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Continuing subscribers will remember several write-ups in these pages about Long Island Bonefishing Lodge in the Bahamas, which outfits fly fisherman to wade for bonefish on their own. Well, subscriber Brian Green just got back from there and has this to say about the place: “Having read about Long Island Bonefishing Lodge in The Angling Report, a friend and I decided to check it out for ourselves this past December. We booked a short (four night) visit that included three days of fishing. Unfortunately, our plane from Toronto to Nassau was 20 minutes late and Southern Air left 10 minutes early (!) for the 45-minute hop from Nassau to Long Island. This forced us to spend a night in Nassau before getting an early flight the next morning. Nevin Knowles, the proprietor of Long Island Bonefishing Lodge, was waiting at Deadman’s Cay Airport when we arrived at 9 a.m., transported us to the lodge, showed us our room, and was waiting at the boat for us by 10 a.m. We caught our first bonefish before noon.
“As Don Causey has noted previously, Long Island Bonefishing Lodge specializes in assisted do-it-yourself bonefishing, which means that anglers are taken to a selected flat and given guidance about where to wade and what to expect, then left to walk and stalk on their own, with the guide and his boat always close by, a walkie-talkie call away. This type of fishing is not for everyone: it requires some bonefishing experience, a degree of fitness, and a willingness to catch fewer fish in return for the satisfaction of getting them on your own. Given the number of fish we saw on the flats we waded, I suspect we could have doubled or tripled our catch by fishing from a boat with a guide perched on a platform pointing out fish. But for my partner and me, the enjoyment of spotting and casting to our own fish far outweighed whatever additional pleasure we might have had catching more fish with a guide looking over our shoulders.
“The lodge itself was a pleasant surprise. Expecting rather basic accommodation as befits a fishing-only establishment, we were delighted with the new, spotless, well-appointed cabin we shared. There are four such cabins, accommodating eight anglers in total, and Nevin told us that increasingly he is getting bookings by couples who share the fishing experience and take some time off the flats to explore the island. The dining room, just steps away, provides a panoramic view of the flats and a huge deck looks west over spectacular sunsets. The food, provided in abundance by Nevin’s sister, Darlene, is traditional Bahamian fare from fish to conch to lobster to goat. It is all delicious. A special treat was the appetizer served every day at 4:30 when we returned from the flats and were halfway through our first Kalik beer. Breakfasts are made to order, and a box lunch is provided on the boats.
“Our fishing experience was affected by the weather (what else is new?). In three days of fishing, we had one day of on-and-off showers and one day of high wind. Both factors limited our ability to see fish, and the wind sometimes made it impossible to cast to the few fish we spotted. Still, we caught plenty of bonefish ranging from three to more than six pounds. On one memorable occasion, we were approaching a lagoon between two small cays when we heard a splash and a flurry of agitated bonefish. When we entered the lagoon, we realized that a barracuda must have attacked a fish and spooked the school. As the school darted about the lagoon, it spooked other fish, which joined in the general panic. We stood in amazement as dozens, maybe hundreds, of bonefish scurried about, spooking one another. Of course, none of them would even look at a fly at that moment. Soon, the lagoon emptied of fish, some of them brushing our legs as they fled. Suffice it to say that the flats of Deadman’s Cay are rich in bonefish.
“Nevin shares guiding responsibilities with Mark Cartwright. Both are experienced, knowledgeable, and enjoyable fishing companions. They provided as much guidance and instruction as we wanted without ever getting in the way. Nevin waded with us part of the time on the first day until he was sure we were OK on our own, while Mark kept tabs on us throughout our two days with him, suggesting routes to wade over the walkie-talkie and remaining within sight among the confusing maze of cays and sandbars that dot the seemingly endless flats. While both took real pleasure in our success, they never applied pressure or became overbearing in their advice – faults that I have seen in other bonefish guides.
“In our email correspondence prior to our trip, Nevin had quoted $300 per night for four nights’ accommodation and three days of fishing. Since we missed the first night (but did get the full day of fishing), he reduced our bill by $150, which was more than fair. Longer stays benefit from a reduced package price. The lodge is all-inclusive except for alcohol, which is available at the bar on a self-serve basis. You simply run a tab. Compared to other bonefishing experiences I have had, Long Island Bonefishing Lodge is a bargain. If you are an experienced bonefisherman who wants to enjoy wading virtually limitless flats for eight hours a day while having shots at plentiful bonefish, this is paradise. My partner and I will be going back.”