BAHAMAS - DELPHI LODGE - PETER MANTLE OPINES ON THE PAST SEASON...
Added: Tue 17th Jul 12
Fishing for all seasons:
the real skinny on Abaco’s weather
Someone once said “The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.”
Despite the generally glorious Bahamian climate, we are obsessed with weather. And so are many of our guests. Each evening, at the cocktail hour, we endeavor to form a four-dimensional picture of the next day’s variables – sun, wind, tide and the chance of rain. Accessing a battery of weather websites in search of a common online view, we then plot the best launch points for the next day’s bonefishing. We aim to please.
But, after our third season of trying to second-guess Mother Nature in this way, we have identified a fundamental truth: the internet weather nerds either have a twisted sense of humour or they’re consistently confusing the Bahamas with Bangladesh, Brisbane or Bordeaux. They are not just often wrong, but frequently wildly, totally, comprehensively, 100% wrong. And they err in both directions; for better or worse.
To describe meteorology as a science is like comparing Popeye to Einstein.
Thankfully, we also have Donnie. Donnie Lowe is our head guide and a man of consummate vision and foresight. Whatever his sources (his bones? his whiskers?), he consistently does a far better forecasting job than all our web-based, pseudo-scientific head-scratching. Somebody should hire him as a soothsayer on a gargantuan salary. No, that’s a lousy idea; we need him.
But our new realization is that it really doesn’t matter much after all. You can almost always go bonefishing, whatever the weather. Sure, some days will be better than others and some may test every defect in your eyesight or casting technique; but you should still catch fish. Sure, wind direction and wind strength are important factors, but, unless there's a storm, they are not crucial.
After a season that can only be described as meteorologically dysfunctional, with a lot of wind, we can still look back on a record bag of bonefish (about 2,600 in all) and a total of just five days when fishing was considered impossible or was quickly aborted. (OK, so we were closed when Hurricane Irene paid a visit. That doesn’t count).
The Bahamas are famous for their dazzling blue skies, puffy white clouds and gentle trade winds. And many are the days on Abaco that fulfill the dreams of those tourist board copywriters. There are quite a few others, however, when the wind blows pretty hard or clouds waft up from Cuba or warmish rains appear out of nowhere. They, too, are part of bonefishing and part of subtropical reality.
And there’s no best month. You can have, and we have had, brilliant bonefishing - and difficult days - in every month of the season, from October through June. Yes, there are fewer cool fronts passing through outside the winter months, but some of the very best days this season were between December and February. And that’s the truth.
The key to it all is sunshine. Transparency. If you can see the fish, you’re in business. You can almost always find shelter from a strong wind, but you can’t turn on more lights. Happily, in the Bahamas we get an average of 2,880 hours of sunshine each year. That’s 7.9 hours per day, pretty much year round.
It is rarely blisteringly hot – and equally rarely anything that could be called cold. There were perhaps three times this season when my daily decision to wear shorts proved to be misguided bravado. Whatever the impact of global warming elsewhere, for much of the time the weather here is like a breezy late-spring day in Europe or New England, with a good dollop of sun, an agreeable variety of clouds, occasional rain showers and (perhaps tempting fate) an absence of extremes. Until hurricane season.
As I write, much of the USA is recovering from a vicious freak heatwave and Europe is awash with rain and gloom. Sorry for your troubles, but it’s been glorious here. Again.
We are now closed for the hurricane season, which is forecast to be unusually lively this year. It may indeed turn out that way; the ethereal met-men sometimes get it vaguely right. But I won’t believe a word of it until I’ve spoken to Donnie. Let’s hope he takes a different view from his weathered chair in Pete’s Pub.…
The shutters will come off again in October and one thing is certain: it will be a busy season. So, to employ a tired old cliché, book now to avoid disappointment. And do bring your other half; there is nowhere nicer to escape to, whether with rod, reel and flybox or with swimsuit, snorkel and kindle.
Oh, and do please remember that if you don’t get out fishing an odd time because the weather gods are having a grumpy day, you certainly won’t be charged. But the chances are very high that you will get out - and get fish - almost as often as you like.
Looking back over the past three seasons, we can offer solid statistics. Taking an average of all days, both perfect and imperfect, all seasons and all anglers, both expert and complete novice (we've had a lot of those), a boat can expect to bring in an average of about six bonefish per day, weighing between two and four pounds each, and to lose three or four more. Some boats will be less lucky, some will occasionally catch dozens. There will be some bigger fish and an occasional minnow.
But everyone fishing for a couple of days or more is assured of catching bonefish. You can bet on it. And we do.
For further information please contact Tarquin Millington-Drake on 0845 299 6212 Ext 1 or at firstname.lastname@example.org