The first week of February started out like many in the past – consistent fishing for great guests.
Photo: Andros South Guests
This week we were joined again by Bill Cox and his son David. Bill has been with us for a while and he spends two weeks with us splitting the weeks with his son David and his daughter Chrissy. We also had Jim Connell and Tom Sharkey for the rest of their ten day trip so the laughs never stopped. Geoff Mueller and Ross Purnell from Fly Fisherman Magazine joined us for some new material for an upcoming article on Big Bonefish in the Bahamas. Mark Johnson and Jim Cox dropped in from Southern Florida to take a shot at some of the incredible flats fishing offered on South Andros. Frances and John Elmore came all the way from Anchorage, Alaska and brought along longtime fishing friends Lynn and Tom Thomas.
The fishing overall this week was pretty consistent though we had some weather at the end of the week that put a damper on the fishing a bit. The lights were on, but the wind was howling. Fortunately by the time the wind came up the guests had put a good string of days together so it was not too big a deal. We did not have any huge bonefish caught this week, we did have sightings though and that was enough to keep the guests working for the big boys. The Barracuda fishing was good as usual with a couple good catches coming by both fly and spin gear. Tom and Jim kept at sore mouthing the ‘cudas any chance they had and they helped stock up a guide’s freezer or two at the same time.
Week two of February welcomed the Alex Freeman group back for another go around. They were the life of the party so to speak and kept us all rolling with comic relief. Many of them have been here before and they got right into the routine. Rob Domico from Madison River Fly Fishing Outfitters brought a couple of fly shop friends down to join us and they both were stoked at the sight and feel of bonefish on the end of the line. Bill Cox who was with us last week fished with his daughter Chrissy this week for the second half of his family reunion. They had to leave us early this year, but hopefully they will be able to make it back to join us again in the future.
Paul Jacobs and his soon to be wife Andrea Spencer joined us from Reel Action Fly Fishing and they proceeded to put the hurt on any species that came close enough for a cast. Actually Paul had a nice shark destroy his fly reel and he was still able to land the fish. Fortunately he came loaded with gear so the busted reel was put aside and he was back in action without a hitch.
The weather and the fishing were a bit finicky at times this week, but the guests persisted and made quick work of the fish they did get a chance at this week. As usual they all had larger fish in sight, but only a couple larger fish were brought to hand. Some of the schoolie fishing was very good at times and they are always a great way to get the hang of bonefish techniques. The schoolie fish are a bit smaller fish on average, but much better numbers and tons of shots. A great way for anyone new to the game to really hone the skills needed to consistently take bonefish.
The third week of February witnessed the return of the Anthony Paskevich / George Stewart group. Now these guys need a lot of words to describe what they are all about. What a crew! They had the lodge to themselves and made quick work of the beer back stock. Thankfully we were pre-warned about this impending issue and were heavily laden with spirits upon the arrival of this infamous group. We did need to use a loudspeaker for the intro speech since the good times were already in full swing. Once we got a little food in them they did quiet down and the rest of the week was mellow compared to the first night. They got down to the business at hand the first day on the water and quickly had some big numbers to the boat by the end of the day.
The weather turned out to be pretty nice this week with a bit of wind (just enough to keep the bugs down) and lots of sun to help George and Tony see the fish better (they needed all the help they could get). Fishing stayed great throughout the week with a couple slow moments, but overall it would be tough to get much better.
By the end of the week all the rules of the Paskevich/Stewart group had been established and then broken many times to the dismay of Tony mainly. The rest of the guys took it upon themselves to make sure the trip rules were blatantly broken in hopes that they would be asked to come back again on the next trip. You break a rule with these guys and you pay cold hard cash to cover the bill. A wise man once told me that the #1 rule is that all rules are made to be broken. Maybe that should not apply to these guys. See you all next year!
The last week of February started off with another visit from our good friend Pete Durno and his trusty (and well traveled) group of fishing companions. Tom Hunter, Bill Colehower, Bruce Stirling, Dick Cuda (fitting name, don’t you think?), and Bob Schoenfeld rounded out Pete’s group for this year. James Levinsohn joined us solo for the week and fit in quite well with Pete’s crew and he had enough gear to outfit a small army so everyone knew he was serious about the game he was about to play. Luckily James had the boat to himself all week so he had enough space to bring all the rods he had. No matter the species he brought a rod for it, and he used most of them during the trip. He did have a jinx on catching a nice cuda on the fly and put a lot of effort in for very little reward, but he smiled through it all.
The Durno crew played cribbage every night with a couple cribbage boards that had logged some serious miles with these guys. They had taken the boards with them on almost every trip they had been on for as long as they could remember. Pete tuned the boards at home in his wood shop and the card game had become an integral part of the nightly banter with these guys. Not all played, but they made up for it in the quality of the peanut gallery. Lots of ribbing going on as the drinks flowed and the cards kept dropping. Hopefully we see those cribbage boards again sometime soon along with the friendships that have grown along with them. Thanks Pete!