Sunday, June 5, 2011

If you don't go, you don't know.

Facing the facts. The ferry runs but twice a week, and the next day was one of them and Tom's last full day visiting. The weather was awful. It blew so hard the night before that it snapped a palm tree off at the ground and dumped it into the sea. It was drizzling.

We really had no choice.

We boarded the ferry amidst threatening skies. If you can imagine riding a bull in slow motion, you'll get an idea as to how comfortable the 90 minute ride was. We had to hang on.

We rented a small car and drove to the flats, searching for any slivers of blue shining through the gray blanket smothering overhead. We rigged up in a howling wind; our leaders perpendicular to rods as they waited for us to tie something on.

We saw our first bonefish within minutes, but only because it saw us first. This was going to be tricky.

We fanned out in a phalanx of three with me in the middle. I'd spot for the two newcomers and defer all bones to them. I had a huge bunny streamer on my 10wt and was looking for big predators. It cast and landed as gracefully as a wet sock.

The clouds moved overhead at an unreal speed. It was as if a dimmer switch for the world was constantly being fiddled with. Bright as midday, dark as dusk, brighter, brighter, dark. Cloud shadows blitzed across the surface of the flat and it was possible to follow their movement with your eyes as they raced towards the horizon.

I saw a large number of fish, but unaccustomed eyes were having a tough time finding what to cast to. More often than not, fish would surprise us by leaving at top speed before we knew they were there.

Eventually, after a few frustrating shots, Tom made it happen with an average bone. The fish only had the lower half of it's tale, so could only fight at 50% power.

Did I say it was windy?

Half a tail.


As the day wore on, we sought shelter near a small bridge in an alcove from the wind. Tom and Wayne caught some overenthusiastic ladyfish and tossed them skyward to the prehistoric frigatebirds. They caught the small fish on the wing and squawked their thanks.

Frigate makes off with a meal.

We bucked in slow motion for another 90 minutes before arriving on the home island. That night, Tom sorted his things and gave me some of the unused flies he tied. They were proven, and I'd put them to good use sooner or later.

A school surprises Wayne and then bolts as he stands frozen.

Wallowing in the mud on the trek back to the car.

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