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Bonefish Camp

Here's the spot if you are looking for that salty piece of land. Fly lists, trip reports and tidbits of good travel information can be found here in Bonefish Camp.

Come, Mister tally man, tally me Bananas

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It has been long held that boats and bananas are not a very good combination when it comes to luck. Anglers have especially picked up on this superstition and many skippers prohibit even sunscreen named for this tropical fruit aboard their vessels. Legend has it that banana boats plying the waters of the Caribbean and other waters around the world would be plagued by many maladies caused by the presence of bananas in the ship’s hold. Venomous creatures having stowed away amongst the fruit  wandered the decks once the ship was at sea causing crew and passengers to swear off these seemingly harmless snacks.

I’ve been blessed to lead a mostly banana free life. Having declared myself allergic to this silly looking creation at a young age, and in doing so I have avoided any of the bad luck issues caused by bananas. A banana allergy is not as popular or trendy as the gluten variety, it nevertheless serves me well.

While in Mexico chasing Tarpon last year it was brought to my attention that someone had been hiding bananas in the gear bag of a fellow angler, and the culprit was relentless in his efforts to unhinge his target. A formal inquiry was avoided as the trip came to a close without the identity of the protagonist being revealed, yet the scars remained on the psyche of the banana victim.

Fast forward one year and I had gathered another crew to head off on an adventure to South Andros Island, Bahamas. Three members of this group had been with me in Mexico, one being the hapless victim while another being under suspicion of being the Mad Banana Tagger.

Now it should be told that Erv is not your average victim. A retired lawyer, angler, semi-pro Mexican wrestler and part-time animal impersonator, he can hold his own in a battle of wits. He is comfortable in his own skin and firm in his beliefs that luck has little to do with the path we walk on this earth. Yet even he is not one to tempt fate by sailing off with a banana.

To avoid scandal and the chance that Erv would once again fall afoul of the insidious banana bandit I had him teamed with me to share a boat in an effort to keep an eye on him. It did help that the supply boat was long overdue and there were no bananas on the island.

The trip started well as Erv and I managed some good results on the flats even under poor conditions. The Bonefish were plentiful and the weather, although miserably wet, did not dampen our spirits. We enjoyed our time on the water without any concerns of bananas or bad luck. Two days into the trip the weather turned beautiful and sunshine blessed us as the winds dropped to a gentle breeze. Life was good.

Back at the lodge Erv had struck up a friendship with the kitchen staff and treated them to an original poem after the evening meal. The gals seem truly touched by his efforts and young Jasmine asked if he would honor them by wearing a Bahamian good luck charm if they brought it to him in the morning. He promised to do so and went off to bed in anticipation of what the morning would bring.

As daylight filtered across the flat in front of the lodge we gathered for our morning meal before heading off to fish. Erv sat with his breakfast of pancakes and eggs untouched, awaiting the charm that would bring him untold success on the water. What would it be?

Like an angel appearing from nowhere, Jasmine stood next to Erv at the table with his new good luck charm. Erv turned to see what she held. In a instant his face lost it’s expression of wonder replacing it with one of shear terror. In her arms she cradled a full size Chiquita Banana suit. One size fits all. Dutifully, Erv put it on.

With Bonefish guide Burnt Ferguson on the poling platform, the giant banana took his place on the bow as the boat pointed into the sun. Only seconds passed before Burnt called out a school of fish at the 1 o’clock position. A single cast and the Banana Man was fast into a screaming hot Bonefish. I bailed out of the boat with my camera to record this historic moment and watched as Erv and Burnt brought the fish to hand then released it. Erv popped back on the bow and soon found himself attached to another fish. I continued to photograph the action, then slid back into the boat to congratulate him on his busting of the banana curse.

It was my turn on the bow now as Erv sat and relived the Bonefish battles pondering the silliness of his Bananaphobia. He could hardly wait to tell Jasmine and Kathy of his accomplishment with their banana talisman. Burnt commented as he pushed the boat that CNN would love this story or maybe the BBC. Erv wondered out loud where the girls could have possibly found a banana suit on an island in the Bahamas. The guide and giant banana started singing Harry Belafonte’s "Day O," calling for the tally man to tally their bananas.

I scanned the water ahead and prepared to cast at a fish moving to the left from the mangroves. Speaking to no one in particular, but loud enough for all to hear I smiled and said, “Best 35 bucks I’ve ever spent.”




Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till de morning come
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan' go home

A beautiful bunch o' ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day...
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day O from David Gilchrist - 4G Productions on Vimeo.

Mars Bay-South Andros Island-Hosted Trip

Joel La Follette - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I try to break up the year by planning a Bonefishing trip in the spring, just before things get cranking on the Deschutes with the Salmonfly hatch. This year I'm revisiting South Andros Island in the Bahamas. My last trip to South Andros was fantastic, but the boat ride to the southern tip of the island was a bit brutal when the wind blew. I broke a rib when the boat driver launched us off a big wave. That's why I've settled on Mars Bay Lodge right at the end of the road. No open water runs and just minutes from the flats. In fact, there's a flat right in front of the lodge if you don't get enough fishing during the day. 

I'm taking seven anglers on this adventure. Maybe you'd care to join me. Here's more information on the trip...


Mars Bay Lodge
Mars Bay is situated on the southeastern tip of Andros and affords anglers a short and easy skiff ride to pristine flats teeming with unpressured bonefish. The lodge itself is located on a flat large enough for a dozen fishermen. Mars Bay is the end of the road. To go any further south you will have to hop in a boat. That puts you ten miles closer to the best fishing grounds on the south end of Andros than the nearest lodge. What does that mean to you? No less than a ten mile shorter run over rough open water and an extra hour fishing each day. By the end of the week you've fished an entire extra day.

Location
Mars Bay Lodge is located on the southeast side of South Andros Island in the Bahamas. The time in the Bahamas is the same as Eastern Standard Time. Google Earth coordinates: 23°51'54.78"N, 77°30'52.48"W.
Accommodations and Meals
There is absolutely nothing pretentious about Mars Bay. The lodge is not a high-end fancy resort. The napkins are paper. They will not crack the pepper for you, you'll not find a mint on your pillow, and you will not be greeted at the dock with a hot steaming towel to wipe your brow. You can grab your own beer and mix your own drink the way you like it. Mars Bay is a fly fishing lodge for sportsmen. Think of it as the difference between a stuffy dinner party and a casual gathering with good friends. The lodge has a laid back vibe to but don't let that fool you. Everything goes off on time and as scheduled. One review said the lodge runs like a Swiss watch.

Bill Howard is your host and attends to the details. He is an American owner/operator and has been managing the lodge since it opened in 2002. He catches the fish and lobster for dinner. He maintains all the boats and equipment. He makes all the repairs around the lodge. He orders the supplies, fuels the boat, and carries the coolers. He is hands on and has the reputation as being the hardest working lodge manager in the Bahamas. None of it would be possible without having an excellent staff of cooks, maids, and guides doing their jobs.
Fishing Program
Mars Bay fishes primarily for bonefish with occasional tarpon and permit. Other species encountered include barracuda, jacks and several types of snapper. Ideally located to access the Southern Cays and flats of Andros, the lodge enjoys easy access some of the least pressured flats on the island.


Hosted Trip Itinerary: May 2nd – 9th, 2015
Saturday / May 2nd:
Sunday – Friday:
Arrive Congo Town, Bahamas:
Once you arrive in Congo Town, you will be met by a representative of the lodge who will transfer you (60 minutes) to the lodge by taxi.
Get settled in and prepare gear for the following days of fishing. Six full days of guided fishing on the waters of South Andros Island
Typical Daily Schedule:
5:00AM: Coffee is on
6:30AM: Wake up (if not awake already) 7:00AM: Breakfast is served
7:30AM: Load up and head out to the boats 7:45AM: Fishing
5:00PM: Return to the lodge
6:00PM: Hors d’oeuvres are served 
7:00PM: Dinner
Depart Mars Bay Lodge to return home.
Saturday / May 9th:
7 night / 6 day package
Angler Rate: $3,950.00 per person based on double occupancy
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, beer & alcohol, transfers between Congo Town airport and the lodge, all ground transportation on South Andros, wireless Internet, guided fishing.
Not Included: Airfare to/from Congo Town (South Andros Airport), staff and guide gratuities.
Confirming your space:
A 50% deposit is required to confirm the trip and the final 50% is due 60 days prior to the trip start date. The trip is limited to 8 anglers and will be booked on a first come first serve basis. To confirm your space please contact:
Dylan Rose – Fly Water Travel  800-552-2729
Joel La Follette – Royal Treatment  503-850-4397
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns at any time!

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21570 Willamette Drive West Linn, OR 97068
503.850.4397

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