The second portion of my Grand Bahama familiarization visit moves on over to the North Riding Point Club. Ironically, North Riding Point is located on the south side of Grand Bahama and is situated just near the middle of this 96 mile long cay. The Club’s driver, James, was punctual and awaiting us at the hotel lobby. After loading our luggage, we had a short 25 minute transfer to the Club. The manager, Paul Adams, was there to greet us with some welcoming banter. After being shown to our rooms, we enjoyed a quick delicious breakfast and great cup of coffee. We then somewhat frantically rigged rods, gathered gear and packed our boat bags for a full day on the water.
North Riding Point utilizes various boat ramps on the island and therefore the guides’ trailer the boats back and forth daily. This practice allows the guides to fish either the north or south sides of the island, depending on wind direction and tide patterns. Today’s conditions dictated we’d be on the north side. Our guide, Lemuel, a 10+ year veteran of the Club, who was dressed professionally in the clubs logo’d True Flies™ apparel, secured our rods and gear and our day was about to commence. About 30 minutes later, we were pushing off the Riding Point ramp under a rather high incoming tide. The consensus was if we were going to get some bones, it would likely be early before they got too deep in the mangroves. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the top of the line Hells Bay Marquesa™ skiffs the lodge now run. These boats are quiet, offer a smooth ride under chop, and are a breeze for the guides to pole. They also feature a leaning bar and generous casting platform, supremely comfortable and are safe for anglers of all ages. Each craft is equipped with a Yeti™ cooler, ensuring lunches and beverages are kept chilled regardless of the external temps.
Lemuel proved to be a personable fellow with keen eyes and an instinctive ability to find fish, a skillful boat handler and a rather commendable singing voice. I wish we’d heard more of that! He was fun to spend a couple days with and located bones for us on most of the flats. The fish, however, weren’t nearly as accommodating as they had been on prior trips and seemed to be a little “off” for the better part of our day. It could have been higher than usual tides or westerly winds or abundant cloud cover, who knows. The bones never seemed to be in the aggressive and eating mood that Grand Bahama bones have a reputation for. Nonetheless, we each caught a half dozen or so all averaging a typical 2 ½ to 3 pounds. Size 2 and 4 Petersons Spawning Shrimp and Foxee Clousers were the most effective fly patterns, we used 8 weights exclusively. Joe C with a Sage Salt model and Sage reel; I fished an Orvis Helios 2, paired with a Hatch Finatic 7Plus. RIO bonefish lines and fluorocarbon leaders rounded out the outfits. We also each had 10 weights loaded up with floating lines and crab flies in the event we’d encounter a permit or two. Unfortunately, we did not.
The Club is an absolute pleasure to visit and Paul’s staff couldn’t be more friendly or accommodating. All meals were consistently delicious and varied. The cornish hens and lobster were a personal standout. The oceanfront views are stunning, the private beach beautiful, the beds and linens ultra-comfortable and the rooms spacious, clean, and thoughtfully designed. In room Wi-Fi internet, room safe, refrigerator, coffee maker and daily housekeeping and laundry service are just a few of the amenities that add up to making this one of our favorite Bahamian properties. If you have not visited this property or are considering a return visit, a discount of approximately 25% is in play through February 2016. I’d welcome the chance to tell you more.
By: Joe Linscott, Bahamas Destination Specialist