This is our latest onsite report for the Pinder Brothers and Grand Bahama Bonefishing. Grand Bahama Island which is the northern most Island in the Bahamas is primarily a bone fishery, however this area offers occasional opportunities for tarpon, permit, plus a host of other species. If you are interested in world class bonefishing on Grand Bahama Island– read on!
For anglers living in the eastern US, there is no reason to go half way around the world when there is incredible fishing in the Bahamas, many islands within a single day’s flight.
I was getting that bonefish twitch again, so I set my sights on Grand Bahama Island which is very close to my home in Florida. The fishing aside, one thing that makes Grand Bahama a great destination are the many daily flights from Florida, plus there is no need for a charter flight or to spend the night in route.
The coastline of east Florida disappears gradually. Soon we were at altitude and leveling off. It’s a short distance through sparkling open waters of the Gulf Stream. Visible in the distance is the west end of Grand Bahama with her white sandy beaches and water as clear as glass. Tropical palms and Australian pines border the south shore. I have missed this place.
Mentally I am plotting my return before I even get there.
We landed on time at Grand Bahama International Airport. I picked up my bags and breezed through Customs and immigration quickly.
Outside the terminal I am patiently waiting for David Pinder to pick me up. I am just about to grab my cell phone and David arrives. I peer into his van and all I can see is a big grin with large shiny white teeth. While I am expecting David to say is, how are you doing, or, are you ready to go fishing, or ask, how was flight. Nope, not David, the first thing out of his mouth was “Let’s go kick some ass”. David is not one to mince his words.
The boat ramp we used at Hawksbill Creek is very close to the airport. The shiny Dolphin skiff was in the water when we arrived. We wasted no time assembling my travel rods and we were quickly off to the magnificent and beautiful northern flats.
Blissfully we cruised carefree across the mirror like surface of the bay on a cushion of air and a patch of water. It was one of those ideal sunny days; just a light breeze, good visibility and a nice incoming tide. No worries, no drama, no problems, life is good!
After a short run David settled the boat on a beautiful turtle grass flat. Within minutes we are into bonefish and lots of them. I am not single minded, normally I would rather fish for fewer big fish than a lot of smaller ones. I have been playing this game for a long time. What I really like is the hunt and the ever-changing surroundings. Being out on the water a lot like I have, you see strange, interesting and remarkable things in these fertile waters. I just love observing all the life around. The grey ghosts are a bonus.
I’m ready, fly in hand and line coiled on the deck. With a soft quiet plant of the push pole David holds us steady and I drop the fly just ahead of a slowly cruising fish. A handsome broad backed bonefish consumed the fly confidently and then with my fly line tearing across the calm surface, does everything as advertised; made several great runs and really put on a show before conceding. Totally awesome! After a quick release the fine-looking fellow drifted away.
Bonefish have the brain the size of a pea but they still outsmart most of us a lot the time. Sometimes they will rush up and eat flies that land a dozen feet away and other times refuse a totally perfect presentation. It’s a lot like permit fishing.
The number of fish you can expect to catch at any time is directly related to your skill as an angler. The fish are spooky and the casting has to be accurate. Accuracy is crucial on the flats. You need to be able to put that fly at 50-60 feet and you have to do without a lot of false casting. Some anglers like to make big long cast that shoot out and land real heavy which scares the fish. In most cases this is not necessary. Finesse triumphs over brute strength.
Catching a bonefish is always thrilling. The excitement of the hunt and of watching the fish recognize, gobble up your fly and tear across a slick surface is about as good as it gets.
David’s sister in law (Mrs. Jeffery Pinder) packed a nice lunch for us. So David directed the skiff to a secluded lagoon where he occasionally sees tarpon. David lowered the anchor and we talked about old stories and recent events for a while. No tarpon today, but lots of small Green turtles leisurely poking around looking for a morsel. David explained the small turtles stay in there to avoid the larger predators and I know he is right. I have seen bull and tiger sharks prey on these graceful saltwater reptiles.
David pulled the anchor and slowly poled out of the lagoon as we searched for bones. A nice small permit hurried past. There was no time to act on him so David poled on. We end up spending the rest of the afternoon slowly working our way down a long sandy bank with small mangrove on the shore and young mangrove shoots pushing out along the edge.
We enjoyed nonstop action for the next hour or more, so I asked David if he wanted to catch a few bones and he jumped at the chance. I poled and he fished. It was a delightful experience watching a master fly caster at work and I received a casting lesson as well.
We still had good visibility, but big cumulous clouds were building in the north and sky started turning leaden grey so Captain Pinder decided to head home before the showers came. Well ahead of the rain, David shut down the skiff a couple of hundred yards from the boat ramp at Hawksbill Creek, just so we could look for a few more fish before we headed back to the hotel. David really likes to make sure his clients are happy. Heck, I was already more than satisfied with the day, but Mr. Pinder would not take no for an answer, so we caught a few more.
David droped me off at the Radisson Grand Lucayan which is located on the beach at Port Lucaya and we agree to meet early the next morning in front of the hotel and have another go at it. Day one on the water has ended; then again, I still have a few more days to go. Life is good!
Your stay at this beautiful Radisson Grand Lucayan beachfront hotel is included in your fishing package.
On Grand Bahama Island the fishing is as good as or better than ever and with the slow economy, the Bahamas fishing industry has cooled off a bit. As a result, many lodges that were always booked now have some availability, including Grand Bahama Bonefishing. Let us help you arrange your next trip!
If you have been there then you know already, if you haven’t been, then go now! Just remember, Edward Johnston told you so……….Book now for the rest of this year and/or reserve your spot in 2013. Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
Call us now at 800-771-2202 or 352-795-3474.
Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean
531 N. Citrus Ave.
Crystal River, Florida 34428
352-795-FISH (3474) 1-800-771-2202
All Photgraphs by Edward R. Johnston
Copyright © 2012 Edward R. Johnston & Leisure Time Travel, Inc. 1996-2013