fly fishing lodges - fish head expeditions

BONEFISH, The boat and the fish

April 2011
Anglers dream of fish, places to fish, fishing gear and fishing boats. To us anglers, this is quite rational and part of a life on and off the water. To the rest of the world it seems unbalanced and crazy.

Meet my friend John Tucker and his dream, BONEFISH. It is an 82’ catamaran, custom designed, built in New Zealand (under his direction) and launched 2 years ago. With a 4000 mile cruising range, 4 skiffs on deck, it has a lot of options for places to fish. The boat was brought across the Pacific to fish the Bahamas, (after less than stellar fishing in French Polynesia), passing up thousands of miles and options of places to fish. John had fished for bones in the Bahamas for many years and knew there were large fish and a lot of them.

While fishing in New Zealand 9 years ago I met up with John a saw BONEFISH under construction. Last winter he invited me to be part of an exploratory voyage in the Berry Islands, Bahamas in April 2011. I had been waiting for this opportunity for over 10 years since I first saw the line drawings of the boat.  It took my friend Tim Pask less than a day to free up his schedule so he could go fish and photograph this one of a kind adventure.

Of our group, only Captain Stewart Mitchell had ever been to the Berry Islands. Within the group of six anglers there was a broad range of bonefishing experience but we had no clue about fishing the Berrys. Our random shots at fishing were met with indifference by the fish and we were humbled and depressed. “This sucks”, was uttered more than once. We had one of the two guides in the whole area hired to fish with the six anglers. When Tim’s and my turn came on the afternoon of day two, we hoped this would be the answer but thought the area was over fished and plain hammered. It turned out that local knowledge is everything, as it always is. That afternoon we hooked numerous bones, with each a 9 lb fish, and saw many tails that were larger than your hand. Later in the week we had numerous chances at “friendly almost catchable permit”, and even two doubles following rays. On the last full day of fishing I hooked a huge bonefish while wading and it never ever stopped, kicking my ass going away like none other. There were many magical moments with the fishing, the beauty of the ever changing landscape, great people and we were lucky to be there.  Having another crack at those permit and huge bonefish are high on my list of things to do.

The owner John is planning trips off of Abaco and to the Berrys for the spring of 2012. They are designed for intact groups of 6 anglers, but it may be possible to match people up to make a group of 6. The approximate cost is $5000 per week. This will include 6 days of guided fishing, accommodations on the boat and all meals. Additional will be the cost to get to the boat and beverages.