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Eric 11-06-2008 10:07 AM

Off To Great Exuma
My partners-in-crime, the Hooknose Society, and I are off to Great Exuma to try for the wily bonefish. This is a first time experience for me, and I'm deliriously looking forward to it. We'll be basically DIY, staying at Hartswell Cottages, although we will be fishing with guides for the first two days.

Any advice, recommendations, or cautions would be greatly appreciated.



juro 11-06-2008 01:35 PM

If they fish are spooky, lay the fly on the bottom well ahead of their approach and don't move it until they are on top of it

Bring your shrimpy pink steelhead flies - when the fish are tailing in shallow water the softer something lands and the slower it sinks the better

You will sink less standing on the tops of the mounds at airport flat than you will in the hollows between them

Look like a tourist instead of an angler when you get off the water unless you want to be hassled by the guides there. It's hard to listen to their cries of hardship from DIY when the gold jewelry they have on exceeds my net worth.

Keep an eye out for buried stingrays, try to move the feet parallel to the bottom and wear good solid wading shoes.

Bring lots of water and protect from that blistering sun.

bobsold 11-06-2008 06:23 PM

At the Airport flat, go small and light. by small I mean 8s, and 6-8 lb tip. At any other place, it is normal Bahamas bonefishing.
And bring as much of your own food as you can. Only one store in town, and sometimes not much there.
Please report on your trip. I love it there.

Eric 11-07-2008 10:26 AM

Many thanks for the tips. Will do.

Juro recommends Huskie's as a place to eat.

Looks like no-one is paying much attention to La Paloma hurricane, but I expect we'll have a lot of wind and rain in the early part of the week. I was wondering whether the flats marl-up in the wind.



Eric 11-17-2008 11:42 PM

Well, got there after Hurricane Paloma has fizzled out crossing Cuba, but, just the same we had dirty weather from Sunday through Thursday. Friday was still breezy, but edging into goodness, while Saturday was absolutely glorious.

We fished mainly with guides, as conditions were such we felt we needed all the help we could get. For those that have been there, we fished with Reno, Garth and Drexel (anyone wanting more specific info, send me a PM), and they got us into fish every day, despite the windy, cloudy weather and a bad tide cycle.

I fished near Harts Well from a kayak with very indifferent results. Again, the wind made things difficult, but there really were very few bonefish on the accessible flats. I did manage to catch a trunkfish while blind casting across one flat (sun went behind a cloud that looked like a monstrous Starship Enterprise and put paid to my sight-fishing on that particular flat).

Tried some DIY stuff one day. Never could find out how to get to the Airport Flats (it's near the new airport, not the old one), but did manage to find some glorious flats near Rolleville. Also tried some flats at Barraterre with indifferent success. Saw some cool starfish, lots of lemon sharks and sting rays, but managed not to step on any of the latter, although we had more than ample opportunity.

Last day out, on a far-off flat out of Rolletown, I saw literally hundreds of bonefish as they squirmed out of the mangroves and started to cross a flat that was at least a half-mile wide. Wonderful, exciting, and very fast-paced fishing. The bonefish themselves averaged three pounds, without much variation, and were more than entertaining. I can see why you guys like them so much.

Hope I can do it again. Soon. (Not bloody likely)

Ate at a nice old bonefish lodge where the lady in residence feeds big ol' lemon sharks in her salt-water swimmin' hole. Way cool.



petevicar 11-18-2008 01:33 AM

Hi Eric
Good report. Shame about the weather. I seem to be saying that all the time this year.

By the way what is a trunk fish?


Eric 11-18-2008 09:52 AM

Hi, Pete,

Here's a picture and some dope on my crittur:



petevicar 11-18-2008 12:37 PM

Is that a different fish to a boxfish or cowfish?

bobsold 11-19-2008 11:12 AM

Very sorry to hear of your fishing conditions. Regarding the Airport Flat, it is my understanding it is near the old airport, not the new one. That might answer why you never found it.

Eric 11-19-2008 12:49 PM

We had the coordinates from Juro and they did line up with the new Georgetown International Airport. On the off-chance that it was the old airport, we investigated that area, too, with no results, although we did find a huge DEA interdiction station out there in the scrub on the way to the transport station. Sobering.

Also very sobering -- landing in Ft. Lauderdale in the Guldstream and being immediately surrounded by police and customs vehicles that had raced out onto the tarmac, dog included, to check us thoroughly for contraband.

The TSA boys ruined another rod case for me. They haven't quite gotten the concept of screw-on tops -- methinks they just bite the ends off as if they were long cigars -- but that's another story.



bonehead 11-22-2008 08:39 AM

Not sure about the link re the so-called "trunkfish". First, I've always known them as boxfish or cowfish. Second, the link mentions that their unusual shape keeps them from swimming quickly, which is just dead wrong. Unless we're talking about a different species here, the fish in that picture can blast off the flat almost as fast as a bonefish, and nearly as strong. I've had big ones put a good bend in my 10-weight while fishing for permit...

Ok, I stand corrected. Just found this link - - and trunkfish is one of the common names. Interesting.

Sounds like you had a good trip. Thanks for the report.

Tight lines,

Eric 11-23-2008 01:42 AM

I was blind casting when I caught the thing, I was sure I had snared a bonefish, albeit a close-in fighter. I kept waiting for the long run, which never happened, but the fish showed considerable moxie for its size in its short bursts across the marl. I was really surprised, disappointed and bemused simultaneously when I finally saw what I had hooked.



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