Recent Adventures Destinations Travel Notes Photographs Videos Photographic Images Hosted Trips Destination X
Angling Destinations
Angling Destinations
Home > Recent Adventures >
Recent Adventures Back

Bahamas: Sea Hunter 2013 04-13-2013

To see more photos from this year's trip aboard the Sea Hunter, please go to Scott Heywood's blog FLY PAPER and see Sea Hunter 2013 Trip Report Click here to see Scott's blog

As we ran out of mainland and entered the maze of cays that surround the southern tip of South Andros Island, it was good to once again, see the
Sea Hunter steady at anchor in Jackfish Channel. The Sweet Jessie, our transportation from Kemps Bay to the Sea Hunter, sidled up to the port side of the mothership and in that moment, the Sea Hunter became our home for the next week. Cabins were divided up, bags were unpacked and stored, and fishing gear was rigged. Before long, we were calf deep on the the fabled flats that surround our mooring.

Our routine for the next six days was a wading bonefisherman’s dream come true. Up shortly after 6:00 am and grab a cup of coffee in the galley on the way outside to watch the sunrise from the aft deck. Breakfast at 7:00, then slap on some sunscreen, pull up your buff and step into the skiffs between 7:30 and 8:00. We usually would bonefish until late afternoon (or the tide got too high), then motored back to the Sea Hunter for showers, cocktails, a sumptuous dinner all followed by a lazy night relaxing. We only broke our late afternoon routine when we chose to go snorkeling or reef fishing or our evening routine when some of the braver souls got involved in a raucous game of dominoes with the guides after dinner.

Our best bonefishing was usually in the morning on the rising tide (the first few days of the trip) or on both sides of the low (later in the week as the days wore on). In the mornings, the water was cool and crystal clear. We had fantastic weather for our week with more than sufficient sunshine for fish spotting and typically breezy, but not too windy, days. One of the problems... (and there aren’t many), with really good weather is the flats heat up as the day wears on. As a result, we were forced out of the interior creeks and off many of the massive shallow flats by the warmer ad rising afternoon waters. It was then that it became a bit harder to find fish. Also, the breezes conspired with the rising tides to create an afternoon chop that in some areas (especially on the West Side) stirred up the talc-like sands making the flats a bit milky. This pushed the fish to deeper water or to the outer cays where cooler water came in with the high tide. The bottom line for our week was... mornings were great. Good fishing continued but decelerated usually into the early to mid-afternoon, then things got a bit tough.

But, man we had some great mornings. At least 4 of the mornings, I was literally surrounded by fish for hours. In some places by small schools, in others, by small pods of larger fish that filtered onto the white sand in that slinky “big bonefish” way. This is a very engaging form of bonefishing and the pre-lunch sessions seemed to fly by.

As I scanned the massive flat, Jim Woollett and Steve Peskoe were now far ahead of me. After getting out of the skiff, Steve and Jim had waded downwind on the flat with guide Solomon “Solly” Murphy making fine adjustments in their course. I had gone upwind to check out around the point. While I waded off to the left, they took off to the right with Steve taking the inside path and Jim moving to the outside to fish a slightly deeper path. After catching two smallish bones near a mangrove bush beyond the point, I had urned back hoping to catch up with them. I thought Solly might move the skiff and I wanted to be within reach of water and more importantly, lunch. I waded right next to shore while they were wading a bit deeper on this nearly fallen tide. They were already a long way off and must have waded quickly figuring when they ran into fish then would slow down. Soon, they were casting, but they were far enough away that I couldn’t tell if they were hooking up or still working on it. I could see Solly had stopped wading and was pointing at something downwind. A good sign for sure as casting and pointing are always better than quickly disappearing down a flat.

As I neared a small creek, the flat, which began as sparse turtlegrass peppering gentle mounds, became as flat as a parking lot with sand as white and fine as sifted flour. Only a pale blue rivulet that bled meekly from the creek interrupted the hot white light coming off the sand. Sporadically, small billowy clouds raced with the breeze and momentarily blocked out the sun. Then, the lights went out and the flat turned from blindingly white to a slate grey. Then just as quickly, the cloud released the sun and the lights were suddenly back on. The white sand under the hot white light was mesmerizing. Stare at one spot too long and and the scene seemed to shimmer and disappear as it would if you stared at a 100 watt light bulb too long. Suddenly out of the incandescence a dark spot appeared. It soon pivoted to align itself with the wind. The spot then pushed decisively towards me.

This was not a difficult fish to spot. No “ghost of the flats”... no indecision on my part or straining to make out a form. This was easy... green back over white sand... period. The only challenge in this puzzle was calculating the effect of the wind on a thrown fly. A proper calculation would put the fly in front of the fish. A miscalculation would mean a perfect opportunity blown... and one wants to cash in these perfect opportunities to withdraw a perfect moment! I threw my fly into the wind, then fed out some line giving a good haul to push the line forward. Another haul and the line arced behind me. I soon felt the pleasant tug that lets one know the line has straightened into a backcast and signals the time for the second haul. The line pushed forward with only the long leader predictably drifting a bit to my left. The fly blipped about three feet in front of the fish. I made a long relaxed strip. The fish rushed forward. I made another long strip, but this time with a bit of power and the fish was on. The fish rushed off the white sand towards the pale green of the main channel. After a long run and a few weaker circles, it was over. The five pound bone posed for a few photos but with an avalanche of white light cascading over the white sand my photos will probably be completely washed out.

After releasing my fish, I stepped forward inaugurating a remarkably pleasant cycle that was to repeat itself over and over. After a few more fish, I caught up with Steve and Solly who had stopped moving downwind long ago. Obviously, fish had began appearing all around them. As I moved forward I could see a collection of subtle braids created where another slightly larger creek drained onto the flat. When I arrived, Solly went back for the skiff. He would motor up to join Jim. They soon were fishing together and were out of sight around the far point. Steve and I would be into fish for the next hour and a half. When we finally reunited with them, Jim and Solly had caught a 9-10 lb. monster in a channel at the end of the flat. But that is another... and someone else’s story.

Now as I write this, I am somewhere over Georgia headed west towards home. I am a mass of doctor fly bites (that I can’t stop scratching), blisters and line cuts draped over a collection of sore muscles. My right hand has three, thankfully healing, puncture wounds from the removal of a hook from a barracuda. When you come home in this state you know you have had a damn good trip!

Thanks to the crew of the Sea Hunter. You were fantastic! Mike Rifle the captain and chef extraordinaire runs a tight ship. From ample breakfasts to hors d’oeuvers such as lobster/conch fritters, mixed conch and and lobster salad to dinners including Mongolian BBQ chicken, lightly grilled hogfish, grouper fingers, wahoo, the best baked macaroni and cheese on the planet, there is something new every night and the dinners he serves are fantastic. The crew including Chad, Chris and Diane were energetic, enthusiastic and extremely hospitable. Our guides Razor and Solly did a wonderful job putting us on fish. My Thanks to Steve (Doc) Peskoe, Doug Jeffries, Jim (he’ll do anything) Woollett, Earl (EZ) Zagrodnik and Mike Kotrick for a sensational time. See you guys in Costa Rica and next year aboard the Sea Hunter on Crooked Island.
Written by Scott Heywood

Click below for previous Sea Hunter trip reports:
Click here to see the 2011 report
Click here to see the 2010 report
Click here to see the 2009 report
Click here to see the 2008 report








P.O. Box 845 • Sheridan, Wyoming 82801 • (P) 800-211-8530 • (F) 307-672-3920
Home   Recent Adventures   Destinations   Travel Notes   Photos   Videos   Hosted Trips   Tips   Links   Contact    Facebook    Blog
® Copyright 2005-2019 Angling Destinations Incorporated.