Friday, June 9, 2017

Crooked/Acklins Islands Days 4,5,6


Day 4

Great day! ....Jim Woollett and I left the dock and motored out of Turtle Sound in very windy conditions. Our guide, Clinton Scavella, eventually pointed us east towards Acklins Island. The seas were choppy and festooned with long white lines of foam. We pressed on through this messy water hoping to reach a few cays between Crooked and Acklins. We wanted to reach a spot we had fished last year... Clinton calls it his "C-Spot".  We eventually arrived a bit “shaken, but not stirred”. We jumped out of the boat eager to walk off our sore butts.




Clinton anchored well offshore anticipating any weird tide flows that might be created by the windy weather. We packed water and a bit of food knowing we might not be back for hours. We fished initially on the outside of a huge bay. Here, we hoped to find fish holding on the ebb tide waiting for it to turn. Good call!



I caught a few fish, then waded one of the stubby fingers that cut into the interior. Clinton and Jim did the same choosing another digit a little further up the coast. Clinton obviously had the same thought as me. He didn’t want to miss the rising tide. If you do, fish that were in front of you one moment are suddenly hundreds of yards behind you the next. Once inside the finger, I almost immediately began seeing fish in incredibly shallow water. These bones were surreptitiously filtering in seeking the shallowest of spots where crabs, worms and shrimp were just being flooded by the rising tide. This was the beginning of a great few hours of fishing



The fishing was simply wonderful. Yes, we had no sun, the wind was 20+ mph and huge rain clouds loomed on the horizon, but it could not have been better over these few hours. It all stopped when the long-promised rain squall finally slammed into us. I quickly donned my rain gear and hunkered down on a sand bar with my back to the wind. With water pouring off my visor, I chomped on a Kit-Kat bar thrilled there was no lightening or thunder accompanying the squall. I waited patiently as I was pelted with rain and chilled by the the strong winds. Just after the rain stopped, a strange thing happened.



The tide’s march inland stalled and then stopped... with still many hours to go. Apparently the high winds had pushed at the tide halting its rise. In the space of one half hour all the sharks, rays and bonefish had disappeared. It was if the wind had blown them away. I could see Clinton and Jim walking back to the boat and I soon joined them for another late lunch.

This was a spectacular day with a very unusual conclusion. We spent the remaining hour of the day blind casting the mangroves for tarpon. We had no takers, but a 50-60 lb. tarpon did roll next to our boat providing solid evidence that they were there! 



Day 5

Steve Peskoe and I again fished with Elvis on Acklins Island.  On this blustery, overcast day we tolerated the solid 25 knot winds. On occasion, we were knocked off balance while wading by gusts exceeding 40 mph. These conditions made the fish very spooky. The first flat we fished was very unproductive and the second flat very difficult as the fish were blowing up at the sound of the line or the fly hitting the water. The only way to catch fish was to cast well ahead of the fish, barely bump the fly and then never move it again. I managed to catch a few in the 5 lb. range and Dr. Peskoe caught a 9 lb. monster! This was the fish of the trip and probably one of the top 10 in his illustrious angling career! Congratulations Steve!



On the last flat we fished, a broad area of beautiful white sand, we saw plenty of fish. We caught a few, but it was tough as the dropping barometer combined with the high winds made “Chicken Littles” out of these fish. They blew up at the slightest provocation: fly hitting the water, line in the air, arm raised or seemingly nothing at all. It was tough, but very engaging as we were often surrounded by very pale, almost invisible fish in choppy wind blown water. Despite this we took off for home happy bunch.


Randy at the end of a cloudy windy day
Day 6

On our last day, Scott Sawtelle and I fished with my old friend, guide Kenny Scavella. We finally had sun, but the high winds had not left with the cloud cover. If anything, they seemed to be increasing. In the morning, we fished an extensive creek system catching numerous fish fleeing the falling tide. Our fishing was great for a couple hours then, when the water got fairly skinny, we could find no one to play even at the creek mouths.

Kenny's push pole... enuf said!
We ate lunch, then traveled to Nunya Flat (as in Nunya business). Nunya is a huge white sand flat that is domed in the middle and falls off slightly on three sides. As we waded towards the domed center, I knew Nunya can be great or it can be very tough. We would soon find out.

SS Flies Permit crab
When we reached knee deep water, we started to see a few fish. Scott and I both quickly picked up a few, but the conditions were very tough. Our high winds had created long lines of dense foam that danced across the flat casting shadows on the bottom the mimicked bonefish. In addition, the real fish were the palest of silver and very nervous. We struggled to separate "fact from fiction". What was surprising was the size of some of these fish. I'm sure a few were pushing 10 lbs., but given our conditions, we didn't pick them up early enough to have a chance at these wise monsters. We had to settle for their smaller brethren. This was a very exciting few hours of fishing! We returned to the boat knowing the trip was over, but also knowing we would be back!


My hot butt Avalon Crab

Bonefish size #6 Avalon Crab


This was a great trip with a great group!

Our food was tasty and there was plenty of it: we enjoyed all the traditional favorites including cracked conch, fresh snapper, baked chicken, steamed fish, conch chowder and great salads with fresh vegetables. Breakfasts were hardy and lunches included sandwiches, granola bars, chips and candy bars. We love the little bar/dining room that sites right on a beautiful white sand beach. Our rooms were very large with powerful A/C units and hot showers. All in all, this is a rustic but very comfortable lodge.


We had a very attentive staff and of course, great guides that helped us explore this sensational fishery. We will be back! To Scott Sawtelle, John and Anna Riggs, Steve Peskoe, and Mike Schwartz, many thanks. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!






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