Southern flat is very large from the air. Coco Bay to the north is pretty big and there are flats near town. Please read the article I mentioned on The Flyfing Connections' site for more details. Steve raves about Green Turtle on his web site. My only concern is how far north it is for February. It appears the aerial photo was taken at high tide and does not show Coco bay as well. Manjack Cay is a whole nother story!!! If you want big Monomoy expansive flats, look no further than Long Island below Deadmans' Cay. Guides are only charging $250 a day if you want one. $ 450 on Andros!!! last bargain remaining in the Out Islands that I know of. Used to be you could stay a week with the Knowles boys and fish with a guide all week for under $800!!! Times have changed and they learned from the northern boys!!! Good has come though. Less poverty and nicer lodging.
Here is a meta-view of the region (without Acklins).
Most likely your browser will shrink to fit. Hold the mouse over the image until the icon with the four corner arrows appears. Click on that to show full view, scroll around with the scroll bars.
11-21-2004, 01:10 AM
Hmmmmm, Ridiculous and Adventurous.........I'll Island hop and Camp. That would be a trip NOT for the faint of heart. I bet you wouldnt see ANYONE else. I dont know, but I am going to venture a guess that A bunch of itty bitty Islands a few miles apart would probably have a whole bunch of unmolested fish.
You could basically pack as you would for a backpacking trip in to the backcountry. I dont think it would be too hard to make a run here and there for fresh water, and supplies.....would it?
I can see a deserted island, a good drift wood camp fire, a couple of Cuban stoges, and a glass or 2 of Scotch.......talk about a fishing vacation!
That will also cut the cost down, AND accomodate the number of people. The only thing to worry about then is Boats and a good maps. I can bring 3 motorola radios, and a really good GPS for Navigatin'
Just a thought. I'm down either way (as long as it remains affordable)
Camping introduces it's own set of problems to solve, like bedding, cooking, essentially bringing more stuff. However the Exuma chain stretching northward is supposed to be a boaters dream with fishing and camping permitted anywhere outside of the sea park government grounds about mid-way up. There is no guides association up there, it's DIY heaven.
Not saying this is what we'll do, just considering that if we are not scouting for the couples clave and talking rugged then it's just something to ponder while there is still time.
11-21-2004, 11:36 AM
I would have some concerns with camping due to the equipment required. Airlines these days are very strict on number of bags ($75 for each bag over 2) and searches etc (coleman propane tanks forget about it)... Seems like it could turn into a logistical nightmare trying to get the required gear and if they lose a bag where do they deliver it to? Not to mention weight requirements on the small plains heading to the out islands. I don't might roughing it accomodations wise but camping just seems like it could turn bad in a hurry if we hit some snags.
11-21-2004, 12:01 PM
I hear your concerns about camping but I tell you that it can be done. I have not camped down in the Bahamas or the Caribbean but I have camped and island hopped by plane in Alaska. I also traveled to South America with a single pack and camped and hiked and went to the beach for weeks on end.
In this case it would be one pack for your tent and your clothes and your cooking stuff. Then another bag for your fishing stuff. That is it.
You have to pack like a backpacker - not a Boneclaver. Backpacking stoves are fairly cheap and these single burner stoves work pretty damn well. They can even burn gasoline but they gunk up over time. A decent backpacking tent costs around $125 at LL Bean. Bedding comes in the form of a camping mat. All pots and pans are compact and they tend to pack into one another so that 3 pots take up little space.
And the best news for you: I probably will not make the Ridiculous Clave. So if it goes down with an island camping flair then you can borrow all of my camping gear for the occasion.
But if it turns into a camping trip I also might make a go of it. That sounds too cool. But yes, it is by no means posh and camping is by no means as relaxing as some seaside cabin with a fresh supply of rum nearby.
Good luck men,
Island hopping is still an option, but here's an option for our own island for a little over $400 each... boat included in little Deadman's Cay.
Didn't Ginny Wellman used to post here? Name rings a bell.
I especially like the 12 mile long peninsula within walking distance and the exclusive use of the island.
Here's one on Eleuthera... $100 a night sleeps 6. Four could go comfortably and rent a car with what's left over from the $25 per day!
Turks and Caicos, I guess there are affordable places after all, this one is brand new and sleeps 8 for $1700 per the week...
Total pkg price blows out T&C though (flights)
11-22-2004, 07:15 AM
Check this out guys. $40.00 per night per person plus food and gas. Sleeps eight!!!
Limited travel area though. I'm game for this one! Even with cold fronts!
11-22-2004, 07:49 AM
Here are some places that seem reasonable.
This one on Abaco works out to 214 duckets a person (7 people)
This one on Exuma for 300 duckets a person (6 people) No extra for additional bodies (lowering the cost per person additional)
ORRRR......here is yet another........This one looks pretty cool.
You are hot on the trail! Eddie and I looked at this hard last year but the boats are on the windy side of the island and you are only allowed to stay in the harbor so we decided to go with a cottage and car. Granted this has some nice water especially on the south end of the bay, and other species besides just bones would be amazing dinner fare including lobsters by diving for them.
Another good option to consider though.
11-22-2004, 08:37 AM
North Andros: www.CoakleyHouse.com
and right next door: www.georgespoint.com
Stayed in the villas two years ago. We could divide between both for total of ten people and I know the area well. Boats are available for Fresh Creek. Young Sound flat down the road is huge and Sommersett Creek flat is also good. Lots oof potential for DIY. Small Hope Bay Lodge has a charther flight out of Ft. Lauderdale for about $260 round trip.
I am under the impression that Andros, Exuma (main island) and sections of other islands are not DIY friendly.
Do you think Andros guides mind if we stay at the lodge where they hang out and DIY around town? After our experiences at Exuma I want to get away from guide-driven business areas personally although Andros would be first on my list of places to go if not for this element. OK maybe Acklins first, then Andros.
11-22-2004, 08:56 AM
From what I have been able to dig up, Eleuthera seems to be the DIY Mecca.
We gotta lock down a date and location to do any real, concrete planning. There are places that will accomdate our price target as well as the number of Clavers all over the place. Which Island is the operative question. I vote Eleuthera ( seems to accomodate the DIY aspect the best).
I like Eleuthera as well for the following reasons:
- great cheap lodging options and amenities
- great DIY attitude (laid back, accessible)
- good access by plane, ferry and cheap fares
- pretty place and a good candidate for couples clave
- car is a must, maybe two. However split between 4+4 it would be peanuts
- northern location might be slightly more susceptible to weather
- less overall flats than some (Acklins, 1000 sq miles of flats)
I guess it boils down to super rugged adventure (Acklins, Island hopping) or good package all-around (Eleuthera).
11-22-2004, 11:12 AM
Well, I am at a total loss after reading some past posts on this very subject.
Smart, educated fish (centrally located to easy DIY access)......Not soooo good
Not so Smart, Not so edumucated fish (located away from DIY pleasures)......V-E-R-Y good in my book!
The camping / Island hopping hard-core trip suddenly took on a more appealing twist in my opinion.
Camp fires and Un-educated Bones VS. Hot Showers and Plush Linnens (with SMART Bones)
After all, it will be Native Steel season on the OLYPEN streams...... Dry Camping.......NO WAY! :hihi: I cant remember the last time I camped and it was warm, and dry.
The weather, vacation rental, travel and other informational links that do not conflict with our sponsorship programs are fine - but let's not post links to FF businesses like guide services in these threads.
We need to maintain our sponsorship / promotional rules as evenly as possible across the board.
CARRY ON! :)
11-22-2004, 02:08 PM
I'm leaving any decisions on place up to you guys, quick question though..... We will have seven days if I understand correctly. Could some of us pop over to Acklins, Andros etc for a day trip with or w/o a guide if we wanted to break up the week a little? Realize there would be additional costs, my concerns would be with travel time, transportation etc. Just a thought ==== Dave
11-22-2004, 08:31 PM
Dick Brown mailed me back. Said to look into the Berry Islands. Carl Richards brought 10-12 guys there recently. There are some villas available. I looked into this bnefore the Androa trip but the charter for two was too pricey. The Bonefish Villas is very nice and holds quite a few people. Johnny Glenn, a local guide I know has flyfished there and loved it except for the cold fronts. I'll start doing some more research and get back. Wonderful place with huge flats!!!!! Great Harbor is the main town with a Marina. Percy Darville is a very famous guide there.
I know Percy believe it or not. He has made me an offer to fish with him in exchange for the Atlantis All-arounder.
As far as group DIY dynamics, I have to wonder (once again) if we would be walking into a guide-oriented area with intent to DIY?
What are your thoughts on that Phil?
11-22-2004, 09:30 PM
I talked to Percy by phone two years ago. Said I should use him for one day to familiarize myself with the area as not to waste valuable time looking for fish. Didn't seem to mind Mike and I exploring on our own. Boats are available as water taxi's for our crew. Tropical Diversions operates the villas and I am having trouble calling them. I'll give Percy another shout over the weekend.
11-23-2004, 06:49 PM
Juro. I have info on lodging and charter flights to the Berry Islands. Villa hold eight and there is a dock for our shuttle. Please PM me as i cannot seem to get it to work on my Mac. I lost your phone #. You may still have mine. You've got to see the aerials of the Berry Island chain on the site you mailed me. You'll want to be there NOW! I saw them once and asked the pilot to please leave us there instead! Bimini pales by comparison.
11-23-2004, 07:52 PM
from outer space. Be sure and check out the Berrys! Have fun flats junkies!
Someone please teach me how to allow you to just click on this to save typing!
Scotty! Please beam me over to the Berry Islands NOW!
11-24-2004, 12:22 AM
Hmmmmm, Ridiculous and Adventurous.........I'll Island hop and Camp. That would be a trip NOT for the faint of heart. I bet you wouldnt see ANYONE else. I dont know, but I am going to venture a guess that A bunch of itty bitty Islands a few miles apart would probably have a whole bunch of unmolested fish.
In Belize my wife and i ran into a couple with kids who were going to be camping for their holiday. If they can do it down there, anyone could do it in the Bahamas. The main problem would be fresh water. I've been interested in pulling off a camping trip invlolving boats down there since I met that family but I'm booked up until 2007 already. Keep my name on your list for future trips of this type. What's this couples clave I've heard mentioned ?
11-24-2004, 05:39 AM
Hey Gammarus - I'm gonna need to log a few trips and do some learning before I ever embark on an island hopping adventure (at least on my own).
As for the sat. imagery of the Berry Islands........I see a lot of white (which I translate into bone fish habitat) sooo, that works for me!! When are we going? :hihi:
11-24-2004, 08:00 AM
Villa for eight is $300 a night. One area has bunk beds for four that are doable. Beach out front can be slept on if neccesary. RT flight will be about $1800 for all eight passengers. Will will need to split the cost of a boat to get us out to the flats. There is a store in town for food. We should plan a trip around the arrival of the mail boat for fresh food.
Looks like anywhere we go will finish up running at least $950-$1050 per person for the week unless we live off of granola bars and walk everywhere.
Rt to Fl.---------$200-$250
Charter---------$250 incl. Bahamian tax
Villas------------$265 for seven nights
boat-------------$100 per person
food & water--$120 maybe less
Total------------$1045 conservativley speaking so plan on at least that. Still, not bad for a week in paradise.
Thanks for the exhaustive effort and high spirited investigation. It has only served to heighten my interest in this clave.
However this is too much $ for me. Personally, I am starting to think the cost effective rental in Eleuthera, Little Deadmans, or something down in Acklins / Crooked is the way to go.
Unless I am mistaken,
R/t FLL was $163 last I checked
noncharter flight $150 r/t or fast ferry $100 r/t
split cabana rental $150 each
car rental at North Eleuth. is $45/day split or $80/day for 7 psgr van
right around $550 plus groceries and bbq fare
11-24-2004, 10:09 AM
Sorry to do this but I need to take myself out of the running on this one. I did some quick math on the vacation time and I won't be able to swing this trip (along with already planned family vacations) and still have enough days to spend some weekday time on the flats around here this summer. I really want to get dialed in on the Stripers next year and will save the bonefish for another year. I am sure I will be kicking myself in March but hopefully thanking myself in July.
11-24-2004, 10:26 AM
Juro. The ball is in your court. I have phone #'s for rentals on Long Is..
Let me know.
I will be able to dig into detailed packages during the holiday, if anyone else can too please do so.
For now how about we start by setting some goals:
1) spending limit
2) objectives (already set - DIY, cost, etc per earlier posts)
then we can crunch more on that.
My spending limit before food is $600-700. $500 is better. This includes flight, lodging, and some form of transportation.
Please chime in with your spending limits.
11-24-2004, 11:09 AM
Juro - its going to wrap up 400 at least just to get to the Bahamas.....
Bonefishmon's estimate was on in my book - thats about what we were all originally planning.
I did alot of math and figuring and I couldnt do any better.
There are some cheap places to stay on Andros, but thats all guide territory (which I thought we were trying to avoid.)
At this point in the game - I'm beyond caring about cost as long as its within reason. A week of Bonefishing in the Bahamas for a 1000 - Thats Reasonable from my standpoint. I am going to cash in a couple weeks of leave to be able to go on this trip....but I am damn sure going.
11-24-2004, 04:25 PM
Juro is right as far as doing it dirt cheap when the flights are reasonable. I've tried to keep two trips under $750 but fell prey to eating out and the nickle and dime stuff always piles up fast. Lots of little stuff that goes overseen like arrival fees both ways, taxis, tips, and the usual gifts to bring home. Can't go home without supporting some of the natives in the form of necklaces and baskets!!! They were a big hit back home and made everyone that missed me very happy. My son has been wearing an Andros necklace like a rope bracelet! Won't take it off! Paid one guy $100 to drive me all over North Andros. Best 100 bucks I ever spent and he dove for fresh conch for lunch! He's building a small hotel and resturant and I stay for free when it's done. Last time I went back to Andros I bought ten junior size basketballs and nylon rope b ball nets for the kids in three school systems. They were playing round ball with volley balls on the privious visit with no nets on the rims. Kids were
estatic last I heard. These people are very kind hearted so I give in return. I never had a problem DIY with the guides and never saw one when I was fishing. They usually think you work at the local Naval Base (AUTEC) and leave you alone anyway!
Several of the Base guys have flats boats. I visited the base with a teacher I met at Hank's Place and she gave me a tour. She took me to her house and sat me in a chair near a small oceanside mangrove creek. The small bones arrived first on the incoming and then the 10 lbers. showed. She ran to the house and got some bread for the monsters that showed up after the ten pounders! One of um had to be 16-17 lbs. and swam right up to us for bread!!!!!!!! Came back the next day with a ten weight and got skunked. How do you tie a bread fly?!!!!!! I can go on and on and on! Suffice to say there's more to the Bahamas than the fishing. Oh, by the way! I learned in a hurry that things must slow down when you get there or it makes them nervous! Go slow. Accept whatever life brings on. I'm a changed man. How did I get my handle? It's music to my ears! Bonefishmon! 12 O'clock and coming fast! Cast now mon! Short stripes LONG stripes you're on!!!!!!!
11-24-2004, 04:56 PM
Juro. I think it's time to start a new signup thread! This one got our attention and now it's time to start the ball rolling. Anyway, I'm in and can afford $1000+. Week of March 23-30 is out due to wedding anniversary. As far as location goes I personally like a larger area such as Long Island. Less chance of cold fronts to ruin the fishing experience due to it's southern location. If this trip gets popular we are going to need lots of space to roam! Steve Vletas has contacts for housing and says there is no question= Deadmas Cay for DIY fishing, period. Spouses will love Cape Santa Maria or Stella Maris Resort on the northern tip for the next visit. Lots of nice flats up there too but not as big. Or $130 a night in a cottage w/ breakfast and dinner at Chez Pierre. Check it out on www.bahamasflyfishingguide.com Juro, I did ask Steve for sponsorship so I could mention his site and book.
11-25-2004, 01:44 AM
To answer your three questions:
1. Any price (within reason) I'm not going to let a couple of hundred deter me from the clave of a lifetime. (Swipe now pay later).
2. Bones, Bones, Bones on the fly!!!
3. This has the priority with me for vaca. time. I can't do May but that shouldn't be a problem.
It doesn't matter the numbers, I am 100% in!!
I agree with bonefishmon we need to start a new thread......
11-25-2004, 02:41 AM
Dave..........I agree with you 110%!!! Once in a lifetime trip (potentially) and I am IN.
Phil..........you mention Navy. If there is a U.S. Military Installation near by our final destination......I can save us some scratch on boats. Military always has an Outdoor Recreation service. With me being Military.......I can get boats (if they have them) for pretty much dirt cheap. GUARANTEED cheaper than anywhere else for Non-Military. That'll take a little more coordination on my end, but if we decide thats where we are going, and military is near by.......I'll hook us up!
Also, if any of these places we are looking at staying has a Military Discount....I can get that too. A penny saved is a Penny earned.
11-25-2004, 08:47 AM
Go to keyword AUTEC to find thier site. Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center. Owned by Rathyeon. Located two miles south of opening to Fresh Creek, North Andros.
Happy Thanksgiving fellow forum members!
Juro, I have been reading this thread and have wanted to get involved, but have had reservations because I still have one boy in college and spend so much time on the Cape. I finally asked the boss, and she said ok, as long as the foreseeable oblications are funded. Well, I think I can do that, and since I have never been to the Bahamas, I need to go.
Based on the text, it sounds like Long Island (south) is the location in March. Now, if there is an opening, it is a matter of setting the date, specific location, and logistics.
Have you considered tides for the date. I would think that new or full moon tides with approproiate times for daylight fishing would drive the decision on dates.
11-25-2004, 06:21 PM
I would be careful about picking the spring tides in some locations. I found that on the big tides during my trip the fish would go so far back into the mangroves that you could only find them exiting on the drop. Just something to think about.
11-25-2004, 07:32 PM
I have learned from others that flats fish the Bahamas frequently say to look for the tides following both the new and full moon periods. For instance, the neap tides tend to be slower and offer more favorable water depths. They do not however sweep the large quanties of food off the flats that the bigger tides tend to do. So, in theory, the two to three days after the new and full moon tides tend to be less exagerated yet flow faster than a neap tide thus moving more shrimp and worms off the flats. For the wading angler this is critical for finding tailing fish late afternoon and morning when the sun is not high enough to sight fish or it's too cloudy. Bad tide timing can cause problems for the wading angler. Boats can cover the movement of the tides and provide an advantage. A dead low at dawn at the start of the fishing week has always been my goal a few days after the big tides.It's time to pack the gear for some broodstock salmon fishing tomorrow.
You're IN! Glad to hear it too, a fellow Monomoy flats rat is always welcome on a bonefish trip in my book. The similarities are amazing, in fact I would have to say that each has helped the other dramatically for me over the years even though this will only be my 10th bonefish trip which can't compare to the days on Monomoy.
Long Island is not a sure thing yet, the flats in the Deadman's Cay area require a boat to access and the jury is out on the DIY friendliness. We should not rule out Eleuthera for a huge range of options from end to end, lodging options are excellent and DIY friendliness tops. If we can manage a workable Acklins tour that would be the ultimate for fishing the 1,000 square miles of bonefish flats whose shoreward edges are accessible without a boat, not to mention that both Acklins and Crooked are largely unexplored bonefish habitat like Columbus would have seen.
We have been mulling over some very good options, and we need to nail down the destination in December but let's leave the options open for a little longer until we can process the information overload.
Welcome to team bonefish!
11-26-2004, 12:37 AM
Just to throw a wrench into your gears...the more popular the DIY destination of choice...the more likely it is that prime rentals will be already booked (or going fast) during the prime months of March, April and May. Perhaps you should start making availability inquiries for some of your possible destinations. The availability or non-availability of rentals may be a determining factor of where you'll go.
I leave for the Yucatan for a two week boneanza this Sunday...trip report when I get back. Gonna give my "Ultimate Shrimp" patterns a workout.
11-26-2004, 08:26 AM
This thread continues....in the Bonefishing Forums. Juro has spoken!!!
Actually, I have not spoken at all, other than to keep the field of view wide enough to avoid tunnel vision. I agree the deadline for deciding on the location coming up quickly, but am not prone to jump to conclusions before all the legwork is done.
Based on others posts and out of consideration for bandwidth, I started a new thread as requested (each time a big thread is read it loads the whole thing including the images I put in there).
Things seem to be reaching a more thought-out approach as time passes, IMHO. Keep the ideas coming they are great!
11-27-2004, 08:23 AM
Whoops! Sorry Juro. Spoken was meant to be 'responded'. Spent some time doing housing searches and came up ditto for our price range in the Acklins-Crookeds. Not much there and what is available is very pricey. Have you found anything there? Cherokee Sound on Abaco is another option.
12-02-2004, 08:36 AM
just received a coupon from NW Airlines and these rates apply to the NE corridor
$188 if we leave on tues or wed and 208 other days with a saturday stayover.
Reservations must be made by 12/31/2004. I will give everyone the number to call when the dates are made or if anyone else finds a better fare let us know.
fish we must,