Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Crooked and Acklins Island Trip Report May 14-21, 2016... Part 2

Day 4
A wonderful day with Steve Peskoe and guide, Clinton Scavella. Clinton took us to "Godfather Alley", a series of shallow points with seemingly endless white sand flats sparsely dotted with mangroves. Steve and Clinton took off down one alley and I cut off left to fish the next lane over. As soon as I got through the mangrove barrier, I started picking up slinky singles that were in only inches of water. White sand, pale turquoise channels, pale-sided bones that ate if you did it just right... terrific!

We finished off the day with bones and a big blue runner in a deep hole. Our fun ended when a 6' lemon shark ate my crab fly. Most likely he was trying to eat a bone that was trying to eat my crab fly, but in any case, once these guys show up, it's game over. Great day spending time with my old friends Clinton and Steve and having some great fishing too!

Beautiful blue runner

Day 5 and 6
As good as it gets!

On day 5, Doug Ellis and I fished with Elvis Collie on Acklins Island. We began at the "Fingers" south of Lovely Bay. With the tide being high in the morning, we picked our way through small pods of medium sized bones that were milling about on an acre of barely flooded hardpan. From there we went east towards Snug Corner catching more bones retreating off the "hardtop" as the tide dropped and the water warmed.

Doug Ellis

We decided to split up with Doug and Elvis going left and me right. I soon reached the edge of a crusty pan and the beginning of a short shallow bay. It didn't take long to pluck a fish from the edge of the pan. Doug and Elvis paused to watch me land my fish. As I lifted my rod tip to skate the bonefish towards me for a quick release, a huge bird smashed into my fish. I never saw it coming. I initially thought it was a pelican due to its size, but then I realized that could not be... it must be an osprey! Only yards from me, 6-7' of wings splayed out on the water. One fiercely curved talon had a tenuous hold on my fish. As the big bird of prey tried to lift off, my fished made a frantic and successful effort to pull free. I could see blood on the bone's left side as the osprey lifted off. Screaming his cry, he held steady only a few feet above me positioned for another attack.

I yelled "Holy Shit!"
Doug and Elvis just laughed. I quickly released my fish secretly hoping the osprey would try again. He did not and soon departed screeching his anger as he veered off to the east. I moved on to my next fish never to see the bird again 
...this was a first for me.

Soon the day was over. It went so very fast. it was great spending time with Doug and learning about his incredible life and his 51 years of marriage to his wife Florida! Amazing man.

Our last day, was simply incredible. Clinton, Mike Schwartz and I again made the boat ride to Acklins to fish the "C-Spot." We left the boat at 9:15 AM and did not return until 3:45 PM. We waded into a massive shallow creek system. The tide was high when we arrived and after wading in from the barren hardpans, we reached many shallow creeks dotted with small hurricane-killed mangroves. In this area, fish were literally everywhere. We spotted fish through the mangrove aisles and holes. Once spotted, we positioned ourselves to make casts.

Tough spot to land a bonefish

Once hooked, we played traffic cop. Using the proper application of slack and pressure, one could avoid entangling alliances with the mangrove skeletons. This was great fun and very engaging (although not always successful).

Once the tide dropped off the hardpan, the fish began to flee to the channels. Here they schooled up and soon moved out fleeing the rising temps. I made an about turn and began my march back to the outside hoping to keep up with their migration. I caught bones all the way to the boat ending up with a 20+ fish day. Whew, now that was fun!

Relief to get those wading shoes off!

Scott Sawtelle with a beautiful mutton snapper

A brief synopsis of our experience at the lodge:
The food was terrific: we enjoyed cracked conch, beautifully spiced snapper, peas and rice lathered with homemade goat pepper sauce, scalloped potatoes, baked chicken, steamed fish, wonderful desserts like key lime pie and lemon meringue pie, great salads with marinated tomatoes and onions. We enjoyed hearty traditional breakfasts and filling lunches with two sandwiches, granola bars, chips and candy bars. It was the best food I've ever had at traditional out island bonefish lodge.

We ate well!

Our rooms were very large with powerful A/C units, clean linen and hot showers. The water had a sulphur smell but that should be cured with a holding tank and some chlorine. The dining room/bar area is beautiful and right on the beach. All in all, this is a rustic but very comfortable lodge.

Doug and Scott
Mike Schwartz makes the most of this pilchard

This was a spectacular trip with a great staff and great guides helping us explore a great fishery. We will be back! To Scott Sawtelle, Doug Ellis, Steve Peskoe, Tony Wendtland and Mike Schwartz, man this was fun. Let's do it again soon!


  1. What about the fritters? There has to be fritters! There MUST BE FRITTERS!

  2. Incredible aerial attack! I've always been impressed by the cycle of life intruding on our piscatorial endeavors. Crazy big numbers too! Elvis is such a great guy.