11-14-2004, 07:37 PM
I just stumbled across this board. Looks interesting.
Two buddies and I are going to Exuma in 3 weeks for some unguided bonefishing. We are staying at Master Harbor Villas, a few miles south of Georgetown. All 15 of my previous trips have been to established lodges (mostly Andros ) so this is a bit of an experiment. I hate to think we'll use much of our week figuring out what would have been better to know on day one, so any input here would be greatly appreciated.
Have we I got some inside skinny for you! :smokin:
Contact me via Private Message (click on my name to get to the link). We had the DIY "knack" or maybe dumb luck :hihi:
In any case quite satisfying. Eddie, another member, can also give you the skinny as well - he is friends with a guy who is quite connected in Georgetown.
It's a beautiful place... wish I were going!
01-01-2005, 11:34 PM
I went on a weeklong vacation/fishing trip a couple years ago to George Town. I fished with a great guide while I was down there and caught fish, but the greatest fishing for me was what I found by simply walking the beach while my friend knapped in the afternoons.
Fishing on the atlantic side I found nice schools of small fish as well as cruising singles and doubles. What struck me most was how aggressive the fish were there. Toss a Gotcha anywhere near them and you were on. In fact, the smallest fish were the hardest, being in such skinny water. The bigger cruisers (I got several over 5 pounds) were much easier.
Of course, before going I dutifully tied up the full compliment of bonefish flies, but (like the guide assured me) all I needed was a Gotcha in different sizes and weights. Flies with too much color didn't seem to work - although I did catch a few on chartreuse Clousers and pink Puffs.
One warning, I'd stay away from the flat locals call the Airport Flat (if I remember correctly). It was on the Caribbean side and was reached by a rough car ride down a terrible road. On low tide you can walk across the channel to a mangrove island surrounded by a beautiful flat. Large schools of bones congregate there on a rising tide... and so do the sharks. No joke. They aren't terribly large but they are very aggressive. Any fish bonefish hooked there immediately became live bait and if you did manage to get it away from the sharks long enough to land it, it never made it back to the school.
I fished there with the guide one day and, following some directions from locals, found it again on my own. Of course, didn't realize where I was going at the time, but as I stood there taking in the view from shore I realized I was staring at "shark flat".
Good luck and tight lines,
01-02-2005, 09:09 AM
Bonehead, you nailed it. We spent 3 days fishing in early Dec , most of that on the Airport Flat. I've never seen so many, and hard to catch, bones in my life. Finally figured it out near the end when I went to a light 15" leader, and small muted flies. Anything else spooked them. And the sharks - 5-7 footers - were all over the place, adding to the spookyness. Saw something I've never seen before, sharks working as a group o corral schools of bones.
We also found the fish on the east side to be more like bonefish, but not as many of them.
I was hoping to hear a report, sounds like you had fun! Did you find any of the other locales I talked about, and how 'bout a report to knock off the chill?
01-02-2005, 12:06 PM
We found the Bahama sound areas, but the wind which was out of the south, made it very choppy on the west side. I said in earlier post we fished 3 days, actually 6. We did run into an ugly guide who twice told us we had no business fishing on our own, but we just ignored him. The next time I do it, which may be March, I'd get a small boat and use it to get to the flats on the ocean side, rather than tied to the spots one can walk to. Also, a boat solves the problem of getting beyond the channel that surrounds the whole island.
01-16-2005, 09:55 PM
I was there a year ago , got there by sailboat. When boats get to exuma they have to check in with the local customs people, so after we finished with the legal stuff I asked the customs agent about wading the island for bonefish,,,what a mistake, he literally exploded at me, he was spitting he was so mad,,told me over and over that it is illegal to fish on there land without a guide.. So anyway I did get a guide for a day, like I always do in a new area, had a great time with the guide, caught lots of bones.. Then I went out on my own and had an excellent time.. caught bone after bone up to six lbs.. The flat I concentrated on is between Rolleville, Barreterre and Hog island,,look on a chart and triangulate those three areas and you will see a big bay, at low tide the sand is dry out for at least six hundred yards where it drops off deep, walk out there and just back up and fish as the tide comes in,, great spot,,but as the other guys said you will have sharks coming in with the bones, right at your feet, the sharks follow you as you walk and stir the sand up so I stayed in shin deep water only, it is fairly deep at high tide so keep that in mind.. I tried to rent a boat to go to that side of the island,,no way would they do it. good luck.Just dont broadcast it that your DIY.
01-22-2005, 05:49 PM
I just got back from Exuma on the 18th. Stayed in Peace & Plebty Beach Inn. Accomodations were pretty good, good people at P&P. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go there. My 8 year old nephew, wife and brother in law all caught their first bone on a fly on this trip.
We caught plenty of bones but they were mostly small. If you do go, get a guide the first day, tourism is the number 1 source of income it seems, so support your locals there. We went with Stevie Ferguson and we caught alot of bones with him even though it was windy. Once you've "paid your dues" by hiring a guide strike off some on your own like we did. (we actually tried to go with Stevie 3 days but only ended up hiring him for one day). The airport flat is a great place to fish, alot of bones there and we only say one shark, 7 footer, on that flat. My brother inlaw was standing in waist deep water (in a channel basically) when it appeared from no where, circled him once and disappeared. (pucker factor) He kept fishing....
I recommend that airport flat although you have to fish it on the end of the falling tide a beginning of the rise.
Caught almost all of our bones on light pink small clousers about 1 1/2 inches long.
My wife threw a fly at a 8 - 10 pounder that came up to her "mud" stirred up from walking slowly, must have thought she was a school or a ray. He took a look at the fly and circled once, took another look and slowly moved off up current. Nice fish though.
There are alot of areas to fish on your own but most are a pain to get to. The airport flat is the easiest and best flat.
For food visit Eddies, Palm bay, P&P, Bonefish lodge and Big D's on the north end. Big D's has the best view and good food. Conch salad was great.
01-23-2005, 07:29 PM
We've fished several times with guides in Exuma on the flats. Yes, there are the lemon sharks swimming amongst the casters. None ever bothered us. They DO try to eat the bonefish you've caught and are lifting with your flyrod in order to release them. If you're not careful, you could get bitten by them as you lift the bonefish out of the water so keep that in mind. If you poke the sharks with your rod, they will swim off. I've stayed at several lodges there and when speaking with the guests, none of them were hurt by the lemon sharks. One woman fisher was "bumped" by a shark but not hurt. The airport flats are loaded with bonefish as well as lemon sharks. Incoming tide will bring hundreds of bonefish to the mangrove flats. They are very spooky. But they are there.
Yes, from what I've been reading on the forums, the Exuma guides are getting 'testy" with the DIY flyfishers but that's to be understood as their living depends on guiding. But, it doesn't excuse rudeness to the DIY flyfishers just because they've found a way to fish on their own. After all, many waterside flats condos have been built, touting DIY bonefishing.....wouldn't we all love to just walk out from our condo to a bonefish flat? Believe me, the Exuma guides have plenty of flats to choose from while guiding clients on their flats boats. They don't need to fish the flats so near shore!