The Yellow Dog Flyfishing Ambassador Summit continued today with our last fishing day with H2O Bonefishing at Pelican Bay Resort (we fish tomorrow with East End Lodge). It’s been a stellar time. Not only has it been fun hanging with my fellow ambassadors and Yellow Dog crew but Greg Vincent and Jay and their staff have put us on fish every time we try. I am very impressed with Grand Bahama flats fishing.
My boat mate today was the one and only, Jim Klug, founder of Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures and longtime friend going back to the early 90’s. Tagging along in another boat was Wil Flack and Bryan Gregson. While our mission was to film answers to the ever so common clientele questions about fly fishing the flats, we took the first hour of sunlight to go fishing. Good light means extra good photography and I managed to put this stunning 6lb bonefish on display for Jim’s camera almost immediately.
There were sharks around during my bonefish catch. Not only trying to eat him off my line during battle but there were two unnerving lemon sharks patrolling as I was holding the sleek fish for Jim’s photos. Our guide Jay, continuously blasted one of them that kept getting uncomfortably close with his pole. Then they mysteriously took off like dogs with tails between their legs.
When two 4 to 5-foot lemon sharks run away scared that can’t be good. I released my bonefish unharmed then Jim and I climbed back into the flats boat. There was a large dark shape heading our way and it wasn’t an oversized stingray. This was a handsome yet dangerous turtle eating, man eating, whatever he wants to eat, tiger shark.
You may remember in April while at St Brandon’s Atoll I came close to connecting to a 10-foot plus tiger shark. That magnificent fish was a true man eater and although he looked to eat my fly I never went tight. Today’s tiger was a much more reasonable candidate to catch, barely touching 7-feet long. Jay put me in position.
Sharks take a lot of heat from humans and no doubt this tiger wasn’t a dummy. He felt our presence and without showing panic he moved gracefully from the flats towards the safety of deep water. But a shark’s a shark. I managed one long cast with my popper into his lane. He did an about-face. Like the tiger at St Brandon’s, this tiger lit up like a Christmas tree flashing all kinds of blues you don’t know he has and his tiger stripes darkened. It’s intimidating even from the safety of the boat. His attention to my fly was short lived before he caught himself in his greed. He turned again only this time full throttle for the deep. That was fun!
The filming session went good. Klug read me a list of common customer trip questions and Gregson ran the film camera as I answered. While I was working Wil was fishing with Jay and Greg. Soon they came back to put Wil on camera and me in the bow of their boat.
Although my species list is big, there’s plenty of fish to add before I end this life. One needed is the not so flashy bonnethead shark. I suggested looking for them and Jay and Greg, who guide for bonefish, tarpon and permit all the time, thought the idea was refreshing and took me to a place where they often see bonnetheads.
Their place had a lot of bonnetheads. And the idea of catching one seemed easy to Greg and Jay. “Sure. They eat crabs. Put on one with some orange because they don’t see well.” Off to work we went with nearly constant opportunities. Long story short, 90 minutes later, after at least 25 times laying the fly right in front of these little hammerhead looking sharks, we had nothing more than a couple looks and follows.
Eventually we heard the other guys coming which meant it was time to go. This afternoon was travel day to East End Lodge. The sharks were all around us so we ignored the guys. Fortunately, Klug sent his drone over our heads to do some filming. They saw the sharks and kicked back to watch. By luck within minutes I got one to eat and stuck him good.
Mr. Bonnethead fought well. It took a good five minutes to slow him down and maneuver him near the boat. That’s when we got a jolt of disappointment. The shark was not hooked in the mouth. Bummer, I can’t add him to my list, but we decided to beach him for photos anyhow. I hopped from the boat to land him and just as I did a lemon shark came from nowhere and attacked my bonnethead. You can see the attack in the above photo!
Lucky for my bonnethead, his own tough sharkskin deterred the lemon – but what about me!!?? I was in knee deep muddy water. Muddy because I stirred it up jumping from the boat along with the fact that a 5-foot lemon attacked in shallow water. It was a great relief when the toothy fish swam out of the mud and Greg nabbed him with is pole. I like my legs intact just the way they are! Here’s the picture of the unique looking member of the hammerhead shark family.
We were late getting back to Pelican Bay Resort. But what do you expect from a bunch of crazy anglers. Wisely the East End Lodge crew there to fetch us purposely came late because they knew. Once loaded up it was an hour drive to our last leg of the trip. As usual it was beers and fun. And we ended with a fantastic family style dinner at the Lodge. Tomorrow is our last day and all Ambassadors will be working hard to put a permit on the big screen – my nemesis fish!