Sunday, March 20, 2011

Off the Grid: Sunday

I slept like a log after spending 11 hours wading the day before. I was up with the sun anticipating another banner day.

Wading as home looms in the distance.

Conditions were almost exactly the same as Saturday, but tide minimums and maximums occurred one hour later. For inexplicable reasons, the fish turned up in almost the opposite places at the opposite times as the day before.

Not a fish was spotted until perhaps 2pm. I had waded through and beyond the entirety of the water I fished the day before without seeing a single fish! However, the first bone I did see ended up on my line and in it's frantic sprinting, aroused a nearby caribbean reef shark.

It zigged and zagged across the flat, hunting the furious bonefish. Finally, it caught up with the bone about 20ft from me. Gnawing on the fish's tail, I thought the bone was a goner. As I got closer, the shark spotted me and bolted. I then landed the bone and inspected the damage.

This is the same fish. Notice the minimal damage to the tail. She swam away fine, albeit a bit traumatized by the whole ordeal, I'm sure. This was probably the smallest fish of the trip, but still up near 4lbs.

Another bruiser. This one inhaled a 4" kwabbit rubber legged monstrosity and took me deeper into my backing than another other fish.

The spare 10wt rigged and at the ready on my side proved itself a few times as I was able to drop my 6wt into the water and unhitch the wired-up rig for a quick cast to a cruising shark or barracuda. I had two sharks explode on the popper but no sets and a nice 'cuda follow the gurlger to the rod tip. No doubt it will pay off in the future. Those are all opportunities that never would have happened if not for the spare rod.

Textbook release on what would be the last fish on the trip.

According to Google Earth, I waded for 2.4 miles on this day before turning around when the sun caused the water to my West to glare over, and wading back the other way. I landed four or 5 fish.

The Pieroway 6wt I was using handled even the biggest of the bonefish with ease. It was bent to the cork more than a few times but had the strength to steer those frantic fish away from the deadly mangroves on each and every occasion. It is the perfect bonefish rod.

The Lamson Konic IV, while not the most high-dollar reel on the market, is the same one I use for tarpon. It can put the brakes on a 60lb tarpon just as easily as it can on a 9lb bonefish. The drag on both of the IVs has not failed me once in two years although the reel itself does not hold up too well cosmetically to the salt water environment.

This was, easily, the best fishing I've ever experienced to date. In those two full days on the flats, I saw not another soul. To have a fishery like that to myself is incredibly special in today's world. I'll never forget this time on the island. From carrying everything on my back, to riding 30 minutes to get to the flats on a borrowed mountain bike, to stringing my hammock up in the only stand of actual trees on the entire island to sight-fishing to huge bonefish, alone, in the caribbean wilderness... it was just an epic experience.


Jeff Ryan said...

Great stuff!

Ms. Erdosy said...

Great post, love the new site!

Unknown said...

you knocked it out of the park. i am hooked on a D.I.Y trip for 2012. thanks for sharing.

Nick said...

Wonderful pics and stories. I just read all three days of your bonefishing trip and it sounds purely epic.

Jerry said...

Unreal man, I just read the three days...and you make me so jealous. Amazing. Motivation for me to get myself out to the flats. Thanks so much for sharing!