November 2007 was one of our bonefishing trips to Long Island in the Bahamas We flew from Newark to Nassau and then took a plane to Andros Island in the Bahamas. Andros Island, which is 230 Miles long and 4 miles wide, is located 160 miles south of Nassau. It is at the Tropic of Cancer with the gulf stream warming the ocean in winter and trade winds cooling it's shores in summer. It has a population of 3500 people with northern shores characterized by high cliffs in the north near a statue of Christopher Columbus and shallow sandy beaches in the south. Deadman's Cay covers all community stretches from Gray to Scrub Hill and is the social and educational center of the island. Our lodge, Greenwater Creek, is located on Long Island. It has air-conditioned rooms, ceiling fans, tiled floors, full bathrooms, a dining room, service bar, living room, color TV's in every room and an outdoor swimming pool.
Our fishing group used several different boats. Two had a high location for the guide running the boat, while the other two boats were flat, front and back. Most of us fished with our roommates, like Neil DiRiggi with me, Bob and Dave Powell, Bob Kean and Tom Powell, Dick Turse and his friend, Bill McCallum. We all selected our lunch and beverage to take in our boat each day. All of us left the dock to get out to a vast variety of areas at 8 a.m. and returned around 8 hours later. All of us went to different areas, such as Turtle Rock and one day we all went there together. This area was different every day. The first day was packed with fish for each of our boats- bonefish and sharks. Bob Kean caught almost thirty fish one day and even caught an eight pound bonefish, the largest for the trip. Other days we would get there by ourselves with our guide and if there were lots of bonefish we also caught many- otherwise only a few. Tom Powell had a great deal of luck with Bob. Some days they even caught a shark or two. Bob and Dave Powell usually fished longer than the rest of us and loved quiet beaches. Dick Turse and his friend, Bill were also very busy catching many fish.
After motoring through a canal, connecting to a large bay, each boat went in a different direction. We fished most of the time in solitude and sometimes only saw each other in different areas that were close by. Many times our guides would beach our boat and cause us to walk a mile or so through the flats for various numbers of fish. Usually we also had a long walk back to get to our boat and guide. That was usually a lot of fun and got us into a few more fish. We would then walk slowly into huge schools of fish and get two or three times more fish. One day I saw a large shark slowly working its way through the huge schools of fish. The bonefish moved away from him, but he still came in slowly near them. Well, to make a long story short, I caught a very large bonefish and was able to release it just before the shark took interest. My only regret was the fact that the water was so shallow and I could not take a picture This huge flat began to get deeper as the water grew deeper. My partner here was over two hundred feet away working his own bonefish, so I was too far out to get this picture of my large bonefish. Later my fishing partner got a chance to catch a shark on the way back to our shore point, something he enjoyed very much.
Bonefish kept entering many areas that caused us fishermen problems. One, for instance, was traveling very slowly near our boat when he took a fly. At first he sped swiftly away- right into a large group of mangroves when he slowed down. I was very disappointed, believing the fish would break off among the branches and roots. My guide told me to play the fish very slowly and when it began to come out to take it slow, which I did. Lo and behold- this bonefish came out all the way and so I got his picture before a nice release.
Natural fly colors (tans, browns, olives and golds) work best during bright light conditions, and in shallow water. If brighter color hooks reflected too much light, bonefish often avoided them. With darker, cloudy conditions bright colors were best, including: yellow, pink, white, orange and green. During brighter conditions, flies produce better in deeper water. White, tan and pink flies are favorites in the Bahamas and hook sizes 6 and 8 are the best.
Saltwater hooks are the most important ones in fly tying. I always use stainless steel hooks, or nickel-plated or other corrosion-resistant material. The use of inexpensive hooks will result in missing the fish because steel is too soft and the hook is mainly dull. I prefer Mustad 34007 , Daiichi, Eagle Claw, Tiemco and VMC in sizes 6 and 8. The fly sold through Orvis, Crazy Charlie, has become very popular. Bob Powell bought a bunch of new hooks, which we bought from him and that gave us a lot of success in catching bonefish.
At the end of the day we enjoyed a swim in the outside swimming pool and relaxation on the veranda. On our return journey we could look back on an exciting, productive adventure with our friends.