It is our 4th trip back to this lodge and the first time out with guide Greg Rolle. There are certain locations in this maze of mangrove and limestone and sand and saltwater that I like better than others. When Greg fired up the 50 hp Etec and planed the Beavertail skiff out with the bow headed East, I got pretty excited.
The flats to the east are expansive with a light bottom, it's the kind of area you can see bonefish 100 yards away, with the right light.
Today was the right light.
The rules that CA have on the skiff are these:
Rock, paper, scissors establishes the the first on the bow.
The bow is held until 30 minutes passes, a fish is landed or a fish is thoroughly farmed...which is to say you've had it hooked for at least 10 seconds and then lost it. The 30 minute rule can stretch into 40 minutes or even an hour depending on how much action or inaction there is. Whoever fishes the bow last in the day hands the position over to the other guy when the next morning's fishing starts.
It's worked for us.
CA and I "rock, paper, scissored", best of 3, for first rights to the bow.
The first fish showed up and ate the first fly I showed it. When you've been fishing long enough you learn that a start like that should make you nervous. Today however, there was nothing to fear. The fish were hungry. CA set a record, in my experience, for the longest bonefish eat. His fly plopped down 20' to the right of three fish cruising the edge of the mangroves and one fish peel off on a beeline and immediately devoured it. Twenty Feet.
My last fish of the day was hooked and speeding off on a reel smoking run when a blacktip shark joined the parade and tried to dine on it. I quickly coiled the flyline around my hand and reared back in an attempt to break the fish off but the 16# tippet held tight. I reversed course and loosened my drag hoping that the bonefish could lose the shark... Nope.
I reeled in 1/2 of the bonefish and we dropped the head and shoulders into the boat. It was to be chum/bait for CA's dock shark fishing exercises that would begin as soon as we landed back at the lodge and the rods were rinsed free of saltwater.