Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 Days in the Abacos

I am fortunate enough to be able to fish in very nice places and not many of these surprise me anymore.  This was not the case on my recent trip to Abaco Lodge, on Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas.

I arrived full of expectation.  My home bonefish, though very large, were being very elusive.  We've seen a bunch, but were tough to eat.  I wanted to catch a bunch of bonefish, really bad.

Once I arrived at the lodge, a short 15' from Marsh Harbor airport, I was impressed with the quality of the lodge and the warmth of Ken and Anne Perkinson, lodge managers.

On arrival day, Ken offered me to go wade fishing to the Ocean side (not the Marls side) for a couple of hours.
Right upon arrival we saw a few larger than average Bahamas bones, a few of them over 5 lbs with a really nice fish we estimated at about 9 lbs.  These fish were as spooky as our Biscayne Bay bonefish and even though we had some good casts, only one took my fly and broke me off on a coral head.

The following day was overcast, with some storm heads aproaching fast.  At the dock I met Capt. Marty Sawyer, probably one of the few caucasian guides in the Bahamas and my first impression was that I was going to be a long day.  He looked at my fly box and asked me for another one.  He said use this fly and gave me a Puglisi Spawning shrimp # 4, fly I like a lot, it looks fishy and I know Enrico and like this grumpy Italian guy a bunch,  so I had no problem accepting the defeat of my flies.

We cruised for about 15 minutes on this incredible environment of marls, mangroves, sand beaches, coral heads, palm trees and wildlife until we reached a spot tha Marty thought it will hold fish.

I got in position and he said " 9 o'clock 25 ft, bonefish taking off!!!" which I thought it was funny, when we spook a bonefish in Miami is Hasta la Vista, Baby.  NOT HERE!  Marty asked me what I was doing as I watched the bonefish swim away and I said i was looking for another one.  He shouted" ".. cast to the f......g fish, NOW".  Now the bonefish was about 65 ft away and still swimming but I did as I was told, landed the fly a foot or two to the right of the fish, which put a grinding halt, turned around and eat that fly like there was no tomorrow!
Go figure, a spooked fish turned around and took a fly!  Only in the Bahamas.  It ended up with a 4 lb bonefish that took about a 100 yards of backing of my reel and gave me a new perspective to bonefishing.

Marty looked at me and told me: ".. I told you Martin, if I had you fishing yesterday, we would have caught 100 fish..."  which was a great compliment as I was starting to like this guide a lot.

I spent the rest of my fishing day catching one bonefish after the other, all of them on Enrico's fly.   At one point I though that Marty was such a good guide that I could fish blindfolded.

What I did next was try my theory and I closed my eyes for a while and listen to Marty until he said, ".. bonefish 11 o'clock, 40 ft, moving towards 11.30 (sic) cast...." and while I was literally blind casting (2 casts) he told me to drop the fly, which I did.  I started stripping with my eyes closed an he said ".....strip, strip, stop...... strip, stop......let it sit.....SET THE HOOK......"   The result was a 3 lb bonefish, that I hooked with my eyes closed under the guidance of what I consider now one of the top 5 guides in the world.

Later, when I was having a Balvenie at the lodge, Anne brought me a copy of the Drake magazine were it features an article on Marty Sawyer.

My following days were spent fishing a couple of hours from the Hell's Bay Professional boats Abaco Lodge has until my arms went sore from hooking lots of bonefish and the occasional permit (which I hooked but failed to land) and wade fishing the Ocean side with Ken, watching huge bonefish, Biscayne bay size.   I only managed to hook one very large fish, that again broke me off and another one that I think took my fly but I never managed to feel the strike .... he gave me the fin and swam away....

I am very impressed with Abaco Lodge, the amazing fishing it has, how easy is for totally novice anglers to learn how to bonefish - heck, even learning how to fly fish - and how demanding and skillfull you have to be if you want to catch the bonefish of a lifetime.   Abaco has opportunities for the novice angler and for the most experienced angler alike.

One day after fishing for about two hours I had caught so many bonefish that I guided my guide Kenny for a change of pace and we had a lot of fun.

Besides the bonefish, I saw permit, baby tarpon up to say, 50 lbs, very large mangrove Snapper, bunch of lemon and black tip sharks and great barracuda.

I look forward to fish Abaco again. 

For more information on Abaco Lodge visit or

Photos by Clau Cebrian Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment