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Old 01-07-2003, 12:27 PM
David Churbuck's Avatar
David Churbuck David Churbuck is offline
Join Date: May 1995
Location: Cotuit, Cape Cod
Posts: 1,471
Eleuthera Report: Dec 30-Jan 5

I just returned last night (to snow!) from a week in Eleuthera. This was my tenth trip to the island, my first staying on the main island as opposed to Harbour Island, the fancy resort at the northern end.

During my last trip in 2001, a buddy and I rented a beat up car and fished some flats on both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides. I became a big convert to do-it-yourself bonefishing, and resolved to do it again.

This year I got the chance, courtesy of my mother-in-law, who rented a house in North Palmetto, a little Atlantic side settlement about halfway down the island, just south of Governour's Harbor. I was totally psyched as North Palmetto is just north of my all time favorite flat in the world, Savannah Sound, an inlet on the Atlantic side behind the resort at Windermere Island.

Since there were going to be 12 people at the house, I was elected chief fishing guide and so packed a big Plano rod bazooka with three spinning rods and most of my flyrods. Guess what got lost somewhere between Boston and Eleuthera?

I was convinced that some sticky fingered baggage handlers were having a field day with my collection, but two days after I arrived, after having no luck whatsoever getting any information from the airline (US Airways), I decided, on a hunch, to stop by the Customs office at the Governor's Harbor airport. The customs officer said, "Haven't seen anything like that, but you're welcome to look for yourself." He unlocked a door and nothing can describe the feeling of joy I had when I saw the eight foot tube on the floor!

I fished Savannah Sound that afternoon at low tide, starting at a turtle grass bed at the northern end, and working my way south towards the village. Great place. No sign of civilization, roosters crowing in the distance, the usual turquoise water, snow white sand .....

And lots of tailing bones! I followed BobG's advice and went with crab patterns. I was chucking a Sci Angler Bonefish floater on a Sage 8 wgt, using 9 foot flouro knotted leaders with an 8 lb. tippet. First cast, into the wind, and I nailed it, landing the fly four feet in front of three tailing bones. I let the crab sink, waited for the tails to come down, and when I was sure the fish were looking forward, twitched.

All three fish rushed the fly, the one farthest from me picked it up, flashed, and so I set.

And pulled the fly out of its mouth.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking for fish. The flat was pretty barren except for the grassy spots, but the lower the sun got the harder it was for me to sight fish. I got a few casts off at at fish no more than 15 feet away, but spooked them all.

So ended day one. An auspicious start.

Day two. I wake up at sunrise, load the car, and get ready to pull the world's best day-long disappearing act. The crowd at the house is bored with snorkeling (there isn't a lot to do on Eleuthera other than read, play cards, snorkle, kayak or fish) but wants to fish. Wives decide it is a good idea if I teach impatient eight year olds how to flyfish. I get nailed as I try to sneak out the door and half and hour later, am totally depressed as a rock skipping contest erupts over my favorite flat. Thank heavens no one else was fishing, I would have been murdered.

Needless to say, no fish. I was able to get the place to myself after I pointed out a little cruising shark which was following my muds. All children immediately lost their tans and went flying for the beach. I was left alone and fished for three hours in perfect solitude, not catching a thing but definitely reaping the benefits of wading therapy.

The third day I went out with two adults. They had spinning rods, I continued with the fly. Neither one had ever bonefished before, but they were game. We got into some fish and before I could get off a cast, a cloud turned out the lights, the sky to the north turned really dark, the wind went south to north and the temperature plunged 15 degrees in an instant.

Cold front. Bye-bye fish. Remainder of day and the balance of the next spent inside re-reading Dick Brown's bible on bonefishing and teaching the little ones how to play poker. By the end of the day they were playing Hi-Lo Night Baseball with a roll 'em.

I got two more days in, alternating between Savannah Sound, Ten Bay, and South Palmetto Point. I saw lots of fish. Landed none.

Still, the trip was a success in my mind!
David Churbuck
co-founder Reel-time
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Old 01-07-2003, 11:23 PM
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BobG BobG is offline
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When i came to the part on the "lost bazooka tube" my stomach sort of sunk. If my memory serves me correctly, you lost all you rods on a return trip from Eleuthera some years back. We almost held an R-T fund raiser to by you new ones!
But, it's great to hear it all worked out. I have an interesting "lost rods" in the Caribbean story I should share some day also.
Anyway, sorry to hear you didn't take any bones. Funny, i thought of you a few days back. i was looking at some old slides the other day my wife took of me. It was about 30 minutes before dusk, and i was about 150 yards out on the turtle grass flats on Savannah. The sun was setting to my left, and everything was bathed in a sureal, orange hue, that you only see in the Bahamas. That sure is a special place...
I saw from your post, you found Ten Bay Beach. Is that a beautiful place, or what?

Dave, did you ever get over to Mate & Jenny's place?

nice report Dave,

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Old 01-08-2003, 07:11 AM
David Churbuck's Avatar
David Churbuck David Churbuck is offline
Join Date: May 1995
Location: Cotuit, Cape Cod
Posts: 1,471
I was thinking about the last lost rod incident and how the ensuing effort by the R-T regulars to replace my collection was one of the kindest gestures ever extended in my direction in my entire life.

Did not get to Mate and Jenny's, though I drove past it several times and tried to entice my family to join me in a conch pizza.

Ten Bay Beach is a new favorite place.

Great discovery for snorkling kids: a can of spray "cheese" Attracts reef fish like the world's loudest dinner bell.

Curt Jessup at The Sporting Life in Mashpee was a champ. Before I left I went in to buy some tippet material and he gave me three flies on the house. They were heavy, clouser style, with a calf tail, a green mylar body with palmered hackle and a calf throat. On windy days they got a lot of attention. Curt is the man.

Are you going tropical this winter Bob?
David Churbuck
co-founder Reel-time
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Old 01-08-2003, 08:05 AM
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BobG BobG is offline
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a can of "spray cheese"....Hmm, i wonder if that would work on an east tide on the canal?

Ten Bay is probably one of the nicest beaches anywhere in the Bahamas. Did you get a chance to investigate that abandoned "pagoda style" house at the beginning og the road. The locals say that house had quite a bit of "history" so to speak.
Dave, you really piqued my interest with those flies. Could you elaborate?

As for me, we're going to Andros in mid-May. We were going this month. But my Mom desperately needs to get her knee replaced, and her surgeon is sheduled her for January. So, i postponed the trip till May. It's going to seem strange leaving the Cape just as the bass show up, but the bone fishing will be good then also.
We're going to that Knoll's Landing place you and I discussed some time back. The owner told me that he can hook me up with a couple local guys who will drop me off at Joulters Cay daily, and pick at day's end. This place is sort of "out there" but that's what my wife and I like.
In the meantime, I've got to start tying some bonefish flies. My supply is running low...
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Old 03-06-2003, 10:21 AM
MagicSFK MagicSFK is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 15
Great stories from Eleuthera. I was just there in November and reading your posts had me daydreaming again! By the way, the conch pizza at Mate & Jenny's is excellent!
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