Friday, April 24, 2015

Crooked Island with Jeff Rodenberg and his Daughter Marley

If you'll remember, Jeff Rodenberg was going with his daughter, Marley to Crooked Island in the Bahamas. Jeff's intentions were to test some bonefish flies and report back on their success… well, family trips have a way of morphing away from an angler's original intentions. Here is Jeff's trip report… Thanks Jeff…  very cute story, cute daughter… looks like you had a GREAT trip!
(other lodging options on Crooked Island here)

Hey Scott,

A note to let you know that Crooked was simply awesome...because it was pretty much 180 degrees different than expected and planned for, and I love that!!! To me the best times are actually when things require one to throw every preconceived notion out the window, and just have a blast making it up as you go along. Maybe it's because I work in an honest to God Dilbert cartoon where people who think planning, processes, and predictability is somehow the key to business success more so than simply being flexible enough to respond to the needs of customers for quick solutions, but I digress…

Nice Mutton Snapper

Kenny Scavella throws the cast net

We arrived on the full moon/spring tide and bones were just not right. Not moving onto the flats, just humpin' around with each other out in the bays in big muds. So Kenny (who is honestly as much a friend as a guide given the amount of time we've spent together) and I decided to spend some time on the permit. And of course, I totally lost composure and blew it on: 

A.) two that were easy pickin's on the back of a ray
B.) one 30-40 pounder that was as cluelessly happy as I've ever cast at
C.) a pack of a dozen that were fighting over everything…

At one point I could hear Kenny from the platform say "Jeff, remember to haul man!"...I honestly can't remember a time in fishing over the last 40 years when I've been so totally mindless - try as I might to remind myself "it's just a damn fish",  I was standing there on the deck with line drooping everywhere, a quarter sized welt on my ass from the whack of a crab fly, and laughing along with Kenny and my daughter about my almost incoherent blathering excuses...I honestly think that will go down as one of my most favorite fishing memories of all time…

Kenny Scavella and Marley
And here is the best part...after all this mayhem was over, I hear daughter Marley in the boat...."Buddy?"....

Jeff; "yeah"

Marley; "if you hook a permit, can I reel him in?"..............................

Crisis point as a parent! For the last 5 years I've slobbered over getting a permit...but at the same time, you live for doing everything in your power to enrich you children's lives, give them opportunities you never had, live for their smile....

But I had to be honest...and said... "Hell no! Marley, I'll contribute significantly to your college education, will buy you your first car, but are you nuts? Reel in my first permit? Are you crazed? ...."

She was cracking up. Kenny about pissed himself and added.."Maaaalllllley...I tink you crossed da line..."....A moment that she loves telling a story about…

We did whack a few bones in the muds to let Marley have some fun cranking them in, spent a day pilchard fishing the reef for mutton snapper which Willie cooked up and made a big deal about Marley catching dinner for all of the patrons, and it was homecoming week on Crooked which made it perfect for showing a beautiful little lady that which makes the real Bahamas (aka anywhere but Nassau) such an incredible place. I found out last weekend that Marley told one of her gymnastics friends that it was the best vacation she'd ever been on….

So bonefish fly experimentation will have to wait (and I wouldn't have it any other way) until next time, and in favor of spending some time on ideas Kenny and I passed around on permit flies. But most of all, I'll cherish the time I've had with all 3 of the 4 ladies who have made several trips so damn memorable, and whether or not they become avid bonefish anglers, be so very thankful for the bond that flyfishing in the Bahamas has given us...

I've a few more pictures I'll send along....



  1. Hi Jeff,
    Great report. Thank you for sharing. I just came back from fishing in Acklins from the 18th to the 24th. The first 2 days we saw zero bones!? We were told that they were spawning out in the deep. Luckily things seemed to go back to normal after those first 2 days. Did you fish the week before?

  2. Hey S!

    We fished the 5th, 6th and 7th. Full moon was on the 4th, and we had the same story. The same thing seems to occur, but maybe to a slightly lesser extent, on the new moon which was the 18th when you were there. Both full and new moon result in spring tides = higher high tides and lower low tides....and I've come to prefer neap tides...but due to work, kids school and athletics schedules, etc., I've little to no choice in picking best tides for scheduling trips, so we go when we can and have a blast making a plan! And I think (I'm sure Scott will jump in and correct me if I am wrong), that we could have done better on classic fishing for bones had we taken what I call a "Crooked Island death march" for a couple hours up further into the backs of the creeks. I have been successful and immensely enjoyed same on previous trips, but wasn't going to burn out 11 year old Marley on that.

    Regardless of the conditions or moon phase or whatever, The Bight of Acklins, whether fishing from Crooked or Acklins, is one of my favorite places to fish in the world. The people, the isolation and the almost surreal colors keep me going back and back. Hope your trip was successful and would love to hear more, particularly if you found anything offbeat I can use on my next visit!


  3. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks. I will keep the neap tides in mind but like you I go mostly when I can. My trip over-all was great. It was my first time in Acklins and I would go back in a heart beat! We mostly fished a flat that I can best describe as a flooded moguls field. One step you would have water below your ankle, the next step you were in well above the knee. When the bones were on top of the moguls, they were easily seen, but would vanish the second they were in a trough. You could not afford to give them a big lead, so you had to throw very close. Closer than I would normally. The best flies were weightless, but your "Smoke" fly did great because it could be presented softly although it had eyes. I think the chenille quiets things down. I had very hi hopes for your Marty fly, but I think my color pattern blended so well with the turtle grass and bottom that bones could not find it - or I just fished it wrong. But I can't wait to try it again, because I think under the right conditions it would be a phenomenal pattern.