Record Bonefish Catch – the Luck of the Irish
November 6th: The Club record catch of 51 bonefish to a boat in a day, held by Tim Markham from Dublin, was narrowly broken today by another Dubliner, Dr Margaret Downes, and her guide Robin Albury. Despite fishing in a near gale, with winds over 30mph, the dynamic duo called it a day after they had taken 52 fish – 40 for Margaret and 12 for Robin.
They encountered some extraordinarily large schools of bonefish coming back into the Marls from the ocean. One school was estimated by Robin to have held between 8,000 and 10,000 bonefish and it took over 15 minutes to pass them by. He said it was the biggest school he has seen in his entire career as a guide. Margaret managed to get seven fish from that one school.
Altogether, Robin believes they saw an astonishing total of between 15,000 and 20,000 bonefish in the day. He said that, if there had been a second dedicated angler on board, the catch could have been well over 70 fish.
Although they saw “a good few” bonefish in the eight to ten-pound weight range, there were simply too many smaller ones around to be able to pick out the bigger fish. The biggest that they caught weighed between five and six pounds, and there were “several” in that category.
Margaret, a Club member, had enjoyed several reasonable days last week, fishing with fellow-member Dominic Cox from England. They had caught up to fifteen fish a day in often blustery conditions but amid growing signs that the bonefish were beginning to congregate into bigger groups . But the bonanza today was nevertheless wholly unexpected.
Other notable catches in recent weeks were the twenty fish in a day taken by Chip Bates and David Johnston from the US, who also took nine the previous day in very difficult overcast conditions. Bill Warburg from England, who owned Tiamo Lodge on Andros, had twelve bones in a day. John McCrossan, yet another Dubliner (who was the architect of the 1993 extension to Delphi Lodge in Ireland), caught his first ever bonefish on his first day’s fishing of any kind – and amidst a severe tropical downpour.
Overall, the weather in October and early November has been windier, cloudier and wetter than normal, but temperatures have remained consistently in the 70s and 80s farenheit, with plenty of sunny periods and there were only three days when fishing was completely impossible.
Incidentally, I should add that Tim Markham retains the record catch for a single fisherman in a day, because he took 49 of the 51 fish taken on his red-letter day.