Friday, March 9, 2018

Crooked and Acklins Islands... Our Last Day

Sadly, this was our last day! Tomorrow we would leave the comfort of our cozy lodge and began our journey back to the frozen north. But today, we would push those thoughts away. Today, we would fish! 

Scott Sawtelle and I took off with Kenny Scavella to Acklins Island. We motored from Turtle Sound into yet another day with a strong east wind. Despite the "breeze", the skies were clear and sunny. I was sure today would be a good day.

Anna Riggs and Scott Sawtelle gear up for our last day.

After anchoring the skiff, we decided to go for it and put in a big wading day. The three of us left the boat at 9:30 in the morning and did not back to the skiff until just a bit before 3:00 in the afternoon. During those five and one half hours, we were either stalking fish, catching fish or wading to spots we knew held fish. We never quit wading the entire time... we were a tired bunch when cracked open our lunch at 3:30 and took a big swig of cold water and wolfed down our first bites of sandwich.

Initially, Scott and Kenny took off wading a long peninsula that led into a vast interior flats system. This peninsula was bisected by numerous channels. While they went in on one side, I took the other side of the peninsula and stayed even with them. I could see they were catching fish... as was I. The channels that sliced through the peninsula often spread out to create large shallow white sand flats. These were perfect spots to find fish... and we did! Nothing too big, but energetic and solid 3-4 lb. bones were often spotted. Eventually we all met up again and together waded a huge system interlaced with shallow soft pans peppered with mangroves. We found lots of fish on the edges of these mangroves.

"I was almost back at the skiff, now totally content to end my day, when my head was pulled right by something.  It quickly registered somewhere in my mind that it must have been a tail rooting around the base of a mangrove bush. But the afternoon light was flickering intensely off the chop and if it was a fish, he only tailed once. As I waited for another clue, I questioned if my tired eyes were playing tricks on me.

Not willing to wait any longer, I made a cast to the base of the mangrove. I made one short strip and a tail flipped up. I smiled. It reminded me of when I ask my dog "Are you hungry?" and his head turns and his ears perk up. I rang the dinner bell again with only the slightest nudge of my fly. The tail quickly scooted towards the meal. I stripped, he was on... I said, I think out loud, "Now that was cool!" This fish turned out to be my biggest fish of the day at 6-7 lbs.

Whew! What a great way to end a trip. After landing the fish, I reeled up and waded to the boat. That would be it... I'm done. It was quite simply, a great day... and a great trip!" 

and a nod towards Cuba with a bonefish size Avalon Crab

Doug Ellis enjoys another great dinner!

All too soon the day was over. We broke down rods, packed gear and collected tips. It was a wonderful trip! Thanks to our hosts at the lodge, Angela and Allie, our sensational guides, Kenny, Clinton, Elvis, Michael and O'Neill. We had a wonderful time and will miss you all! And of course, thanks to my friends Anna and John Riggs, Doug Ellis, Scott Sawtelle, Mike Schwartz, Steve Peskoe and Doug Jeffries. You made this a wonderful trip!

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