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Archive for the ‘Bahamas’ Category

Bonefish Fly – Goto 1

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Wilson’s Flats Fiend

Available commercially (though hard to find), but in my case tied with real hair and not craft fur-hair.  Tied in different weights with corresponding eyes, with a light cream body and wing, too mimic the sand of the Exumas.

fiend 1_DSC4377fiend 2_DSC4382fiend 3_DSC4384

and a group image …

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/28 at 07:27

Bonefish Goto 2 – Spawning Shrimp

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I got my first bonefish on this, and I still serves well. If I did not have this pattern, I would probably have more small Peterson’s Shrimp tied small.

Starting with a close-up of 4 Variants – for the smallest flies, I like to go with rabbit.  This is white, but I also need to dye some rabbit off-white.

sp shrimp 1 DSC4397

Larger flies, I go with Polar-Bear and this case, some heavy eyes and crystal orange flash, to fish off the boat into some deeper water.

sp shrimp 3 DSC4395

But soft and thick, polar bear with seal and a soft pink heart. This is the colouring we found blend well, but still has some life to it.

sp shrimp 2 DSC4396

And with a little more flash to the heart.

sp shrimp 4 DSC4394

And a group, from top left to right – rabbit, pb-bear and tan rabbit.

sp shrimp g2 DSC4416

This series was inspired by Ruby Babikian, a fine tyer who owns the website > https://hiddenhookfly.com/collections/all-flies/products/spawning-shrimp > but I am not sure how active Rudy is now.

And yes, I will tie in Orange. In this case, I am using Yellow and Orange Seal and some hair from a fox’s tail.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/24 at 07:23

Exuma – our goto bonefish flies – Peterson

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So what are my (Our – Judy an I) goto flies for the Exumas’s Bonefish, then?

  1. Wilson’s Flats Fiend
  2. Spawing Shrmp
  3. Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp

Do we really need more than 3 syles!  So far the answer is no, but just as long as I have then in different weights.

As noted previously, I dislike the commonly used Craft Hair-Fur. I cannot get it to work as I like and I find it dead in the water. I like the naturals,  particularly Fox, Wolf, Rabbit, Calf Tail and Polar Bear.

So here is the Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, once tied true to form with rabbit but with the long translucent haris of the Pb-Bear for the claws. The other where I have use a split tail from Paulo’s fish-on.

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From big to small.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/23 at 01:56

Scott Heywood Bonefish Flies

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I have more flies than we need for this years Bonefishing trip to the Bahamas, but never-the-less, it is fun to be inspired and tie a few more.  In this case, using Veverka’s Innovative Saltwater Flies book, I have taken a couple of flies from Scott Heywood.  Though the irony, neither fly is part of Scott’s current recommendation for bonefish.

With the Biclops Shrimp, I wanted a large unweighted fly with the light tone of the Exuma sand, which varies from very white (common) to tones slightly grey (less frequent) or occasionally warm.  I recall one flat on the warm side, where the bonefish where all-over close in and shallow.

I have used more sheep fleece than Scott, to enable a long body look.  I comb the fleece, but I rely on the end of  the (Romeny’s sheep) fleece that had not yet been processed into consistent manufactured buns, so I could keep the unkept curly hair in place.

I also went with a seal body with a monofilament ribbing versus mohair.

I am expecting a soft landing into shallow tailing water, with an initial retrieve.

heywood sheep DSC4403

Then there is the Eye Gotcha. As I dislike artificial craft fur, I used polar bear wih a thicker wing. If you live in the US, I would have used Calf-tail. In the field, I may cut back the mylar tubing mouth by 20%.

The pink heart is brighter when using the Pink Uni-Stretch Thread-Floss.

Heywood_DSC4401

As these are fishing flies, I was only using two coats of lacquer, so no glossy heads for show.

.. Post release add to illustrate better the long shape of the sheep fly

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heywood 4_DSC4501

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/20 at 00:41

DIY – Bonefish Exumas

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One of the flies that got a lot of attention, our Polar Gotcha.

polar gotcha IMG_1328

Some do it yourself, hints and ideas for bonefishing in the Exumas.

Guides – Recommendation – Garth Thompson

double DSCN0936s

One of the two doubles that Garth got us into, and I believe this was Judy’s best fish of the trip.

I still believe in guides, to help you understand the fish, water, how to see, the water, et cetera. So with this, I can highly recommend Garth Thompson whose instructions are well timed, his directions clear and his sight is amazing.

Guides – NOT – Stevie

Stevie (bonefishstevie) – In a display of territorial aggression Stevie charged me in his boat at speed, I was on my feet on the flats so I was at a significant disadvantage. Once the unfriendly encounter was done, he roared out, ensuring our spot was ruined for the day.

Judy’s note, “he is probably a good guide, but just not a good person”.  See TripAdvisor, but, please note Bahamas regulations limit the number of people on a guide’s boat to 2.

stevie review

Enough said, but I dislike negative reviews, but several indicated it was worth noting on this occasion.

Next time when I see a boat charging me, get the camera out, video tape and post it on YouTube.

Kayak or SUP

Yes, a kayak will substantially improve your access, as often there is a deep channel at the shore, before it opens up the cays and flats. In our case, the channel in front of our stay in the middle of the Airport Flats is walkable, though deep.

In the past, I have found kayak’s painful – literally – and this was no exception. Next time, I am bringing an iSUP.

view in the morning IMG_1271

The view from our front step, as the sun rises at high tide.

Logistics – Car – a necessity

Simple: Berlies Car Rentals and if you are looking for a larger car to move kayaks, consider a Jeep and bring your own ropes.

Berlies is located just outside the airport, they will pickup you as you exit the small airport and drop you off.

Logistics – Flights

The Exumas is an out-island, so the infrastructure is downsized. Daily flights from southern Florida or Nassau are present, but otherwise few long-haul flights are available.

In our case, we flew in by Air Canada from Toronto (that comes in-out on every Saturday) to George Town on a small jet. To make the early morning flight out easy with reduce risk (de-icing, weather), we arrive the night before and stay in Toronto (at the Airport Alt Hotel).

Logistics – Food and Alcohol

Yes, we are on an out-island, where the food comes in by ship on Tuesday or Wednesday, so if you land on a Sunday (Air Canada), expect limited food availability.

We stayed at a very nice cottage on the Airport Flats, booked through VRBO, with a small but complete kitchen, so what were the essentials we brought or should have brought:

  • Cliff’s Oatmeal Bars – withstand the heat well, when you are fishing!
  • Ground Coffee and UHT Milk – we even bring our steel French press.
  • Asian Noodles – Breakfast with Poached Eggs (bought at the convenience) . Alternatively, any canned-dry goods you want for 2 days if you arrive on the weekend – Peanut Butter, Granola, et cetera

And when the week comes, you can go to Prime Island Meats north of George Town, and then swing back through George Town to Exuma Market to pick up anything else. When stocked, you will fine better greens and fruits at the Exuma Market, but the Chicken and Crab salad at Prime Island makes great sandwiches.

Kalik is a great beer. I would note for Canadian’s – Beer is more expensive, but alcohol is cheaper than what I can buy in Ontario. Like Ontario, Alcohol sales is controlled and there are limited retailers, we acquire ours south of George Town at the turn off to the old airport (before Cheaters)

For restaurants, definitely recommend ….

    • Santana’s (get the Grouper), also stop next door into Mama’s Bakery on Little Exuma
    • Shirley’s north of Georgetown (get the side dish of fried plantain)

shirleys IMG_1322

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plaintain IMG_1262

Oh yes, my preference was to stay have dinner at the cottage, letting us fish the flats to sunset.

Logistic – Maps

Google Earth is better than Google Maps, as Google Earth Satellite shows the unmarked roads!

Best interactive map of key locations around the Exuma is courtesy of a unknown person who created > https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1rWCO5UyeQGR4OLZ1VVdpjI6YQJg&ll=23.438098271246115%2C-75.60763117177737&z=13

Cameras – GoPro 5

Just before the trip, Judy’s GoPro 4 died and we bought a replacement GoPro 5. The images from this camera is amazing and I hope to post some of her videos soon.

If there is any negative we found with the camera, is that the GoPro 5’s audio does not work well with Gimbals.

Fishing the Airport Flats – Leaders

Go with long leaders – 10-12′ – with a 8 lb or 10lb fluorocarbon.

bonefish DSCN0960

Judy was using a traditional Bonefish Line with a 10+’ leader and did well. I was trying a clear tip line with an intermediate poly-leader. I do not believe there was any benefit with the clear tip (it still have mass), but the setup still work.

Having dealt with good and bad fluorocarbon, I now only use Seaguar Blue.

Yes, there is wind, but with a 8wt rod, we were fine.

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Fishing the Airport Flats – Tides

The tides are about 90-120 minutes behind those reported at Steveston and George Town.

Fishing the Flats – Walking

The flats are mostly sand, so you can walk barefoot; and when the bottom is more mud than sand, it is better to walk barefoot as the feedback help you to respond so much better to the changing conditions.

My SIMMs booties with neoprene socks continue to serve we well.

As noted last year, Judy as a smaller women can not find a boot from the traditional fly-fishing OEMs that will fit her. Last years Ski-Doo boots died within 3 days, but this year she found some Akona boots at a Dive Shop that worked.

Please remember to cover your feet when you are out in the open (out of the water), as burn feet are not fun.

walk flats DSCN0955

Fishing the Exuma Flats – Flies

Light colour flies, as most of the sand is white with a grey tinge, I would suggest white to a light ecru.

Images of flies in a water, with sand from the flats under.

flies in water IMG_1344

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flies in water IMG_1343
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Judy’s last fish of the trip.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/03/31 at 22:52

Posted in Bahamas, Saltwater, Vacation

Rigging an 8wt Silk Line

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As I preparing for my next bonefish trip, I have added a Phoenix Silk WF 8wt Line. This is very atypical, but there are many properties of silk that appeals to me in these fishing conditions ….

  • Line is thin, so it will cut through wind
  • Intermediate, slow sink – not planning to treat it to float.
  • Colour is straw and a natural colour, like a flat (though more yellow)

Unlike our modern plastic lines, there is no loop – so you either have to nail knot your leader on or add a loop. Trying and testing different combinations (nail knots slipped off), I settled on

  • Using Miracle Braid, Albright Knot onto the Silk Line
  • Leader Loop, Perfection Loop

MBraid Phoenix DSC1526.jpg

For the rear of the line, repeat with Albright.  You can put in a Perfection Loop or created a knotless loop – YouTube Miracle Braid Loop. I keep to the perfection loop.

Last, a couple of shout-outs:

  • Making silk lines is a craft, done by a few artisans. Thanks to Mike and Jean at Phoenix for continuing this tradition.
  • Tim Rajeff the lead at Airflo USA is a class act. Provides good products and good support. I have been a returned customer for 2 decades now.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/12/24 at 21:11

Simms’ Flats Boots

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First and last: Recommended, but you must fit your boats in a store or be prepared to ship back boots!

I pick these boots up for saltwater fishing, but having using them extensively as my water boats launching, handling et cetera, Judy’s boat this summer, I have had enough time to “bond” with them. With the neoprene socks (ordered separately), they are great.

I would note that Judy’s Seadoo boats did not last 5 days in the Bahamas before they fell apart, but mine dp show some wear, but are in great shape, protect my feet, easy to walk in, and keep the sand out.

Any warnings or disappointments:

  • As others pointed out, Simms sizing is way out to lunch!  I usually fit in a size a Size 10 to 10 1/2 wide shoe.  In this case, I am in a Size 13 Boat and a Large thin Simms Neoprene sock.
  • Availability – though I live near a city of a Million People, there was no store that had any. I was able to get my, while travelling through Dallas last year at a Bass Pro.
  • Size again, no-one makes a boot for a small lady (my wife, hence the try with the poor Seadoo boot).

simms boats_DSC0436

Yes, this is a great boot and sock combination, but as others noted, the sizing information does not reflect what you may be wearing in shoes, boots, waders, et cetera. Find a store.

As a reference, this year, I also purchased a new pair of walking shoes (Merrell’s size 10) and dress shoes (ECCO, size 44 (10 1/2)), and the SIMMs are 13s.

I hope this helps.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/22 at 00:01