Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Crooked and Acklins Islands... Second to Last Day 2/15/18

On our next to last day, I fished with my old bud Doug Jeffries. Doug had not yet fished with Elvis, so we jumped in the pickup for the short drive to the ferry dock on the Acklins side of The Going Through. There we met Elvis Collie. It was once again a very breezy day, but the real concern was the thick cloud cover. Ever hopeful, we pushed off bouncing our way south in the chop. Eventually, we arrived at the  southernmost tip of the Going Through.

John Riggs and Scott Sawtelle take off with O'Neill
Meanwhile, Elvis and Doug get ready

A morning off for Elvis!

Elvis anchored the boat 50 yards offshore and Doug and I grabbed water and rods before we jumped out of the skiff.
We handed Elvis a rod and said "Have fun! You aren't guiding this morning."
We told him we are taking off in different directions and we would meet back here in a couple hours. I think Elvis was bit shocked, but soon he took off to fish. 

Doug and I began by wading opposite sides of a finger that cut into the interior of a huge flats system. Under these cloudy conditions, we saw nothing for quite awhile. Eventually, Doug and I were quite far apart, but I could see he had reached a similar conclusion. We needed to get shallow and find a light sandy bottom to have any chance of finding fish under these cloudy conditions. I veered off to the east while Doug went north. We both followed little tidal bleeds. Soon we were pretty much out of sight of each other.

Nice photo Doug!
I followed a very skinny channel until I reached a hard-as-concrete pan that covered the size of two football fields. That’s when I saw my first tail. Over the next two hours, I was in heaven. Even though I had very little sun, I caught fish after fish... mostly spotted while tailing. I often picked them up from very far away.  When the sun did come out for a few seconds, I could clearly see fish flipping over flat, exfoliated pieces of the pan that sparsely littered the hard flat. I flipped over a few myself and discovered there were tiny crabs hidden underneath. This was no doubt what these bones were up to! I had never seen this amazing behavior before. At times, I let tailing fish go right by me so I could watch them nose-flip these saucers to devour the morsels underneath.

Tailing photos by Doug Jeffries

When I stopped watching and actually fished, the bones were eager to eat! It was an amazing scene to see them rocket off the pan once hooked. The water was only 6-8 inches deep so they tossed up a huge wake as they struggled to get a better purchase with their tails that were only 3/4’s of the way in the water. This was an incredible few hours of fishing and I was happy to see when I got back to the boat, Doug had had a similar experience. 

Doug, Elvis and I ate a brief lunch, then motored to a white sand flat that had been so productive for us last year. Unfortunately, the tide was too low so we had to fish the edges of the flat's feeder channels. We did pick up a few fish and it was quite beautiful, but also a bit of a disappointment! It's tough to repeat a great experience, but we always try... don't we!

NEXT: Our Last Day!

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