Deep Water Cay – Fishing at Deep Water Cay Club

Deep Water Cay Club – Fly Fishing Paradise Found!

Part Two – If you missed part one click here

Ok, enough said; Let’s get to the fishing! If there is a heaven for fishermen, this pristine piece of Bahamian paradise is it. World class bone fishing on the east end of Grand Bahama Island at Deep Water Cay. Hundreds of square miles of pristine bonefish flats.  It just doesn’t get any better than this. If you are interested in bonefishing at Deep Water Cay Club please read on!

The floating Dock at Deep Water Cay Club

There are some lodges that you may visit in the Bahamas with pleasant locations but you still have to get in the truck and trailer the boat 20-30 minutes to get to your boat ramp. One of the nice things about Deep Water Cay Club is that your room is adjacent to the dock so you can realize a lot more fishing time.

The folks at Deep Water Cay claim they have over 250 square miles of flats to fish. Actually that’s where they stopped measuring. If you have studied a map of the east end of Grand Bahama Island you will realize it would takes you weeks of fishing just to explore the area.

Most of your fishing will be from the boat over turtle grass and patchy bottom flats, but there are plenty of places to wade if that’s what you wish to do. The flats that you’ll wade are hard-packed sand with just a little turtle grass on it, and the bones are easier to spot. Deep Water Cay Club- Deep Water Cay's Hells Bay skiff

Around here, they have two tides depending on which side of the island you are on, so you will always find a good place to fish. However, Deep Water Cay’s  guides know the area thoroughly, so this really isn’t an issue. They understand the intricacies of the tides and the way fish behave depending on the water level, therefore, the guides will automatically take you to the right place for the most favorable conditions.

The Deep Water Cay’s fleet of Hell Bay flats’ skiffs is about as good as it gets. The Lodge has five of the Hell Bay Marquesa skiffs , which measure out at 17’-11” and draw about seven inches of water and five of the Hell Bay Professional skiffs which measure out at 17’-8” and draw about five inches of water (mol). Although the boats seem to be about the same size they are not the same.

The owners deliberately purchased two sets of flats skiffs for slightly different fishing situations. The Marquesa is built for a slightly larger engine and is a little wider in the beam and handles rough runs in a chop a little better. The Professional is a lighter craft and built for a shallower draft which allows you to get into skinnier water.

All the comfortable boats are fitted with quiet four-stroke engines, and provide a pleasant ride and stealth in skinny water. The Lodge will make every effort to match their top of the line boats specifically to the conditions that you will experience during your day.

I understand the Lodge kept four of their Dolphin Skiffs in reserve which they have reconditioned. Hulls have been patched; glassed, buffed and new gel coat has been applied to all the decks.

Breakfast is served in the Clubhouse, and features a variety of fresh fruits, cereals, breads, coffee and tea. Some mornings, cold cereal just won’t do and something a little substantial is in order. No problem; eggs are cooked to order and served with bacon, ham, or sausage, toast and fresh pastries. You may opt for a custom made omelet with your choice of fillings.

After a hearty breakfast of omelets and toast we grabbed our gear and headed for the dock.

On this trip we fished with Joseph Pinder Jr.  His well-know brothers Jeffery and David guided here at one time, but they have their own fishing business now in Freeport. Just to fish with one of guys is just awesome.  I feel fortunate that I have fished with all of them including their distinguished Cousin Paul Pinder on Great Abaco Island.

Joseph Pinder Jr is a friendly good-natured man. The amiable and cordial attitude seems to run in the family. Joseph helped Aaron and I stow our rods and gear and within minutes we were motoring away from the berth. Just outside the dock Joseph turned a hard right and sliped the Hell’s Bay into a wide creek mouth and then east toward the place of our pursuit.

Our first stop was Mangrove Island near Bonefish Cay. Joseph quietly poled the boat alongside a mangrove shoreline and through a maze of young mangrove shoots. In a sandy opening ahead we spied a group of bones happily feeding.  Joseph held the Hell’s Bay skiff steady.Deep Water Cay Club- Aaron with the days first bonefish

My son Aaron hooked the first fish. As always it was a spectacular scene; the bonefish blazing off in the shallow water to the sound of a screaming fly reel and fly line ripping through the water. Nice!

Within an hour or so, Aaron and I land half a dozen decent bonefish alongside the mangrove edge.

A Super King Air had departed the Deep Water Cay airstrip and was on a long low pass and banked hard our way, probably on its way back to the States. The twin-turboprops were at full throttle. The high-pitched sound of all that horsepower was tremendous. The fish didn’t seem to mind the shrill. The plane swiftly went to altitude and quickly faded from sight. The awe-inspiring sight of machinery and technology never ceases to amaze me.

After hearing about the young lady catching the permit and seeing the proof by way of photo’s the evening before, our curiosity was fired up and we were eager to take a look. Aaron has caught several permit and I more than a hundred with a fly, but only two in the Bahamas. The Bahamian permit are just a lot finickier and harder to catch than those of the Yucatan or Belize.

Joseph cranked up the four-stroke and we headed out towards Burroughs and Red Shank Key to look for permit. We were running across a beautiful grass flat with an occasional deep sandy hole,  and then all of a sudden we ran across a huge swirling mass of bonefish curled up in one of the holes. The gathering of fish didn’t spook. Aaron made a cast and easily caught one. After a careful release we continued on our way as that’s not our preferred way to capture bonefish.

I’ll make a long story very short. We chased permit for several hours but could not get them to partake in our offerings. They may have fancied a real crab, but a crab fly and various other crustacean imitations they would not eat. Deep Water Cay Club- Joseph Pinder

We decided to take a break. Joseph motored over to Burroughs Key and dropped the engine’s skeg into the sand to hold the boat. The ladies in the kitchen had taken good care of us with a nice picnic lunch and cool drinks. Afterward we waded for a while. A line of several barracudas staked out the flat just beyond us waiting for an easy meal for which we did not help provide.

We didn’t venture far that afternoon as we saw bonefish at nearly every place we went. At one time in mid-afternoon we were on a huge sand flat with masses bonefish in virtually every direction with their translucent tails happily flickering in the afternoon sun. We jumped out of the boat, waded and hooked a few.

We were poling out and had a final shot at another rouge permit, but no luck. Personally I would really like to spend some more time down there and try and figure those permit out. Without exaggeration, it was a spectacular day of fishing. It just doesn’t get any better than this. 

When you visit Deep Water Cay you will have many opportunities. However, it goes without saying, the number of fish you can expect to catch at any time is directly related to your skill as an angler. The excitement of the hunt and of watching the fish recognize and gobble up your fly is about as good as it gets. It’s pretty hard not to like them.

To preserve the sport it is beneficial to properly handle and release a bonefish.  Be careful when you are handling the fish and dislodging the hook. Barbless hooks are helpful.The wash down tub for fly rods at Deep Water Cay Club

The ever present sharks and barracudas are always on the prowl for an unlucky bonefish.  The speed of the bonefish is amazing, but the sharks and cudas stalk and occasionally hunt them down. A word to the wise: fighting a fish to exhaustion does not help much.

Back at the dock there is a good wash down area to clean your rods. Once that task is taken care of there is general migration by many anglers to grab a seat at the Tiki Bar overlooking the harbor. The Tiki Bar is always well-stocked with cool drinks, Bahamian beers and cocktails to quench your thirst, and some delicious appetizers which will tide you over until dinnertime.

Deep Water Cay is 105 miles east of Miami, 131 miles from Palm Beach and 94 miles from Ft. Lauderdale, on a private island just off the east end of Grand Bahama Island.

You will find a Deep Water Cay Club video here.

At Deep Water Cay Club you can count on comfortable and well appointed accommodations, excellent cuisine, first-class boats, world-class guides, and a staff dedicated to providing superb service and attention to detail. 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.

Fishing trips and vacation packages for any length of time can be arranged. All trips are completely tailored to fits your requirements. For package rates click here.

We’ll let you know how South Beach was in another story.

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.
531 N. Citrus Avenue
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. 1996-2012

Grand Bahama Bonefishing – With the Pinder Brothers on Grand Bahama Island

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!

Fishing with the Pinder Brothersat Grand Bahama Bonefishing

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.Fishing with the with the Pinder Brothers. A fine bonefish caught and released at Grand Bahama Island

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.

Dolphin skiff at Grand Bahama Bonefishing - Freeport Grand Bahama Island

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 themI 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.

David poles us inshore. We round a shallow mangrove point and find tailing fish working right to us, four and six pound fish wallowing around in water not even deep enough to cover their back. Releasing a nice Grand Bahama bonefish on Grand Bahama Island

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.Grand Bahama Island bonefishing - David Pinder casting at a bonefish

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 beachfront hotel accomodation while fishing with Grand Bahama Bonefishing

 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!

For hotel package rates click here.

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.

For additional photographs click here

Call us now at 800-771-2202 or 352-795-3474.

Edward Johnston

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.

531 N. Citrus Ave.

Crystal River, Florida 34428

352-795-FISH (3474) 1-800-771-2202

 Pinders Brothers Bonefishing : Grand Bahama Bonefishing

All Photgraphs by Edward R. Johnston

Copyright © 2012 Edward R. Johnston & Leisure Time Travel, Inc. 1996-2013

Isla Blanca Fishing – Report on Isla Blanca

This is our latest onsite report for Isla Blanca Fishing  which is located in the north-eastern Yucatan peninsula near Cancun. The fishery in this region offers opportunities for tarpon, permit, snook and a host of other species. If you are interested in Isla Blanca fishing in the Yucatan peninsula – read on!

Isla Blanca Fishing

The dock at Isla Blanca

This was my 30th trip to the Yucatan in the past twenty-one years. Much has changed here during that time including a complete makeover at the international airport. One thing that hasn’t change is the ritual of going through customs. You are instructed to push little button which activates a green light or red light. You get the green light and you move straight through, or if you get the red light the customs officials check your bags. Thirty trips to the Yucatan and still haven’t caught the red light. It’s only a matter of time.

Outside Customs Marco Ruz, owner of Isla Blanca Fishing, and his business partner Jesciel Mena are waiting for me. They quickly grabbed my luggage and stow it in their new Chevy Express van and we were off to the Hotel which is located about 30 minutes from the airport and about 3 ½ miles north of downtown Cancun.

Isla Blanca Fishing

Sea Adventures Hotel : Isla Blanca

If you are going use the package pricing, you will stay at Sea Adventure Hotel which will be just fine for most anglers. This all-inclusive hotel is located on a white-sand beach facing the Caribbean.

The Sea Adventure hotel is close to Isla Blanca so you will be virtually just minutes from the launch site.

At five-thirty the next morning Marco Ruz’s right-hand man, Rafael was patiently waiting for me in the hotel lobby. We packed my gear in their new  Chevy van and head for the dock at Isla Blanca and the unspoiled Chakmochuk lagoon system.

Ah, the smell of a gentle salty breeze reminds of the many trips to the Yucatan in the past and hopefully many more in the future.  We unload and proceed down a sandy path edged with tall wavy grasses where we find the Isla Blanca panga boats and our guide Enrique ready to go.  “Esta listo ” I said. ”Si – Vamonos”  said Enrique.

The bay is large and in most places shallow. The tide was low so we putted for a while until we had enough water to jump up in. We ran over the clear water and into a light briny wind for few minutes and shut down on a beautiful fine grass flat where we searched for permit. We saw a small green turtle, spotted eagle ray and few palometa’s, which are a smaller cousin of the permit. No permit here today. That’s fine; I have caught one-hundred and five permit on a fly to date, so I do not feel compelled to catch one each day I fish. It happens when it happens, but you always need to be ready or the chance will quickly pass you by.

Isla Blanca Lodge

Two of three pangas at Isla Blanca Fishing

My guide Enrique asked if I wanted to tangle with some juvenile tarpon and I readily accepted that invitation. Baby tarpon are always a thrill and challenge; nevertheless, the little guys can be more difficult to hook than the big guys. I have heard it said that the interior of a tarpon’s mouth is as hard as a concrete block and I agree.  With the smaller fish, you don’t have the weight of a big fish to help set the hook; as a result, more juvenile tarpon have a tendency to throw the fly.

There are coves and deep mangrove estuaries all along this part of the Yucatan are loaded with baby and juvenile tarpon! Enrique’s technique was to move the panga near the mangroves, pull the engine up and with minimum sound, pole the rest of the way. Only a man who has spent years in this backcountry could navigate the maze of channels thru these mangrove forests. Enrique’s knowledge of the area paid off as we caught a few juvenile tarpon and spooked or missed hundreds more.

Isla Blanca Fishing

Edward Johnston with a juvenile Isla Blanca tarpon

By mid-afternoon we had worked our way more than an hour from the ramp nearly to the eastern edge of Isla Holbox. Heading home we passed Cayo Raton where we stoped for a few minutes to pole a beautiful sandy ocean flat and look for permit.

The eastern edge of the lagoon near Isla Contoy is a very healthy marine environment similar to portions on the eastern side of Ascension and Espiritu Santo Bay, which are to be found farther south in the Yucatan.

The sound of the ocean and the swaying palm trees provide a nice calming effect. A small palometa blows by, but nothing else, so we continued on our journey.

Another fifteen minutes and we cut through Cayo Sucio and slow down to watch a flock of pink flamingos feeding in the shallows. Beautiful!

We arrive back at the dock with salty skin and tales to tell. Day one on the water has ended, then again,  I still have six more days to go. Life is good!

Leisure Time Travel, Inc : Edward R. Johnston

 

If you are considering the prospect of making or renewing your familiarity with the tarpon, Isla Blanca is a great place to visit. Plus, you will have an opportunity for permit, snook and possibly bonefish.

It possible to visit two fisheries in one week.  For instance, you could fly into Cancun, fish Isla Blanca three days, transfer to Tarpon Cay Lodge and fish another three days.  To keep transportation cost down, it would be best to have a small group (six max) or let us hook you up with a few other anglers.

Guide trips only are $395.00 for a full day and include guided fishing, lunch, beverages, fishing license, loaner tackle (if needed) and pick-up and drop off at your Cancun hotel.

 For hotel package rates click here.

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.

Edward Johnston

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.

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. 1996-2012

 

Isla Blanca Lodge

A fine juvenile tarpon up close