Crooked & Acklins 2007
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The first week was spent at Grey’s Point Lodge on Acklins Island, in the southern Bahamas--population about 300. The Williamsons were our hosts, and they fed us well. Grouper, conch & lobster, plus a home-made dessert each night-kept us well energized. The weather started out tough the first two days, but after that it was hot and and we had good sun most of the time. The fishing also improved along with the weather. We caught bonefish and some barracuda, including Rufus Williams' 26lb brute, caught the last day on Acklins. I enjoyed the company of Rufus Williams, Walt Dunsby & Floyd Sabins. We all got to fish together and share stories of the places we’ve been, and the fish we’ve caught. One of the highlights of my week happened one day while I was walking back toward the boat after a productive morning of bonefishing. I was following the edge of a deeper channel(6’ deep) when I glanced over across the channel and saw a large stingray. A second look revealed that there was another fish hovering over the ray. I slowly worked my way closer to find that a huge 20+ lb permit that was following the ray, looking for an easy meal. Permit often follow rays to feed on the crabs & shrimp that the ray stirs up while it is digging up the bottom looking for food. By now my adrenaline was pumping, and I slowly followed the two of them along the edge of the channel, both seemingly oblivious to my presence. I quickly put on a crab fly, and made a cast. The permit followed the fly for about 5’, then turned back and re-joined the ray. Several more casts with the crab drew no attention. I again switched flies, this time another crab. Several more casts, and no interest. I then switched to a clouser that I had tied up to look like a glass minnow. First cast, nothing. Second cast—bang—the permit nailed the fly and took off. I was keeping light tension on the excess line that was peeling thru my hands when it suddenly became warpped around my pinky finger. I struggled to free it with my thumb, but the line broke, and that was it! Damn. After regaining my composure, I noticed that the permit had circled back to the ray. I began to put another fly on, but the permit had wised up and headed for the deeper ocean which lay about 1000 yards away. Permit 1, Vince 0. What a rush though. Rufus, Walt and myself took the free ferry ride from Acklins to Crooked, to begin our second week of flats fishing. The Ferry here is a 22' boat that runs twice daily between the two islands--about two miles. We were to meet up with Tom Conigliaro, Dr. Steve Pericak, and Dave & Sandy Beegle, plus Sandy’s parents Laurie & Galen. The weather for our week on Crooked was superb—getting hotter each day, and good sun most of the time. We caught some nice bonefish & barracudas, along with some triggerfish, jacks, grouper, mackeral & mutton snapper. We dined at Gibson’s restaurant in Landrail Point, where out hosts Willie & Tony spoiled us. Fresh Wahoo, mutton snapper, lobster and conch were our staples. The conch seviche was great, and even better was mutton snapper seviche. We watched the sunset each evening, and we could cast off of the rocks for horse eye jacks to 9lbs, and huge barracuda. I hooked one just before sunset one evening, he jumped and then ran me into a coral head and broke off. We could also catch small snappers and grouper there. Aside from the excellent bonefishing, we each spent a day “reef” fishing. The guides, who have great flats boats (18’ action crafts with 110-150 hp four stroke engines) brought their cast nets to catch the baitfish—pilchards. We spent about an hour catching bait, while I poled the boat to get it into position so that the guide could throw the cast net. Once we had the bait, we were off to the reefs. This is shallow water fishing, in 15-25’ of water. The live pilchards are used for chum, to bring the big muttons out of hiding. You can use the fly rod and cast deceivers or clousers, or spinning tackle with top water plugs or live pilchards. Lots of mutton snapper were landed, as well as grouper, barracuda, and some huge sharks hooked, and lost. (Dave Beegle trying to land an 8’ shark on light tackle-nice try Dave) One day after I had enough of the reef fishing, our guide Clinton dropped me off by Guana Cay, where iguanas live in relative seclusion. I began walking the beach along the small cay, looking for fish. In the background I could hear rustling in the brush. The iguanas were coming out to have a look at me. I counted 8 at one time, and they were just curious to see who I was and what was going on. They even got to watch me hook a large triggerfish, fight it and land it. I also had good luck this week on barracudas on the fly rod, landing two, losing one and getting a few others to attack my fly. We walked the flats each day in search of bones, sharing them with flamingoes, sea turtles, starfish, sharks, barracuda & conch. The warm, crystal clear waters and strong sun kept a smile on our faces, and relaxed our bodies. It was a welcome break from the cold winter. Dave and Sandy, good fly anglers from Colorado, each caught their biggest bonefish, as did Rufus Williams. All of my guests were a pleasure to be with, and I enjoyed our time together immensely.