Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bag of Bones and a Perfect Send Off

Arriving on day two were two of my brother's friends from the TTT fishing club. My brother and I had the task of getting them on their first bonefish on fly. When Matt left, they would be the ones to carry on the torch and take fly fishing trips here.

Matt and I awoke a little earlier than normal and he dropped me off on the beach, while he headed to pick up Matt and Brian at the ferry dock. Fifty yards down the beach, I had a pair of nice bonefish heading my direction. They cruised no more then ten feet off the beach in about ten inches of water looking for an easy meal. I provided it. However, they were accompanied by an unseen threat: the horse-eye jack. The small jack swooped in before both bones and nailed the fly. Rather then make a commotion, I let the jack realize his folly and spit out the fly. I made another short cast and had my bonefish screeching to the horizon as Matt and his friends pulled up for the land.

As we discussed strategy for the day, a large cow emerged onto the beach about to go for a morning dip and drink. The main problem being that it decided to walk down (in the water) the entire beach front. Nonetheless, we decided to walk the beach and came away with a few chances. Matt was able to hook up on a nice bonefish spotted from distance. However, the hookup came in close and all the excess line coiled in the water at his feet proved to be a costly mistake.

Later, we decided to walk a larger flat for a few hours. We broke into two sets of pairs figuring that if we kept our footprint lower and doubled our eyes, we would improve our chances. The only problem was, the bonefish never showed up. Between the four of us, we saw one fish.

However, I did have another opportunity at a permit. Located roughly in the same location, the same time of day, and on a similar tide, I figured it was the same fish from the day before. This time, he was tailing and I saw him from a distance. I also decided that I was going to change and put on a crab imitation rather than stick with a bonefish fly. As soon as I finished my knot and clipped the excess, heavy cloud cover rolled in and I couldn't see the permit. Finally, he tailed again revealing his location and I made the cast. He didn't see it. I made another, landing the fly on a dinner plate in front of his head, just like they tell you to do. He spooked, giving painful meaning to the phrase, "hook em or spook em".

With the lack of fish and intermittent cloud cover, we decided to walk a sandy flat in the vicinity and came away with several shots at fish. One particular fish will probably hunt Brian's dreams until he catches a bonefish to wipe his memory clean.

With the five o'clock ferry on the way, we decided to walk one last beach. Matt, Brian, and I made our way east and into the wind. I spotted a very large bonefish making his way off the beach (a tough shot) and Brian decided to give Matt his last chance at a bonefish before the big move.

Matt fumbled, stumbled, and seemed about to pack it in, when an unseen fish came out of nowhere. It miraculously did not spook as his fly line landed across its back. Picking up the line, Matt made a fresh cast, stripped once, and tied into the fish. Letting the moment soak in, he landed and released his last bonefish for quite some time. It was made possible because Brian (still seeking his first bone) relinquished the opportunity giving him a perfect send off.

We drove to the ferry dock and I dropped off my brother, Matt, and Brian. It was then that I realized I had the place to myself for five more days. Alone.


Mark Kautz said...

After reading so many of your posts on Bonefishing, I'm reminded of a writer I read named James W. Hall. He writes about a PI named Thorn who, in his spare time, ties Bonefish flies. They've never described what they look like, but are supposed to be the greatest Bonefish fly since sliced bread. If I ever find out what they look like, I'll pass it along although you seem to do OK on your own.


Mark said...

Sounds good Mark, what book was it?

Mark Kautz said...

Most of James W. Hall's books are Thorn PI novels. He mentions the Bonefish flies in almost every one. He just never explains what they look like.