First time on Crooked and Acklins Island (part1)

First time on Crooked and Acklins Island

Upon our exit from the mangrove, huge flats appear on each side of a main channel, with blue water coming directly from the reef. We went down gently and pole the skiff on either side of this aquatic highway. We had a perfect incoming tide and within a few hours, we saw about fifteen big permits between 20 and 40 lbs!

Dean Perez velcro Crab

We tried, unsuccessfully, five or six different crab and shrimp patterns. It was all a puzzle waiting to be solved, so we were trying out different methods. You never knew which one will work! Jean-Paul returned to the skiff having had four impressive fish chase his tan and brown Del Merkins fly – but no commitments!

I came back to this spot three times during the trip and finally found a fly that makes the difference: The Dean Perez Velcro Crab. I used it successfully in Cuba Cayo Cruz a few months earlier, and it did its job outstandingly. I hooked four permits with this fly and landed three to redeem my honour.

Scouting the beautiful outer islands The favourable permit condition subsided for some time, and this meant I could explore other areas of this huge atoll and especially its incredible outer islands.  It took us around one hour on a very fast boat to reach the first of these “Cayes” overlooking the reef. A chain of nine remote uninhabited islands extend from the tip of Long Caye towards Acklins with twenty kilometres of flats and creeks with turquoise waters. I’ve never seen a more beautiful place in the Caribbean and I was already dreaming of a small house on stilts, with iguanas, ospreys, and fish of course, as neighbours!

We started wading on the firstIn fact, I was surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of bonefish! of these outside cayes on a vast turtle grass flat. Conches, these big shells, are everywhere. Although conches were still commercially caught in the Bahamas, there was a sizeable population here.

In fact, I was surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of bonefish!

Shortly after, I spotted nervous water in several places that are concentrated on a few square meters. I immediately thought about large schools of mullets having found refuge in these shallow waters to escape predators. As I get closer, however, I began seeing fins and tails piercing the surface everywhere. In fact, I was surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of bonefish! But then I also realized that I was not the only one interested in these enormous “schools” of fish. Five or six lemon sharks, about one and a half meters long, and two large barracudas had materialized on the flat.