Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Photo Bin - March 2017

Yes, you read the title correctly. Here we are, a week into June, and I'm just getting around to a March photo bin. For quite some time the bins have been carrying the load around here and now I can't even be counted on to do them in a timely manner. Sad. But the good news is that a part of the issue is that I've been busy. Fishing, no less. That can only be good.

Let's go back a bit and catch up, then, starting with an escape to the islands (South Andros, to be exact), the only really significant photo op of the month. And I'll make up for the lack of expediency with quantity.

There's something inspiring about an image framed by an overhead wing, especially when it's taken on your way in. Small aircraft and remote fishing destinations get my blood pumping, especially as the clouds clear and I see miles and miles of salt flats, just waiting to be waded.

And the airports these small planes frequent beat the heck out of the hustle and bustle of the internationals. Here, Jeff struggles through the crowd at the main entrance of Congo Town's busy airport. You can feel the tension.

Our ultimate destination? The Andros South Lodge. Bonefishing. Mighty fine bonefishing.

And we wasted no time getting on the water. Here Steve stands ready, despite a stiff breeze. If you're not ready to deal with the wind, stay off the flats. It's not a question of whether it will blow or not. It's a question of how much. Day 1 the answer was a lot. Damn permit. (Inside joke. Sorry.)

Day 2, and most of the days that followed, started with a run up the Little Creek narrows. As good a wake-me-up routine as there could possibly be. Put it on plane and blow out the cobwebs.

Side note, I'm proud to have this image (along with a couple of others in the bin below) included in The Flyfish Journal's terrific photo essay BahamaCon 17, a fun compilation of the photography, words, and video from our week in the islands, mostly shot by the uber-talented Copi Vojta. If you haven't seen it yet, it's definitely worth the time.

Mr. Barracuda didn't have such a good day, though, fooled by a big, ugly popper. Jason probably saved a few bonefish's days bringing this rascal to dock.

And speaking of coming to dock, at the end of every fishing day as we came off the water, we (and every other South Andros angler) stepped out of the skiff and into (or around) The New Ocean View, the focal point and gathering place of all manner of South Andros social life. Good times, outside and in.

Andrew and Kyle (our hosts at the South Andros Lodge) and Steve and Copi get their first post-fishing beers.

Kyle and Copi retire inside, out of the sun for a bit.

I've come to the conclusion that the best way to chase bonefish is to wade for them. Maybe not the most productive approach, numbers wise, but for sheer immersion in the world of the flats, it can't be beat. Here, Jason and Torrie scope out a promising piece of water from behind mangrove cover. See any tails? Nervous water? Stirred up mud?

And speaking of mud, we walked away from some of the fishiest looking flats imaginable because Torrie shook his head and "too clean." His club (and his incredible fish-finding style) ain't called The Dirty South for nuthin'.

And it's all about these guys. This poor fella slunk away with a sore lip, but he'd get over it before too long.

Perhaps one of the most iconic images of Bahamian bonefishing is the beached skiff out behind the South Andros Lodge, used by legions of anglers to polish up their casting strokes in preparation for the real thing. Painted rocks at 12:00. Moving slow.

After a full day and great dinner, we typically spent more than a fair share of our afterhours here, at the beach fridge, and bar, behind the lodge. A story or two were told. A dark-and-stormy or three were consumed.

And sober, dark-and-stormy, or whatever, this ring swing baffled me. The contest was How many hookups can you get in ten tosses? I played it like How many tens of tosses does it take to get a hookup? Sorta like my bonefishing, now that I think about it.

And the wee hours, back at the lodge. A few kahlik-clad dead soldiers stand guard on the tables, some boots dry before an early departure.

The next morning's breakfast gets planned.

Perhaps my favorite image of the week. The morning after. To steal someone else's line (and if I could remember who's it was I'd acknowledge it, but, with such a crew full of such wonderful writers, it could have been anyone's observation), a caveman theater.

A final look off the bow, the sun rising on our fly out day. The rocks still tailing at 12:00.

A less inspiring aerial view as we return to the continent. Fort Lauderdale sprawl doesn't hold a candle to Andros flats, but it does mean that home's just one more jump away. That's always a good thing.

That'll do for now. Sorry for the delay. But it was fun for me to go back and enjoy the trip, so all is not lost. The April bin should follow shortly with May's shortly thereafter.

So many pictures. So little time.

What is a Photo Bin?