Everyday We’re Shuffling
Under the cover of darkness we settled down on a suitable stretch of beach for the night. I was pretty tired after helping Matt and Mark pitch their tent so I decided to rough it in the front seat of the SUV instead of setting up the hammock. Although I’ve done this many times before, I regret the decision to this day. I expected to spend the first twenty minutes or so killing all the mosquitoes, that’s normal. Twenty minutes gone and past, I thought I killed the last mosquito in that vehicle countless times. Each time lying back down only to hear that dreaded sound once again…EEeeEEee! Another great night’s sleep came to an end sitting upright, wide-eyed, and smiling as the sun crept over the ocean slowly shedding its light on paradise.
Arriving at the flat, we decided to change our plan of attack slightly. The first day the middle man in our chain reported seeing some alarmed / weary fish. So we staggered our three prong attack, dropping the middle man back to produce a deep “V” to try and buy these weary fish some time to settle down. Making our way out onto the flat I opted for the outside lane and headed for deeper water, Matt took the inside, and Mark dropped far back in the middle.
Matt and I slowly began shuffling down the flat in search of bones. This morning in particular the flat itself seemed to be alive. There was movement in every direction. As for me, I find these days to be extremely hard to spot fish. I can’t bring myself to ignore how majestic sea turtles and sharks look as they swim by, even if that means I miss spotting a fish or two. One sea turtle made the mistake of trying to hide from me by lying motionless on the bottom directly in front of me. I slowly crept up to it and placed my foot gently on its back and reached down and picked it up. Haha! I have to hand it to the little guy for sticking to his game. I’ve seen these guys jet off a flat faster than a spooked permit in the past. Hopefully it learned from the encounter so it doesn’t end up as table fair.
A few minutes later I got my first shot of the day as two bones entered my view. I placed my fly and no sooner was I connected. One of the bones blitzed the fly the second it hit the water. I don’t recall even transferring the line to my stripping finger, it was unreal. After a brief battle my first of the day came reluctantly to hand. As we continued down the flat I had a pretty unnerving encounter with a large Caribbean reef shark. Mark had spotted the shark 100yds off to my right heading in my direction. I just stood there and watched as it approached. As it got closer I locked eyes with a gorgeous a seven foot shark. It was on course to pass twenty feet behind me and I thought nothing of it until it turned on my mud trail and was coming straight up my backside. Fuck. At this moment instinct took control of my actions. I extended my 7wt. and poked it in the face twice and it slowly turned and swam off. It was pretty awesome. Continuing our way down the flat I connected once more as a loner bone thought it could escape my peripheral vision.
After lunch and a successful search for Red Bull we were ready once again to comb the beach for tailing fish. With two fish under my belt for the day I sat back and watched as Matt and Mark tried their luck. Matt was up first, spotting some glistening tips he crept into position. Kneeling on the beach he waited for the fish to position itself just right before he made his cast. A few strips later his fly was in the crosshairs of a bonefish on a mission. Matt was connected in moments. It’s awesome to watch a bonefish accelerate to a fly in water not deep enough to cover its back.
Shortly after Matt’s fish was landed, Mark found himself in an identical situation. His eyes were locked on a set of glowing fins in the setting sun. Already in position he made his cast and got the response he was looking for, a V shaped wake quickly making its way to the fly. Once hooked the bonefish suddenly didn’t like the seclusion of the mangroves anymore and took Mark’s fly line on a tour of the main flat. Landing this fish concluded our fishing for the day with enough time to enjoy the last colors of the setting sun.