Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning
Well, from the perspective of six blokes fishing Andros Island between May 20-25, 2012, that’s a big honkin’ load of crap.
Rainy season came early this year and Tosh Brown lays down the truth on a recent trip to Andros South. See the photos here:
While his clients have lunch Andros Bonefish Guide Alvin Greene hooks a bonefish. Nice.
*TV-MA (strong language)
April 29, 2005
Day V. It’s been tough. Weather. We’ve had patchy overcast skies, winds at times pushing 25 knots, but we’ve still caught fish, 5-7 pounders mostly and shots at double-digit trophies. But Dad still hasn’t gotten his ‘big one’. Sure, there’ve been some nice fish, but the mythical double-digit, the ten-pounder has eluded him. And we fly out this afternoon.
Luckily Charlie has a sympathetic streak and has offered to take us out this morning early. Half day trip: in and out on a mission. That morning I stowed my rod in the gun’l knowing I wouldn’t use it until Dad got his fish. Until then it was camera duty for me.
We cross the bite and begin poling with Dad on the bow. Charlie is on today. By 8am we’ve already missed several shots. We’ve been passing on fish in the six pound class, deemed too small by Charlie. The chance of missing a shot at a big fish is too great. Finally I hear Charlie say clearly, Twelve o’clock, 80 feet, two fish.
At 65 out feet we spot them and Dad makes a cast. The fish are big and the pressure’s on. Of course the fly drops way left and short.
Very calmly Charlie says, Cast again… to the fish, man.
This time the fly lands about three feet dead ahead of the fish. Both rushed the fly and the lead fish, the big one, nailed it. In the face of such a clear, deliberate eat Dad lost his nerve. His strip-set would have pull-started a lawnmower.The fly popped out and the second fish darted forward and ate. This time the hook set was smooth, almost gentle. The rod bowed deeply and I heard Charlie’s now excited voice: Set the hook, man!
Half a second later the fish is burning off heavy drag and eating backing from Dad’s reel. It’s a good fish, a solid fish, and when we land it several minutes later Charlie laughs down from the platform: Nice fish. Another 10-pounder.
Then he adds, (rather whistfully, I thought), but if you had hooked that first one…
Apropos of a serious lust for unknown waters, I’ve been doing some deep dredging of ye ol’ YouTube trove. Here, my friends is a gem: a real guide’s day off.
(BTW, that dude w/ the rod? That’s Andy Smith of “In Search of a Rising Tide” fame, one of the many sons of Charlie Smith… of the Crazy Charlie bonefish fly fame. I’ve met that guy: a real fisherman. Period.)
Captain Shawn Leadon, Andy Smith and Glister Wallace exploring the inland lakes on Andros Island Bahamas.
Living Vicariously Through the Past
April 26, 2005
Yesterday we flew out of Miami, the old D concourse where American Eagle buses passengers to miniature aircraft bound for points south and east—the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Key West and more, places a fly rod is pretty much required. We were treated to our first view of north Andros as we descended to Nassau, standard port of entry to the Bahamas. To get to Andros we’d have to clear Customs and Immigration in Nassau, collect our bags, and check in for the puddle-jumper over to Andros, back the way we came. The domestic terminal is in a whole different building, so you have to walk, dragging your gear through the Bahamian sun and the throngs of porters and taxi-drivers to find the poorly marked, poorly ventilated domestic flight terminal. Estimated connection time: 2 hours… about 3 hours too long.
Flight time to from Nassau to Fresh Creek, Andros: 5 minutes. Perfect.
What wasn’t perfect was the weather. Andros was under the same weather system as the Florida Keys we’d just left. Upon arrival we rigged rods and checked leaders while Charlie mixed drinks and regaled us with stories of monster bones, massive schools, and, well, everything we’d dreamed of for months. We went to bed early dreaming of giant bonefish and worrying about the weather, both with good cause.
Day II. Dawn is clear, but windy: 10-12 knots already. Breakfast is a hurried, tasteless affair and then we’re on the dock handing our rods down to Charlie in the damp skiff, a incongruous figure in his camo fleece and socked feet that make dry foot-shaped marks on the dew-beaded deck. I step aboard, cast off the bow-line, and fight back that feeling of unreality I always get in a new place as we pole slowly across the low tide bay.
Despite the less-than-perfect conditions with Charlie on the platform we start catching fish—at first we cast at anything, and nothing was what you’d call small: all over 4 pounds except 1 dink I catch casting into a school of much bigger fish. Then Dad gets a 7 pounder and all of a sudden Charlie’s serious—or as serious as he gets. We began poling deeper edges along nameless keys, searching the blue water for ghostly shapes, big shapes.
And then it happens. Charlie spots a few smaller fish at about 12 o’clock off the bow; they’re deep and I can’t see them so I hold my cast. Good thing. Suddenly a school of bigger fish rise out of the deep channel on our right. I don’t know how I got the fly out there but I drop it when Charlie says and start stripping. Immediately I feel the line come tight, but I set too violently and pull the hook. The fish grabs it again and again I pull the hook. I’m practically frantic by this time, but still the fish isn’t done. Suddenly I’m cold, I can feel my heartbeat slowing, peripheral sounds drop away and I hear my own thoughts: “Davin, slow down.” The fish grabs again and at this third time of asking I strip looong and slooow, just faster than the fish. The subtle feel of the bite shifts by surprising degrees to an immense weight and suddenly fly line is jumping everywhere. I remember nothing about that fight, but I end my day with a legitimate 10 pound monster. Not bad for day one.
Back at the lodge we dine on fresh hog snapper while I tie a half-dozen more big Clousers on the strongest hooks I can find.