Sunday, January 15, 2012

Water Cay Lodge: A Few Words with Head Guide Sidney Thomas... Part II

We continue our discussion with the extraordinary Bahamian guide, Sidney Thomas of Water Cay Lodge. Here, he reveals methods and a style of bonefishing that goes somewhat against traditional Bahamian approaches. We hope you find his revelations on bonefishing, flies and gear helpful and perhaps applicable to other fisheries around the Bahamas.

Sidney continues:

I think lots of guys I meet at the lodge strip the fly too fast. Bonefish aren't ‘cuda and you can strip the fly out of their way. Both Gregory, Ezra and me all want to get our guys to move that fly with the fish, not move it away. So I tell them to rest that fly, watch the fish not the line. When those fins stick straight out and they are looking for what made that splash, bump it just a bit. No shrimp or worm has ever outrun a big bonefish... they hide. Bump and watch. Wait ... the fish will find it and eat it. Wading or on the boat it can be hard for guests to see the fish tip down and eat, but I see it every time. I tell them to make a looooooong clean strip. I don’t say he ate it, hit ‘em like lots of guides do. The looooong strip is calm and easy and most times that fish has eaten the fly and is moving away. When guests make the long strip the line comes tight, the bonefish feels it and the guest... well... that’s why they came to Water Cay. They get their line cleared and that is fishing.

But the BIG bonefish are smart and they will run either to deep water where they can use their speed or they will run to the mangrove bushes. It all depends on where you are fishing. Some guests break off a lot of fish when they run for the bushes. Here is where I help them. I tell them to release the drag and go slack on the fish. Almost every time that fish’ll stop when he feels the pressure on him leave. That way the fish stops and waits thinking he is hiding in shallow water. We walk up on him and clear the line. The fish, he’s happy to be free and my guests caught another big one. Seems like the wrong thing to do but taking that pressure off of them is the way to land a fish that has gone into the bushes.

I been visiting these flats for many years and I have seen these fish in all conditions. I have spent most of my life out on the flats and bays and in the back country. So I am out there to help my guys who come down to catch bones. If you come to Water Cay you’ll get my best opinion and my best work. We fish to catch fish, learn about fish and see the beauty of my island. That is what Water Cay Lodge was built for”.

Guide Greg Rolle Commutes to Work

Sidney Thomas has spent his life on the water fishing for bonefish. He has worked for all of the lodges on Grand Bahama and knows the nooks and crannies of all the north side bonefish spots. His lodge, Water Cay Lodge, can be seen on the Angling Destinations web site or I’d be happy to talk directly to you regarding a visit to meet Sidney’s BIG fish. Bone fishing is a skill sport and as such Sidney’s years of experience are invaluable to the avid fly fisherman looking to learn the sport or to polish and improve existing skills.

For more info about Water Cay Lodge and the exemplary guide Sidney Thomas go:


  1. Hey Sidney - Thanks for calmly talking me through catching big bonefish. I was wondering if you have any opinions on
    (1) color of clothing on the flats
    (2) whether or not the swishing and splashing of long pant legs spook fish when wading (some guys tuck pant legs into their gravel guards)

    1. Hi Doug,
      Sid said that bright colors are bad and white is especially bad.
      He doesn't feel pant legs cause too much noise as long as you go slowly,

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