Bimini Log - long
Date Oct 12, 2001
High tide 4:24a.m. + 3.42, Low +10:36a.m 1.36, High 4:53p.m. +3.85
Thought you guy's might enjoy..........
First off Bimini was empty, and I mean empty!, we stayed at the Bimini Big Game Club alone. Not one other person was in the Hotel. October is traditionally
Bimini's off season but with everything going on in the states (WTC) people just are not traveling commercial right now.
Bob and I fished with Bonefish Ray, the other group fished Bonefish Rudy (more on Rudy later). The weather on Friday was perfect not a cloud in sight, and mid
eighties. The water was eighty degrees on the head, and the wind was blowing out of the East at 12 mph. The flat we fished on the interior of North Bimini is a
yellowish color - this makes spotting the fish a piece of cake, even for first timers (you could definitely rent Kayaks here and catch bones wading). We fished from
1:00 until 4:30 on Friday and got skunked, this was not due to a lack of Bonefish - We saw at least thirty different groups of two's and three's, and they were big (all
over six pounds, and at least eight at 10 or better, no schoolies). Bob came down with a serious case of "Boneitis" (this is where every time you spot a bone
your knees go weak, and you shoot fifty feet of line beautifully on the first two strokes, and then try to overpower the last one in a wide arc which causes
your line to be deposited in a heap twenty feet in front of the boat). Even though we didn't put any in the boat the quality time that I had mocking Bob made the trip
worth every penny. In fairness to Bob (and of course me) these fish were interested in just about everything but our flies. We threw everything from Jim's Golden
Eye's to Chart Clousers. Even switched over to six pound flourocarbon tippets with a 14 foot leader. Bob had at least three perfect shots from forty feet that the
Bones flashed on and then ignored. They were not spooked -they stayed in the same area - they just were not eating. The other group that went with Bonefish Rudy
caught four Bonefish that day using spinning gear and live shrimp and fishing the Muds (The biggest one was seven pounds).
That night the Island was ours and we had the Complete Angler, and End of the World Bar all to ourselves. This proved to be a bad thing due to the fact that we did
not have to wait in line for Gombay Smashes - which meant that everyone in the group got lit up like torch. Eventually, I received a sign that it was time to go - this
"sign" came in the form of what appeared to be a volcano of red juice flowing from the mouths of three of the six in our party within a fifteen minute time frame (the
next morning they all insisted it was a particulary virulent strain of the East Asian stomach flu).
As fate would have it, on our way back to the hotel room we walked past the BBGC dock and spotted a mess of thirty and forty pound Tarpon stacked up under a
light in one of the empty boat bay's feeding on shrimp during a strong outgoing tide (the dock was huge and completely empty). Being in fine condition, we of course
grabbed our sticks and started hammering them. We had three Jumps that night on Cliffs & Marty's Crystal Shrimp that we use for Snook under the lights. I know I
would have landed one that night if I just had not passed out on the dock. My eight weight was good enough to get the hook in, but not good enough to the fight the
Tarpon in close quarters. Since we were not expecting Tarpon the heaviest tippet I brought was 20 pound test. The Tarpon were snapping that line like it was thread
on the second or third jump. Thank God that we did not keep any on for any length of time. If we would have it just would have been a matter time of before one ran
under the dock that we were standing on and snapped our rods (come to think of it that would have given me a matched pair since my cursed Sage nine weight
broke earlier that day).
Bimini Day 2
October 13, 2001
High tide 5:30a.m. + 3.64, Low 11:44a.m +1.18, High 5:56p.m. +3.93
Saturday was a carbon copy of the first in regards to conditions. I fished with Ray again, Bob and Pat paired up with Bonefish Ansil Saunders, and Noel and Dan
fished with Bonefish Rudy. We started off late (9:30) on the East side of the Island (ocean flat). Due to my broken nine weight, I used the eight and seven that day,
and went down to a 10 foot leader with a 12 inch 8 pound flurocarbon tippet. First fish 4 pounds @ 10:33 on a #4 Sand Bandit with pink wing. Second fish 8
pounds @ 11:40 on a #4 Sand bandit, Third Fish 3 pounds @ 12: 50 on a # 4 Sand Bandit. Last legitimate fish that I had on was a smoker, Originally thought it was
a big Cuda it was not really cruising or feeding, instead it was crawling along the bottom of a 3 foot deep sand ledge - put it three feet to the right of it's nose and it
bolted up off the bottom and hit the Sand Bandit three feet above it's head (that's a first). Got fish on the reel, and 70 yards out my tippet to fly knot failed (should
have re-tied after the three pounder). This was the biggest Bone I have ever hooked - no mangroves, coral, or sea fans in sight - lost it due to pure stupidity.
Doc took the helm from this point on - he had not been feeling well (Half a bottle of Dewars and six Goombay smashes the night before will do that to you) and had
not fished the first portion of the day. Doc insisted we go back inside the Island even though the tide was pouring back in and Bonefish were everywhere on that flat.
Bonefish Ray was not pleased to say the least. As punishment I think he motored us around the West side of the Island (45 minutes) and fished the flat to the North East of
BBGC - Doc struggled with the wind and zeroed for the Day - which he called at 3:45 p.m.
Bob who has now developed a solid fear of the fly rod whenever the wind blow's over 3 mph put his fly rod away and fished spinning tackle all day.The other two
boat's brought in a total of eight bonefish using shrimp, and spinning tackle (Both Dan and Bob landed and photographed legit eight pound fish). Not bad considering
that other than Bob no one had flat's fishing experience.
Noel was the only one who zeroed - but he stuck to the Fly-rod all day (God bless him). He had major problems with Bonefish Rudy. I would not recommend Rudy
to anyone who is not an experienced fly caster or flats fisher for that matter. He systematically insulted, and harrased everyone who stepped on his boat on both Friday, and Saturday (this in spite of when I booked him I told him he
would be fishing with novices). On Friday Rudy harassed Pat about his spin casting ability until Pat threatened to beat him if he spoke to him again. To his credit
Rudy did have two great lines with Noel. The first came after Noel hit Rudy for the second time (Noel claims it was on purpose) with the fly. Rudy responded "I've
been guiding for thirty six years and have never been hit by a fly - You have been on this boat for three hours and have already hit me twice- put that thing away
before you tear my eye out". The other came at the end of the day when Noel asked Rudy what he should work on - Rudy replied: "You need to put that thing away
and go back to fly school".
All in all a good trip, with a lot of advantages: 1. It's close 2. The guides are reasonably priced 200.00 for a half day, 300.00 for a full day. Bonefish Ansil and Bonefish
Ray are both stellar guides - although Ray does tend to work a flat to death (not like the run and gun that the guides that I have used at Walkers, Harbor Island, and
Grand Bahama). 3. The flats here seem to be relatively un- pressured (much like Walkers most of the guy's here come to fish deep for the big boy's) even though it is
only 50 miles to Miami - The Island only has four guides right now and Ray say's that he works an average of 175 day's a year. 4. The Island definitely offers plenty
to do at night - it has a number of hole in the wall Bars and all are in walking distance. 5. The food and drinks were all reasonably priced compared to H.I, Walkers,
or GB. 5. Most importantly there are a lot of Big Bonefish here (But they do get pressured just not as severe as the Key's).6. Based on the right tide you could do
this trip out of a Kayak. The Flat's to the North inside were firm, and you could also take the mangrove channels to the outside of the Island and work your way
down to the south and fish back towards the Big Game Club.
The only real disadvantages are: 1. Does not really feel like the other Bahamas "Out Islands", has a little more of a metro feel to it. 2. The handmade 14 foot skiffs are
good in skinny water - but are slow, have no casting deck, and the seats are lawn chairs that you move back and forth to help the skiff get on plane. 3. If Rudy is the
only guide available - stay home.
That's a great report - thanks for the details. An off-season trip down that way might be on the cards before the "official" start of 2002.
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