Travel Log: Pink Sands & Bonefish

Rachael, meet Mr. Bonefish. Bonefish, Rachael. Smile.


March 21, 2011

2:41 p.m.

Tide: Slack High… possibly Falling.

Wind: NNE, 15 knots.

Coconuts no longer amuse us, and the bonefish have stubbornly persisted in their absence. Except for a brief window where the clouds parted and I chase a cruising pair, splashing my way to the leeward as I followed them in the milky water, the flats were bare. By the time I got lined up for a shot I was so keyed up I pulled the fly away from first one, then the second fish. Bugger this place. Bonefish suck anyway.

We head east to the point, a sandy promontory that bisects a ripping current that floods the pink sand twice a day by means of a major channel a few hundred yards out. It’s a place of whistling terns, glistering blue water, and shifting dunes. A leaning shack—its sides open to the elements—bides its time under the sun, perhaps waiting for the next storm to topple, gratefully, over. It provides shade… if you can resist the invitation of the beach.

We’ve always caught fish here, even on slack tide. The ubiquitous jacks, mostly, but groupers, hinds, and snappers too. There was even that memorable occasion when we found a school of bones on the windward side. We hooked several and finally landed a feisty little rocket before the rest dematerialized into deeper water.

Today was different. Ostensibly we were here to relax, take a break from fishing, you know, but after a morning of listless wandering the guys wanted a tight line of any kind. The girls chose to actually relax instead, and therefore got what they wished for. Glancing back up the beach I could just make out Rachael as she shifted position with the moving sun. My sister lay comfortably in the shade.

Finally I figured, what the hell, it’s blowing a young hurricane, and we only ever found those bones once, but anything is better than this. I’d been casting a long line among the coral heads just off the beach, but other than a very small barjack, I’d been laboring fruitlessly. So I cut over the dunes and headed for the windward. Horseflies lurked among the driftwood, eyeing my ankles as I surveyed the spot. And, there they were, a nice school of bones. Bigger, this time, but still schoolies. Easy fish, usually. A few minutes later Rachael was alongside throwing a tight loop at a crisp angle to the wind…

Ok. Wait, let it sink. Strip, strip. Got ‘im! Let ‘im ru… ahhh, broke off. It’s ok, use my rod. It’s a six, but you can do it.

Cast. Wait, Strip. Strip. Fish on!

My crappy little reel screeched out line and she wound it back up, slowly bringing the girl and fish together—a meeting the fish seemed rather keen not to keep. Nevertheless we prevailed and soon this female prodigy, this fly casting amphitrite held her first bonefish. And, her beaming visage notwithstanding, I believe she cared for it only slightly more than a good tan, or a tall daiquiri. For myself, I was simply happy; a real fish had at last been caught. It might not be much, but at least tonight we’d have an excuse to celebrate.

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