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This past February, fellow Angling Report subscriber Jeff Miller, Jr. and I spent a week visiting the two bonefishing lodges on Grand Bahama Island – namely, the well-traditioned Deep Water Cay Club (*), and the newer North Riding Point Club (*). The weather could not have been better for the whole time.

We spent the first few days of our trip at North Riding Point Club. Owner Ed Dawes’ son picked us up at the airport and after stopping in Lucia for dinner, we checked into the temporary North Riding Point townhouse lodgings. Later on during our stay, we got a chance to tour the new clubhouse, which is likely to be open this summer. It will be plush and the beach out front is beautiful.

The biggest negative is that the driving around, which will continue to be necessary, is a drag. It currently takes 40 minutes to get to the launch sites from the temporary lodging. The driving time will diminish some with the new clubhouse, but it will still be a problem, particularly when you add on the 30 minutes or so it takes to get from the launch sites to some of the fishing areas. This means the total time involved in getting to some of the fishing areas will be as much as an hour or more.

With all this said, the fishing at North Riding Point Club is pretty good. The flats are so remote that the Club’s two other chartered boats were never sighted. The fish themselves are bigger on average than at Deep Water Cay, but I would also say they are less numerous at North Riding Point. As you know, big fish tend to travel alone and thus we did not see as many schools as we are accustomed to at Deep Water Cay. In addition, the water is deeper on average at North Riding Point. In fact, in two days of fishing there, we saw no tails.

North Riding Point’s new equipment (boats, motors, etc.) is outstanding. The 90-horsepower engines on the skiffs make a big difference in getting around the long distances that characterize the fishing grounds. We also enjoyed fishing with Stanley, who is an excellent guide. Past Stanley, however, there is little depth in the guide group. This is a big problem. One should not go to North Riding Point Club if one can’t get Stanley. He is the only guide at North Riding Point of note; Ed and Carol Dawes have not hired any of the senior guides at Deep Water Cay, nor, in my opinion, are they likely to. The big problem for Stanley is the long daily drive from McLeans Town, where he lives. It is wearing on him and will, in my opinion, be one reason that the Daweses will not be able to hire any of the other well-regarded guides away from Deep Water Cay.

Even so, I believe North Riding Point Club will ultimately be successful. The service there is excellent. The Daweses have adopted the same high level of organization that characterized Deep Water Cay under their supervision. Breakfast is early, on time and served by nice, polite Bahamian ladies. Ed is firmly in control of things. While neither he nor Carol could ever be characterized as warm individuals, they run a very efficient operation.

After our two days of fishing at North Riding Point, we had Stanley take us down to Deep Water Cay Club, where we spent another two days. Our time there was as expected – great fishing, excellent food and warm people. The new lodge is nice and retains much of the club’s character.

We fished the backside of Abaco and caught over 10 fish each day. Many of these fish were the same size as those we caught at North Riding Point. The new fishing manager, Paul, grew up in McLeans Town when his father ran Deep Water Cay in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Paul is a great addition, as he is an enthusiastic and excellent fisherman. He also has an excellent rapport with the guides and is a childhood chum with several. This has calmed down any unrest among the guides.

During our stay at Deep Water, we fished with Joseph, who is now every bit as good as William and maybe David Jr. He was outstanding. It’s funny, I came away from my visit to Deep Water Cay thinking there was almost as much new and exciting going on there as at North Riding Point Club. Plus, at Deep Water Cay. you get the tradition…. – David L. Warnock.

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