Acklins adventure - 2010 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Acklins adventure - 2010

03-20-2010, 07:18 PM
I'm proud of my packing job this year / luggage (only 39 pounds). That was about 10 times what I needed, instead of the usual 100x. I even tied a half-dozen new flies to add to a sparse box assembled from anything I could pass off as a bonefish fly from other boxes since I could not find my bonefish flybox in storage...

But the Bahamas isn't about stress, in fact anything but - and I already felt the tensions of everyday life melting away as soon as I headed for the departure gate at Logan.

Nassau Rendezvous

As we've done since our maiden voyage to AXP several years ago we gathered at Orange Hill from various locations. Tom (woodtac) whom I knew from Big Brother Day 2009 and fishing around Chatham, Walt (swalt) who flew in from Raleigh-Durham, Bob Mead from NY state (a friend of Acklins veteran wrke), and GMflyfish who had fished with Fidel before on Acklins, plus myself makes 5. We were up to twice that at one point but reality struck and others had to cancel, their loss :)

It was a short night for me at Nassau but I hadn't been eating well while rushing to wrap up loose ends in Boston so I indulged in a tasty Bahamian 'surf and turf' and a Sands lager, the other Bahamian beer. With an early departure, the entertainment for the evening was the fu-fu dog. In fact this was the first miniature valley-girl accessory dog that I would even consider being seen with on a leash. Anyway, off to bonefishing dreams and a night's sleep for the early rise to Bahamasair flight 402 to AXP.

Warning signs

The fishing had been reported to us by those leaving from various islands as 'the worst in years' due to the unusually far reaching cold fronts this winter, but we kept our fingers crossed that Acklins, being so far south, would be out of the reach of these fronts.

Arrival Day

I had an aisle seat but as a prelude to the friendliness of the island people the Bahamian gentleman at the window offered me his seat knowing I would savor the view. As the archipelago unraveled across the Exuma chain, Long Island, and finally Crooked Island I entered the time warp into bonefish territory once again and it felt good.

We landed at Spring Point airport which is a tiny building smaller than most freeway tourist information booths on I-95, yet a bustling center of activity for the remote island every Wednesday and Saturday. Recently Monday and Friday flights have been added by Pineapple Air from Nassau to AXP.

The parking lot just outside the entry building was a who's who of island lodges, and we talked to Fidel until Felton arrived with his pickup truck after shuttling the SUV for us to take our luggage to his new waterfront place we dubbed "the Taj Mahal".

Nai's is the new gas station / convenience store at Spring Pt, across the street from the big tank he used to pump from his yard. He used to have a Boston Red Sox hat but has since replaced it with a matching cap for his service station uniform. I mentioned the old hat and he lit up, remembering the rag tag crew that came knocking looking for gas all those years ago.

We headed to Salina Pt, pleased to find out that most of the pot holes had been filled. In fact they are widening the SP roads dramatically, you know - to accomodate all that traffic ;) Until the last few miles most of the potholes are filled, and reportedly all of them are being repaired to the north. Not so for the last mile though, Felton had to excavate a road out through thick brush and coral rocks to build his lodge and the contractor defaulted. The road is scheduled to be completed in two weeks.

But once you arrive at Felton's lodge you never want to leave! It's a luxurious island retreat positioned on a soft sandy beach within easy reach of miles of bonefishing structure to the left or right, and a kayak available for our use as well as shuttle services to some of the best fishing on the island.

Getting our feet wet

It was uncharacteristically cool, and the water had a chill to it when stepping in like I had never felt before in Acklins. This was a cause for concern and a factor that we had to overcome as the days progressed. It's definitely a good thing to be so far south in a year like this. However we dealt with it, and the gritty gutsy DIY challenges made it most satisfying for me.

The first afternoon after settling in we explored the area right in front of the lodge. There is a coral bottomed flat that extends almost a mile to the left and mangrove lined shoreline to the right which is connected all the way to Roker's Cay and beyond, in fact you could explore for days. But once you taste the meals you'd never leave past the dinner bell, not to mention cigars and a drink on the deck after dinner.

We saw the usual suspects - sharks, cuda, triggerfish, mullet, crabs, rays, etc. But no bones the first afternoon and we settled into a fantastic meal at the lodge before a good night's sleep to prepare for the next day's adventures around the island.

Day 1 (to be continued)...
photo copyright@2010 Juro Mukai

03-21-2010, 11:59 AM
Felton's new place is beautiful. We dubbed it the 'Taj Mahal' but I'll let the pictures tell the story...
all photos copyright@2010 Juro Mukai

Bob settling in...

Gary getting comfortable...

Room with a view...

Beats a tent...

The front yard...

03-21-2010, 12:54 PM
How was the fishing?

03-21-2010, 01:11 PM
As I mentioned before, a long and far-reaching cold front had put things into a funk across the Bahamas. The first morning we went to an old reliable location, which was anything but that. In fact we only spotted a few small pods and had a couple of brief hookups and brought nothing to hand. However, right after lunch our luck changed. I never had another unproductive day until we left, despite the cold start I would say the fishing was very good to excellent (as later slides will show).

Old reliable spot strangely empty...

The heron stalks...


We're outta here....

After lunch break, we left after I found a primary channel (one I had much success at on past trips) netted completely across :mad:

03-21-2010, 01:36 PM
That afternoon we had renewed hope despite a cold wind from the north forcing us to bushwhack from another angle of approach. Although the cloud cover kept us idle at times (aka thumbs up our a**es), sunbreaks and hard-pushing fish kept us occupied and we scored a fair number of fish among the crew, and those who didn't land any had shots at numerous fish.

'Nervous water' fish with much cloud cover...

Much easier when the sun came out...

03-21-2010, 03:30 PM
Sorry to hear about the weather. I was in New Providence a month ago and it was the same then. I'm heading to Andros in 2 weeks (Mangrove Cay), hope the water warms up by then. Was there any one fly that seemed better?

03-21-2010, 04:29 PM
Awesome.... waiting for the rest of the days. What's Felton running for a boat down there? Any Berquist sightings?

03-21-2010, 04:48 PM
Bob didn't go down this year. A partner of his was down there for a shot time earlier, I think.

The place looks great. Looking forward to hearing (seeing) more. Headed down to the Abacos in 3 weeks. I sure hope the water warms up a bit by then.


03-21-2010, 06:57 PM
Day 2 we decided to hire the boat shuttle to the nearby Cays and their expansive bonefish flats. It was not my first taste of these areas but much more convenient to reach them with a short boat ride. Felton's lodge has the best access to these areas on the island.

Most of us landed multiples, I had a slow day until the end when I got a great shot at a permit (best ever) off a coral head! It picked up the fly but I stung it without a set and it tore off like a missle out into the depths. 10 seconds later a 5 foot 'cuda came over to see what the wake was from and I moved on.

Soon after the permit encounter I ran into moving pods and made up for the slow day with a couple of quick bones. Here's a video of bonefish moving. If you can't see it, join the majority. If you can, you've invested the years in the pursuit of the flats ghost. Watch here:
(try the HD view option)

Bob stalks a gorgeous flat
All photos copyright@2010 Juro Mukai

Gary finds a productive flat

Joseph: Next stop... Taj Mahal
Joe was a very knowledgeable and fishy guy who was a great resource to us thru the week.

03-21-2010, 07:01 PM
Sorry to hear about the delays for Juro and Walt on their return trip. Mine
was uneventful except now it looks like my Dad is going to have heart surgery
next week. Heading home tomorrow now that my sister has arrived in Fla.
With the quality of Juro's photos, I'm glad I didn't waste time taking alot of pics.
Did anyone get a shot of Juro's dust bone on the back of the jeep? I hope Juro
didn't get mad at me for making fun of his "stockie" bones that just kept coming back over and over to get caught repeatedly! Sure was lots of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all of you.
Keep the photos coming!
Many thanks-

03-21-2010, 07:41 PM
LOL - those bones did exactly what a ff'er wants bones to do...

1) come across the flats and eat the fly
2) tail in the grass and eat the fly
3) come from the left and eat the fly
4) come from the right and eat the fly
5) come out of nowhere and eat the fly
6) eat the fly when you don't even deserve it

It's not like you hooked one blind casting while trying out Walt's rod... oh wait you did :)

BTW - those fish weren't easy. You should've seen the one's Walt found!!

03-21-2010, 09:54 PM
Not a huge amount of sympathy for your less then perfect weather.:razz:

Fantastic report and wow do I ever dream of the day I can get over there.

But I am proud to say I could see the pod of bones in the video...

03-22-2010, 07:13 AM
Sorry I missed you guys on Acklins--I think I saw you drive past me one day out in front of Ivels B & B.

Glad you guys had a great time!

Great trip for us and great overall weather too. Got even better after you left.

report coming shortly. and photos!

03-22-2010, 08:53 AM
Aha! I thought that was you Vince. We stopped and knocked on the door on the way back. There was a single flyrod on the rack and no car, so after a few minutes we headed back to Salina.

We had a feeling it got real good, especially with the wind going to nothing the day we left :Eyecrazy:

It was a great time though, I'm looking forward to your report.

03-22-2010, 09:04 AM
Sorry to hear about your Dad. I got good news on my Father upon finally making it back to Charlotte. He going to be getting out of rehab and returning home this Thursday. There were times during his 5 trips to the hospital in 2 months that I didn't think he would make it back.

03-24-2010, 01:50 PM
Will post the rest when I can... the fishing got better as the days progressed

03-25-2010, 08:59 AM
I ran into the same cold weather you did, but at least you had some sun! The first 5 days I was there, there wasn't any sun at all, and lots of wind. You couldn't even see nervous water, never mind the fish (until they were very close).

Thankfully the last two days were great. I landed 7 fish on my last day which made up for a lousy start to the week!