The season is open at the lodge, we already had great time with good people despite the poor weather the first week! We caught tarpon, permit, trigger, jacks, cuda, shark and some nice bone of course!!
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!
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.
With nearly 20,000 acres of flats, the Bahamas is the largest fishing area for bonefish in the world. At Crooked Island Trophy Lodge the fish are larger than the average size as they enjoy the abundance of food that comes from one of the richest natural environments on the planet; the mangrove flats, irrigated and seeded every day by the rich waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In the extreme southeast of the archipelago, less than a hundred kilometres from the Haitian and Cuban coasts, Crooked & Acklins form an atoll over of 230 square miles. It´s huge and shallow lagoon consisting of the islands of Crooked Island, Acklins Island and Long Cay and makes a perfect wading area for bonefish and permit.
We did it again! Edouard with a big guy from yesterday, Alan broke the same size permit on the same flat, sometime you win and sometime…
After a big fight we made a nice release on the beach. April is looking good for several species… Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Barracuda and Trigger are active on the flats.
This link will take you to the excellent article published in the °#4 2015 issue of Fin Chasers magazine titled: : « Acklins and Crooked Island – A Southern Flyfishing Paradise ». Enjoy !