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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.

Bonefish Travel Tips

Joel La Follette - Friday, July 04, 2014

1. When traveling, always wear clothes you can fish in. You never know when the rest of you gear will show up.

2. Always carry your rods, reels with lines, leaders and tippets, wading boots, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, medicine, camera, rain jacket and an extra change of clothes on the airplane. You should try to carry on anything that you can’t live without that is allowed by the airlines.

3. Since some flies and tools cannot be carried on the plane they must be checked. If checking two pieces of luggage put a box of flies in each or have a companion check one in theirs.

4. Carry along some favorite snack foods like beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or granola bars. Stash more in your checked bags. When leaving the country make sure the packages are unopened. Customs is funny about that sort of thing.

5. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay healthy when traveling. If bottled water is not available, bring along a backpacking type filter and use it! Water bottles with built in filters work too.

6. A small portable cooler is a great place to keep your snacks, drinks, camera, extra flies and sunscreen while out on the water. Make sure your camera is in a zip lock bag in case the cooler gets wet. Take plenty of zip locks!

7. Your cash, passport and wallet should be locked up at the lodge or, if that is not an option, on your person. I keep mine in a zip lock bag in my hip pack. Carry plenty of $5.00 and $10.00 for tipping your guides. Also plan on leaving shirts, tackle and other goodies for your guides after trip is over. A new pair of sunglasses make a great gift at the beginning of the week and might help your guide spot that big fish!

8 . Handi-wipes. The best things to carry for cleaning the sunscreen, sweat, and salt off your face. Great for cleaning up before lunch on the flats or on an airplane. Can also be used for…. well, you’ll figure it out. Get the soft packs and carry them in all of your bags. I use three or four packages on a weeklong trip.

9. Make up a small “fix anything kit” to make repairs to glasses, rods, reels, lines, etc. (see my list posted elsewhere on the web site)

10. Chill. Remember you’re on island time and things don’t always go as planned. A good attitude will make even the largest set-back seem like part of the adventure. Don’t be an “Ugly American”, respect the people, their country and culture. Ask questions, share stories, have fun. Leave a little bit of yourself and take home a little of the adventure in your heart. 

                                           

Bonefish Basics Fly List

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, August 05, 2009

There are as many bonefish fly patterns used today as there are anglers using them. With that many options it’s hard to choose what you need for your trip unless you’ve been there before or know someone that has. If this is your first time bonefishing or twentieth, here’s a list of the flies that should be in your box no matter where you’re heading. Start with this selection and add specialty patterns as needed. Remember you need to have a good selection of sizes and sink rates. This is what I call…

BONEFISH BASICS

Mini-Puff                                                       size 4, 6       Old standby, still works

Tan Puff                                                       sizes 6, 8      My personal favorite

Marabou Shrimp                                            sizes 2, 6      Tan

Crazy Charlie                                                 sizes 6, 8      Pearl, pink, tan, root-beer

George Bush                                                 size 6, 8       Stupid name, CIS without Dazl Eyes 

Clouser Minnow                                             size 2-6        Tan/White, Gray/White

Clouser Minnow w/bead chain eyes                  size 4-6        Same colors, add a weed guard  

Gotcha                                                         sizes 2, 4, 6  Lead and bead chain eyes

Gold Gotcha                                                  sizes 2, 4, 6  My killer Abaco fly

Christmas Island Special                                 sizes 4, 6, 8  Orange, Pearlescent, Pink

These are the basics. You could travel anywhere and catch fish with these patterns. You’ll want a good selection of sizes and sink rates. Make sure you have plenty for your fishing partner too! Now take a look at suggestions for specific destinations.

Bonefish Tackle List

Joel La Follette - Sunday, February 18, 2007

There are two rules to remember when packing for any adventure. Keep it simple and only take what you REALLY NEED. Of course knowing what you’ll need on any trip is in some cases a “best guess” but with experience you’ll find you can get by with much less stuff. Here’s a few things you shouldn’t forget when heading to the Bonefish flats...

Rods and Reels  (carry them on with you)

Flies    (check out my fly selections for suggestions elsewhere)

Leaders and tippet   (I use 0x and 1 x fluorocarbon) 

Nippers, pliers, knot tyer and a knife

Waterproof gear bag and Flats pack w/water bottle

Sunglasses w/cleaning kit

Camera

Flash light

Fix-Anything Kit   (see Fix-Anything Kit post)

First-Aid Kit

Sunscreen and lip balm

Handy wipes

Hat and sun gloves

Flats boots and wet wading socks

Zip-off wading pants  (two pairs)

Long Sleeve fishing shirts  (two or three)

Fast drying underwear   (two or three pairs)

Travel clothes

Passport   (carry a few photo copies in your bags)

Cash    (most places won’t take cards or checks)

A good book or two

Flip-flops and a good attitude

Back to Abaco Island Bahamas

Joel La Follette - Monday, May 09, 2005

So I saddled up my seahorse, with a fly rod in my hand. I was not looking for salvation, just a salty piece of land....

Sandy Point, Abaco was that salty piece of land this past week for my group of angling adventurers. We landed at the end of the road and Rickmon Lodge on Saturday and felt the worries of the world disappear as we readied our gear for the week ahead. We all came from the northwest but hailed from many walks of life. Builders and businessmen, chefs and plumbers, retired welders and unemployed trout bums, we came to the flats to chase after bonefish and adventure. Both were found. No one went home without at least one quest fulfilled, some a quest not even imagined.

Weather is always the great unknown when heading to the tropics and this week was no different. If you didn't like it you just had to wait a few minutes and things changed. We had wind and calm, sun and cloud, fantastic thunderstorms and perfect tropical days. The storms for the most part provided entertainment in the evening into the night. The lightning would light up the night sky showing the silhouette of Gorda Cay or Cast-a-way Cay with Micky's cruise ship at anchor. The show would last most of the night and one night moved closer to our home a way from home and provided an up-close view of the power of nature.

Mornings dawned peacefully with a breeze coming from a different direction most days. This provided the opportunity to fish different flats, looking for protection from the breeze. Personally I never fished the same place twice during the week and still never saw all the places to fish. Sandy Point offers a vast of territory to chase Bonefish. Guess I'll just have to return.

The fishing itself ran from fair to great with plenty of big Bonefish to play with. Many fish in the 5-7 pound range found our flies and many more eluded them. Anglers traveling to the flats for the first time were in awe of these powerful silver bullets and many converts to the Brotherhood (and Sisterhood) of the Bonefish were made. All received official Brotherhood names with certificates (suitable for framing mon!) on the last night of our stay with one in particular being a very appropriate name. Darrell "One Cast" Webb earned his name by hooking and landing the first Permit he ever saw in his life on the first cast!  The battle lasted 50 minutes and when the dust had settled a 30 pound Permit posed for photos before being released to look for another lucky angler. Ya wanted to hate him but he's such a nice guy!

We fished with different guides each day, a rotation based on a first day drawing. Each guide was scored by the anglers with points awarded each day on the bases of ten different criteria. On the last day the scores were added and entries into a drawing were made based on the score. The prize for the week was a new Winston fly rod donated by the R.L. Winston Company and  a Bauer MZ 4 fly reel donated by the kind folks at Bauer Reels. Rods and reels are not easy to come by for most of these young men and the guides all worked hard for a chance to win this prize. In the end the outfit went to "Foots" a very deserving young man and one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to fish with. He's probably out on the flats right now chasing Bonefish with his new rod! All the guides were a real pleasure and I look forward to fishing with them again very soon.

The only bad part about any trip is that it does come to an end. We have to return to our everyday lives and the duties we have made for ourselves. It's comforting to think that while we make our way through our normal everyday lives there's a bit of adventurer that we keep in our heart knowing that there's always a Bonefish (or Permit) out there with our name on it and a salty piece of land.

Rickmon Lodge Abaco

Joel La Follette - Monday, May 10, 2004

“Reel in Dale, we’ll go somewhere else” Ricardo said as he bounded off the poling platform. Dad started to retrieve his fly line and step off the bow of Ricardo’s flats skiff. “Permit!”  Ricardo’s words had barely left his mouth; my permit rod was pulled from the rack and I had 30 feet of line laying on the deck. “Where?” I asked. “Nine o’clock”. 

My fly line was air-born with one false cast and I shot the little yarn crab fly towards the fish. The fly landed and the fish didn’t spook. Well, that’s a first. I thought to myself. The fish moved to the fly then turned away. That was more like the Permit I’ve met, very picky. I fired another cast. Again the fished looked over the fly but didn’t pick it up. Cast again, same result. The fish was moving closer, he would soon see the boat. Last shot. The fish moved to the fly. I stripped a little line then stopped. The fish tipped up and suck up the fly. “You got’em mon!” Ricardo shouted. And I did. My first Permit hooked and landed. Not a big fish, but I’ll take him.

 This all happened in a matter of ten minutes on the forth day of a wonderful stay at Rickmon Bonefish Lodge at Sandy Point on Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Ricardo Burrows is the head guide and owner of this little piece of paradise on the SE tip of Abaco. His lodge is very comfortable and the staff most welcoming. I had the opportunity to fish with Ricardo two days during our stay and you seldom meet anyone who loves what he does as much as this guy. His smile is contagious and his laugh will make you forget the wind, clouds and bad casts.

 Although the weather was not perfect, we did have a little wind most of the week. Everyone had a great time. Raingear came out only briefly one day. Fishing was fair. Bonefish were one day easy and close lipped the next. Most likely due to the changes in wind direction and cooler water that moved in with it. Everyone caught fish and saw many hundreds more. I was impressed with the number and size of the fish I saw and caught. Although no double digit fish where landed we all saw some. It will be easy to return to Rickmon, we all have a few fish, we’d like another shot at. 


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