My Delta flight from Pittsburgh to Freeport through Atlanta went off as scheduled and I was in Grand Bahama by noon. The customs and immigration process was unexpectedly simple. It seemed all I had to do was note that I was visiting several lodges and the agent was asking for the next people in line. My first stop was the North Riding Point Club. Veteran Head Guide, Stanley Glinton, was waiting for me outside the terminal, ready to assist with my luggage. After an easy 25-minute ride in the Club’s air-conditioned van, I had effortlessly reached my first destination. Manager, Paul Adams, was waiting to greet me and it was nice to finally meet him in person. For nearly a year, he was solely a voice on the phone and an email address to write to. Paul has spent most of his life on Exuma and Grand Bahama Islands and for eight years he and his wife, Alison, have successfully managed Deep Water Cay. His enthusiasm for his job along with his local knowledge of the area and culture is immediately evident. He had staff for me to meet, lodge renovations to show, and changes that have or will soon be implemented.
A few of these improvements include and are in no particular order:
- A new pool deck project aimed for completion by the start of the fall season in September.
- Restoring some of the beach erosion in front of the property.
- Expanding the tackle shop and upgrading rental tackle.
- Enhancing the gift shop with attractive club merchandise and select gift items.
- Adding Wi-Fi internet access in each of the cottage rooms.
After an overview of the Club, a thorough tour of the meticulously maintained property and an appetizing lunch, I was ready for a little self-guided fishing in front of the lodge. North Riding Point Club ironically sits on the south side of the island. The south side is known for its beaches and firm white sand and coral bottom. The water out front of the lodge is a mix of both. Although thunderstorms in the area kept me from accessing some of the water, Paul mentioned I would encounter a school of big bones and a number of tailing triggerfish; none of which were willing to meet my acquaintance.
A delicious dinner with Paul, Alison and son Hudson capped off a fine day of travel. The Bahamian lobster and short ribs prepared by Chef Genero was cooked to perfection. Alison’s appetizer of mint, watermelon and feta cheese skewers with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing was so refreshing.
Getting to bed at a reasonable hour was a bonus and I was quite anxious to be fishing a full day with Stanley in the morning.
Weather conditions for late June were ideal. Plenty of sunshine and light winds forecasted, and a rising tide are conditions any flats fisher is seeking.
After a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, yogurt and fruit, I met Stanley with rods rigged and ready to go. North Riding Point guides trailer the club’s top of the line Hells Bay Marquesa skiffs to various ramps on the island. Conditions today were favorable for fishing the north side. So Stanley opted for a ramp approximately thirty minutes from the club. Flat calm conditions, the kind where you can’t discern where the horizon meets the sky, greeted us. The big spacious skiff with a padded Yeti Cooler bench seat and backrest made for a pleasurable run. Today was going to be a day where a good cooler would be imperative. I’d heard and read all of the Yeti hype and was anxious to see how it performed. Time would tell.
We honed in on one of Stanley’s favorite Cays to start our day. I was equipped with a 9 x 8 weight Orvis Helios H2 Rod, Waterworks reel, Rio Bonefish line, 12 foot fluorocarbon leader and a size 4 Petersons Spawning Shrimp fly. Stanley hadn’t poled the skiff 30 yards before seeing the first of what would be numerous schools of bones. I apparently made an adequate cast and in no time was hooked up to my first bone of the trip. The fish was estimated to be in the 3 pound range and came from a school which had a hundred or so fish in it. After landing three more bones, some of the local predators had taken note (namely lemon sharks) so we moved on so as to not feed them Stanley’s fish! This scenario repeated itself throughout most of the day. A few bones were caught; sharks showed up, we moved on. It could have easily been a day of hooking 20-30+ fish, but we just didn’t care to see them get “sharked.” Other fish sighted throughout the day were Mutton Snapper, Horse-Eye jacks, boxfish, triggerfish, nurse sharks, a dolphin and lots of barracuda. It was the kind of day where it was so hot and still that moving from one flat to another was always welcomed. The 30 minute wide open run back to the ramp at day’s end was particularly pleasing…as were the ice cold drinks out of the Yeti!
By: Joe Linscott, Bahamas Senior Program Manager