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Old 01-31-2006, 08:38 AM
Charlie's Avatar
Charlie Charlie is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Eastern Great Lakes & Gaspe
Posts: 1,003
Thumbs up January Fly of the month contest - Winner!

Well sports fans! Another hard one to judge, but we do have a winner. bonefishmon and his fantastic story about The Andros on a budget took the top spot. It is reprinted below for your reading pleasure. Great story bonefishmon, PM me with your snail mail and I will send you your fly.

And congrats and thanks to the rest of you who submitted stories. They were all great and deserve something. Wish I had time to tie all of you a fly.

For those of you who have not seen the stories please take a look at the attached link.
There are some good ones. Very entertaining stuff.

Also, keep your eyes peeled. We will be announcing the February Fly of the month contest very soon.

Originally Posted by bonefishmon
Andros on a budget

Per Jack Gartside's advice, I decided I could, indeed, afford to try out my sightfishing skills at Fresh Creek on North Andros Island in the Bahamas. If it would be Lefty's last wish was to fish Andros than that's where I want to start my bonefishing addiction. I traveled alone because I didn't want anyone telling me where or when to do anything. All decisions would be my own. After a short ride from the airport in a vintage 1978 Sedan Deville I checked into Charlie Gay's Chickcharnie Hotel right on the opening of Fresh Creek. I was in Heaven already. Bonefish flat right across the creek, clean, clear as glass water. Got rigged up and started walking and three youngsters pulled up next to me on their bikes and asked why I was dressed so damn funny and what does Exoficio mean? Well, after filling them in they offered to guide me for $5.00 a piece. I said no but offered them each a P&J and some ice cream afterwards if they found fish. "OK MON! That's a deal!" So, here I was not even ten minutes from my bed and we were spotting 6- 7 lb. bones tailing in the sunset. Caught five! They were everywhere! Fed the kids and then headed over to Hank's Place for a cold Kalik! Here's the best part. While I'm working on my third beer, an elderly woman sits down next to me and introduces herself. I offer to buy her a drink and she accepts, three times! Come to find out, she is the A.U.T.E.C base's school principal.The following day she invited me over to her home at the mouth of Wilson's Creek to prove a story she had told me at the bar. After picking me up at Charlie's in her very old pickup truck, she gave me a tour of the base as well as two flats nearby. Having arrived at her home for lunch we then headed out the door to the creek opening a mere 40 paces from her front door.It's paradise here. The tide was just begining to flood and her story at the bar began to unfold! She made me leave the fly rod in the car. URGHHH! Big bag of bread in hand and one huge school of 2-3 lb. bones came within hands reach of her offerings. There was a lull and we sat in the bright white sand and waited about twenty minutes when some very dark shapes began to appear, some in threes others in fives. These fellas were in the 5-6lb. range. We were in the water now and they were swimming between our legs at the sight of food being handed them. All the while my eyes were peeled towards the open ocean, waiting, wondering if what she had told me at the bar was not Tequila Sunrise baffoonery. Oh my God!!!!!
Only singles and doubles now but they are HUGE!!!!!!! I walked backwards out of the water thinking they might be juvy Black Tips but then the tails appeared along with the dorsals. Her story was right on! "First the small one's....then the medium ones and soon the monsters!" all feeding on home baked bread. No lie, these fish were 9-12 lbs. "Oh! Look over there!" she said. I could not..... and will never from that day forward believe what I saw appear not twenty feet from my toes. She asked me to get out of the water and hide behind a palm tree nearby.
"This one is very old and he is always hungry! He doesn't take to stangers. PLEASE don't move! He doesn't like fisherman." she whispered. The 18 or so lb. fish came to her and swam circles around her as to give greeting before she emptied what was left of the bread out of her bag. She reached down and with a slow hand stroked the back of the bonefish as if it were her family. The old man then swam up the creek as is his daily ritual. Gladys make me take a vow not to fish there so I did not. I did come the next day with my own loaf of bread and one hour later in the day to watch the same senerio unfold again only this time there were cudas not far behind. Sitting, waiting, just like me. Big ones!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having tired of feeding the bones I snatched up my backpack and trusty STS908-3
and headed north from SMB. I followed the shoreline at high tide and spotted several dark, ocean bones all in two to three feet of water. Hooked one and lost it to the coral heads nearby. It was now early afternoon and getting mostly cloudy so I packed the 8# and bushwacked back to the road over a sparsley covered and scrubby dry flat. There were indications of new or full moom tide activity but hookups here would next to impossible for landing fish. I found the road and started the long walk back to Fresh Creek. I managed a ride in earlier in the day from Lyga, the grocery store owner and devote Rastafarian.

About three miles down the road I stopped at a broken down shack with what appered to me to be 1940's Coca Cola sign rusting on the wall. A sun wrinkled, elderly woman in perhaps her 80's sat outside on a stool. She offered me another stool from inside along with a cold Kalik. It was, in fact a store. I thanked her and paid her for the beer and then introduced myself. She asked if I knew who she was and I thought to myself "This is going to be interesting!" She spoke with her hands and I could not help but to notice the cuts in her hands going in all different directions. She explained that she fished for a living as well and a finger of the Fresh Creek ecosystem ran close to her backyard. I asked her about the handline cuts. "Would you like to see how I got those fresh cuts?" she said. "Follow me." Her home was very old and as I entered she pointed out a large chest freezer in the middle of the room with a coral dirt floor. The freezer was a good six feet in lenght. She opened the lid and inside was the largest barracuda I have ever seen! It was beaheded with no tail and was bent in an arch, barely fitting the inside. I later learned that she was the famous "Barracuda Lady of Andos Island".

Bought a pack of British smokes and departed. Half a mile down the road a very small man emerged from a well kept home on Calabash Bay. His name was Henry Pinder of a long line of Pinders from Nassau. A chef by trade, new boat at the dock for his journies back to work on New Providence. He invited me in and shared his knowledge of Andros and the People to People program that the Bahamian Ministry promoted. He asked if I was thirsty. I was not but said yes and was glad I did. I followed him with curiosity out the back door to his imacculate palm tree grove in the back yard. Up one of the palm trees he went with speed to retreive two fresh and very large coconuts. Isdide we went to get out of the blistering sun. He offered me lunch, a delicious salad and of course frsh coconut juice. I in turn invited him and his family to my place on the veranda overlooking Fresh Creek for cocktails that evening. It was wonerful making new friends!

Another gentleman appeared during cocktail hour. This was Charlie Gay's doing. It was Bradley Mackey druming up the possibility of guiding me from his brand new Maverick skiff. I explained that I was visiting on a budget and we worked out a deal where as I would give him most of my fishing clothes and some charts he had never seen. We fished Young Sound and Fresh Creek. Did well and and also took lot's of photo's for his portfolio. He received a very nice tip and took me out again the following morning to train another guide. He mentioned a Tarpon Pond and I managed to find it that afternoon not very far in from the beach. This location will not be shared. Sorry fellas. Loads of landlocked babies. Jumped two on the nine weight but it was all timing and roll casting from the edge of a very muddy mangrove swamp. None landed. That night from the balcony at the hotel I pointed the flash light down towards the creek. I saw numerous LARGE orange/yellow eyes. Charlie was downstairs in the grocery and told me they were 100 lb. + tarpon rolling on shrimp. Tried to jump one and ended up with a huge jack that took all of 45 minutes to land. Off to bed day four. Eddie Newton has offered to drive me from Middle Bight all the way up the coast to view of the Jolters Cays.
I will skip the details of day four. This was to be photographic essay of all the lodging from the shores of Behring Point to Red Bay far north. Since I cannot mention the names of nonsponsors this would not help anyone. Met many of the famous guides and got some great photographs.

Day five and six was spent fishing in the towns of Stainard Creek and Stafford Creek. Gave a guide from one of the lodges a box of flies over dinner and he showed me some other possibilities for DIY. Headed back to the hotel to get ready for the flight home and met a wall diver from Boston who flew down. Said he had heard that the helicopter forray at AUTEC was canceled as I wanted to see the flats along the northern coast from the air. The morning of day seven we flew to Nassau. I paid to top off his tank and we flew from the Jolters and Red Bay all the way down the coast to Fresh Creek. Hazy day but got recognizable photos from the air. Got off his Cessna grabbed my bags and got back on the next plane to Ft. Lauderdale. Excellent first bonefish vacation! Not much has changed since. Been back twice and will go again. Please PM me if you have questions about North Andros so as not to interupt this thread. Thanks Charlie!

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Old 02-01-2006, 04:58 PM
bonefishmon's Avatar
bonefishmon bonefishmon is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Mystic River-Fishers Is. Sound- The Elbow
Posts: 1,368
Wow! Thanks Charlie. I haven't won anything in years. Sorry about the long read up there folks. In hindsight there are several other bits and pieces I neglected to cover that would be of great interest to all but a story was requested....... not a book.

In retrospect I asked Eddie, my tour guide, what I should do to make the visit more enjoyable. His answer? "Slow it down Mon!!!!!!! You Americans are always in a hurry!" Best advice I've had in years. If you ever decide to try a DIY destination by yourself, you may learn a lot more about yourself and the people where you are fishing than the fishing itself....... it's half the fun. The boys that showed me the flat across the road gave me my first Bahamian lesson. I asked what they thought of the rare few light colored people they meet. Daniel replied "Ah, don't worry Mon. We are all color blind!" Treat these people with repect. They may appear to have very little until you open your eyes and your hearts. I love the Out Islands!

So many places to fish.. friends to make.......so little time.
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