For all of you adventuresome families wondering what you might do on your next outing, here is a great trip report from our longtime friends Julie and J.P. Albrecht. J.P. and Julie have been fishing with Angling Destinations for years and have explored spots all the way from the Seychelles to the Bahamas. In June, J.P., Julie, Abby and Tyler Albrecht chartered the Destiny II and explored numerous small cays and islands in the Bahamas. They fished, snorkeled, beachcombed, explored and all-in-all just had a great time!. Once again, it's great to see hardcore anglers passing their love of adventure and fishing on to their kids. Thanks Julie and J.P. for sharing your report!
Travel planning before we had kids and dogs was different than it is now. Once upon a time, we'd simply call Angling Destinations and learn about one of its more remote bonefishing destinations. Off the beaten path. No problem! Rustic conditions. Great! It seemed the further out of the box we got, the better my wife and I liked the trip. Easy stuff and great adventures!
Now we have two kids and three dogs. The three dogs take a little planning when we travel, but that usually is a simple box to check. Our two kids on the other hand do offer a small twist to our tried and true bonefishing vacation formula. At ages 6 and 9, the comfort zones and patience levels of our kids are ever expanding. Both kids have an adventurous spirit, yet most typical bonefishing vacations are not a good fit for my family at this time. Luckily, my wife and I have found that some of these bonefishing destinations can be a good fit for a family vacation.
This year my family headed to Cat Island, Bahamas and boarded the Destiny 2 for our summer vacation. My wife and I love boating vacations and we had been wanting to visit this particular region of the Bahamas. The boat and tender would be perfect for exploring the many patch reefs, beaches, creeks and any unknowns this ecosystem cared to share. Yes, life on a boat is cramped. There is no A/C, and water and ice are limited. Not to mention the captain and mate are total strangers the first day. A live aboard is NOT for everyone. Be honest with yourself! This was our kids first live aboard, but we never denied the realities of boat living. Our discussions focused around safety and sea sicknesses in addition to all of the fun and adventure we expected to have.
Captain Dave did a great job. He made sure everyone was safe and was very accommodating to our interests. His wife, Trish, was our mate and cook for the week. Trish kept our bellies full and made sure cool beverages (both adult and kid friendly) were available each evening for our happy hour as we watched for the elusive green flash. We enjoyed our time with Capt. Dave and Trish. They are no longer strangers.
The fun part of this trip was easy- fish, snorkel, beach, swim, body surf, explore, jump off the boat, change locations and repeat! Our blue water crossings to Conception Island and later to Rum Cay were breezy. We were at sea with 20 - 25 knot winds but no one got sick (...a little green, maybe). Relief! I have not always been so lucky. The ride back to Cat Island later in the week was cake. The kids played dominos, bounced in and out of the galley reading bird and fish books during these crossings and helped check lures as we trolled across big blue.
The reef was the star of the show during our vacation. The family friendly reef fishing and the snorkeling were consistently very good. Trip highlights also include the salt water interior at Conception. This was quite a unique place to explore and to observe sea and birdlife. The kids loved all the sea turtles. The kids also loved fishing the interior's deeper 'blue' pockets of water. At low tide, one hole had lots of cuda in it, another lots of snapper. Lots of family friendly fishing action and fun snorkeling in these holes. Sometimes we sacrificed part of a perfect bonefish tide because we were simply having so much fun doing something else. The anchorage at Conception also proved to be a great place to feed fish (and gulls). Chumming up fish after dinner and after breakfast was a sight. Jacks, rays, sharks, 'cuda, snapper, and blue runners could sometimes be worked into a frenzy and yes, we let the kids catch and release a few of these fish. The blue runners were a perfect size for them and offered just the right level of tug on the line.
We also had great adventures on Rum Cay that included a golf cart exploration, a 9 am ice cream treat and some pretty incredible snorkeling and reef fishing. To my surprise (no fishing rods required for this activity), a real Rum Cay highlight was a beach we coined 'surfer beach'. Everyone on the boat searched for perfect waves at this beach and spent the morning body surfing. The sand was vast and white. The waves seemingly endless.
This bonefishing trip proved to be a great family vacation. The funny thing is, the bonefishing was off when we focused on that. The key for us was flexibility. We always started our day with a plan, but our plans were merely a starting point or a guideline. What a great way to spend a week, doing whatever was the best option at that moment...beach, snorkel, jump off the boat, hike, flats, explore, fish, fish, fish. If something didn't work, we made a change. If the bonefish were ultra spooky or not present, then we found a more accommodating fish or critter or activity. Sight fishing and bent rods are always fun, and so is snorkeling and exploring. Smiles and worn out kids (and adults) after a day of adventuring was the norm.
The fish of the week may have been the one that got away. Blue water trolling can be tricky when under full sail, especially when you hook up to a marlin in 2500' of water. My family had never seen a marlin before. It jumped twice and seemed to walk on the water before diving deep. Big! Unfortunately we were under gunned. This is one of those rare fishing occasions when everyone laughs about wanting to find a smaller fish. The reel screamed and got uncomfortably hot. We got lucky as with a few turns of line left on the reel the marlin broke us off at the leader. Next time...?
We left wanting more.
The Albrecht Family- JP, Julie, Abby and Tyler