bahamas fly fishing
A month or so ago a poorly-drawn, corrugated depiction of the Unaccomplished Angler went steelhead fishing in Idaho. A couple weeks later *I* was seen holed up in a dark room somewhere in Michigan, waiting for the day that was promised *I* would get to go fishing. There’s been not a peep from the Corrugated Angler since, but that doesn’t mean the Virtual Unaccomplished Angler has just been sitting around not fishing, like the real flesh and blood Unaccomplished Angler has been sitting around not fishing…no way.
Recently the Virtual Unaccomplished Angler made an appearance at Andros South Lodge on South Andros Island in the Bahamas. That’s right, the Bahamas, baby! While everyone else in the northern hemisphere was shivering and cleaning moss from between their toes, *I* was fly fishing for Bonefish, drinking local beer, eating fabulous food and enjoying all the amenities offered to those fortunate enough to have been invited to partake of FIBfest 2011. We live in a world where acronyms reign supreme, so for those not in the know, FIB stands for Fly Industry Bloggers, FYI. This trip is hosted by Andrew Bennett of Deneki Outdoors. Oh, and BTW, “fest” is not an an acronym, but rather it is an accepted abbreviation for “festivities” or perhaps “fester” which is what can happen if you step on coral and it becomes infected. However, I believe that in this case “fest” refers not to the latter.
If you want to read up on the experiences shared by some of the others in attendance at FIBfest, check out these folks and their blogs:
- Rebecca Garlock – The Outdooress and The Outdoor Blogger Network
- Michael Gracie – michaelgracie.com
- Tom Larimer – Larimer Outfitters
- Kyle Perkins – Compleat Thought
- Eric Rathbun – Moldy Chum
- Bjorn Stromsness – Bonefish on the Brain
- Cameron Miller – FIBFest 2011 Photographer, Shadow River Media
I’d love to share with you my experiences, but remember—I wasn’t really there. Only a t-shirt shirt bearing the logo of the Unaccomplished Angler was in attendance, and that’s good enough for me. It has to be.
This is the first ever Guest Blog on the Unaccomplished Angler. The point of this entry is to share with my reading audience the details of an exotic trip— to travel vicariously through someone else (if you wait around for the Unaccomplished Angler to take a trip to the Bahamas you’ll grow old waiting). The following entry comes from my friend Sir Lancelot, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of fishing and also the privilege of cleaning his BBQ grill. Aside from being the first, this may be last guest entry to grace these pages. Please note that I have not edited this story for content or tone. My intent was to make only corrections with regard to the countless errors in spelling and punctuation but grew weary of that, so you may find some errors. Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are not my own, nor does the Unaccomplished Angler accept responsibility should you experience certain side effects such as nausea, vomiting, bloat, indigestion, dizziness, ringworm and memory loss.
Is it Really Better in the Bahamas?
By Sir Lancelot
Is it really better in the Bahamas? That is a hard question to answer as the frequency from “Mrs. Better in the Bahamas” didn’t seem to suggest that it was, but that is another part of the story all together. We took a fine family vacation to a little community called Spanish Wells (think North end of Eluthera) over Christmas. We rented a little house right on the beach and had fun, fun, fun. Our partners in crime were the Helpin family (I changed the name to protect their identity). The Helpins have children similar ages to our own, the father likes to fish and our wives get along, so it was a good match.
When I got home I sent an email to my friend, Mr. Unaccomplished Angler, to see if he would like a write up of my trip. He responded with something along the lines of “F___ you for going to the Bahamas.” I was expecting something a little more cordial and appreciative of my efforts but no, all I got was a “F___ you” for it. I shouldn’t be surprised and I kind of had it coming. Last summer while sitting on the side of the Yakima River he (UA) floated by about six inches away from my own boat. The guys I was fishing with didn’t know that I knew Kirk The UA. So, when I looked up and said, “Get the F___ out of my hole,” with a straight face they were worried that I was picking a fist fight. Needless to say no fight broke out and we all managed to catch a few small fish that day.
Spanish Wells is little community of about 1500 people on an island called St. Georges Cay in the Bahamas. It is the quintessential quaint little fishing village. The people there are all lobster fishermen. The fish processor has the supply contract with Red Lobster and we can attest that it is very good eating. Usually when I have traveled to the tropics in the past the people have been in one of three categories: The first one is desperately poor. Although I feel for these people, and do some things for them, it is often hard to see and be around when I’m maxing out my credit cards on a vacation. The second category is incredibly rich. Although these people often feel for me, they don’t do anything about it. The third category is your average Joe like me who are trying to look incredibly rich for one week. The people of Spanish Wells didn’t fit into any of these categories. They were average Joe’s of the middle class: Nice people, not pretentious and just going about their lives. It was a lot of fun being around a bunch of schmucks like me. The North side of the island faced the reef and had sugar-fine sandy beaches. There were also some nice bonefish flats there as well. The south side of the island contained the harbor.
We stayed in a house on the beach (Ocean Dream Beach Cottage). Mrs. Better in the Bahamas would have none of me staying by the boat. Prices were reasonable: $1,800 rented a 3 bed 2 ½ bath house during high season and it was right on the beach. $250 rented a 14’ Boston Whaler for the week and another $250 rented a golf cart. It’s really cool to drive the golf cart everywhere and you drive it on the left hand side of the road. Mrs. BITB is still yelling at me every time I pull out of the driveway to be careful and drive on the right. The owners and hosts of the house are Jody and Tara Pinder. They are wonderful! Catered to our every need, were there to help, not too close and just genuine, caring, fun people. Their children didn’t fall far from the tree and when we arrived home and got a new puppy she received the name Kali, after the Pinder’s youngest daughter Kaliston.
Spanish Wells is a dry island but don’t let that be of too much concern to you casual drunks. The liquor store is at the dock on Eluthera, only a 200 yard boat ride away. Kahik beer was the local favorite and we consumed it by the barrel. The rest of your favorite brands of hard alcohol were available there as well. The best deal (as you can tell I’m a frugal basta__) was the duty-free shop in the Nassau airport. $18 bought a 1000 ml bottle of Crown Royal. That was a great deal.
Now that the house keeping is done it’s onto the important part: fishing. We fished for bottom fish most days. It’s easy, was close-by and our kids loved it. We caught the local favorites such as Porgys, Grunts, Groupers, Triggers and other bottom fish. No one worried about Ciguatera and no one got sick so I guess it was OK. On a side note there are lots of Lion fish in the Bahamas. They don’t belong there as they originated in the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t catch any while fishing but saw them frequently while snorkeling. I speared one, we ate it and it was delicious. It seems weird to me that a fish I used to pay $50 for in an aquarium store sat on my plate and was gobbled up.
My good friend Mr. FFred Helpin was in house one day. I was sitting down on the beach with our wives and the kids. We were just sitting there relaxing and taking in the sun, sand and water. All of a sudden we hear the word, “F___ ” (don’t think FFred) come screaming out of the house. The girls looked at me like I would know what to do. I thought it was them who would know what to do with that word, but nonetheless I had to go and deal with it. I trudged up the beach and back to the house expecting to see something horrendously wrong. Well, I was right. Here is my friend FFred up on a chair, his face is beet red and he’s so pissed off he’s just about ready to explode. You see FFred had just had a little incident with his fly rod and the ceiling fan. There was about 50 yards of fly line draped in several large loops hanging down between the blades. In addition the last 4 inches of FFred’s fly rod hung as limply as the last 4 inches of himself. It really was horrendous, fly line tangled in the ceiling fan and a busted rod to boot. As his good friend, I put on an Oscar-class performance by not laughing myself into an early heart attack. I calmly helped him unravel and then we headed to the tackle shop for some epoxy and thread. A few hours and a large portion of our Kalik beer later FFred and his fly rod seemed to be on the mend. (Editorial comment: Had the UA been present, there would have been photographic documentation of this debacle)
The wind blew while were there quite a bit. Between our schedule, the wind and the guide’s schedule, we didn’t get out Bonefishing until one of the last days. There are good numbers of Bonefish on the flats of Spanish Wells and Eluthera and they don’t get much pressure, either. None of us had ever fished for them before, so I’m told my ineptitude at catching them is typical. I’ll keep telling myself that story anyway. We did see a fair number of them. We waded across the flats, had them follow our flies and the kids of course managed to catch a few. John Roberts was our guide (242.557.7794). He is a nice man, a good guide, and very knowledgeable about the sea and the animals we saw in and around it. He also had fun and worked well with our kids. Our day on the flats also sent us away with a good number of conch, which are excellent table fare.
Over all we had an excellent vacation, met some very nice people, caught some fish, had a lot of fun and oh, by the way, it is Better in the Bahamas.
Thanks to Sir Lancelot for experiencing such a lavish vacation, and for taking the time to write up your account of your adventures. I assume by “it” you mean “fishing.” You suck.