I was barely half an hour into a three-day fishing-adventure-slash-dream trip off Grand Bahama island, and my guide, Jason Franklin, had already spied our prey. He had cut the engine of his skiff and was poling us, gondola style, across a secluded lagoon. The early-morning light was a soft, buttery yellow; the water, sapphire blue. There wasn’t a hotel, cruise ship or other sign of humanity in sight. The few tiny, unnamed islands we could see had nothing but mangroves lining their white-sand shores. Robinson Crusoe would have felt right at home.
I turned and spotted the telltale wake. My heart thumped, and my hands began to shake. A fisherman can go for long, maddening hours combing vast swaths of
I tried to cast my fly in front of my target to lead him, but after a long winter back home in New York City, I was rusty. My line landed on his back, and he took off. My blunder was potentially catastrophic: It was anyone’s guess how many more chances we’d have.
Just two minutes later, however, Franklin said, “Tails, 50 feet, 3 o’clock. Three of them.”
To a fisherman, the only thing sweeter than the sight of a bonefish is the sight of a tailing bonefish. As the fish eat — pinning shrimp and crabs to the ocean floor — their tails can poke above the surface, providing a seductive target.
This time, Franklin suggested I hop out of the boat and wade quietly toward the fish, to edge close without the boat’s scaring them off. I cast again, and what appeared to be the largest of the pack went