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We just keep getting good feedback on the budget bonefishing at Deadman’s Cay on Long Island. We first mentioned this bonefishing spot in the September issue (See "Found! A Whole Week Of Bonefishing For $950" on pages 3-4), and then mentioned it again in the November issue (See "Outfitter Critiques" on pages 12-13). Both of these reports were on the fishing program set up by there by Sam Knowles.
The big news is, there is another bonefishing operation in this out-of-the-way part of the Bahamas and preliminary indications are it is as good as Knowles’ operation. In point of fact, this "new" operation (it’s new to us) pre-dates Knowles’ operation by several years and, in fact, may have been responsible for inspiring Sam Knowles to get in the bonefishing business in the first place.
The man responsible for pioneering Deadman’s Cay, it turns out, is David Bendix of Buccaneer Travel (*), a small booking agency that specializes in finding budget fishing for a limited number of customers. Here is how Bendix says he found Deadman’s Cay:
"The first time I went to Deadman’s Cay was in early 1994, and it was purely on a whim. I’d been flying down to Crooked and Acklins Island, a bit further south, and looking down at the large laguna near Deadman’s Cay. It looked from the air like a place that should have bonefish. I called around to find a place to stay and got myself set up with a guy who knew the area well and had a shallow-draft boat.
"I remember he expressed considerable doubt that one could ever catch a bonefish with the ‘long pole and tiny feathers’ I showed him. In fact, the idea seemed to amuse him but he said he knew many places where ‘…there be bonefish ALL ABOUT.’ We went out several days running and the rest is history. Bonefishing has become quite a nice little industry for the five fellows there who have become guides and for the two places that now host anglers."
The Buccaneer Travel trip to Deadman’s Cay is not quite as cheap as Sam Knowles’ trip (how could it be at $950 for a whole week of bonefishing!), but it is down there with the most inexpensive trips we know. The Buccaneer trip costs $1,410 double occupancy for seven nights lodging and dining at a locally-owned guest house and six days of guided skiff fishing. Interestingly, the trip literature indicates you can also fish here on your own without a guide, or arrange a split week, with half of it guided and half unguided.
How long can all this wonderfully cheap, unpressured fishing last? That’s the growing concern about Deadman’s Cay ever since our first report on the place appeared last September. Seems Sam Knowles is almost fully booked for the entire season and Bendix says his bookings are going fast as well. With only five guides fishing the whole area, that’s no problem. The worry is, other locals are going to smell money and try to cash in, with predictable results.
Bendix says he’s worried about Deadman’s Cay and has passed his concerns on to his guides. Miami-based angler Bill Stroh, who had just returned from fishing with Sam Knowles as this issue went to press, says the subject of over-expansion is very much on Sam’s mind too. "Sam has been to other parts of the Bahamas and he’s seen what happens to the fishing when there is too much pressure," Stroh said. "He told me he is going to keep a lid on the fishing pressure, and I believe him."
We do, too, here at The Angling Report. But, hey, we aren’t going to put that resolve to undue testing by continuing to harp about Deadman’s Cay. For the time being, this report is the last one you are going to read for a while in these pages. As a subscriber, you can do your part, too, by not talking this place up among the unwashed masses. ‘Nuff said? – Don Causey.