Escaping the UK in November for some saltwater fly fishing in more tropical conditions has become an annual ritual for myself and my father in law. When planning our 2018 trip we were looking for a location that offered the opportunity to catch a variety of fish in beautiful surroundings at an affordable price, and after some extensive internet research we landed on the Crooked & Acklins Trophy Lodge and it certainly delivered.
Being a relative newcomer to saltwater fly fishing every trip comes with a degree of nervousness about how I will cope with conditions and my casting abilities, but all of the guides were excellent and I really felt my fishing skills and knowledge improved over the week. Even on days when the light or wind conditions were challenging, the guides put us on fish and found spots where the light was best or that were sheltered from the wind.
The bonefishing is as good as anywhere I have been, and we caught fish every day. The average size of fish was 3-4 lbs, and they fight hard with a trip deep into the backing the norm. Spawning shrimp patterns worked really well, and it is worth having plenty of bead eye varieties as the majority of the time you are fishing in water that is below knee height.
On our first day we were blessed with good conditions and after a morning wading for bonefish we came across a shoal of five decent sized Permit whilst poling on the skiff. Admittedly I didn’t see them at first and just reacted to the guides calm and clear instruction 2 o’clock, 30 feet. One slow short strip of my crab pattern and I was into my second ever Permit which had my reel screaming and towed me around for a good 20 minutes.
We did get another shot at a shoal of Permit which included two monsters that looked +30lbs but as is more often the case they were just not interested in anything that was put in front of them, but we did catch a couple of good sized Jacks that were hanging out with the Permit so all was not lost.
Our last day produced a first for me when I tempted this 40 lbs tarpon out of the Mangroves. Catching a Tarpon is a whole new experience, and the fishing gods were smiling on me as the hook was set perfectly in the small area of soft skin at the side of the fishes mouth. I was using 80ld leader and the abrasion of the fishes mouth still almost cut through it!
Charlotte at Aardvark had suggested we try going for Triggers, or the “poor man’s Permit” as they are affectionately known. In hindsight we should have dedicated more time to chasing Triggers as it is really visual and exciting fishing. We had shots at a few, but as we discovered they are tricky things to catch. When we go back (which we will) we will also make sure we have a rod set up on the boat for shark and barracuda as you see a lot of them.
This was the first trip that we have booked with Aardvark McLeod, but it definitely won’t be the last.
For availability and prices click HERE or for more information on Crooked Island and The Bahamas please Contact Us or call +44 (0) 1980 847389.