Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fly Fish with Mel: Return to Paradise (Maldives) Day 5

Day 5:

We were going to be privilege guests at Mario’s ‘private bonefish yard’, affectionately called Little Bay or LB for short. Having spent the night out of Kurendhoo meant that we had to watch our water consumption or there’d not be enough water for us to use for bathing and cleaning.

The morning session had us fishing a small island that Mario had told us about the day before. It was so small that it took us a bare 5 minutes to walk round the whole island. There were a few nice bays but only Lee and Andy managed to tease up a couple of bluefin trevallies. The rest of the gang had to settle for a nice morning stroll until we all agreed that we should head back for an early lunch.

Mario then suggested that we head over to his ‘personal’ island for the afternoon session as he was certain there’d be some bonefish to be had there.

Little Bay or LB as he affectionately calls it was only 20 minutes away from where we were so it was a leisurely cruise after lunch to get there. But when we got there, the heavens were about to open up on us.

As the first of the two boat loads got underway, the view back was ominous. A dark curtain was looming over our boat and as we neared shore, Mashibaru was covered in a hazy layer of rain. The winds started howling and the tiny outboard was struggling to get us ashore. It heaved over each crest and lunged forward into each trough.

With five of us, overfed anglers, and Hussain, the little hull was close to floundering in the choppy surf. The meters counted down and not a minute too soon, we make landfall; just as the rain came down hard on us.

The scene of the little boat, free from its burden, seemingly skipping over the whitecaps would have been a funny one if it did not have to make another such trip with the second load. The waters may look shallow but it would take some time for you to reach the bottom.

When the 2 groups got together, we huddled on the leeward side of a small cove and lay our rods horizontal on the tree branches. As fate would have it, the water bodies on either side of the cove were doused in rain water but where we took shelter, there was hardly a drizzle and to add salt to the wound, several banded trevallies swam by us. No one was about to take chances waving our 9ft lightning conductors around.

Not long after, the rain stopped and the group fanned out across the cove while some headed straight for the surf. From afar, one could not be faulted for mistaking us for a Search and Rescue combing the bay for someone or something. Spaced 15 – 20m apart, we advanced as a wall, probing every inch of the water ahead of us but to no avail.

Looking up, I saw a bent rod near the surf and no prizes for guessing who was onto a specimen of a GT. Gerard had seen a huge GT but the first cast was ignored. Plucking the fly out of the water, his second cast hit the brute on the shoulder and in a flash, turned and inhaled the fly. I was in the process of winding up and making my way across to him when suddenly, I saw the rod straighten, eased from the raging fish. It was not until we got back to the boat did I find out that the whole braided loop had slipped off the fly line.

The rest of the afternoon went by without much action except for Michael’s capture of a bonefish. He’d walked out to sandbar near where we’d disembarked.

He calls it the ‘Bahamas’. There, he had spotted the whole school feeding at the bottom. Casting his 'Carrot' fly, he teased a single fish into taking his fly and then worked his quarry back into his waiting arms.

That was to be the last action of the day as we headed back for dinner.