We've been waiting 5 years for this holiday, and every days wait was worth it! Shaun and I have been lucky enough to explore a few of the islands over in the Bahamas before, but this was our first visit to Cat island, so excitment and anticipation were brimming over on our way over there. What fish would we see, catch and loose? How big would the flats be? How easy would it be to access them? And most importantly what time did the sun set?!
Once we'd been there a few days exploring in our poor unfortunate hire car (we really put this through it paces, you'd not believe were we took it, and stuck it, the roads are pretty rough!) we knew we were not going to be dissapointed. The flats on the caribbean side of the island were large, fairly easy access (if you don't mind trudging through a bit of mangrove mud first), nice to wade and had a great average size of Bonefish (4/5lb), larger that we've found on other islands. The fish were not easy and proved a good challenge, we found large white crab patterns worked the best on most of these flats. I truely feel that on a couple of evenings we reached the highlight of our fly fishing lives here on this island, everything came together, the tides the time of day and the fish. Casting to tailing Bonefish in the sunset is alone a total privilage, seeing one follow your fly is a rush of excitment like no other then to hook and finally land one, words can't explain...just wow!
The Atlantic coast is always my personal favourite and holds many suprises along is more rough and rouged, but still outstandingly beautiful coastline. Shaun would always try to persevere with his fly tackle on this coast, but I found it a bit too much of a struggle- after all I'm supposed to be on holiday! Standing in the surf, or on the jagged rocks just doesn't mix well with fly casting....we'll make a note to take along a line tray next time. By persevering with the fly, while I insisted on specimen hunting with big popper lures, Shaun was rewarded with large catches of Jacks between 1 and 4lb, great fun on an #8 fly rod. These saltwater spieces really are hard fighting fish and when you land one you're always suprised that it's so small, they give such a good account of themselves. On one occassion he was using his #10 fly rod and landed a snapper of only about 4lb, but as he said after, it was such a hard fighting fish and was heading for the reef, the #8 wouldn't have stopped it and he'd have been bust off.... so when fishing around reefy areas always beef up your gear. I learnt this lesson the hard way (twice...grrr) after loosing 2 large jacks, I don't really want to talk about it, but I'll just tell you that either of these fish would have been the fish of my holiday, probably my year. Both I sighted and cast poppers to, both came flying at the lure and smashed it off the surface, but anyway they both managed to snap me off, one broke the 15lb fireline in the middle and the other managed to snap the 20lb wire trace, bearing in mind these fish don't have teeth that's quite some pressure. On a positive this Atlantic coast provided us with lots of fun catching big Barracuda, Shauns biggest being nearly bigger than him at about 40lb! Out of this massive fish we got our best souvenir, the lure was a total mess, you really have to see it to believe it. we have it in the shop so come in and take a look...scary stuff! The Atlantic is also the side to see and find some amazing things like Big Sharks, Octopus, Parrot fish, giant Turtles and Ospreys.
The villa we hired had a double Kayak available to use, which we did for a couple of days. This was great fun and provided us with a bit of a rest from wading all day long. We were able to get out and fish into the reefs using a variety of lures, flies and even trying a bit of bait. Out here we caught a good mix of species, some that we didn't even know, nothing huge but good sport all the same.
We were also lucky enough to get invited out on a deep sea fishing boat trip, now that was an experience - Rods like pool cues and massive reels loaded with wire! Not really our bag but interesting to see what it's all about. We had some fun wrestling sharks and Barracuda and managed to bring in two Dorado - What an amazing coloured fish - just a shame we didn't really get to have a good look at them before they were quickly whisked into the cooler - but they did make for a lovely dinner!
On the whole this was a fantastic adventure we'd reccomend to anyone who just wants to see fish, catch fish or eat fish.... there really is nothing else to do on this small quiet island.
Scrole down to view three films, one filmed on the Atlantic side, one on the caribbean, the other of our Kayak fishing days.
Music by The Hedge Gods https://www.facebook.com/HedgeGods