Tracy&James | Sunday, 16 October 2022
After a somewhat stressful start to our trip, Tracy and I arrived in the Bahamas yesterday (as I write this). We boarded our plane at Manchester exactly on time for the hop down to Heathrow, however once seated we were greeted with the news that the airport was on a go-slow due to the thick fog, so a substantial delay in getting underway was to be expected. This was not good news as we only had a 2 hour window in order to make our transatlantic flight. If we missed that one we would not make it to our hotel and would miss the following day’s island hop. Fortunately fog had also been an issue in London so the flight to Nassau was also delayed, allowing us to make it comfortably and for the handlers to do the luggage transfer (arriving without the fishing gear is just as bad as not making the flight).
I’ve made up a new outfit for our trip this time after a tip-off from a friend who visited the island earlier in the year. He spent some time snorkelling and mentioned there are some monstrously big fish in some of the blue holes around the coastline. From the description he gave I’m assuming these are Goliath Grouper and they’re holding deep, an estimated 30-40ft down. Obviously getting a fly down to that depth when I’m going to be wading the edge of the drop-off is a tough ask, however I’m hoping the outfit I’ve put together is going to help.
The first consideration was the line’s sink rate, I wanted something that would plummet down. The highest density line I could find was an old Rio Leviathan shooting head. This is 30ft long, 550 grains and thinner than the backing line to which I’ve attached it – so it must be very dense. (I did consider using a T38 line, but these are too rare and expensive to use for fishing!). With just a 30ft long head I’ve made a brick-on-a-string type line to beat all bricks-on-strings, I normally dislike casting such tapers, but needs must. The fly we intend using is a great tying gifted to us at the SIM fly festival in Italy, it’s a large baitfish pattern but with an insertion the goes in the front of a ball of lead. I intend casting this on a #10 rod, now this is a bit mad being the line is essentially a #15 but it’s what we’re taking. Tracy and I routinely carry #10 weight outfits for cudas and sharks, so it makes sense to take a back-up #10 in case of a breakage. So although it’s not the most pleasant outfit to cast (I did try it out), a chuck and duck with a rod that’s too light is going to have to do as with limited luggage allowance the ‘blue hole’ rod will be doubling as our spare predator rod.
What I don’t know about grouper (actually I don’t know anything about grouper) is whether I need a wire trace or not? I suspect initially I’ll just go for an 80lb straight through leader. If you hear reports about a tourist disappearing into a blue hole whilst clutching a fly rod then you know what’s happened!
Hopefully we’ll get some fishing today after our short flight and once we’ve got our car, accommodation and provisions sorted out. We arrive to a high tide at midday-ish. We have a number of flats near where we’re staying that fish well on the rise and then there’s a chance of a good sized shark as the water gets deeper. We actually spotted a decent sized shark yesterday evening – it spooked a couple of swimmers out of the water in what is usually a pretty barren (in terms of fish) area. If we’d have had our rods set up, we’d have been charging (rather stalking) in after it, not retreating to the shore.
Hopefully we’ll have some fishy pictures next week after our first few days on the flats. If you’re fishing this week, have fun and tight lines.