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Steelhead, Trout, and Bonefish
This week Joel and Jennifer are in the Bahamas sending me updates when they get off the water. I stayed home from fishing this week, but I do have a Fisher Report that I have included at the bottom. It was a little touch and go in the beginning trying to get a rapid Covid test and the Bahamian Visa but they finally made it and are now in paradise.
Flight Issues got us here late, but we caught some fish. It was a thrash to get on the water, but we got in a few hours.
Having lots of fun. Celebrating with a cocktail right now. Lots of Sharks and Bones, no Tarpon yet.
Today I got a little better report out of them:
What could be better than fishing in paradise than finally getting a chance to enjoy a well-deserved honeymoon! The opportunity presented itself for us to join a small, diverse and tight knit community of Angler’s in the Bahamas at the exquisite Mangrove Cay Club and the experience will forever stand as a trip of a lifetime!
Five star accommodations coupled with near optimal weather conditions the last two days have made for exciting aquatic experiences. Today we had double hook ups on 6 to 8 pound Bonefish only to grab the barracuda rod and have him take off like a bolt of lightning and jump as the sport fish he is. Watching the ferocious take that in a moment had us into our backing and performing aerial maneuvers. We instantly thought “heck”! We haven’t seen a fish jump like that since our last winter Steelhead! A gentleman‘s release was only fitting for this toothy critter and since the fly was still intact to the steel leader, Joel took a shot at a small lemon shark close to the boat. The chase was awesome but the shark missed the fly in the strip. Having a chance to see such a diverse and healthy fishery up close, day in and day out further fuels our passion for the salt life and great respect for the guys who work so hard to teach us their tricks of the trade.
One of our newly befriended anglers enjoyed a 13 pound bonefish today on her 9wt rod with 12lb test! We celebrated back at the lodge with conch fritters, gin and tonic‘s and margaritas. The overall ambience couldn’t be better as we swapped fish stories beneath palm trees swaying to warm, topical breezes.
We are very much looking forward to our next three fishing days here in the Bahamas as the anticipation builds for our February 2022 trip to the Yucatán to return once again to Grand Slam Lodge in Punta Allen on the beautiful and iconic Ascension Bay~ won’t you join us!
The Fisher Report
My quest to learn the Deschutes continued on Monday and Tuesday. When I first arrived at 5:45 AM the air was still. It was chilly with a little moisture and mist off the water and the promise of a pleasant afternoon. The kind of morning that makes me feel like I should be on trout water; satisfying when I actually am, tantalizing when I’m not. I strung up quickly and the cold seeped in around my toes as I waded into my current favorite run. The fishing was hot for about two hours and then tapered off until the fish appeared to be done by about noon. In that time I picked up 12 fish, mostly small, only a couple pushing 13 or 14 inches. That didn’t stop me from fishing hard the rest of the day. Around three or four a small yellow sally hatch came off and I got one fish to rise to my fly but was unable to land it. I took only a 30 minute break for lunch and about an hour around 5 to set up camp and scarf down some dinner before fishing the evening.
By about 2 pm the wind had started sandblasting its way up the canyon and did not stop before I left at 6 pm the next day. I could watch it approach, the water riffling up as it careened towards me. Out of the corner of my eye I often thought I saw fish jumping only to realize that the wind was blowing white caps off the tops of the waves. The sail that this scouring turned my tent into made setting up by myself into an ordeal. I ultimately never succeeded in getting the ground tarp down, instead placing my hope in that most dubious of sources: a weather report claiming that no rain was in the forecast. My gamble paid off. When I went back out to fish until dark I left some rocks, as well as my sleeping bag, thermarest, and clothing inside. I still found it blown across the campground, pegs ripped from the earth, when I returned. But the evening session was an unmitigated success, producing another 9 fish for a total of 21 on the day. I spent the time before bed in two parts; in my car, on the vice, replenishing the stocks of flies I lost throughout the day, and roasting bratwursts over my fire for dinner number two while consuming a little too much beer to make the next day’s 5:15 wake up call pleasant. But I poured out a significant portion of a Cavatica Stout which apparently pleased the fish because I was extremely successful the next day.
I lost count early on because of the volume of fish, but I am certain that I landed far more fish than the 21 of the day before. The wind continued to make the fishing difficult and much to my chagrin I discovered that the big fish apparently don’t like Cavatica. Or, more likely, the aliens had recently teleported them out of the river and we will have to wait until next year when the medium ones have become big before we have another shot at a good fish. The three big ones that I did hook, including one absolute beast, all pulled the same stunt. They shot downriver only to have the hook pop free, nearly impaling me as it burst from the water and the wind gusted it past my right ear. Unfortunately, this absurd number of little to medium fish was composed of about a quarter smolt that I couldn’t seem to keep off the hook, and another quarter white fish. I actually like white fish though because they are a sign of a clean river; and sometimes they get pretty big. In fact one of these was my best fish of the trip, sitting around 15 or 16 inches. For those who are curious, 100% of my whitefish came on a very simple pink and purple perdigon with a silver wire rib that I tied up. The trout all came on a rib roast and a mic drop respectively.
By the end of my time in the canyon I was sunburned, wind blasted, thoroughly freeze dried by the blowing dust and complete lack of humidity, and my allergies were acting up. I did not wish for a moment that I was back in the city instead of taking in the huge views and feeling the pull from my rod tip down to the cork of a beautiful creature on the end of the line. Though there are many runs that I have not yet touched, I have now laid eyes on all of the water between Mack’s Canyon and locked gate. On Tuesday I did not see a single fisherman between Mack’s Canyon and Maupin but at least ten at Harpam and Nena. I know where I won’t be going in the future. There are miles and miles of good water that aren’t there. I am very happy to be gaining this tiniest of grips on the Deschutes, and each successful trip is leaving me hungry for more.