: Long Island Bahamas
05-23-2010, 01:57 PM
I just return from a week of fishing on Long Island. As many of you know I have a severe bonefishing addiction and after visiting most of the island in the Bahamas (including Acklins/Crooked) I fell in love with Long Island. I have recently completed a home in Salt Pond, which is about halfway between Deadman's Cay and the North end, the primary flats areas. I travelled with 3 close friends with similar addictive personalities. We fished 3 days up north with Docky Smith and his brother "Big Dog", and 2 days in Deadman's with Colin Cartwright. The weather was clear, but the wind blew 20-25 mph out of the northeast for the entire visit, keeping the flats exceptional dry, and challanging our casting technique. Despite less than ideal conditions we caught alot of fish ranging from 3 to 10 libs. On a day in Deadman's, Carlos caught 18 bones.
While fishing the outer flat up north the "Big Dog" pointed out a 30 lb permit tailing in 2 feet of water about 200 feet from the area we we wading for bones tailing in 6-8 inches of water. Having never landed a permit on the flats I began my stalk of the permit. The outer portion of the flat had channels running into the turtle grass covered area, and the permit was working the edges of the channels, periodically present its huge forked tail, causing burst of tachycardia and hyperventilation. As I approached to a distance of 70-80 feet, it would slip back into the channel, but consistently worked into the tide which flowed across the shallows. Taking a course further up tide, I set up on the edge of the channel. As I watched the permit, it return to the channel and then vanished. I was crest fallen, and after 5 minutes was about to move on when a large green shadow appeared in the depth of the creek. "Must be a 'cuda", I thoght, but as I watched the 'cuda went to the opposite bank and tailed in a foot and a half of water. I quick cast of a large Mantis Shrimp, to short strips, game on. 25 minutes later the biggest personal bonefish for me was at hand. Sweeet!
So, there are big fish on Long Island. It has great DIY action as well. Anyone interested let me know, I have alot of insights about the Island and the fishing. My home is set up for rental, and is spectacular (yes I am biased), but check it out on VRBO.
(sponsorship in discussion)
Hope all involved with the Clave had a great time.
I will post some pictures of the hog soon.:whoa:
05-25-2010, 09:06 PM
Some pictures of the large Bone.
05-26-2010, 08:13 AM
Nice fish Ed.
wow - that's a monster bone
05-27-2010, 06:46 AM
How big was that bonefish?
05-27-2010, 03:56 PM
I have boga gripped an eight pounder, and this guy seemed to be at least a couple of pounds bigger. I think 9 1/2 to 10 is not a full blown fish story.
05-27-2010, 08:09 PM
seems at least that big to me--nice fish!
05-27-2010, 11:52 PM
I'd guesstimate it at about 10lbs. :smile: :smile: :smile:
That's a great fish. Job well done.
By the way, as I was rereading your report, I noticed you had issues with the wind. I just returned from Grand Bahamas and had the same issue. In fact, it's been an issue on every flats trip I've ever taken. I'm starting to think flats are never truly "flat" and indeed always windy.
Pete, when was the last time you cast to a bone in a 5mph breeze? You seem to have similar experiences lately, too.
08-17-2010, 02:11 PM
You are sooo right about the breeze on bonefish flats. In fact, I think it's a catch 22: the angler who has trouble with the breeze prays for a calm day only to find the fish spooky as hell without the breeze, ergo, bonefishing can be tough any way you cut it... unless you know how to handle the wind.
My #1 recommendation here is buying, watching, and practicing the principles in "Taming the Wind", by Prescott Smith. Mr. Smith is a Bahamian guide from Andros who has pioneered a bonefishing technique called "into the wind". His techniques are easy to master and are guaranteed to improve your casting in windy situations.
(I know I sound like a total cheesy salesman here, but I promise I get no commissions.) However, using these techniques my dad and I were able to consistently turn over our flies (with #8 rods) into 17-19 mph winds at 40+ ft. We learned to fish on the windy flats of the Caribbean and thought we could handle the wind as well as anyone, but after watching and implementing this DVD our technique improved beyond our wildest hopes.
As for being ready to fish in the breeze, last March we fished Andros with Big Charlie and it never blew less than 15 knots. In fact, it was typically blowing around 20 knots for the 3 days we fished and on the last day it was actually blowing 37 mph---a few mph short of an actual gale. Well, we caught fish, BIG fish, and lots of them. We actually lost count of the number of double-digit bones we got, and we were the only boat in sight. Most of the other sports had stayed at the lodges or headed back into the creeks to fish for baby bones in big schools. But, because we were able to handle the breeze we were into fish all week.
08-17-2010, 05:44 PM
Is that the guy that casts off the bow of a skiff with it running wide open?
08-17-2010, 10:36 PM
Yup. That's him... not exactly wide open, but up on plane and going at a good clip. At least 20 mph, or something close. Either way, his casting style/technique is--at the risk of raising hackles all over the fly fishing web--revolutionary in it's simplicity.
Not only can I deal with the wind better, but it really doesn't matter what angle the wind is at either. For example, one of the toughest breezes for me to deal with is a very strong breeze on my right shoulder at right angles to my cast. (I'd venture to say the same for the majority of my clients, which is why I avoid it at nearly all cost when I'm guiding.) However, I was just out practicing in the last little tropical wave to pass and I had the same 17-19 mph breeze on my right shoulder with a 11-12 ft leader and I never had a single issue. No windknots. No flies whacking me. No aim issues.
Now, lest the masses think I'm bragging (which, like any fisherman, I'm more than apt to do) let me say that it's not my natural awesomeness that let's me do so. And, no, I'm not even referring to the water-haul cast where you use the surface tension to load the rod and limit yourself to a single cast each time. I'm talking about normal 2-3 false casts and shoot. For me, this was the single biggest deal in the whole thing. I mean, forget being able to cast the whole string or hook a cast at will or whatever. Being able to fish normally and calmly no matter where the wind is coming from is a HUGE deal.
08-17-2010, 10:42 PM
Not sure if it's kosher to post a link here to Vimeo, but I did a review of the DVD. It breaks down a couple of the main points and I try to demonstrate (poorly) the difference between his style and the conventional cast.
If posting that isn't cool, just do a Google search for Taming the Wind Prescott Smith and scroll down to the Vimeo link.
08-17-2010, 11:37 PM
Awesome.....very informative stuff
Agree . . . very interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
I think we can overlook your commercial involvement for the sake of this informative post.
The 'scoop' stroke is really the basis of Spey casting and does indeed allow maximized load on a non-linear path but it does not work well for deep wading (not an issue on bonefish flats but definitely an issue on striper flats) as you can see by the significant dipping of the line path crossing midpoint. As a Spey instructor I am not pooping on the idea, it's a great idea - but casting with the wind on the opposite shoulder by turning around partially such that the eyes are still on the prize is far safer, generates more power and once mastered a whole fly line is easily launchable.
Hauling mechanics are well thought through.
08-20-2010, 02:06 PM
Just a few more comments. Personally, I've never been able to master the old backhand cast. Course, I've never had a situation that made me practice it. All my buddies that have striper fished have it down, though. Having to do it all the time probably has something to do with that. In my experience most people just don't practice it enough, which is why I like this style so much: you can teach it to most anyone in about a minute---I'm referring specifically to the circular rotation---and they can go about casting as usually without fear of the fly hitting them. I've done it with clients several times and it really works and is completely safe. Try it. Also, unless you practice a hell of a lot (which we all know most folks don't do) you'll never be as accurate with your backhand as with your normal cast. Again, I feel that gives this style a distinct advantage by catering to what folks already know. For the type of bonefishing we typically do---wading for tailers over thick grass---accuracy is paramount, so having clients cast in a manner they're comfortable with really helps.
As for the line dipping, you are dead on there, but it doesn't have to be that extreme. For the purposes of demonstration (i.e. so there would be some noticeable difference between the two styles) I exaggerated somewhat. The rotation can in fact be very small, maintaining a tight loop and keeping the forward cast off the water. I also cast somewhat sidearm, so the line does travel a lot lower than it really needs too. That accounts for somewhat of the dipping you're referring to.
Another advantage is that the back stroke is on the bottom half of the oval (or race track) which throws the fly up at the end of the back cast. This keeps the fly off the water behind the caster, which is a much more common ailment than hitting the water on the forward cast.
As for spey casting or striper fishing, I honestly have never done either (though I badly want to) so I'm sure your comments are dead on as usual.
Finally, in reference to the haul, this deep haul (though it looks like more work) is in fact much easier on the body because it doesn't require speed. In contrast to the short haul---which depends on speed for its effectiveness---the long haul only needs to keep the line tight. Of course, adding a little speed helps, but you don't need to make the super-fast hauls you see in all the saltwater videos on YouTube. Also, by putting the greatest range of motion into the hauling hand, it leaves the casting arm free to simply control the loop and aim. Using this type of haul I can shoot a lot more line at one time, which means I make less false casts, and save energy there. Instead of feeding line out incrementally (and having to cultivate the timing required to "catch" the shooting line before it starts falling and make another false cast) the angler can just pull the fly to the target with their hauling arm.
I admire your dedication to the study of casting, and am sure you have tested the theories in the beautiful bonefish flats which I so enjoy every winter.
My belief from experience is that casting backhanded really isn't very hard, every caster does it every day. The shift is one of the mind, not so much the body. If you reposition your body angle and drop the backcast, you've done it.
Even with 17 foot rods and the surface of the water as an anchor point (Spey) casting with the line on the windward side of the body is not a good idea. As the line elongates the wind has a greater influence on the fly position and once it crosses the vertex (your head) it must pass thru that point to come forward and often will hit it.
In a strong wind, that is a wind sufficient to blow the fly horizontally the distance from it's sideways tilted path to the centerline in which we stand, I feel that any cast using the windward side can prove dangerous. As an instructor I would never recommend it, and my brother the eye surgeon has repaired a number of eyes damaged by hooks.
For advanced casters like yourself, and especially with the line in full tension and offset, it seems to be an effective tactic. Thanks for sharing.
08-20-2010, 03:12 PM
in a strong wind, that is a wind sufficient to blow the fly horizontally the distance from it's sideways tilted path to the centerline in which we stand, any cast using the windward arm is dangerous.
That is so very true. First, let me say categorically that I refuse to let any of my clients fish without eye protection. Period. Neither do I, no matter how dark it is... in fact, that's why I paid through the nose for polarchromic lenses on my Smiths.
The question is how strong of a wind is that. For most anglers I feel that to be about 8-12 knots, the typical Tradewinds of your average bonefish flat. What I'm saying is using this technique you can perform the same cast in much stronger winds, say up to 20 mph or so. I wasn't sure why so I had to go back and watch a video of me (failing to catch tarpon) to see what was going on and why this works.
Now, for the record, I'm certainly not saying that it's better or safer than casting backhand. That is the 2nd best scenario. The best case is being able to switch hands and simply cast with the other arm, which I can do but not as accurately or as far as my dominant arm.
Here's what I've figured out so far: the main thing is to cast REALLY side arm on the backcast, with the rod almost level with the water. That way the fly is at least 9 feet away from you (plus the loop size and the length of your forearm). Like I mentioned above, the fly will flip up at the end of the backcast, already putting it on a different plane. Then, when you come forward move the rod to a more vertical plane. This should easily put the fly above your head (since it was heading up anyways), and it will pass over your head on the forward cast.
The other thing is to limit the amount of line you have out the rod tip. Again, instead of feeding it out incrementally on each cast, keep just the belly out the tip and shoot line to the target. You won't be able to reach every fish like this, but it does work.
The above combined with a nice long haul and keeping constant tension on the flyline (so the wind can't blow it around) will allow you to perform this cast safely.
The last time I tried this was in a 17-19 mph breeze, which is pretty well blowing no matter where you fish. On the video I watched it was maybe 15, not bad but still considered dangerous with a big tarpon fly on the end of a longish leader. Of course, never having fished stripers (or up there on the east coast) you could be dealing with much stronger winds. I imagine you do. In that case you're probably right and that's why everyone up there can backcast like nobody's business (which you can probably tell I'm totally jealous of).
So to recap: I completely agree, but think you can safely cast using this style in a much stronger breeze than one might think.
I will explore the technique. Never hurts to try something new!
FYI - years ago everyone up here would cast strong side no matter what. You could hear flycasters viciously whacking themselves up and down the beach at Plum Island when the wind was East.
I was among a handful of early internet campaigners for fishing the backcast (on another flyfishing blog site, well before I started this one) and frankly it was met with a lot of rebuttal.
Yet over the past 10-15 years that's changed completely such that it's unusual to see anyone casting on the strong side in a crosswind anymore in the northeast. Recent trips to the pacific northwest confirm this trend for ocean salmon fishing as well.
More than the wind speed we face is the hook size. We cast huge flies, weighted flies, on large hooks for big fish with big mouths. I think that changes the game a bit too :Eyecrazy:
08-20-2010, 07:51 PM
Isn't this basically just the Belgian Cast?
I assumed whats being proposed is different; the Belgian cast doesn't do much to cope with a crosswind. Maybe the forward stroke is more elliptical and puts the path of the line on the lee side, as Simon would call "cack-handed" or Spey practitioners call "reversed".
06-22-2011, 09:12 AM
Ok, a little follow up here. I'm still using the same technique described above, and my casting has certainly improved because of it, wind or no wind. However, I now have to say that (yes, Juro) learning to backcast on target is arguably the most important skill for fishing from a skiff. Period.
I just spent an educational week in The Keys casting at migrating tarpon and, due to the young hurricane that was blowing, we spent most of the time staked out. That means the boat was pretty much dead in the water so the guy on the pole couldn't swing the bow. We got into some good strings of fish and had good shots, but always on a falling tide. That meant that as the tide fell we'd get fish passing outside of us more often than inside. That meant you either back-cast it or watched them swim on by.
As a mostly wade-fisherman it was disconcerting to backcast to 1 or 2 o'clock, almost straight down the boat. But, that was the best angle to get a hookup. If you waited till the fish got closer, the angle got worse and the chances of getting a bite---pretty low to begin with---went down further.
So, I guess I'm eating a few of my words here and being able to accurately backcast to some distance is crucial if you want to actually fish rather than just wave your rod at fish or sit on the dock sipping rum. The circular cast is still where it's at for wading bones---it's fast, safe and accurate---but doesn't replace that backcast from a skiff.
As much as I love tarpon fishing, all I feel is jealousy!
Any good poon pics?
06-22-2011, 03:17 PM
How about learning to cast with your opposite hand? It's not as hard as you might think-just need time to practice.