Words: Steve Duda
Photos: Copi Vojta
Flyfishing is about moments—moments that string themselves together to create an indelible feeling about a place, a person, a time. When fishing for bonefish, two moments stand out from the recent Flyfish Journal “Bahamacon,” a week spent in South Andros, Bahamas, at Deneki Outdoors Andros South Lodge searching for bonefish.
Go left young fisher.
The first moment is, of course, about the fish—that sleek, powerful, maddening fish. It is that exact sliver of time when a bonefish decides. You see her out there, first as a question: Is it what I think it is? Then you see it as a possibility: Yes, that is indeed a bonefish and it will soon be in range. This is it. The bonefish turns on your fly with a single-minded purpose that is startling. If something comedic and catastrophic doesn’t happen (and in bonefishing, if something can go off the rails, it will certainly try) that fish is going to eat.
Silvery green and blue hued ghosts.
This guy wanted to say hello.
Yep, thats the tip of a rod right there…
The moment. The fish has committed. You see her turn and accelerate, charge forward. It’s only a delicious and painful second from connecting with a wild thing in a wild place. It is thrilling and still manages to also be terrifying. The entire operation has come down to a moment destined to replay in your brain until the day you die.
Norman Rolle stowing the boat before an endless flat.
Like all flyfishing, trudging over the wet desert of the flats is not only about catching the fish. If it were, the entire enterprise would be reduced, diminished—the moment overtaken by dull repetition. Instead, the is thrill to be standing, alone, on a sunlit flat as big and as empty as any wilderness on earth. It is astounding to walk under the sun and absorb colors so vivid and vibrant they seem as if they were just conceived. The landscape defines immense. The relentless wind bullies everything. There is water as far as you can see. The sun wants to be everywhere at once. The thrill is encountering—in a single, overwhelming moment—enormity. It is humbling and beautiful.
Norman Rolle and Steve Duda on an incoming.
Charlie Sweeting calling in the fish.
The cracked conch in the dining hall, the Kalik beers by the beach, the countless stars at night, the “rake n’ scrape” band playing in front of an abandoned beach house in Congo Town, the four-foot barracuda that I did not catch, the guide who sang Motown the entire day. A bone about to eat. Facing enormity. These are the moments and there no price can ever be attached to them.
Special thank you to: Bryan Burke, Mike Sanders, Jordan Sly and everyone at Deneki Outdoors for helping to make BahamaCon 2015 a memorable reality. Check back here soon for next year’s BahamaCon dates and join us for your own trip of a lifetime.
Fredlon Dames singing Motown and pushing the pole.