Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Trip.


I walked through the metal detecter slowly turned around and said, "later bro," thus ending seventeen days of blissful escape. After the ferry ride, customs, and a delayed flight, I landed at JFK and my parents drove me the remaining few hours back home to Pennsylvania. Arriving around midnight, I did not unpack, but rather started packing. The journey home was not over. I finished around 1 a.m. and went to bed for three hours before awakening slightly past four and hitting the road. A few hours later, I stepped out of the truck, sharply dressed, gel in the hair, and into work. Sixteen hours earlier, I was in the Caribbean fly fishing for bonefish and here I was back to a life of responsibility, work, and debt. Work forced me to recall the trip and its awesomeness. Here is a kaleidoscope of unorganized thoughts.

Dinner Time.

One of the Last Pictures My DSLR Ever Took.

By the morning of the third day in paradise, I was sitting on the curb of a main street in town staring at my legs. The sun overhead was blistering and the concrete step I sat on was like an oven but I could not have cared less. My legs were the sole focus of my attention. I began counting one side of my leg from the knee to the ankle. Probably an area twenty some inches long by three inches high. By the time I reached fifty I stopped in disbelief. The small red bug bites completely nullified my skin burnt rear-end. They covered my lower body and begged to be itched. One morning, I completely gave in and rubbed the top of my left foot raw. A bad idea, with two more weeks of constant wetness and rubbing in store for my feet. In reality, the bug bites were just a minor discomfort to go along with no air conditioning, high temperatures, humidity, flying termite hatches, fire ants, tarantulas, and some seriously scary chafing that does not need to be discussed. Our hands and feet resembled the millions of soldiers during WWI that suffered from trench foot. The hands were in perfect condition to stick into a tarpon's vice like mouth and let them go hog wild while the skin between your pointer and thumb fingers begins to rub away. Good times. Needless to say we weren't about to let these minor discomforts get in the way of any fishing time, and we had a lot of fishing time.

Saying Goodbye To Fly Line.


The trip was epic by our own measly standards. We did not catch an insane number of fish but the ones we did catch were extremely satisfying and memorable. We had to put a lot of time and effort into catching these fish. A long time inhabitant of the island and friend of my brother's has lived and fly fished there for over twenty years and did not catch a bonefish this past year and has never landed a permit. When asked about the bonefish he once said that they are far and few between, very large, and that they can read and write. I completely agree. Even if you do manage to hook a bone or permit, the coast and bottom is lined with extremely sharp coral heads that cut leaders better than a six foot barracuda can swipe through eighty pounds of hard mono (that happened). However, we did manage to find the fish. Often, we had to travel the seas to distant locations either by kayak or ferry to find less pressured and more plentiful areas that were untouched by nature's dirty little secrets. When we did find them, we were lucky to have some success.

Out Fished Every Single Day.

On a Boat Like Leo.

We were a little apprehensive before the trip about our chances at success. Between the three of us, one bonefish had ever been caught (by my brother), I had only ever casted to one bonefish, and Adam had never even experienced the saltwater of the Caribbean. Quite the advantage in the experience department. To top it off, we had no boat and would have to walk, swim, or kayak to certain areas to fish. For all but four hours of the trip we did not have a guide or anyone helping us in any way. We didn't purchase any flies by some fancy supplier, nor buy any pre-tied leaders with bimini twists or anything of that sort. We just did our thing. Do it yourself angling. Trial and error. Learning on the fly. Finding out the answers to all those questions that no one ever wants to find out for themselves. Yes, we were lucky at times, but it was awesome to witness the progression of skills over the course of three weeks and how it all started to come together.


Boom Time.

To sum it up, we experienced a lot of highs and some mighty lows. We waded through broken equipment, swollen body parts, nasty cuts, insect hordes, tears, screams, blood, no a/c and emerged with the time of our lives. We were able to fall off the face of the earth for a few weeks to do battle with game fish that some people spend entire lives and thousands of dollars to catch on a fly rod. When I stepped into work and reflected on the trip, I wasn't disappointed by my whereabouts. I was completely and utterly satisfied with the trip. I was refreshed and eager to start work again. I am pumped to start planning next year's sojourn in the hopes that we can continue one upping previous years and tastes of the dream. The dream we all wish to live.


Unknown said...

Looks like you had a damn good time. It took me a damn week to get my head straight after being on Isla Holbox for a week.

Bigerrfish said...

glad you made it back... sorry bout the owies...

Clive said...

Cant wait for the next report! Hopefully I'll be back down there myself to give it a go!

Michael Agneta said...

Awesome recap. Have really been enjoying the drips and drabs you have been dropping to date, you guys are truly living the dream!

All about the grab said...

Its always shit getting back after a trip like that.....the only concerlation is that its still there and waiting for your return.

John Montana said...

Great pictures...I am deeply jealous!

The African Fly Angler said...

Awesome stuff. I spend a year in the Caribbean and Bahamas doing charter work and recognize some of the places in your photos and videos. Sadly this was before my fly fishing days, but would love to go back.

David McKenzie said...