Aardvark McLeod clients Alec Tarrant and Neil Weedon have just returned from their fourth trip to Crooked Island in the Bahamas. Alec has written this report of what it’s like fishing in this lovely spot:
Having fished a number of islands in the Bahamas we, my fishing companion is my son-in-law Neil, consider Crooked a real haven and have just completed our fourth visit.
We always fly out of Heathrow, stay over in Nassau, then catch the Bahamas Air flight to Crooked the following morning. The flights to and from the island run on a Saturday and Wednesday, sometimes with a short stopover at Aklins.
At Crooked airport we are met by the lovely sisters Christine and Carnetha who run Trophy Lodge. Then it is a quick five minute drive to the comfortable lodge. The food is excellent, there is a bar with TV which has access to Sky Sport channels allowing us to watch the football, rugby and golf while enjoying a Kalik (the local beer) après fishing. This visit, we introduced a couple of Americans to Bob Mortimer – “Would I Lie to You” and “Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing” – and they are now fans!
Each morning it is a 15 minute drive to the pickup point to fish either the Crooked or Acklins side. We meet our guide at 8am and then we are off for a fast dash on the skiff to the flats which can take 15 to 45 minutes. I love this boat ride out in the morning. The guides are all excellent and put us onto fish every day, despite some challenging conditions.
The species of fish to target is extremely varied and over the years we have caught tarpon (40lb), permit (20lb), bones (average size this year six to eight pounds), sharks, barracuda and lots of jacks. Between us we take five fly rods on the boat (8 to10#), set up for the different species. We always go stronger than 12lb tippet for bones – there are some big ones out there and you are often in an arm wrestle to stop them disappearing into a maze of mangroves. This trip I landed my personal best at 14lb which pulled like a train for 25 minutes!
The flats are massive and each guide has their favourite spots, depending on the conditions and what you want to target. Fishing is a mix of poling on the boat and wading, and we soon get into a daily rhythm of catching different species as the tide changes – flexibility is key to a successful day on the water.
Everyone will have their favourite bonefish flies, but our “go to” flies are spawning shrimp patterns in heavy and light versions – some with weed guards.
This trip Neil caught our first trigger. At one point he had five around him, coming in like airplanes landing. Elvis (our guide) gave a masterclass on how to strip and set the hook – a different method from permit and bones. The guides are extremely friendly, helpful, work really hard, and most of all really want you to catch fish. This trip, Michael gave us lessons on casting into gusty winds which was very valuable. We both left the island better casters.
We always have a fly rod set up for barracudas as they are very visual to catch and provide the run of a bonefish and the jump of a tarpon which is great fun. I’d recommend taking a pair of long pliers to remove the fly – Neil is an expert with these.
When travelling between the flats we saw lots of wildlife ospreys, pink sand flamingos, rays (some with permit hitching a ride), numerous shark species and an endless supply of green turtles.
All too soon we are back at Crooked airport – flying back to Nassau for an overnight stay – before catching the overnight plane back to Heathrow.
Did we enjoy the trip – yes, we did. We have already contacted Charlotte at Aardvark McLeod to reserve a week for next year – late January.
For more information, please contact Peter McLeod or Alex Jardine or call on +44 1980 847389. You may also enjoy an earlier blog on Crooked Island HERE and there is more information about Crooked Island Trophy Lodge on our website HERE.