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Thread: My first DIY trip to Acklins Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-29-2007 08:05 PM
Vince UV knot sense.

I normally don't even take the bones out of the water, but the mangrove was right there behind me and he layed perfectly still for about 4 seconds so I could get the shot. One flip and he was gone.
03-29-2007 05:30 PM
Bob Bergquist Vince,

The bone on the mangrove...did you use Superglue or Zap a Gap?
03-27-2007 12:21 PM
Vince We'll I just returned from a DIY trip to Acklins--was there from March 17-24, and I certainly echo some of the points made below. Weather was tough, with high winds and mixed sun most days--often more clouds than sun. But we actually managed to see lots of fish most days, saw fewer a couple other days. Considering the weather we faced, I thought we all did fairly well in terms of numbers of fish seen and caught. No "ridiculous" numbers caught, but it's called fishing for a reason!
Of the five guests I brought down, two of them fished with a guide for one day, and the rest fished with a guide for three days. I chose to diy exclusively, as I was just here a few weeks ago and was guided everyday.
We did have use of kayaks, which we took advantage of. I think they are more useful up north where we stayed as there are some creek systems where flats are separated by deeper channels. They were fun and helpful, and if the wind was too strong we could usually walk them along the shore and use them to cross the deeper areas.
We stayed up in Chesters and enjoyed our hosts Arnette & Julius very much. They went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable, and cooked up some delicious Bahamian food for us. Fresh conch salad (very spicy), minced lobster, grouper, ribs, even corned beef and cabbage to commemorate St. Pattie's day!
I certainly agree with Bob in that hiring a guide for a day or two is a good option. You'll fish areas that you can't otherwise reach, plus if you get the right guide you'll learn some new things too. Makes the guides happy too.
Don't forget to walk the beaches on the bight side either. Bones can be found cruising here, especially on an incoming & high tide. It's not the traditional "flats" fishing most people picture when they think of bonefishing, but they are there, as well as 'cudas, sharks and jacks.
Here are some pics of the trip:

Farrow Allen with a bone

View from our rooms--bonefish included!

I'll post a few more pics when I receive them from the other guys who joined me.
03-24-2007 01:38 PM
Swalt Bonefishmon, All my trips, to the Bahamas, have been in the fall for the very reasons you mentioned. Earliest being Oct. 20 and the latest saw my son and I eating lobster and turkey. Some of the weeks have been perfect and some have had some bad weather but the fishing has been good each time.
I think September and early October may be even better but then you have the hurricane threat. I asked our host about that last fall and he said he had been on that island for 50 years and never seen one. I think we worry about the hurricanes alot more than the Bahamians do.

All the remote destinations in this part of the world are no longer guarded and when something good is found word gets out and we see the very thing that makes that destination so special dissapear. Even in the Seychells, the romote islands are visited weekly instead of monthly. A post on a message board or an article in a magazine opens up a destination to thousands of people. Makes you wonder if there are any places out there that are still guarded by the few that know of them. I am not saying you need to guard that specail place, I am not sure if you can, but some places I would like to see reamain as they are.
03-24-2007 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by FishHawk
Looks like the DIY will not last too much longer. Economic pressures seem to be taking hold. I'll have to try and get one trip in before things change on Actklins.
well I don't know if that's quite the case and I think there is a difference between the forum guys and the typical tourist angler who does not get it
03-24-2007 08:15 AM
bonefishmon Bill. Most seem to want to be there when it's cold here in the states in February March and even April. I've heard great reports from those that have visited in the fall, particularly November. Yes.....the fishing is very good here during those months and that may be a good reason to head to Acklins in the fall. Less popular then and the flats have been rested over the hurricane season. Spoke to one guy last year that went right after a hurricane and he said it was outrageous. Almost too easy.

Bob. Can you add to this? Your input has been very much appreicated. Thank you. If and when I go I will have saved enough money to spread around as much as possible. The last time I went to Andros I bought along something the kids said they needed. Basketballs and hoop nets. A local sporting goods store was going out of business and I bought twenty undersized balls for under $50 and enough nylon nets for all the courts on No. Andros. The guy I left them with to disperse had tears flowing as he knows most of the kids in the area. What an awesome feeling. We pumped most of them up before I left and headed for some of the courts. If you could have seen the look on those happy faces.............

03-24-2007 06:20 AM
FishHawk Looks like the DIY will not last too much longer. Economic pressures seem to be taking hold. I'll have to try and get one trip in before things change on Actklins.
03-23-2007 03:35 PM
juro I love the trekking on foot as much as a magic carpet ride on Bob's sweet flats machine. There are some spots where I wished I had a yak handy but not many. I won't go into details but primarily where the road access comes to a channel that doesn't open up to flats for a few hundred yards or to reach an island or point that requires a long circular wade pattern, etc.

On the topic of footsteps I am extremely cautious about where I make footsteps not because of visibility to other humans but I don't like to mar the paths of moving fish with mudlines in these slow moving tides, add visual distractions, or change the way bones react on their cautious approaches. It bugs me when people track right through the lanes.
03-23-2007 02:38 PM
bonefishmon Bob. That answers my questions. Thanks for chiming in. Even if the kayaks could be transported and used for the longer stretches otherwise walked, they are still tons of work to paddle into a strong headwind. I just like the idea of having the storage for emergency supplies. If someone takes ill or breaks a bone they would appreciate having the paddle. All the more pressure on the fish though. Thanks for your insight on this. Looks like one of the last bonefishing frontiers close to the USA still has some time left before it gets really clobbered.

03-23-2007 10:44 AM
Bob Bergquist I didn't mean to suggest DIY'ers aren't still welcomed here, it's just that the pressure is being felt by the fish and thus the guides. (Right now there are nine DIY folks fishing) There are some locals that think everyone should be guided, others are happy for the business at the stores and bars. Kathy has turned the meals into a great extention of her business. A nice mix is to hire a guide for a couple days to get to the more remote areas. DIY'ers should remember that the lodges are here to do business, not help them out. By not fishing the same places each day perhaps problems can be headed off. It's hard though, as most folks are here for six 1/2 days of fishing and don't think of the cummulative effects of the pressure, and are tempted to go back to the spots they have found fish. Three days of pressure on a flat often means at least a week before the fish feel comfortable enough to come back in in numbers. What a lot of folks don't understand is that these fish will use flats many miles apart. On calm days I have watched schools move three miles from a certain bay we fish
to feed in creek to the north. They have plenty of options on where to feed!

Your canoe story is right on. This is no place to be stuck out for the night. We always leave a daylight buffer for any problems coming in. No 911 here!
03-23-2007 09:47 AM
Swalt To me its sad to hear that the attitude of the guides on Acklins is changing. I made a trip there in 2002 and didn't encounter that. When planning a return trip in 2004 I was first made aware of the move to ban DIY in the Bahamas. I don't want to get into that here.

I guess the more popular a place becomes the more it changes. When I was there, on a solo trip, in the fall of 2002 there were 2 fishermen flying in with me and none flying out. I fished for the whole week, 3 days guided and 3 days on my own, and never saw another fisherman. I think I was the only fisherman on the Island for part of that week. Even though I had limited experience bonefishing, and this was my first trip to the Bahamas, I had little trouble finding fish and they were wild and eager to eat.

I remember some of those fish but the thing I remember the most is the challenge and the great feeling of accomplishment I got from meeting the challenges. To be all alone on a those flats can be humbling and a little frightening at times. Especially when there is a large shark moving back and forth between you and your canoe.

The first afternoon there I took off in a canoe accross the bay with the wind at my back, pulled into a creek and fished up it. Think I caught a couple of fish in the creek then on my way out I found them tailing as the sun was going down on a flat at the mouth of the creek. It was a beautiful sight seeing those tails flickering in the low sun. So paying little attention to the falling sun, I chased tails till I figured it was time to head back accross the bay before there was no sun. I learned a lesson. The wind was now in my face and it was more than a struggle to get back. Going into the wind I made little headway in the direction I needed to go. So I just started paddling the quickest direction to shore and ended up maybe a mile below the lodge. From there I waded the edge of the shore towing the canoe behind me finally getting there as it turned dark. I'm a surveyor and I have walked many miles through the woods swinging a bush axe but I don't ever think I have been as tired as I was that day. Funny when I look back now that was the highlight of the trip.
03-23-2007 07:23 AM
Bob Bergquist The mailboat is more like 18-20 hours, and not a place I'd want to spend ANY time on, nor do very many of the locals anymore! Nor would you be able to just hop of the plane and onto the boat. It takes frieght on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then leaves sometime on Thursday to arrive Saturday by way of Crooked and Long Cay... unless it is diverted somewhere else on a charter or has mechanical problems etc.

Some guys had a Kayak here earlier this year and hardly used it. The issue is covering ground to get to places on different tides, not crossing deep channels etc. When the wind blows I can't imagine having to paddle back with the light fading. The key to fishing Acklins is a good boat or strong legs, and with many of the best flats 10 miles or more from any access point I prefer the boat!

The DIY guys have not been finding great numbers of fish lately, partly due to the weather, but also due to the fact that the same flats have been pounded almost daily for weeks. If you are coming over, be prepared to hoof it to find fish and rest the easy to get to spots. Harry Creek looks like a watering hole for buffalo there are so many tracks, and the Delectable fish are acting like they are from Ten Bay! This is not lost on the local guides who fish those areas when the weather gets rough, and serves to reinforce what everyone has heard coming out of Exuma and Long Island. Fedel, on the other hand has been doing great business taking frusterated DIYers out and getting them into unpressuered fish! One other heads up, DIY is just that! The lodges are not pleased to have DIY folks droping by asking to use phones and computers, asking where to fish etc. Acklins is remote, be prepared to be out of touch for a week and figuring it out on your own. It's amazing how many folks show up wondering why Verizon does not work!

There is an internet connection at Felton's now, but the phone has been out for several weeks. The internet may or may not work at times.

03-22-2007 05:37 PM
bonefishmon Juro. If I ever make the trip, I'm tempted to take the Mailboat and a set of tandem yaks purchased in Nassau to toss in the trucks. Seems the way to go. Just need a safe place to store them for the groups that follow. Rent them out and they pay for themselves. One could land in Nassau and just hop on the next boat........sameday. Boat ride to Acklins is 12 hrs. so one must sleep on deck with the baggage. No weight restrictions. Sound ridiculous?

Has anyone reading this truely explored the Bahamas the way the folks that live there do? I am very curious about this. When I was on Andros, I met an Italian that uses mailboats frequently. He said it was one of the best parts of his adventurous nature and very affordable. Not totally reliable and very slow as is life on the islands.

03-22-2007 05:11 PM
petevicar Thanks for your help Bob.

03-22-2007 04:25 PM
Bob Bergquist You'll be glad to hear that the weather has's raining with the winds now. Can't last forever.

Wouldn't be a true death march without a bit of pain. A least there were fish at the end of the trail.

My wife has found a novel way of bonefishing in the wind this week, she lets me cast and she reels them in. She out fished me ten to one with her meathod today.
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