So there we were... - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 05-02-2006, 02:13 PM
juro's Avatar
juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
So there we were...

pulling over at the rockpile at Harry's Creek on a rising tide. The sun was burning away the morning and becoming an Acklins day, time only had relevance to tide and daylight not meetings and deadlines, and life was good. The previous night's inspirations were sitting pretty in the flybox in the shirt pocket begging to be fished, the water bladder full of cold "Acklins Blue" purified water and the appetite still sated from Katy Hanna's barbequed Bahamian delights the night before. Thankfully good tequila (Patron) doesn't give me a hangover, and Bill, Jim, Dave and I were downright inspired by an early flood on a gorgeous day in bonefish heaven.

We stopped here for a spare hour earlier in the week at last light and I happened to find a lane where bones were leaving the mangroves on the dropping tide in numbers, and got great shots and some follows but they were in a hurry to leave at almost low tide in the waning evening light and I brought nothing to hand. This provided evidence that the bones were running the mangroves, but their arrival patterns would be my niche on Harry's.

As we waded out to meet our destiny, we fanned out a bit. I was intent on heading right since all the fish the other night were right to left and this was the opposite tide. Bill went straight and Dave patrolled.

Within moments, bones started to blast over the shallow humps as the tide rose, creating a great commotion. Everyone esle thought they were cuda or other predatory fish chasing bait except for me, as I had observed this type of breaching of shallows before many times. I called out over the radio to correct the chat, "they're bones guys! Just 'humpin' it over the shallow water". I had seen this behavior several times before being the shore schlepper type. In fact I had never fished for bones from a boat in my life and the first of the flood is best observed on foot.

Not sure if anyone actually believed me as the communication went silent but the next sound I remember was Bill's click pawl Hardy crying out in the unmistakable grinding wail. Usually he puts the microphone of his walkie talkie on the reel just to make us grind our teeth, but this time he didn't need to it was so damn loud. Dave started to splash over toward Bill, I went in the opposite direction to give them room and find my own action.

The marl is real soft here and the trails of mud leave a lasting line that the fish will not cross until it dissipates, sometimes 20 minutes later. It's important to cross flats in a way that leaves the approach of the fish intact for yourself and others.

I positioned on a coral head and waited patiently trying to block out the loud whining of the Hardy as Bill had settled into a gap between two small mangrove islands where hundreds of bonefish decided they needed to pass thru.

Finally, they came to me. Come to papa I whispered under my breath, crouching to keep my profile low and waiting patiently as the warm tropical water bathed my legs and soothed my psyche perhaps like one of those immersion tanks that city folks might use to escape the rigors of the business world or find their inner selves or something but instead of being a dark isolated chamber this is no facsimile of freedom but freedom itself - a hypnotically pure chalky white playing field beneath a turquoise sea, melting into a robin's egg sky somewhere beyond anything that mattered to me until Saturday morning when the plane came back to fetch us from Spring Point and bring us back to the concrete jungle.

Keeping my feet motionless, I rolled up and laid out the line to the rear and gently lay the crab fly in the slot and wait.... almost... alright then... hold on.... NOW... twitch - strip - THUMP! Strip-set and woohoo! The drag peels from the reel and the first of the day, a very nice fat fish, runs the line into the backing while the rest of the herd scurries about the flat in disarray.

I watch as some run up into the mangroves, almost using the sudden chaos as the excuse to bomb up into the bonefish buffet. Others take a cautious route and head back out toward the bight. Some stay just beyond reach, apparitions over the flat, only barely giving away their presence in an impatient flash or an errant roam over a shallow hump.

The fat and healthy bonefish comes to hand, streaked with bright silver and a snow white underside, fins and eyes huge for the body size; scales and markings as well camoflaged as a lizard on a rockpile. Body built for speed, these smart little buggers have been and remain the subject of obsession for anglers around the world. The fish scurries away over the flat and each of us are a little wiser and if we meet again, we'll both have to be a little more on our toes for our own sake.

Of all the things we can say bonefish have or don't have they certainly have personality. It's all about the game, and when it comes to the flats they are it.
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Old 05-02-2006, 02:57 PM
wrke wrke is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Many. From NE salt, Russia, Canadian A Salmon, NW Steelhead, Bahamas, Keys. Live in Upstate NY
Posts: 792
God, you're killing me here Juro. Wish I was back there.
Well, there's always next year. In the meantime I'll have to settle for tarpon in the Keys (next week) along with the infamous Islamorda bones.
But, only heaven's better and I'll be back.
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Old 05-02-2006, 04:06 PM
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FredA FredA is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Bicep to elbow
Posts: 1,859
God, you're killing me here Juro. Wish I was back there
There he goes again, with his fish porn.

Killing you! It's making me ill. At least you were there Bill.
Fred A.
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