: Acklins - "Only Heaven Is Better"
For generations, the Rolle family has preached this and there are at least 8 of us who would attest that it's true. Certainly as far as bonefishing habitat and diversity of opportunities to explore and experience the magic as only nature herself can craft it - the sugar sands, the mangroves, the embrace of endless seas and inshore flats stretching so far as to color the bottoms of clouds turquoise with the hue of the bight. The subtle things capture the day and fill the senses. There's really nothing quite like it.
Unlike the maiden voyage of 2005 on this trip we got past exploration and into refinement. We were able to focus on technique, not location. Although there is so much more to conquer, milestones were definitely reached. Although we all had varying degrees of experience and sometimes wires got crossed, there were lessons in all of these situations and the fishing did not let us dwell on them as the next wave of fish pushed toward us.
The people of the island are wonderful people and very friendly. I savor every well-wish from store keepers and bar patrons and each bit of advice seems to pan out in spades no matter how subtle. I savor these tidbits of advice almost as much as the flavorful Bahamian cooking of the Hannas and the Seaside in Lovely Bay. By US terms they live quite simply, but in this tropical paradise it's plenty. We are not there for the tourism anyway, and we've only scratched the surface of the watery domain beyond door.
The natural scenery is breathtaking, and definitively "bonefishy" everywhere you look - however the island is surrounded by bluewater and reefs and unexplored opportunities beyond the wildest imagination remain to be tapped.
A good pair of flats boots can unlock more secrets here than a $40,000 boat could on the Keys. A $40k flats boat here can lead to a complete virgin flats nirvana.
This all started when I flew back from a week of casinos, high rise hotels and fancy linens in Aruba one year and I saw this island from the scratchy starboard window of a jetliner heading home. I had no idea what it was called but noted that it was starkly different from all other Bahamian islands. It's bight spanned an unimaginably broad expanse and was accessible from the road almost over it's whole length. I searched NASA and found that the island was named "Acklins" and the rest is history as they say.
What I am trying to say is that with each layer of the veil we peel back from this untapped gem, the brighter it shines. I return from the week of adventure thoroughly and utterly blown away by what we have experienced. It has enriched my angling life to profound heights, and to my ridiculous clave veteran brothers and those who will venture after us, I raise a toast...
"we have deeply inhaled the rarified air of the Worldwide Flyfishing Forum's true spirit of adventure"
03-06-2006, 05:11 AM
Nice shot . One of these days I'm going to make this trip. FishHawk
03-06-2006, 05:28 AM
That's a beauty! Nice details held in the shade of your silouette. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Welcome home!
03-06-2006, 01:16 PM
Can't wait for more "stories of adventure" and photos, photos, photos :D
03-10-2006, 11:33 AM
Ok finally caught up at work and had a chance to get my pics squared away.
Here is one of our favorite flats.....
03-10-2006, 11:36 AM
Bill's mowin' the lawn.........
(we had many fish hooked and landed in mangroves this thick)
03-10-2006, 11:37 AM
Nice fish from an undisclosed location........
03-10-2006, 11:40 AM
Bill's on, Juro watches along a major Bonefish thruway.......
03-10-2006, 11:44 AM
And finally, another fish successfully released.....
03-10-2006, 12:00 PM
Very, Very NICE!
Thanks for posting up those photos :)
03-15-2006, 10:23 AM
Nice pics. How was the weather? Let's have the blow-by-blow report!
03-15-2006, 11:17 AM
Very nice, very nice. It must have been interesting fighting a bone in those mangroves!
As I sit here in my office with snow falling outside and I can only let out a wistful sigh and dream of going another time...
03-15-2006, 08:02 PM
OK, that does it. I'm saving all my change and money from bottle returns for next year . . . :hihi:
Man, what an awesome place! C'mon, more photos, pleeeeeaase!?!?!
03-20-2006, 11:47 PM
Juro, Dave 17, Jim S, Bill, it was nice to meet you and put faces on some names on the Forum!
I'm back in Montana, it's 20 degrees and snowing - I'm afraid Acklins was just a dream, and I've awoke to the cold realities of the real world! No tailing bones, just aching bones. No pushes in the water, just ice flows. No drags screaming all day, just days dragging. Oh well, the mother's day hatch is just around the corner, and around the next corner is the salmon fly hatch. And maybe just around a few more corners is another dream about Acklins!
Surely it had to have been a dream, or maybe an imaginary place in the mind of a fishing addict suffering from intense withdrawls..........................
Nice to meet you and thanks for sharing some UDLs with us. I guess we are all in denial at this time of year, but the days are getting longer, the robins have returned and the black stones are hatching, all harbringers of better things to come.
Hey mugsy - great meeting you too! Hope you were able to survey the situation for things to come ;)
Bob's still living the dream... >sigh<
Mugsy. Ditto. Great meeting you . . . look forward to the new digs. Cold here, too. I head back to the Bahamas in 2 weeks (Abacos). And I'll probably give you a call when I'm in Montana in July.
03-21-2006, 10:46 PM
Good to meet you Mugsy, thanks again for the poppers! I had a heck of a go at a big Cuda on our last day.
03-22-2006, 10:46 PM
Dave, thanks for leaving the extra poppers, I donated several to the toothy creatures after you left. Did catch a dandy trolling poppers at Fish Cay - Bob said it was 3 feet, I think it was closer to 4. Whatever - it was a kick in the butt! We made it out to Fish on Friday and Fish and Long on Saturday. Each new place is an eye opener! Future dreams include campouts at Fish or one of the adjacent. We hired a local fisherman out of Salina Pt. to take us to the ocean side creek you folks walked to. The walk would have been less hair raising! But the snorkling from the boat (our boat man harvested some very large lobsters for us) was definitely worth it! Pitching spinning gear into deep water from shore just north of the creek - donating tackle to grouper too large to keep off the bottom, catching snapper, jacks, and triggerfish on flys while watching a large group of tuna crashing the surface just out past the reef - definitely worse ways to kill time between tides in the creek!
wrke, definitely give me a call! I will be in Sitka the first week of July, but let me know your schedule and destination! The up side of coming home to a snow storm is hopefully we will still have some water in the rivers this year in July!
Mugsy - Wow, the activity on the oceanside sounds fantastic! But, camping a few days on Fish Cay definitely piques my interest. Bob indeed has a lion by the tail, so many opportunities, but for us, so little time.
03-24-2006, 07:46 PM
The fish cays are pretty cool--you never know what you will see out there so close to the ocean. A couple of the cays even have iguanas on them. Camping on them would be very fun--to be lulled to sleep with the rising and falling tides.
They are actually pretty close to Crooked island--the guides out of there can reach them in 30 minutes under normal weather conditions--20 if it is dead calm.
03-25-2006, 12:15 AM
Per the local fishermen, apparently one (or more) of the smaller cays have little or no bugs. A very nice dream would include a drop with a yak, a few provisions, a new moon - just lots of fish, the waves, the stars, and unusual things that go splash in the night! As Juro put it........... >sigh<
03-27-2006, 10:49 AM
I fished Fish Cay when I spent a week on Crooked. Did not see the ocean side so I don't know what it is like. There is a large flat on the bight side. There was also a very large school of bones on that flat. We probably landed a dozen out of that school and could have taken more if not for a very large barracuda that was following us around like a dog waiting for treats. After he took a couple of fish, not more then 10 feet from us, we moved on. He kept following us around for an hour or so and then back to the boat. I tried throwing tube lures and flies at him but he didn't even pay attention.
We didn't see many small groups of fish outside of the big school. There was a creek system but we did not go up into it. As the tide comes up it could be productive. The wading was very easy. It would be a good place to spend a couple of days but probably not much more than that.
04-01-2006, 01:24 PM
Hello Juro and guys,
Just back in Nassau waiting for a room at the Beach. Only got better this last month...one stretch of 6 days of calm and sun. Got the tarpon figured out, as well as the blue water for dolphin and such. Even was turned on to a wahoo "nursery" area in the bight with 20 lb fish in 10 ft of water...never would have believed it. Thery come in to chase gogle eyes and mackeral over a mile long bar. Also found several spots to drift and cast to big cudas, muttons and horse eyes. Explored about 15 more miles of bonefish creeks and flats on the bight side and several spots on the south side ( ocean) as well. Got one more permit landed and zeroed in on some patterns, including a bunch that move up by our lodge site on the rising tide. Have a short cut to the spot I told you about as well that cuts off the 2 mile hike. The tarpon have moved in on the grass flats with the pilchards, some about 60 lbs or so showed up last week.
Hope to finalize the land deal Monday before heading home.
Good meeting you guys.
04-01-2006, 02:05 PM
You're killing me!!!! The place really is too good to be true. Did you ever make it up to our little place up north?
Thanks again for all the info, can't wait to hit the lodge. Next year I'll pick up a hammer and put some sweat equity in the place if you have a piece of plywood I can make a leanto out of:lildevl: . When do you think you'll start construction?
Fantastic news Bob! Somehow we knew you would have things wired by the next time we spoke. Can't wait to stay with you in the new lodge next year!
Bob, all I can say is yhou've definitely got the place sorted out! Like Dave & Juro, I can't wait to sample some of your discovered fishery from the new lodge. Please keep in touch and update us on the plans.
I leave Wednesday for the fishery I spoke to you about in Australia. I'll post on the appropriate place on this forum as time/internet access allows.
04-02-2006, 12:46 AM
Congrats on the progress! I really had a great time in Acklins - I think about it daily - Thanks!!!. It's snowing at this moment, but hopefully spring will have sprung when you hit Bozoville. Spanish Wells was very relaxing, we all had a great time, but the fishing just doesn't compare. I was lamenting missing the 3 extra days Terry stayed when he gave me the report! Sounded amazing! You didn't happen find an extra cabellas fishing shirt did you? I seemed to have misplaced one sometime on the trip!
The #@&* bones kept swimming up to my feet, especially from behind, in Cory Sound also! You wouldn't happen to have a spot on your payroll for a 'bone fish attractor' do you?
Wowee! Can't wait till next year and hope to join you at the lodge and some of the "new" fishery. It's an amazing place. You've got me dreaming about it already. And cutting a little off the 2 miler sounds good. I'll give you a call for further debriefing when I'm back in Montana in July.
BTW Mugsy, I have one of your cuda poppers I forgot to give back to you. I leave for Green Turtle Cay tomorrow and if the cudas there don't take it away from me, I'll pop it in the mail for you.
04-03-2006, 01:56 AM
Keep the popper! or better yet, feed it to a 5 foot toothy torpedo! I have lots. Actually, I sell them so let me know if you need more and I can get them to you or I can find a retailer in your area that carries them. Good luck at Green Turtle!
04-08-2006, 01:27 PM
I have fished at Acklins many times and have been awed by the magnificent natural beauty and the diversity of the fishing. Fish Cay is a magical place but is a very fragile environment, the thought of people camping there terrifies me. There are no rules about camping there but I hope everything that is taken there is taken away and absolutely nothing is left behind. One only has to snorkel to see what influence modern society has had on this pristine environment, plastic of all kinds is everywhere. So please enjoy the place and leave it as you found it
I can't help but be impressed by the bonefish you have in your sig... nice one indeed!
I can assure you that the group who is discussing the topic here, whom I have met personally, is a group who would leave nothing but temporary footprints in the sand and unlike the flotsam brought by the trade winds would leave no signs. In fact they would be a model group by which I hope all who venture there tread as lightly as they do.
It's good to hear from another who appreciates the beauty of Acklins, welcome to the Forum.
04-09-2006, 11:05 PM
Fish Cays are indeed a wonderful place. I've boat "camped" there ( the bugs make a land camp untenable) and the night sights and sounds are even more awesome than the day time. The local fishermen camp on a small Cay between Fish Cay ( North Cay on the charts) and Guana Cay (Fish Cay on the charts) that has no bugs. I was surprised to see two old freezers rusting away on Fish Cay, but was told they are used by the fishermen to keep conch cool on their over nights. Other than that they are some of the most pristine Cays in the Bahamas.
The iguana population is protected, and the Bahamians do not bother them, though we did once stumble on a Dominican liveaboard fishing boat leaving the Cays, and they do I'm told poach a few.
04-11-2006, 06:20 AM
One only has to snorkel to see what influence modern society has had on this pristine environment, plastic of all kinds is everywhere. So please enjoy the place and leave it as you found it[/QUOTE]
A few trash bags are always in my pack for my trash and any others leave behind.