Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Nervous water II

Monday, 16 March 2020 at 21:15

Average sized bonefish The bonefish weren't massive. They averaged around 2-3lb., though some of our party released bonefish between 4-5lb., which are big bones for Ascension Bay. They're wonderful creatures, magnificently adapted to their tropical environments - and once hooked, fleet and unstoppable as the wind. 

Nervous water III

Monday, 16 March 2020 at 21:07

Barracuda 'fly' We'd seen some barracuda and I mentioned to the guides that it might be fun to try and get one on the fly-rod. Later that morning we duly spotted and hunted a barracuda. I borrowed a 10-weight (thanks, Roger), hurled this...it's not a fly, not a streamer....this thing (a representation of a needle-fish) at the barracuda, not for a moment expecting the fish to take. There was a massive rush at the lure and before I knew much about it the barracuda was hooked. I've never experienced a take so violent: it was almost menacing in its speed and intensity. Then the fish took off towards the reef. The play was heavy, as it turned out, but quite manageable. Eventually the barracuda came to the boat - a fish of around 10lb., we thought. The dental armoury of the barracuda is just as formidable as the books and photos have told you so wire traces are a must.

Nervous water IV

Monday, 16 March 2020 at 21:04

Hooked bone This bonefish took a small, weighted crab-suggesting pattern. I know it's not done to photograph bonefish out of the water like this and therefore I did limit these kinds of fish-shot to an absolute minimum. Nevertheless I did want to illustrate (and remind myself about) the underslung mouth of the fish, a mouth beautifully adapted to browsing on the bottom of the flats.

Nervous water V

Monday, 16 March 2020 at 20:58

Mantis Shrimp Of the flies we used for bonefish it seemed that a size 4 or 6, lightly-weighted Mantis Shrimp (I think it's a Mantis Shrimp) seemed outstanding in shallow water up to a couple of feet deep. The vibrant or fluorescent pink patterns I'd spent so much time tying up before the trip were, of course, next to useless and barely came out of the box: tan, tan/washed-out pink and tan/white were the key colours at Ascension Bay....but weight was probably more important than pattern. Many more experienced bonefish anglers recommend carring heavy (dumbell-eyed), medium-heavy (bead-chain eyes) and weightless bonefish patterns and there's much wisdom in that.

World Book Day

Thursday, 5 March 2020 at 09:32

Minnow One of the lovely features of so many 19th and early 20th century angling (and related) books is the quality of their illustrations. Here's a plate from Sir Herbert Maxwell's British Freshwater Fishes (1904), which a pencil-mark inside the cover tells me I bought for eight quid some years ago. The art-work and layout of so many of these earlier titles is outstanding. And so today - World Book Day - why not consider buying a book?

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