I’ve been home in Texas for a few weeks and I’m still on island time. The trip to the Bahamas came and went in the blink of an eye, but the memories are forever engrained in my mind.
My first trip to the Bahamas lived up to the hype. The trip was a culmination of a great deal of preparation and anticipation. I spent so many hours behind the vise I started to turn cross-eyed. A few months ago I didn’t have a single bonefish fly to my name. Before I departed I cranked out nearly a couple hundred flies.
I also spent a considerable amount of time at a nearby field ruining my fly line, i.e. tweaking my cast. Every day for over a month I worked on my distance and accuracy with the wind blowing at me from every direction. On several occasions I worked with my friend and FFF Certified Casting Instructor, Austin Orr of the blog Salt 396 . He spends most of his time fly fishing the jetties so he’s grown accustomed to fly fishing in heavy winds. I was determined to be ready for anything the Bahamas was going to throw at me.
Unlike most of my travel companions, this trip was a series of first for me. First, and probably the biggest surprise to most people, I had never been on a plane before this trip; I can now say I’ve been on four plane rides. After a quick two-hour flight from Texas and a short layover we hopped on a smaller, tightly packed plane in route for our destination.
Unbeknownst to me a the ride was a little sketchy or so I was told. The flight seemed normal to me; I guess being a greenhorn flier has its benefits.
After a long cab ride we arrived at our lodge to a warm welcome from our host. We were immediately served an endless platter conch fritters, appropriately washed down with an ice-cold Kalik. Conch fritters were served as daily appetizers to help ease the hunger from a long day on the water.
The first of our nightly “campfire” gatherings. This is where tales of everyone’s day which included stories of big fish, grandiose meltdowns, and comedic episodes. With this group odds are something will go wrong. Odds proved to be correct. Many laughs were shared during these sessions.
We decided to flip a coin each night before dinner to decide who would fish together and with which guide.
No animals were harmed. We drew names from a cup. Not as fitting or theatrical but the method accomplished the goal. We were one man down so each day someone would have to fish solo.
It’s never good when the police show up the first night when you’re in a foreign country. That is, unless you’re in the Bahamas and the police stop by to drink a few stiff cocktails with the foreigners.
The first two days of fishing were plagued by intermittent cloud cover and high winds, but everyone managed to catch bonefish, including five of us, myself included, that had never landed a bonefish.
Saturday night we packed ten deep into a CRV and headed to the local watering hole. The bar was best described by one of my travel companions to his wife. He told her “imagine our front yard…now imagine our two little girls built a fort in the front yard.” I thought the description was fitting.