Posts Tagged ‘wade fishing’

Religious Experience vs Purpose in Life

October 23, 2013

Religious Experience vs Purpose in Life

by Chip Bates

In his fascinating article in the November/December issue of Fly Fishing in Salt Waters entitled, “Thinking Outside the Boat”, Editor John Frazier refers to his wading experiences at Grey’s Point Bonefish Bonefish Inn, Acklins Island, Bahamas, as a “religious experience”.

I’m an extremist member of that congregation.

I’m celebrating a half century of fly fishing this year. I’ve seen my passion for the sport get more and more focused over the years. In the 70’s, I caught my first bonefish on a fly in the Bahamas. In the 80’s, I added tarpon and permit (Belize, Mexico, Bahamas, Los Roques and Florida Keys). In the early 90’s, I chalked up my first double digit bone (Andros). In the late 90’s, I gravitated toward wading, mostly to enable my partner and me to fish at the same time, one in the boat, one on foot. That was also the decade I fished the Seychelles for the first time. Wow!

All-day-walking miles of gorgeous flats, searching for underwater movement of any kind, keeping sharks at bay when bones were in sight, mixing it up with milkfish, trevally and permit. It was way too much fun to call exercise.

By the year 2000, I had blinders on. I’d become a wading junkie, transfixed by catching big bonefish on foot in water so shallow, the fish couldn’t hide it’s own body parts!

Bonefish-tailing-on-the-Flats

Knowing where to find them, what tide, time of day, how to approach and catch these hyper sensitive, actively feeding fish, became my “purpose in life”!

Being in the right place at the right time, then having it confirmed by the sudden appearance of an enormous tail, creates an explosion of urgency, nervousness, opportunity and energy …. An adrenalin rush beyond compare. You get pretty good at judging the size of the fish by the thickness and width of the fork in his tail. Think jaws of life, not pruning shears!

Chip’s progression:
Sightfishing
Fishing for bonefish
Fly fishing for bonefish
Fly fishing for big bonefish
Fly fishing for big tailing bonefish
Fly fishing for big tailing bonefish while wading!
 
That's a big tail!

That’s a big tail!

Back to Fly Fishing in Salt Waters Editor, John Frazier.  John fished 3 days at one of the premier wading destinations in the Bahamas, Grey’s Point Bonefish Inn on Acklins Island, with Angler Adventure’s fishing “pro”, Doug Schlink. Three days was hardly enough, but John adapted quickly, caught lots of fish to 6 pounds and got a shot at a 10 + pound fish in 6 inches of water! I’ll give John a few years to ratchet up “religious experience” to “purpose in life”.  For a great read, by a talented writer, fisherman and photographer, check out this link to the:

  “Ultimate Wade Fishing Special” in the November/December 2013 issue.

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Go Small. Go Light. Go Weedless.

October 11, 2013

Bonefish on Grass Flats

Go Small.  Go Light.  Go Weedless.

by Chip Bates

You can encounter tailing fish on any fertile bottom, but weedy bottoms hold the most prey, therefore the most fish. Big fish seem more comfortable feeding in the shallows over a dark bottom.  Click here for tips on Shallow Water, Tailing Fish.

The end of the outgoing and beginning of the incoming brings the skinniest water that’s when you’ll find fish tailing over the weeds. To catch them, you’ll need a fly that doesn’t “plop” when it hits the water: go small.

A tailing fish is focused on a small area.  Frequently he’ll create a cloud of sand or mud where he’s feeding. You must put the fly in the area where’s he’s rooting, a matter of inches from his nose. You must throw a fly that doesn’t spook him when it lands: go light.

Once the fly lands in front of the fish, let it sink, then give it the tiniest of strips: go weedless.

Without a weed guard, your fly will invariably snag on grass and stripping a fly that’s hooked on a weed is like drag on a dry fly.  Click Here for Tips on Tailing Fish over Weedy Bottoms.

There are loads of excellent flies for bonefishing in skinny water, but our number one fly is the Bunny Bone when we need to go small, light or weedless.  Having a variety of Bunny Bones in your fly box is a necessity, especially when wading for bonefish.  Tan or brown (tied with tan or pink thread) rabbit fur tail with a little gold Mylar and mono eyes are top producing colors.  It’s also a great fly in slightly deeper water with small or medium bead chain eyes, instead of mono.  Try adding crazy legs and don’t forget the weed guard!  Click here for more information on tying bonefish flies, including the Bunny Bone.

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Seychelles Best Flats Fishing – Farquhar Atoll

August 17, 2012

The Seychelles became a bucket list destination because it’s a beautiful, remote destination with fantastic wading for bonefish on hard sand & coral flats and a variety of other species both on and off the flats that added depth to the fishery.  Recently, a new fishing operation has opened on Farquhar Atoll, which has taken those credentials to the next level.  

Beautiful and remote? Farquhar is called the “Jewel of the Seychelles” and considered to be the most beautiful island in the archipelago and also the southern most atoll (2 hour flight from Mahe).  The staff and guests are the only people on the atoll, living in the islands only accommodations.  Check.

Fantastic Bonefishing? The fishing is 100% wading.  The average schooling bonefish is 4 – 6 pounds and there will be quite a few bonefish in the 6 – 8 pound range.  Most anglers end up leaving the schools to find fish in single and doubles for a bit more of a challenge.  Check.

Variety of Species?  In addition to Bonefish, there are the normal fish you’d expect to see on a flat in the Seychelles: Shark, Barracuda, Snapper, Triggerfish, Trevally (including Giant Trevally), Milkfish, Napoleon Wrasse and Indo-Pacific Permit.  The guides on Farquhar have also figured out how to catch Humphead Parrotfish, which were previously though to be uncatchable on the fly and become experts at targeting GT’s (Giant Trevally).  You can also fish deeper water for Sailfish, several Grouper species, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Job fish, and more.  A client of our landed 18 different species on the fly…all with a floating line!    Check.

This is truly one of the special fishing destinations in world, and the reservations book shows it – the first availability is for late-October 2013.  If you’re interested in fishing Farquhar, we suggest getting started now.  Like Farquhar, but more interested in Bonefishing?  Check out Farquhar’s sister operation St. Brandon’s Atoll, which has better bonefishing with less variety

Farquhar Bonefish

Bonefish!


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