No news is good news
May 6th: No blog entries for a month or so. Apologies. But it’s only because April and early May tend to produce some of the busiest weeks in the Club’s calendar and it’s not always easy to find the time to reflect.
Although not necessarily the best fishing time (and this year it’s been often good but rarely spectacular), it’s the period when we fill up with large groups, which is always fun. Two different members, one Irish and one American, each had a week-long houseparty. In between we had a nearly-all-American week of regular guests, as well as an expanded group from the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, headed up by the very entertaining Brower Moffat of the Thomas & Thomas rod-making company.
Then there was the dazzling all-female group of fourteen Bonefish Bonnies from Key Largo, returning for the second time and pictured above. And now we are welcoming back a lively group of sixteen veterans from the New York Athletic Club, who will take a break from their fishing tomorrow for an island-hopping tour of the outer cays (well, OK, a sort of nautical pub crawl).
It’s odd how most European guests aim for November, February or March, presumably to avoid the worst of winter, while their transatlantic cousins tend to prefer later in the spring. There’s little to choose between the months in terms of fishing quality, although the back end of the year does seem to produce the biggest bags of fish, if not necessarily the biggest fish.
You can be lucky or unlucky in relation to weather in any month, but very rarely with more than one or two bad days in a week. This April was often pretty breezy and there were a handful of wet days as the long dry season finally came to an end. From now on we expect a bit more humidity in the atmosphere and the occasional afternoon tropical downpour (which can actually be very welcome).
But with the humidity comes a hatch of the dreaded Yellow Annas (nasty little delta-winged horsefly-types) and the occasional pulse of mosquitos after rain. While these are not usually a problem when out fishing on the flats, they can be a pain around the Club gardens in the evening, so sales of repellent and anti-itch potions are at their peak. Many guests take to the pool or the beach to hide under water. Others self-anaesthetize at the bar.
The guides – Donnie, Ishi, Joe, Robin, Tony, Darren and Dana – have all been working flat out, and always with great good humour. John, the new head chef, and his team has been excelling in the kitchen, consistently producing cracking canapés, a scrumptious array of salads, disgracefully wicked desserts and some of the best fish dishes I have ever tasted. It’s been a particularly good spring for mahi-mahi, my favourite eating fish.
Sandy, the manager, is in top gear, ensuring that everything runs smoothly – or, when it doesn’t, that it’s quickly fixed. He is a particular master of all things mechanical, never happier than when disassembling the coffee machine to unblock a pipe, fixing the tractor hydraulics or repairing glitches with the outboards. And all while keeping everyone organized for their daily routines.
Although there are several more busy weeks to come before we close down in early July, I promise to make the time to report all the fishing highlights of recent weeks, including close encounters with giant tarpon, plenty of permit and notable catches from the wonderfully consistent bonefish population of the Abaco Marls. PM