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Northern Bahamas Tour 10-15-1996

Scott Steinfeldt and Don Cooper, owners of the Bighorn Angler in Ft. Smith, Montana had invited three of their guides, Bob Krumm, Ron Grannaman, and Paul Dubas on a tour of some of Angling Destinations' bonefishing hot spots. We had four days to fish so we divided our time between Treasure Cay and Sandy Point, Abaco. Far away from the blue ribbon trout waters of Montana's Bighorn River, the guides were thrilled with their first experiences in saltwater. It was enjoyable watching these superb trout fishermen apply their casting and fish finding skills to a brand new arena.

The first day at Treasure Cay, I had to laugh out loud as each guide latched onto his first bonefish. Their initial looks of amazement quickly turned into shouts of joy as an average sized bonefish redefined their concept of what a fish was capable of doing. Each guide's first fish, after feeling the bite of the hook, took off in typical bonefish fashion, ripping the spare line through the guides, then igniting the reels and in quick order melting backing off the reel's spool. I think the word of the day was "wow."

Our two days at Treasure Cay were great. By day we explored the maze of mangrove channels and flats that surround Treasure Cay. By night, we enjoyed the local Bahamian cuisine and relaxed at our spacious condo, watching the World Series on TV.

From Treasure Cay, we drove to Sandy Point on the southern tip of Abaco. Fishing on the south side creeks was especially good. There were many fish milling about at low tide waiting to move onto the white sand flats inside the creeks when the tide turned. One morning, we stood outside Blackwood Creek and cast to wave after wave of bonefish that were following the shoreline into the creek mouth. At one point, a double turned into a triple when Don Cooper hooked a nice fish. We were wading far too close together for a triple to be concluded successfully and all we could do was laugh as our fish made a tangled mess of our fly lines. We had a great time at Sandy Point. The fishing was excellent. The weather was great. The Bighorn River guides enjoyed meeting their counterparts, Sandy Point guides Patrick Roberts and Anthony Baines.

Our group separated at Marsh Harbour when the Montana guides reluctantly returned home. Scott Steinfeldt and I continued on to Grand Bahama Island. Ed Dawes, the president of North Riding Point Club, met us at the airport and reported that construction at his new resort was coming along well. Ground had been broken and buildings were being erected. He plans to be fully operational by May 1, 1996. Ed dropped us at his temporary headquarters, a beautiful condominium with an open bar where we partook of incredibly delicious meals prepared by the staff he brought with him from the Deep Water Cay Club, a club he managed for seven years. His expertise is evident in the way the North Riding Point Club program is being handled. The meals and accommodations are five star. The guides are punctual. The boats are superb and well maintained. The fishing is abundant and untapped. In all my travels around the Bahamas, I have seen areas with as many fish, but never an area with as many large fish. My first day at Dover Sound, I caught eight fish. My smallest was five pounds, my largest was eight plus pounds. I spotted and cast to many ten pound plus bonefish. I even hooked two of these monsters, both of which quickly destroyed my leader as they dashed into the maze of mangrove roots at 3/4 high tide.

Our second day was even more exciting than the first. Ed has done an aerial survey of the north side of Grand Bahama Island and has discovered a network of old overgrown roads leading into some other monstrous flats on the northeast side of the island. The first mangrove flat, accessed over one of these roads, held a nice school. This area of mangrove wetlands and creeks is huge, encompassing classic hard-bottomed, bonefish flats. There were many singles and pods of two or three fish. Often these fish were extraordinarily large. If you like large cruising bonefish and classic flat's fishing, you must experience this vast, unexplored area. It is one of the last virgin fisheries left in the Bahamas. Great food, wonderful accommodations, experienced guides, excellent boats and equipment, and absolutely superb fishing. It is a place where you will most probably get shots at a 10-12 pound bonefish. Inevitably, this area will get a great deal of attention, but with Ed's policy of limiting the numbers of people booked and conscientiously rotating the flats, this area should sustain itself for a long time.

Written by Scott Heywood

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