Back from Eleuthera...
Just back from 17 great days on Eleuthera Monday...(had an unexpected "bonus" day due to bad flying weather).
Eleuthera never fails to dissapoint my buddy and I and this was our most enjoyable relaxing trip yet. I suppose we're both going "Bahamian" as we never felt pressured to get out and cast a line. Many mornings we just sat on our Cupid's cottage porch at the Duck Inn and enjoyed a few coffee's while discussing our days fishing options.
Admittedly, the first week presented us with tough fishing conditions. Temperatures dipped into the low 60's and even into the high 50's one or two nights. The effect combined with low tides overnight and high bonechilling winds was dramatic. Low overnight tides with cold and wind means that the flats suffer from "wind-chill". The exposed flats substrate cools off dramatically in these circumstances and when the morning flood tide comes...the water picks up that chill resulting in water temps a good 5 to 10 degrees lower than that prefered by bones.
Those cold flats resulted in some of our favorite (and new) backwater "kayaking" areas in South Eleuthera to be totally devoid of bones early in the day. The only fish seen there were hungry cruising Sharks and Cuda's who were likely wondering, like us!...where were the bones?
This was our first trip where we actually had to sleep with blankets on and never even considered using the airconditioner. Many of the local townsfolks appeared as if they were preparing for a winter storm as they wore winter jackets and scarfs wrapped around their necks.
Some quality bones were caught that first week but not the typical hoards of stupid fish as in years past. Not to be put down by the conditions, we availed ourselves of the fantastic Jack, Grouper and Cuda fishing which kept our casting arms in shape as well as providing us with a couple quality fresh fish meals. We were once on a school of larger jacks that kept us entertained for more than an hour with instantaneous hit as the fly or lure hit the water...what great fun!
What a difference a week makes! Daytime/nightime temperatures warmed up significantly and the winds dropped down to a slight breeze most days. One afternoon, Max and I racked up 13 bones landed in less than 2hrs with many other hookups and chances as well as one good fish taken by a hungry 30lb class Cuda that came out of nowhere.
The calmer conditions meant that "Atlantic-side" beaches were beginning to fish well. One morning, I hooked up with 3 fish in a 1/2 hr and only managed to land the smallest one of about 3 1/2 lbs. The two lost fish (one came unplugged and the other broke off my 12.5lb tippet after a 150yard run)...we're both near the 30inch or 10-12lb mark. The key to hooking up with these big Atlantic side fish was to use a #2 or #4 heavily weighted fly and drop it within 10 to 15 feet of them. They'd find it in a hurry and eat it hungrily. Seems to me the pattern that developed would have the fish cruising the beaches the last 1/2 of the falling tide and the first half of the rising. During the full high tide and the full low tide...I couldn't find a bone anywhere.
Also witness for the first time in my short bonefishing career, an absolutely enormous "bonefish mud". We were paddling a remote carribean shoreline when we entered an area of smudgy water...that area soon turned into water so cloudy that your paddle blade couldn't be seen a foot below the surface. We couldn't tell for sure, but we were likely over what could be termed as an "acre" of mudding bones. The only bones seen and caught were on the edges and what great fun it was to throw a fly from the kayak with the leader knot still in the rod tip and have bonefish do backflips to get at the fly...he he!
Cudo's to Continental Airlines for their fantastic serving and going out of their way for their passengers. On Sunday April 9th, we had an originally scheduled departure from Govenor's Harbour airport at 4:20pm. Severe thunderstorms stretched from Eleuthera all the way to Miami and Fort Lauderdale and caused the delay/cancellation of many flights although a few aircraft arrived/departed in the occasional opening in the clouds. Bottom line, 8 hours at GHB and finally we could actually see the lights of our plane circling GHB. Then the bad news came, a storm directly over GHB wasn't passing quickly enough and the flight crew decided to turn back to FLL as opposed to risking running out of fuel waiting out the storm to land.
Continental cancelled our flight and put us up in the Citagoo Inn in GHB...who kept the restaraunt open late for us (as it was now 9:30pm) and also provided us a great breakfast before our return to GHB the next morning for a special flight back to FLL just for us and a handfull of others. "Hats-off!" Continental!...thanks!
All in all...a fantastic trip with lots of fish caught...friends made...and old aquaintences renewed! Many thanks to John and Katy Duckworth of the Duck Inn in Govenors Harbour for being the most absolutely fantastic hosts and friends. We'll see you again soon.
A little bonefish porn for you below...a nice Atlantic-side 7lber!