Just back from acklins... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Just back from acklins...

03-27-2005, 05:46 PM
Digesting the over-abundance of food at Easter dinner but will get a few pics and reports going.

This time I am going to work hard on a Forum home video (DVD) available for a reasonable donation for those who want the real inside skinny not to mention some really amazing footage of bonefish gone wild (play on words, you know the home videos I am referring to) :lildevl:

Will post some samples when I get a chance.

03-27-2005, 08:42 PM
to fish for bonefish. it is a place of the past. Its small population reflects the limited livelihoods. Harvesting grouper, snapper, spiny lobster and conch are the manly occupations.

It is impolite to not acknowledge people you meet. A wave, hello, or honk of the horn is customery. Religion, family and a sincere interest in others is evident in the island's population. Good people.

Acklins is barren. Its landscape is scrub interspersed with a few pines and palms. Rainfall appears to be minimal. But, what its landscape lacks, its flats, expansive creek systems and cays rule.

There are three bonefish lodges on the island that provide the amenities of good lodging, meals and guides with flats boats. Our group of 8 deferred to a "Do It On Your Own" (DYI) approach.

Without a boat, the options are limited. However, there are opportunities to fish flats, mangrove areas, and one large creek estuary close to the main road. Two flats and creek systems that were explored required walks of up to four miles to access. The rewards were there.

Others will tell their thoughts about the trip. My remembrances will be the people from the island, the clean environment, win/loss ratio,completing and passing flats fishing/sightfishing 101, and the comraderie.

Juro, you did good! A great destination, and without your passion for this type of trip, I would not have it forever imprinted.

I'll be back

03-27-2005, 09:16 PM
Thanks for sharing that perspective Jim, it sounds like most of the "catching" was on shore :) You have wetted my appetite, maybe next year I'll be able to "reel in" some of those experiences!

03-27-2005, 11:07 PM
Not sure what 'catching on shore' means but let's put it this way, we got on the water around 1pm after getting things squared away at the cottage. We randomly picked a flat not far from HQ.

I walked out until I had a vibe, line coils in hand. A shadow... cruising. Not in range. Another - almost, a few steps and stop. Then three ghosts came into range and I launched a first cast into the flat we came to know as "graveyard". Pause... wait........ wait....... now twitch! Twitch-twitch! BANG

First cast of the trip, fish on! A nice four pound bone comes to hand to start the first annual ridiculous clave. 20 minutes later I had my second.

Sure we had peaks and valleys in our catching but the fishing could not be beat. Even on the only day I did not bring fish to hand (Monday vs. the other 6 days) I had some of the most spectacular shots I'd ever had but just lost the ones that picked up the fly. I was also fortunate in that the best day was the final day (got 6 bones to eat, four tailers), so even though I feared starting with a bang would jinx me it turned out to not be the case.

DIY is not easy, in fact it's plain hard work at times. However it's very satisfying and teaches us what we're getting into when we book a lodge and guide in the future, a scouting and learning mission for a bigger investment down the road.

DVD trip report coming

I am making a DVD fundraiser movie using some of the great footage we got on the water. Some really intense footage of bones gone wild to work with.

03-28-2005, 09:14 AM
Congratulations on a successful trip!

Look forward to seeing the pic's!


03-28-2005, 09:53 AM
Frank scans the shoreline for grey ghosts on a bluebird day


03-28-2005, 10:30 AM
Cold, rainy and nasty in Philly :mad: , it's a little bit surreal that this is what I was looking at two days ago ........

Many more pics to follow.

03-28-2005, 11:41 AM
Tools of the trade

03-28-2005, 12:02 PM
Let me know when the dvd is made and where to send my check. Looks absolutely AMAZING I'm so jealous. :)

03-28-2005, 12:36 PM
Great Photo's. What I need to know is ...Did you wear waders? :wink:

03-28-2005, 12:40 PM

Waiting for the incoming :lildevl: ? I was on a different flat doing the same thing.......

03-28-2005, 12:43 PM
Welcome back looks like you had a great trip. FishHawk :smokin:

03-28-2005, 12:45 PM
Crooked flying in........

03-28-2005, 01:00 PM
Enough pictures of your gear :roll:

I want to see pictures of fish :D

Juro how'd you like the Xi2?

03-28-2005, 01:11 PM
But Dave the fish look so much better in the DVD :lildevl:

03-28-2005, 01:51 PM
OK, here are some fish pics, but not what you might expect.
First . . . a 3.5-4lb bonefish chased up against the rocks by a 5 ft cuda. He knocked the bone up in the wash, I moved it up and took his pic. Note missing part of tail.

03-28-2005, 01:56 PM
I put the bone back in the water. He preferred belly-up. Cuda was very nonchalant . . . swimming way out into the surf. taking his time, hardly taking any notice of the bone. Even swam by him a couple of times almost looking like he didn't care.

03-28-2005, 01:59 PM
The bonefish finally righted himself and just sat there. Then he started to move a little and took off like a shot. Cuda was right after him and finally got him about 50 ft away. Note blood in the water and bone crosswise in the cuda's jaws.

03-28-2005, 02:06 PM
Bill those shots are unbelievable :eek: . Here's something a little more traditional.....

Tailing fish taken off Pastel flat

03-28-2005, 02:13 PM
Here's one of our favorite productive habitats. That's Juro in the distance.

03-28-2005, 02:48 PM
Frank (the domino ringer) in the process of taking advantage of Helen and Chavon. The Daves as accomplices.

03-28-2005, 05:04 PM
MAN what awesome pics! Have to put a bucket under me to catch all the drool. Im curious why you didn't try and catch that cuda?. I would have loved to battle that beast he looked BIG!! :eek: Were the fish caught strictly bones. Or were there some other fish thrown in the mix as well? Permit, cudas, jacks? Looks like a trip of lifetime. This being a DIY trip did any bahama guides harass anyone? Still searching where to send my check for the dvd :)

03-28-2005, 05:40 PM
Welcome Home Ridiculous Clavers! Man, I was sorry a month ago when I had to back out - Now I'm REALLY Sorry! Way too Cool! looks like it was .....Ridiculous. Those pics are awesome!

Juro - schedules and weather didnt exactly cooperate for me and Bonefishmon to "put up" the remedies for the sun burns........Guess thats what I get for talking crap right? :hihi:

03-28-2005, 08:52 PM
Welcome home Acklins boys! Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I'm out on the OP in Washington following Juro and Jays' advice to the T. Sorry I don't have chrome to show you. It doesn't matter though. The rivers here are some of the most beautiful I have have seen in my entire life. My son Tim and I did the DIY trip of a lifetime that I'm sure will live VERY long in his lifetime. We fished the Solduc, Hoh and all the rivers in that area and then left for the Skagit to meet his friend from Montana. The Sauk is an awesome river. We put over 1300 miles on the rental van. Welcome home guys! We fly back to Ct. on Tuesday.


03-29-2005, 04:41 AM
Here is a short clip from the upcoming DVD from this trip..

5.7mb WMV File - Acklins DVD Trailer (http://www.flyfishingforum.com/chronicles/acklins05/teaser.wmv)

Large file - not for dial up users. DVD is much higher quality; this trailer is reduced for web.

03-29-2005, 08:28 AM
Wow....nice clip.....put me down for 2 DVD's....


03-29-2005, 09:23 AM
Im curious why you didn't try and catch that cuda?. I would have loved to battle that beast he looked BIG!! Were the fish caught strictly bones. Or were there some other fish thrown in the mix as well? Permit, cudas, jacks?

Trying for the cuda would have been pointless without a steel leader. Plus, I was fresh out of 3.5 and 4 lb flies . . . and he had just had a dinner of that size. We also caught triggerfish, small jacks, etc, plus some cute little guys, too.

03-29-2005, 09:42 AM
Nice transition on the video.

Put me down for one.


03-29-2005, 10:18 AM
That video thread was awesome with the wind felt like I was there... Dreaming.

03-29-2005, 10:53 AM
Wish I'd gone,nice video.Put me down for the DVD.
I'm saving vacation time for next year.

03-29-2005, 07:10 PM
Juro how'd you like the Xi2?


That's my trusty old RPLXi 8wt 5pc travel rod. I like it a lot!

03-30-2005, 07:11 AM
I'm sure the details will be coming but part of the aspect of DIY is finding access.
This is sometimes my favorite part. Exploring! Can you fill use in?


03-30-2005, 11:35 AM

There were many four and five mile walks (we would literally fall asleep upright at the end of the evening with Kalik in hand). 8 guys covered the island from sun-up to sun-down for seven days and we barely scratched the surface. It would take months, even years to see and figure out the expansive creek systems, bite-side flats, sugar white ocean flats on Acklins. Then there was the flight home when you finally get a birds eye view and see all the things you missed: Lovely bay, the fingers, etc. If that weren't enough there's the $4 ferry to Crooked which looked to be Acklins equal if not superior for wadable flats.

Most of these flats were productive some were not. Speaking for myself, there was no greater sense of satisfaction then casting a fly that I tied, on a flat that I found, to a fish that I saw tailing and brought the four pounder to hand :smokin:

The trip was incredible and I hope to be back very soon. .

03-30-2005, 06:52 PM
Did you do a day of recon to the soutern tip to view access from the car first? Did anyone draw maps as too access points for future trips? Jump out and fish spots
are probably difficult there due to the primative nature of the roads. I got a chance to fly and take photos on one of my DIY trips. Man, did that save some time. I had a better idea using landmarks where I should pull off the road and bushwack!


03-31-2005, 06:00 AM

Virtually all the recon was done proactively with help from NASA. Every hunch was a ringer, although some required a lot of hoofin' to reach (the Vletas book's legend is off by a factor of 10).

No time was really wasted doing recon while there, although we did pass over previously fished productive flats in favor of seeing new unexplored areas detected in satellite imagery. I wouldn't call that 'recon' as all of these were good flats to fish when we arrived. In fact, we picked such a flat the first day and I landed a nice bone on the first cast of the trip!


DIY is satisfying in it's own way but one has to be able to find that satisfaction in roughing it and digging out a fish or two or three per day instead of the dozen or even more you could get with a good guide and boat to get around from flat to flat. Nothing can compare to fishing on a flats boat with an experienced guide poling you along the very best flats on a fly casting platform perched atop a performance speed boat. Not to mention fresh linens, big dinners served and no dishes to wash, etc. This trip has made me more aware of just how much the lodge and guide approach has to offer and will look into such a package in the future. At this point in my life I could not manage the pricetag although this adventure has only confirmed that it's what I want to do as soon as the kids are out of college.

DIY has it's own rustic charm and sense of accomplishment, but it does not take the place of the lodge experience. I would argue that nothing makes an angler more ready to book a lodge than to go tough it out and see the lodges, flats boats and meet the guides as we did last week.

DIY is the first step toward the lodge experience for the common angler. It will lead to more enthusiasts who are tired of death marches and their own cooking who are excited about bonefishing, thus more DIY means more lodge bookings on the horizon.

03-31-2005, 06:22 AM
Phil, in addition to the NASA images the obvious tide component, as indicated in Juro's vidio clip, was important to selecting high percentage locations. On the bight side there's as much as a four hour varience from the tide chart (Datum point). So it took a couple of days to get a handle on tide stage at various locations.

03-31-2005, 07:19 AM
Great observation, Juro. And nicely stated. I agree with you and would add only that sometimes those hard-won fish, whether one or three, are more precious than two dozen guided fish, and so are appreciated and anticipated in their own unique way. I guess DIY is a good balance, as well. Take a guided trip once a year and maybe an angler can then take a DIY trip six months later, as an inexpensive but legitimate means of gaining some flats time/experience.

Tight Lines,


03-31-2005, 11:52 AM
Juro and crew,
Glad to here your back. Looking forward to pics and stories.

03-31-2005, 01:15 PM
Juro- being a comparative neophyte, one could also argue that it is best for newbies such as yours truly to go with the guide/lodge approach first for the educational/enjoyment/experience, then consider the DIY approach later on as skill/experience increased. If I had gone on this trip with you guys, I would have either been driving you all nuts by sticking too close, or I would have wandered off somewhere and gotten lost. I think I'll probably start with guided redfish stalking during my annual trips to the Sarasota area, and expand to guided bonefishing excursions to the Keys/Belize/Bahamas from there. Still plenty of fun to be had during the warmer months here on the Cape....did someone say Spring Clave??? :Eyecrazy:

03-31-2005, 03:07 PM
Either way, the two go hand in hand and are not at odds with each other. In my case it's justifying the expense (at my stage in life). Now that I have seen the promise land, I will figure out a way to save up for it.

03-31-2005, 05:29 PM
The Hulk calls on the general store.

03-31-2005, 05:51 PM
If that is the same Hulk I know he must be looking for Doublewood :biggrin:

04-01-2005, 07:09 AM
Good to see that you guys had such a rewarding experience.
Question for you. What site or where did you get the aireal photos that you used? I have checked a couple of places and can't find quality, up to date photo's.

04-01-2005, 07:56 AM
Swalt -

Nasa hands down.

Check your PM's

04-01-2005, 07:12 PM
Thanks Juro and Fred. From what I've learned about tides, it's nice to have a situation where you can move from the ocean side to the bight side and continue fishing the incoming or vise versa. Where there more bones where you saw sharks and cuda? Were you able to collect data of the food source for the bonefish? Any permit sighted along the channels? Tailers at sunset or sunrise?
Enough questions! I'll just have to order the DVD!


04-05-2005, 06:26 AM
What were the hot flies? Anything you wish you had more of or ended up tying while down there?
Aso, how would you rank the jumpiness of the fish you were catching?

04-05-2005, 07:03 AM
Either or. I guess tan gotcha's with flash varied for light were all you really needed but based on my catch rate you shouldn't listen to me. Seemed to me fish were real spooky when trying to vacate a draining flat (and cudas and sharks were around which was most of the time). Incoming at creek openings could be like dapping for sunfish, bring the kids... even I caught fish.

04-05-2005, 07:29 AM
What were the hot flies? Anything you wish you had more of or ended up tying while down there?
Aso, how would you rank the jumpiness of the fish you were catching?


Fish acted true to form; rovers on sand ate anything good looking while those on grass flats required a lot of dialing in but could be had.

Just like any flats fish, my flats rules of the road apply:

#1 presence of fish
#2 mood of fish
#3 presentation
#4 fly used

But all are important. The key was to find them when they were in the mood, at such times everything was easy. They didn't even care when their brother was hooked. Tide was of utmost importance in controlling their mood as was time of day.

When not in the mood (e.g. retreat) the presentation was critical but these fish were naive enough to be had just the same in a good percentage of the cases. You could occasionally pick up a fish from a fleeing pod unlike anywhere else I've bonefished. One hookup blew up the pod usually for good when they were skittish.

Presentation, fly - see above.

One major lesson learned (in the DVD) is the right time to deploy the unweighted bonefish fly, and the presentation of a swung fly to tailing pods not unlike salmon or steelhead fishing.

(I wish I could walk out on a flat right now!!!)

04-09-2005, 01:16 PM
Is this trip going to happen next year?

Hows the DVD coming along?


04-10-2005, 09:53 AM
Trips like this happen several times a year on the Forum, but most are more localized. I hope and expect that the reach and range of these conclaves will reach the far corners of the earth over time :) As far as this trip... I am certain we will repeat as we only scratched the surface of the potential of this amazing island and did not set foot on it's sister island (Crooked) yet.

As Bishop Rolle says "only heaven is better".

DVD is coming along, although time is at a premium lately (that time of year).

But the clips I've tested thru to actual DVD media have been amazingly sharp and clear. Better in some respects than the DVD's we buy at stores.

Too bad I was holding the camera while wading, no tripod or wind mufflers on the mike, etc. Image stabilization was not up to the task so things are a bit shaky at times but what's in the viewfinder is quite interesting.

It will be ready before the next DVD is filmed sometime this month, which in turn will be done before May's DVD - Flyfishing the Coastal Migration of the Striped Bass filmed on the Cape Cod's pristine National Seashore.

Andre D
04-11-2005, 10:21 AM
Tools of the trade


can you tell me which Loop reel this is?


04-12-2005, 07:31 PM
Sorry just saw this post...

the reel is the LOOP LW 6nine

I was a little nervous about backing capacity but Drew at our sponsor Tightlines flyfishing (http://www.tightlinesflyfishing.com) set it up with 50# gelspun. Only problem was the reel was missing it's little clicker nub so I could not get revenge on Bill and Larry who would put their screaming reels on the air (walkie talkies) when the hooked a fish to let us know.

Without the little clicker, the reel was SILENT even with a hot bone on the run, so I could not get my revenge :hihi:

Oh well, Bill had a HARDY anyway so he didn't even need the walkie talkie :lildevl:

Drag clicker is on the way thanks to Drew.

Andre D
04-13-2005, 10:36 AM
Thanks Juro

I am expecting a FW 5eight in todays mail. Looks like it has a bit more capacity albiet a light duty version of the LW. How much backing you think you have on there using the gelspun. I hear that you have to be careful handling that stuff with bare hands. Is that true?


04-13-2005, 12:48 PM
Andre -

Drew put on about 250 yds of 50# because I prefer the thicker stuff. I saw quite a bit of it at Acklins >sigh<

You should never handle backing with the hands per se, but I do use a guiding finger level-winding line on the retrieve. I use my pinky or ring finger for this purpose and the line is not risky when coming in - just let it go when it's going out!

My biggest line cut came from the floating line itself, not the backing. It was more of a burn, hurt SO GOOD :lildevl: