Thursday, March 8, 2012

dem bones

For Christmas our sons Billy and Johnny joined together and gave us a day of bonefishing in the Abacos . This was a totally new experience for us, never having fished for the elusive and hard to catch bonefish.
Our Captain and guide for the day was Captain Buddy Pinder. He has been leading fishing groups in these waters for over twenty years. Here is another interesting link on Abaco Bone Fishing

In the Bahamas you fish on the Marls, on the western side of the Abacos. This is an extensive area of mud flats with small islands and mangrove clusters. Bone fish feed on the small crustaceans  that live in the muddy flats.

These boats have a very shallow draft of about 8 inches. They have a modified engine lifting mechanism that completely raises the engine out of the water in addition to the usual tilt mechanism. Once in the shallows he will pole the boat around to various places, standing on a small platform not only for better leverage with the pole but it also gives him better visibility for seeing where the fish are.

He typically will guide small groups about 225 days of the year.  

He has a dry sense of humor and refers to
bonefishing as more akin to hunting than fishing.
 Most of his customers fly fish while we chose to satisfy ourselves with the ole average spin casting reel.  Fly fishing might involve a lot of laughing but for us certainly not a lot of catching!

Fly fishing is a learned skill; for the serious and avid bone fisherman it is the way to go. 

On Buddy's boat " My Office" one person fishes at a time while standing on the bow leaning against a stainless steel rest.

The trick to fishing for bonefish, who spook very easily, is to place the lure, (in our case shrimp) on the far side of the fish and drag it along the top toward them. If you put the lure right on top of them they are gone. It is a bit like target fishing and the hardest part was getting the lure to the right place.

I like to think of the first part of our day's trip as;

"So that's why they call it fishing and not catching"

Don't be fooled by this picture. While I may look like I am intent on fishing I really have my head bowed in prayer looking for divine guidance for help in catching a damn fish!

Buddy, the consummate guide, was quite patient offering help and advice on the proper technique.

Coaching from the Captain helped to land the shrimp on target.  Jeannie was jealous because the bonefish were getting all of the shrimp!

Now we can rename the second part as;

 "The fish fear us"....

              ....a good two pounder

Not only are they finicky and hard to catch, they put up one heck of a fight after which you quickly get the hook out and release them.....   strictly a catch and release fish.  

Jeannie is the family's most avid fisherman and really enjoys every opportunity to drop a line.  What she does not like to do is hold them.

Buddy had this one out of the water and in her hands so fast that she did not have time to object. She knew that if she did not hold this guy there would be no picture to prove she landed it!  Surprisingly, he stayed nice and still for this photo.  Whew!

These fish are hard to see and their coloring is remarkably well adapted to the environment.  It was very important to have as much sunlight as possible illuminating the water.  If a cloud was overhead, it destroyed our visibility and we would wait again for the sun to shine.

Because they are hard to catch, wily and fight like a banshee when caught, they get top billing in the sport fishing world. People come here from all over, one fellow travels from Japan, to fish in these beautiful waters.

Great job Captain Buddy for taking us bone fishing newbies on a wonderful day of fishing and helping us to understand the finer points. 

Thanks again to Billy and Johnny for the wonderful trip! It was a day we will always remember.

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