: Bonefishing in Exuma
03-04-2002, 07:55 PM
Leaving tomorrow morning for a bonefishing trip to Exuma! I'll give you guys a report when I return.
I talked to one of the guides the other day and they were catching lots of bones...including an 8 lber and a 35 lb barracuda. Sounds like fun to me.
We'll post our newest photos on our site as soon as we get back.
Angie aka FishEze
03-12-2002, 11:56 AM
Had a great time!
As usual, I managed to take windy conditions with me...but no problem....we still caught lots of fish!
Three of us were fishing for 3.5 days and the total amount of bonefish caught was about 50. It would have been more if we'd focused on the schoolies but we wanted to target the single larger fish. Caught quite a few 3 - 5 pounders. The biggest one landed was a 12 pounder! That's a big bonefish!
We had a great trip. It sure is hard to get back to reality after a trip like that. I'm ready to go back!
03-12-2002, 02:22 PM
I'd love to see a pic of that 12 pounder - that's a real 'hawg'.
Big fish opporunity is the reason I like to go down there early season. As you say it's windy and you may get the occaisional squall but the cooler water brings the big guys out of their holes!
Three weeks from today and I'll be there.
I'm the one who caught the big bone and I wish I had a picture too! Here's the story . .
Arrived last Tuesday with the cold front that blew threw the east coast. Rain and windy. We had friends who were already there and were happy that the guides still put them on fish in spite of the conditions.
Our first fishing day opened bright and breezy, about 20 mph. Garth put us on the morning flat with the sun and wind behind us. Our 8 wt rods threw the gotchas and Angie’s Bunny Bitters just fine. We landed several to four pounds and lost a couple. Later in the afternoon, Garth took us to a new flat up north the guides are developing. It is beautiful. I waded the edge and saw the biggest bone ever, including the Florida Keys. Made one cast which he took lighting up the reel. Fly line was gone in a heartbeat; backing was disappearing fast. I had a 20# flouro tippet testing the effect of leader size on the bones, which never seem to matter. Problem was, if I break him off which goes first, the leader or the backing. I sure didn’t want to lose my brand new fly line! With the backing down to a few dozen feet I palmed the Bauer to a stop and he was gone. I began reeling in and all the backing came back. Then the fly line, leader and fly! Upon examination, it was apparent that the #4 Mustad had opened up and let this bone go. Still, it took me a long time for my hands to quit shaking. What a rush! At the end of the day, our friend Steve, on his first Bahamas bonefish trip, landed twelve with his guide JJ, but who’s counting.
Second day was a little calmer but the wind had clocked to the west and up on the southwest flats spoiling our plan to wade for big bones. The water never left the flats allowing the fish to spread out escaping our ambush spots. Still, we landed plenty of fish in the 4-5 pound range. Steve fished with Garth and landed 13, including an 8 pounder, but who’s counting!
Third day found me fishing with Reno while JJ fished Angie and Steve. They went to probably one of the prettiest spots in the Bahamas, White Bay. It was a thrilling day. Broad expanses of bright white flats and small pods of tailing bones up to five pounds. Steve quit counting; he was always hooked up.
Reno and I were on a mission for the big one. Scudding clouds made sighting conditions tough in the creeks. We saw two bruisers too close to the boat. They spooked before I could cast. We gave up on plan A and headed for a westerly flat hoping to intersect a big one skipping across an edge.
Out in the open the wind was still a steady 15. Not a problem when the fish is spotted in the 90 degree arc in front of you. Just make a solid back cast to set up the shot. The flat Reno chose wasn’t drying out because of the wind. It kept the water up on the flat giving the fish more opportunity to spread out. Reno sensed that my football knees couldn’t keep up and decided to walk alone back to the skiff and move it around to the downwind edge of the flat saving me the slog back upwind. Before leaving, he pointed me to a small hump in the flat about 200 hundred yards away. “Be sure to check that spot,” he said before heading off into the sun and wind behind me.
Fly hook clutched between my left thumb and forefinger, sixty feet of fly line trailing behind me, I head off on my own. My ‘bonefish eyes’ are pretty good, especially after a day of tuning up with a guide. Still I saw nothing. I kept moving toward Reno’s shallow spot trying to concentrate on spotting fish. Problem was, the tan-white bottom covered with a foot of spring clear salt water under a dome of blue mesmerized me until I was lost in a euphoric trance. There is no telling how many fish I spooked. Then on the right edge of my peripheral vision, a shadow moved. I slowly crouched to reduce my silhouette and froze. Yes! It was a big bone. This was my fish. All I had to do was make a perfect 50 foot backhand cast into a quartering 15 MPH wind.
It didn’t happen. I didn’t turn the tippet over and the wind blew it off. The fish sensed me and moved to the left, but still not spooked. Now in forecast range I picked up and threw a perfect cast a few feet in front of this big fish. He ignored it!
He then turned left to swim up my left side in less than a foot of water just a short cast away. Still not spooked, he seemed to just have detoured around me. Now upwind, I tried one last low punch shot, which landed just short, but still within his view. In an instant he turned and inhaled the gotcha. A long strip, raise the rod and the fish exploded away toward the edge of the flat. The Bauer handled him easily and he turned back almost 200 yards away. After two more classic bonefish runs, he was at my side and in my hands. He was big; so big my hand couldn’t reach completely around his tail. The hook came out easily and he measured 32 inches to the fork on my rod. After a few seconds of CPR he swam slowly away and off the flat near where Reno was waiting.
My hands are nine inches between thumb and little finger when spread wide. Both hands couldn’t close around the fish’s girth so I didn’t get an accurate measurement. But using a very conservative 18 inches, the fish weight formula gives a 13 pound fish. Who said Bahaman bones are small?!
03-13-2002, 12:27 PM
03-13-2002, 01:41 PM
Thanks Alan, great stuff!
It sounds like the new guide operations are starting to break out from the old 'set pieces' which prevail at P&P. Now thats good news although the P&P regulars are all great.
There's a huge amount of water down there which no one's ever bothered to look at because of travelling distance or just inconvenience.
Guess where I will be in 2 weeks, 5 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes.:smokin:
P&P Lodge is down to three guides. This is the height of season there. I only saw all three boats out one day. Only one boat was out the other three days.
Garth and JJ are beginning to work the huge flat behind the Forrest. They’re rigging a skiff on a trailer to eliminate the long boat ride.
I saw the biggest bone of the trip there. Hooked him up on the edge of the flat in knee-deep water. I was using 20# flouro tippet to see if the fish care; they don’t. He took off into deep water so fast I barely had time to react. Drag was set for a typical 5 pounder, way too light for this fish! Cut my finger on the backing and burned my hand palming the reel trying to slow him down. By the time I got my finger in the star drag of the Bauer, 2/3 of my backing was gone and the rest was disappearing fast.
He was either going to have to turn in a matter of seconds or I was gonna have to break him off. I just cranked the drag all the way down wondering which would break first, the tippet or the backing. I was worried about losing my brand new fly line. With just a few yards of backing left on the spool the pressure stopped.
I began reeling like mad and backing up on the flat into shallower water hoping to fight the fish there. There was a light but steady pressure on the line, enough to bend the tip of the RPLXi a couple of feet. I was worried that the big bone was swimming back faster than I could retrieve and was pulling a loop in the line, a sure way to lose him. All the time I was yelling at Angie to bring the camera!
As I got more backing on the reel my retrieve rate increased but the pressure got lighter. My heart began to sink. The fly line came in. Then the tippet and fly. The fish was gone. He had come unbuttoned when I cranked down on the drag to save my string.
Upon examination of the hook of Angie’s Bunny Bitter it was obvious what happened: the hook was bent open. I never slowed the fish. I didn’t do anything to him at all except make him mad.
Still, my hands trembled for minutes afterward from the adrenalin rush. No picture of this fish either, but the bent open hook is right here on my desk as a memento. I’m going back to that flat again!
I'm gonna try to pop a cool photo in here . . . hope it works!
Angie and Garth on the White Bay flat
03-13-2002, 05:26 PM
Alan just loves telling these fishing stories. I've heard them all so you guys get to hear them now. He's still pumped up about hooking up with these big boys in Exuma! ...just teasing you Alan. :-) I'm just jealous cuz I didn't hook the big one!
Hey Adrian....Don't you fish with Abby when you're there? I know that he sometimes fishes The Forest Flat. Garth told me that Abby has seen permit there. I sure wanted to find one! Please give us a report when you get back.
Angie's heard my stories way too many times !!
Sometimes I ferget.
03-15-2002, 05:57 PM
If that fish measured 32" from the tip to the fork (not the tip of the tail) - he was a lot bigger - and I mean a lot bigger than 13 pounds (average weight of a 32 inch bone is 18 pounds eight ounces). So unless that dog was graced with "skinny genes", I would say you just caught the "Bone" of lifetime!love to see a picture of that beast!!
03-15-2002, 10:53 PM
Angie, there are definnitely Permit - every trip down to Sandy Cay we would see them. There are also a few Tarpon - I've seen a couple down at the Bridge below P&P and Abby knows where to find em. So, maybe a Bahamian Grand Slam is on;)
03-16-2002, 05:31 AM
Yea I've heard of the permit at Sandy Cay! We were hoping to get down there on this past trip but the weather wasn't cooperating so we decided it might be a little too rough. We'll save that plan for the next trip over! ....which will hopefully be in June.
We're thinking of trying to get a group together in June and occupy the 4 bedroom cottage at Master Harbor. Anyone interested??
OK I'll bite... what are the details?
03-16-2002, 07:01 AM
No particular plans yet. No set dates. I'm thinking of a long weekend in June.
We just got back this past Sunday and we're already talking about arranging this trip. Figured that June would be good because the water wouldn't be too warm then and it'd be before hurricane season.
Master Harbour has a 4 bedroom cottage that rents for $350 a day. http://www.exumabahamas.com/masterharbour.html
We took some pictures of the 4 bedroom and we'll be posting it on the www.ExumaBonefish.com website soon.
The guides will pick us up each morning at the cottage at 8 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. Guides are $295 a day. Guides can arrange for box lunches for us each day.
The cottage is about 3 miles from restaurants and grocery stores. The owner of the cottages will give us a ride into town occasionally. Also one of the guides has an uncle who has a taxi service. He'll take good care of us also.
So if anyone's interested, we'll get to work and make start working on a plan.
By the way....we're not travel agents and we don't work on commissions. We just love bonefishin'!
It's always fun to meet people who have the same addiction.
There is no doubt in my mind that the fish was over 13 pounds; I just had no accurate way of measuring him since Reno was 300 yards away. It may have been my adrenalin, and much luck, that the fish came in quickly. He was green and hard to handle by myself.
I held the fish’s nose on the stripping guide of my rod and his tail was beyond the butt. It was difficult to be precise. The girth measurement was more than 18 inches. Since this is the variable that is squared it is much more important significant.
I was trying to be conservative in my original post. The girth was closer to 20” yielding a sixteen-pound fish. I honestly believe that’s more accurate. However, I have no proof so it really doesn’t matter. I’ll have to be satisfied with the biggest bone I’ve ever caught.
03-20-2002, 07:26 PM
You are correct, official weight is unimportant. What is important is the hunt, the presentation, the play, and most importantly the landing (what a shame that knucklehead who landed the 202 pound Tarpon and promptly drowned it in Homossassa last year did not feel the same way). Last Spring I landed a 28 inch Bonefish off of Carters Cay in Northern Abaco, on a nine weight. I can imagine the thrill of that monster on your eight weight.
03-20-2002, 09:10 PM
Ok...the website has now been updated to include the pictures of the 4 bedroom cottage at Master Harbour. Go to www.ExumaBonefish.com and then click on 'Places to Stay' and then on 'details' under Master Harbour. The 4 bedroom unit is right on the water and rents for $350 per night.
03-26-2002, 03:12 PM
Returned last week from another great bonefish trip in Exuma and Long Island.
Fished Exuma 4 days with P&P guides, Martin and Wille Jr. and one day with JJ. Good fishing everyday. A little wind and only 1 brief rainstorm.
Plenty of fish in the 3-5 range and saw some big'uns. Would have gotten many more had I remembered how to cast a fly rod! Also had to modify my strip to long and fast instead of the normal long strip followed by quick short ones once the fish is on the fly. If I tried any other strip technique most fish would'nt even look at the fly. I'll remember to try that next time if the norm does not work.
Pretty much the same deal on Long Island with Docky. I also got a couple shots on permit with Docky but no takers.
The highlight of the trip was late one afternoon we were heading in with Martin and he saw a tarpon. I had rigged up the 10wt for cuda with wire and an abel anchovy earlier so I gave it a go. 2 strips and hell broke loose! All I could do was look at Martin and say, "NOW WHAT!" his reply, "HOLD ON MON!" After 25 dazed minuted we boated the fish, got a picture and send him happily on his way. I figure he was around 70lbs but I am looking to get a tarpon officiato to verify it. What a rush, the first tarpon I cast to in my life and I hooked up. Even made it a little sweeter when I realized that behind that piece of wire I only had 15lb tippet.
Angie, JJ definately has some prime new territory.
Adrian, your right, that artic fox is the way to go.
Back to dreamin for another 11 months and 1 week.
03-26-2002, 08:00 PM
Wow...You did have an adventure in Exuma! That's great!
JJ told me that you guys had a great day when you went out with him but he didn't tell me about your tarpon catch. Congratulations!
I can't wait to check out this 'new location' myself. I haven't seen any tarpon there myself but I have heard reports of them. Do you mind telling where you caught him?
Hey, if you'd like to post any of your Exuma pictures on the site, please email them to me (Angie@ExumaBonefish.com) and we'll get them posted.
I'm glad that you had a great trip. I can't wait to go back myself. I might go back this summer and try some of the summertime bonefishing.
03-26-2002, 09:02 PM
Great thread...love it... which I could get down there this year.
03-26-2002, 09:13 PM
Great report John and congratulations on the Tarpon!
I will be down there one week from today - can't wait!
I've spotted two Tarpon down there in previous years both from the bridge below P&P. One rolled on the surface at dusk one evening and the other was holding station right under the bridge. Abby talked about them a lot last time.
The Slam is a possibility - (Permit are always around at sandy cay and barraterre) so who is going to be first?
Great report and congratulations on a fantastic week!
Wow, almost a slam . . .. What a thrill.
You know, you’re killing us . .
Way to go !!
About a week to go . . . can’t wait to hear your report about Exuma.
It’s a little early but I might forget, or more likely, you’ll be too excited to remember-
Give yerownself a present, you be first to slam!
03-27-2002, 05:32 AM
A birthday grand slam....That WOULD be a great present!
Ummmm....Have I mentioned that my birthday is in April?? I wouldn't mind being the second to get a slam.
03-27-2002, 08:01 AM
The tarpon was caught up near moss town area on the way into the creeks. Also I have heard there have been a good number of 20-30 pounders down below the bonefish lodge where you were talking about Adrian. Next time I plan to hit the BarraTerre area and maybe Sandy Cay at least one day. Now I want to catch a permit after being beaten this trip.
Adrian good luck down there, make sure you call ahead for availability on Kalik if you like it because I did some damage to the local stocks. I already wish I could get down there again.
At least I am pumped to get the boat ready now, battery is on trickle and a coat of wax will do it. Tying some flies up now and by April 15th were going in.
03-28-2002, 11:21 AM
Sandy Cay is definitely on my list for the next trip to Exuma. I would love the chance to catch a permit on fly. There's also reports of permit on the Forest Flat which is a huge flat just north of Moss Town. I had my eye out for them on the last trip but didn't see any. Oh well...gives me an excuse to go back. Like I really need an excuse!