"Hi Vince, Just got back from Inagua - great trip! I really liked the new set up with the Suites in town.
It gave me two trips to the north lagoon and closer runs out to the lighthouse and haitan flats. Definitely will do that again if its offered next year. Took a trip to Lantern Head Lagoon and that was great!"
Jeff Kroeger--January 2020
"As far as Acklins goes, the island was in much better shape than on our last visit, which was three weeks after hurricane Joaquin. We had fun meeting some of the locals and supporting them a bit in their businesses. The people are friendly, and Ivel’s was fantastic. Velma, Theresa, and Peter took great care of us and we would go back there any time. We really like the island, had a great trip, and the folks at Ivels are fantastic!" Dave Hanley--November 2019
"Back home after a couple of good weeks at Ivels and Orange Creek. Not the easiest conditions with 20-30 mph winds and clouds both weeks. We still managed to catch fish almost every day, and we think we are getting much better at spotting them, even in difficult conditions. You know, the feeling you get when there is fish around! Almost like a 6th sense. Great week at Ivels at our usual spots, and as usual we enjoyed the company of Velma, Peter, Kate her new manager and the staff a lot. Very low tides in the Bight while we were there, and we found lots of fish feeding across the flats outside Ivels 1 and 2. Much further out than we have been able to fish before! Also some very good size fish there and at Binnacle Hill as well.
Cat island was new to us so we spent a bit more time exploring. Mostly on the northern part as we had a bit of a petrol shortage on the island the first few days. Comfortable accommodation at the Inn, and very useful with the shop next door. Very helpfull staff, and also great help from Danny when our flight home was cancelled because of the weather! He got us on the morning flight instead of the cancelled afternoon flight! In the end the morning flight left around the same time as the afternoon flight should have gone! Thanks again Vince for sorting us out! Until next time!"
Barry Morse & Lars Hansen--May 2018
"Hi Vince, I keep forgetting to send you a note about our trip to Grand Inagua in April. As a bucket list trip, nothing disappointed, weather was great, and the views were unforgettable. The accommodations were great and more than I expected. Henry is a great guy. Eddy was all about getting us on fish. Newbys to bones, we figured it out and enjoyed the catching and not catching equally. I fished the light house and while I didn't hook up I saw the most amazing giant bones swim between my feet. Henry is a good cook and we totally enjoyed their great hospitality. Dad caught his fish of a lifetime on the Northside, landing a huge barracuda spinfishing my cuda fly!! Thanks for all your help. I plan to get there again. I have pics if you'd like a few. Tite lines."
Paul Williamson-Spring 2018
"Hey Vince, Just a note since we've been back. We had a great time and hooked plenty of fish, and caught a couple new species for this trip - Cero Macks, grouper, horse eyed jacks and even a couple big snappers. Tried a couple new spots and saw fish everywhere we went. A couple days were really great, even had 75 yds of tailers on one flat! Some days were slower as we missed opportune tides, but landed fish every day. Ivels was again outstanding. Velma upgraded our room for free to one of the new suites. Really nice (even though the water konked out for the last two days - broken line near the RO tanks!). The food was great (special thanks to Peter) and hospitality really outstanding. Fished with Doug (booked through Reno as he was full). He was great and very patient! Ed did very well for a first timer, especially when he fished with Doug, who's evidently more patient as a guide than I am!! Hope to go back again next year! Thanks again."
TJ Bell--March 2018
"Vince: Acklins was fantastic. I had pretty poor weather a third of the time (clouds and rain) and wandered around another third trying to figure out things and the other third involved some very exciting bonefish encounters. I had one morning with no wind at all and tailing fish all around. This was near the blue hole in Chesters Lagoon (the east end). Ivels 1 and 2 also fished well with some very large fish, singles or 2-3, (5 lbs. range) tailing on an incoming tide. I had numerous shots at tailing fish in very shallow water. If my skills were better I would have caught more but it was still very exciting. Ivel’s was great also - staff were very helpful. I had a flat tire one day but was able to fix it pretty quick. All in all - a great trip - hope to make it back before too long. Jon."
"Vince, Another excellent trip to Inagua. We caught plenty of fish and did lots of exploring. Henry and his crew were awesome as usual. Henry did an amazing job getting the lodge back to perfect working order after the two big storms last fall. You wouldn't know anything happened. We are already looking forward to our next trip down in '19."
Tom Rapone--March 2018
"Hi Vince! Yes, nice to meet you at the airport. Hoping to get a report form Inagua. Acklins and Ivels was great. First four days had good weather. Mostly sunny, mid-80s and moderate winds from the east (great for the mornings with the sun and wind lined up). TIde was low early so we had a few good hours right off the bat then later in the day.
We fished Rocker Creek and there were scattered singles and doubles all nice sized (4-6lbs). Took the kayak launching at Atwood Harbor and going in the cut. Tides were more delayed up there than we though so we go there mid-way through the incoming and only had about an hour of the outgoing that was low enough to have fish coming out of the mangroves. Still got two nice fish. Another trip to Rocker with good everything (tides, sun, winds) and had 12 bones, a 24" barracuda and a blue runner. One of the bones had me into the backing on three runs. Nice fish with big shoulders maybe 7-8 lbs. Headed to Binnacle, but the road was a little rough and we chose not to risk it in the little car. The weather turned serious bad for the last three days. Windy, completely overcast, rain and cold. Still had fish each day. Ivel's 2, west end of Chester's, another stint at the entrance to Rocker Creek and out behind Atwood Harbor again. Some really nice fish over 6lbs.
Ivel's was very nice as always with friendly, excellent service and Peter's good food. Some photos below. I think they are all different fish. You can see that some were big! best, Mike."
Mike Bolte--December 2017
"Hello Vince - We had a great trip to Acklins and Ives B&B. Being mostly DIY and the first time there, we did struggle the first 2 1/2 days locating decent numbers of fish. We fished around Ives and in the north end bays. Day 3 we booked a guided day with Reno and he put us on bunch of bones feeding in skinny water and tailing - doesn't get better than that. It rained on us but schools of tailing bones were spectacular. The next few days we started catching fish on our own near the Ivels area Mark fished harder than me and found a bunch of skinny water bones. We booked another guided trip on our last day and had more great fishing on schools of bones coming out of a large creek system. This was my 6th bonefishing trip and my best overall. We very much enjoyed our stay at Ivels. It must be the best place on the island. Velma Fergeson and staff were gracious always and met our every need. Mark is adverse to salt and she and cook Peter were able to cook special for him. The rooms are clean and excellent and the rental vehicle was good. We already are talking about returning next year. . . "
Richard Prange--Spring 2017
"Vince: Great trip to Acklins. Biggest bonefish ever (8 ½ lbs) and most in a day (15, I was a pig that day). Thinking of next year!" Craig Cain-Colorado Springs, CO--Spring 2017
"Vince. Suzanne & I had a GREAT time on Crooked Island! We were beginners when we arrived, but were pretty good when we left. Thanks to Dan & Clinton and the rest of the guides. It was Robinson Crusoe living, but we loved it and we also loved Willie's meals as well as her great personality. I don't know how we could improve on it, but a larger boat for reef or deeper water fishing would be a great addition. Tony."
Tony Kissling-Spring 2017
"Hi Vince, Pencil me in for the second week. I have to see what Hans and Robert want to do next year. If for some reason we don't get together then I would probably do 2 weeks. This year was lots of fun as usual. The guys were great and I had fished with most of them before. I'm really grateful to you and CCO for giving me the opportunity to meet such great folks. My fishing buddies from down here have no interest in the bone fishing, steelheading and western trout trips so I feel really fortunate to have made friends with all the great people I have met through you. Thanks, Steve"
Steve Marsh-St. Thomas VI--Spring 2017
"Hi Vince, Thanks for the info. I had a great time on Crooked Island. I want to especially thank Dan. Even though he had to return early to the States for medical reasons, he was a terrific host and a guy I would love to fish with again. Our host, the residents of Landrail, our guides, and our delightful restaurateur Willie made for a wonderful stay. Thanks for making all of the arrangements." Nils Pearson-Spring 2017
"Vince! The trip was great. Very enjoyable place...great people, food & fishing! I'll send some pictures." Brian Fischer-Spring 2017 Crooked Island
"Vince, The trip was really great. What a totally awesome place in the world! I wouldn't have changed a single thing. Henry, his crew, and the place were all top notch. We had great bonefishing in a bunch of spots--including the creek down south, the south-side ocean flats, and the lagoon up north. There were cudas and triggers just about everywhere we went. The poons were pretty localized, but we managed to get them a bit dialed in by the end. We covered tons of ground both by paddle and on foot. Man, you could explore that place for years and not see all of it--as I'm sure you know! One week just flies by down there. How is March/April looking for next year? I'd love to get a week booked asap. Thanks again, Vince. It's a cool program you're running. Happy to give more input if you want it."
Tom Rapone-Spring 2017 Great Inagua
"Vince, Thanks and thanks again for arranging the trip for us. I personally, very much enjoyed the trip and felt the other did as well. But I’ll let them pass along their own thoughts.
There were a few days where the fishing was hard due to high winds and clouds from the late season snow storm in the NE U.S. Then there was the day Scott and I were on The Fingers flats (we hiked from Snug Harbor) and caught the fish at that time where they couldn’t get in the mangroves and didn’t want to get into deeper bay waters. We stood for 2-3 hours casting to school after school cruising the shoreline! It was like catching them in a bathtub J. Each of us logged more than 20 landed and many more that got off early.
That said, my favorite day was one with only a half dozen spotted and cast to with none caught on the flats near Jeremy Taylor’s bar/restaurant. I love fishing white sand in clear, shallow water under blue skies! It may be harder, but the quality of experience (IMHO) is so much greater than those days like we had at The Fingers. Thanks again for a great trip!"
Jim Thompson--Houston, TX-- Spring 2017
"Hi Vince, So here's my Cat Island report. I had a really good time. I liked the Orange Creek Inn and especially the handiness of the store in the building. Cherie was great. Danny Kings Ford Expedition was perfect. The 4 wheel drive worked and I got to use it once taking one of those goat track roads to the ocean side. The weather was good - lots of sun but I had a windy day once so I explored. Threw clousers into the tarpon lagoon but didn't see any. FYI- Cherie has two kayaks for rent at $25/day. They are double kayaks and are in great shape and light enough for one guy to get them on top of the expedition which has a roof rack. You should advise your clients to take 50 ft of their own rope -5/16 or 3/8 nylon. I was lucky to find some heavier rope at the hardware store down the road. The kayak is a necessity for Bennets creek which was my favorite. You will want to spend a couple days in there. Thanks again"! Jeff"
Jeff Kroeger--spring 2017 Cat Island
"Sorry Vince, but I can't think of a single complaint. Velma does a great job esp considering the logistics of Acklins. Reno worked out just fine and found us plenty of fish and helped educate me more on tides and fish. The fishing was good, esp on the rising Neap Tides. The fish were in large schools in the shallows. Thanks for your help! Frank."
Frank Cada-Loveland, CO - Ivels Spring 2017
"Hi Vince! Had a nice time at Long Island. I had not appreciated how hard they got hit by the hurricane in 2015. Nevin is still working to get the lodge back in shape and the flats are full of dead mangroves. The lodge is great. Rooms are nice, food is excellent, Michelle, Darlene, Mark, and Neil were all very nice folks (Nevin was away while we were there). The fishing is also good. The flats are vast. We caught bones every day despite some cool and windy weather for part of the trip. I think our biggest day was 10 bones between my brother and myself."
Mike Bolte--Spring 2017
"Hi Vince, We got back from Henry Hugh’s Outback Lodge around 3 am Saturday morning. Our final leg (MIA-BDL) took off almost 2 hrs. late. But, that did nothing to diminish our good vibes after a really fine week on the island. The arrangements worked seamlessly, from initial meeting at the airport to the drop-off, every step of every day went pretty much according to schedule, and when we deviated it was still good. The meals were consistently way above average: Henry made sure we were well fed and with the best cracked conch or whatever else he’d planned for the entrees. Breakfasts were full of protein (eggs, grits, bacon, spam, tuna salad, toast, etc.), lunch sandwiches were thick and tasty, and when he served up conch ceviche or fritters with our cocktails it was simply the best.
Fishing was good: Dave & Josh did very well on the bonefish (Stan & I lagged well behind, but that was not due to a lack of fish), and I don’t have to tell you that Jim caught his share. Henry spent one day with us at the Creek System, and we had a wonderful time and hooked up a 4 foot barracuda & a jack on our way into the flats as a little frosting on the cake. The number of flats we were able to cover (Palm Tree, NW Lagoon, Church Flat, Haitian Boat, and what we nicknamed Bo Derek, as well as the number of spots inside the Creek System) were each unique and all had fish.
I want to thank you for setting all of this up. I’ve been checking out your web-site for a couple of years, and now I’ve been able to experience what you’ve been promoting. It’s even better than I’d imagined. I hope someday I get a chance to thank you in person. Thanks, again, Vince, & Cheers, Kevin."
Kevin Grennan--Hadley, MA--Spring 2016
"Hi Vince, Our group of four had a very good week on Acklins. We were the only guests at Ivel's and the only anglers on the whole island! Mrs. Ferguson runs a truly 5* service and what she has achieved at such a remote location is admirable. We also enjoyed both Peter's cooking and his personality.
Bonefish were seen and caught everywhere we went: Delectable, Chesters, Binnacle, the creeks north of Snug Corner, Relief Bay, the lagoons on the south side of Lovely Bay, Ivel's 2, and some other locations we explored. We've all been to places with bigger bones but we all agreed that in terms of numbers of fish seen and hooked Acklins is second to none. Most fish were in the 4-5 lbs range, many in schools and occasionally some smaller groups and singles. We all got several in the 6-7 lbs category and saw a few bigger ones , including a 10+ lbs brute. I got fish on every single fly I tried so I don't believe they are particularly selective. We also landed a couple of sharks: a lemon and a nurse, and some cudas, small snappers, jacks and groupers, etc. We were not looking for permit, but a couple of little ones paid us a visit when we were having lunch at a rocky point. All in all a great trip. Thank you!"
Ivo Balinov--Ontario, Canada
"Vince, thanks so much for arranging our trip to Great Inagua. I have never been in a place with the quality and the diversity of the fishing we found there. I’ve never been to a place where you can drive to a really quality bonefish flat, cast to big tailing fish, and then drive 15 minutes to another spot and have a great chance of hooking a Tarpon fishing from shore. Add in the big jacks, ladyfish, triggerfish and the snook I hooked but didn’t land (next time!) and you have an incredible trip. We spent a full week and left feeling like we barely scratched the surface.
The accommodations, especially given the remoteness of the location, were great. The rooms were clean and comfortable, the AC was cold, the wireless worked and the food was tasty and plentiful. Easily the highlight of the really good food was Henry’s conch salad, made with conch he pulled from the water a couple hours earlier. Henry is a great host and a great guide."
Sam Luebke--Washington, DC
"Thanks for the note I just got back after spending a few nights at the Atlantis with my wife. The guys and I had an excellent time at Outback Lodge. Some of the highlights include the hospitality Henry and Steady Eddie were spectacular and could have not been more kind and hospitable. The lodge itself exceed our expectations as you have no idea what to expect. The location was fantastic as it was nice to be away form people not that it hard on Inagua. The meals were better that you could get at most restaurants and as promise the conch salad was off the charts. We all caught fish and for some it was the first bones ever caught on a fly which definably made them understand the allure. John and David had a day in the creek that Henry will never forget they must have seen a thousand bones in schools in access of a couple hundred. We caught a couple of tarpon and had some of the funniest stories trying to catch them by the shore in tarpon alley. I think you will see us again in the future as everyone had a good time."
"Velma and Kate at Ivels took care of us like kings, despite their own business with repairing their porperty. They had fixed up the bonefish suite before we arrived, laying new tile and all sorts of work. We were very comfortable.
The fishing was excellent. We were the only anglers on the entire island, and the first of the season. Many of the fish we can't to came to the fly so easily that it made the game seem easy. Others were not quite so simple, which kept us humble. We also found the size of the average fish to be larger than we have found elsewhere in the Bahamas, about 4 lbs.
We fished with Fidel Johnson on foot for two days. We had planned to boat fish with him for one day but just as an example of what they are facing...he couldn't find his boat! It was simply gone from the high waters and winds of the hurricane. He was heading to FL to find a new boat and go through the process of getting it to Acklins. We found him to be an excellent guide...Knowledgeable, good eyes, and patient. He didn't get upset if something, say the line getting wrapped around the rod handle causeing a running fish to break off, hypothetically speaking of course!
We would absolutely return to Acklins and Ivels, and thanks to you as well for all the background work. The whole trip went seamlessly! Thanks again, Dave!"
"Hi Vince, the trip to great inagua was everything that I expected...plus! Both Henry and Eddie were very gracious and I feel that I made two good friends, especially Eddie and I; we shared some thoughts that went beyond fishing and like old guys that we r, had a few laughs. Henry is a hell of a cook and great story teller. Both his knowledge of the island and daily rhythm of fishing as well as Eddie 's put us into fish all the time. We got into bones, jacks, 'cudas, snappers, u name it. The bone hunting in particular was primo. Below I'm sending u pics. Btw, don't let Cindy's fingernails being color coordinated w the fish fool u, she out fished us all! (See pics below)"
Eli Barlia--Matamora, MI--Spring 2016
"Mayaguana was excellent this year. We saw far more fish than last time. Biggest we caught were probably around 8 pounds. We even found some schools of fish this time. Even the schooling fish were between 4 and 6 pounds. The fish are just a little longer on average than the other islands but they are VERY stout, heavy and strong. We spent the next week on Andros South and could really appreciate the difference in size."
Willi Loeman--Fort Collins, CO
"Thanks Vince, We really had a great time! Henry is fantastic and the island is really something else. I landed 8 bones and hooked and played several others for a while and caught several other species of interesting fish. A jack, small grouper, of course some lady fish, a 3 foot needle fish, hooked and played a very large trigger for a couple minutes before it sheered my line. Carrie caught a couple nice bones. Having never done any salt water fly fishing before, it felt pretty satisfying to figure things out more and more over the week. Small numbers, but great adventure!"
Sam & Carrie Lababidi-Boulder, CO
"Hey Vince --Our trip to Acklins was very good. Hank and I thought that Ivel's was a clean, welcoming and hospitable place and a good choice for your business. The fishing was good. We never did quite get a full handle on how the tides played out in the various locale's across the island, and the local's didn't seem to have it down completely either. As a result we were on some flats at slack or outgoing tides that fished best on incoming. Nevertheless we did pretty well all-in-all, catching some fish every day. We both really enjoyed the outback nature of the island and the lack of development, which fit our interests well, and we picked up a lot of valuable information about the flats and good fishing spots that should come in handy of we find ourselves back there some day.
Thanks for all your assistance with this trip. You put together a very professional package that was well-detailed and accurate. I wish we had had more time to explore. Hope all's well with you in western NY. Take it easy."
Tony Jewett--Helena, MT
"Vince, Thank you for setting up this trip! Chris and I had a great time Henry was a great host who made our stay memorable. He was attentive to everyone's needs and very thoughtful. The fishing was very good everyone got fish and we saw lots of bones and I managed one tarpon at the canal inlet down from the Pump Station. We also had one day with Nicki for bone fish at the creek east of the lodge. He was great and was especially thoughtful for Chris and Carla on one deep flat by pushing the boat around to find fish as it was a bit deep for them to wade. Chris and I would very much like to return to IOL next May probably between the first and the fifteenth. We will both be retired so will have more flexibility. Henry assured us that if we return on our own we would have our own vehicle if other fisherman are there. Let me know if there are openings in early May. Thank you again. Sincerely,"
Jeff and Chris Plant-Cornish Flat, NH
"Hi Vince, We had a good trip to Ivel’s. The accommodations were excellent and the food very good. The staff was very friendly and helpful. With the more central location, we spent our time fishing places more centrally located. Snug Corner, Binnacle 1 and 2, and Ivel’s to be precise. We didn’t spend any time on the North part of the island other than walking along the beach at location 12, where we spotted jacks and barracuda. We each spent a few days fishing with Reno, who took us up to the creek/mangrove system NW of snug corner. In general, we agreed that Reno knows where the fish are, is easy to communicate with, and hard working. Below are a few specific comments I have off the top of my head.
- The accommodations were a step above Chester’s in terms of quality.
- The truck we got was in pretty good shape – which is important when driving on the road south of Spring Point.
- They had one kayak, which had a slow leak in it. My brother, who is not a big angler, used it a couple days to explore the coast. I would recommend that they get a few more kayaks – including two person kayaks, for non-fishers and to allow anglers to explore areas not accessible easily from the road.
- The food overall was excellent. I like the emphasis on local Bahaman cuisine."
"Vince, It was a really good trip. Ivel's proved to be a great choice for us. The food and accommodations were wonderful. More importantly the fishing was pretty good. Your directions and maps were both detailed and accurate. Really appreciate your efforts in assembling the maps, photos, and narrative details. Great job. Thanks."
Bill Frey--Carson City, NV
"Hi Vince, I had a good trip. Ivel's is a treat. Good food, good people. Caught some fish at Snug Corner, Delectable, and 1.4 and 2 miles South of Ivel's. Did much better going out with Reno Taylor, who has the little drive-up food stand in Masons' Bay. $250/day w/boat. Had one good day (at least for me) of 16 bones. Saw at least a thousand in 15 minutes dropping out of a creek system on the falling tide. A sight not soon forgotten. As for flies, anything worked. The fish grabbed a Peterson's Spawning Shrimp several times before I took up enough slack to start stripping. Somewhat complicated pattern but kinda fun to tie. So many fish, so little time."
"Hi Vince, Drummond and I had a great time on Acklins despite less than ideal fishing conditions. Winds were 25 -30 mph each day with cloudy skies and only intermittant sun. One day lightning/thunderstorms sent us off the flats at Delectable. Despite this ,Drummond caught fish, his first ever on fly. I did ok too when there was a window of sunshine. The folks at Ivels were absolutely great. The accomodations were first rate and the food was fabulous, quite amazing considering the limited supplies on an out island.
So thanks Vince, everything you could set up went without a hitch ,even a professional outfitter can't organise the weather. Cheers, Ian and Drummond."
"We had another fantastic trip to Acklins and a comfortable stay at Ivels. Saw lots of Flamingos in front of Ivels, and Willi caught 17 bones in an hour in the flat just off the small blue hole there. We caught grouper, snapper, trigger fish, bones, shark, and small barracuda (spooked a couple big ones)...plus two tarpon. Thanks for making the arrangements at Ivels."
"Thanks Vince. Ivels was great. The place was much newer and neater than I expected. The internet functioned well from the main building allowing me to Skype from there and the Satellite TV functioned well in my room. The people at Ivels were conscientious and wanted to know where I was going. They were all very pleasant, interested in my having a good experience, wanting to have me experience their local cuisine, and do whatever they could to assure that I had a good experience. The food was excellent, significantly better than I expected on an out island. Peter, the chef prepared restaurant quality dinners nightly and was more than willing to meet my needs and my requests. The people of the island are extremely friendly and helpful. Everyone I met introduced themselves and want to know if I was having a good time. When I was walking along the road after fishing down to Ivels #2, every car that passed me stopped to meet me, introduce themselves and offer me a ride, even if they were traveling in the opposite direction!"
"Vince: We had a wonderful trip. Ivels, both the facility and the folks that run it, were wonderful.
Self guided fishing was as tough as we expected it to be. We hooked up about 12 times on our own in three days. Hiring Reno Taylor as our guide was the best move we made. He is a very nice gentleman with good bonefishing skills, and both my wife and I enjoyed his company."
"Vince, thank you for introducing me to the spectacular opportunity Inagua offers to the DIY flyfisher, to wade for and hook big Bones and Tarpon in the same day! Our accommodations were convenient, clean and well tended; the food was fresh and plentiful; and all of the people we met were friendly and delighted we were there. But above all, the vast flats we had to ourselves day after day made the trip remarkable. I have been to other islands in the Bahamas, and this was well worth the visit. I plan to go back!"
"Hi Vince, I'm back at Orange Hill laying over 'til Tues. Had a great time at Ivels. The operation is 1st rate, really wonderful people. Had dinner the last nite with Velma and Eunice & also Peters wife. Velma treated us to breakfast on getaway day. Fishing was good though a front came thru Thurs/Friday & temps dropped and wind blew. . . . Paul did get a small Tarpon at Pestel's in the corner by the turn to Chesters. We saw a bigger one maybe 7-8 lbs chasing bait in the same area. If theres small ones there must be bigger ones. Sedy at the gas station told us a big Tarpon was landed by a local on the ocean side.
This was received December 12, 2012 from a group of four anglers staying in the bonefish suite at Ivels:
"Thanks for the email. Weather has been poor, very windy and lots of clouds. Been catching fish. Amazing fishery. First place I’ve been to where you can spook fish and still catch them!"
"Vince, thanks for helping my brother Keith and I put together an excellent DIY Bonefish trip on Eleuthera! Keith had his wife with him, and I my fiance. The girls had a wonderful time soaking up the sun, bathing the beaches, and drinking Kaliks, while we fished much of the time away. The package information you provided was invaluable, helping us to find some real good Bones that would eat. With comfortable accommodations, good restaraunts, and the girls enjoying themselves, I think we'll be back again soon!"
"Hi Vince, For your information, the trip exceeded all my expectations. Jim Dowd, in particular, did everything he could to make us comfortable. The patience he showed with me (no prior bonefishing experience) was incredible. I cannot say enough about him. Ivel's was very clean and comfortable, and they treated us very well. Tom Anderson was an excellent companion. In all, the trip was just about perfect. Even the airlines performed well. What more can one ask for? Were are both thinking of going again next year. Keep us informed. Thanks"
Martin Custodio-Pawtucket, RI
"Hi Vince, we had a nice trip. Weather was great and so was the fishing. Your maps & descriptions were excellent. We checked out almost all the locations, some of them we did not fish. All the fish (bones) were on the atlantic side. The tide cycle was in our favor with an incoming tide in the evening and morning for several days. The woman who manages Unique was great, very accommodating. The rental car worked out great. We did the best in Savannah Sound, Winding Bay, and Deep Creek(plum creek) did not hit Deep Creek at the jetty at the right tide I think it would have been excellent. Nothing at Tarpum Bay, Ten Bay, Princess, Club Med, Double Bay, Balmar. Bought our fuel from Paradise Automotive (gas station just as you come in to Palmetto) takes credit cards for fuel and the owner fishes. He is open all the time. Actually, ran in to him one night in Savannah Sound, very nice guy. Vince the gear list (fly list) was excellent. Olive & brown/tan shades of gotchas & charlies worked the best for us. Overlooked the gravel guards, a mistake. We brought bug dope, glad we did, they were a nuisance. Thank you for all the info you provided. Also am reading your email newsletters and we are interested in the Acklins trip as some point. Thanks again."
John Tarrant-Cleverdale, NY "Vince, we had a very good trip. The folks at Ivels were great and took good care of us. The fishing was good. We caught some nice bones and missed more than our fair share. All in all, a successful trip. My wife caught and landed her first bone and is ready for more. Most of our shots were singles and doubles on the move and we realized that we both need to work on our casting - not as much distance as speed and accuracy. Something to keep us occupied until we get back out. Thanks for the assistance and we are already looking at the calendar for the next trip." Rob Mathai-Beaufort, SC
"Vince – I wanted to let you know how the trip went. Overall, I was very impressed with the Acklins folks, Ivel’s staff, food and accommodations, the accessibility of so many flats, and even the dinners at Rolex.
Ivel’s – That’s pretty much the best experience any of us can recall as far as staff, service, food, etc. Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. Ferguson provided fantastic food. The rest of the staff was also very helpful and friendly. I recommend branching out a bit in the morning and trying the Bahamian breakfasts offered. I don’t think you can beat it for someone on a DIY." Jason Freeman, Columbus, OH
"Dear Vince, with apologies from the terminally computer challenged, I am mailing a DVD of pics from our outstanding Acklins Island adventure. My spirit remains on Bahamas time, and the daydreams of azure & turquoise waters are ever present. My initial hope was to theoretically to learn a bit of what fly fishing for bonefish is about. In reality, it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. This trip was a life changing experience. It is doubtful I'll ever "get over" a raging case of bonefish fever. Thank you for everything you did to organize & coordinate the Acklins trip! I look forward to the next therapy session...
Cordially, Jim Dowd."Jim Dowd, Conway MA "VINCE, THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST TRIPS I WAS ON, HAD A GREAT TIME EXPLORING. EVERYTHING WAS GREAT AT IVELS!!! I'LL SEND YOU A DVD OF MY PICS AS SOON AS I GET DONE PUTTING THEM TOGEATHER. I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN RECIEVE YOUR EMAILS, I HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO FOOL WITH IT.THANKS AGAIN, LEW " Lew Abad, Buffalo NY
"Hi Vince: Thanks for putting the trip together. You ALWAYS do a great job. As a solo going on a trip like this, its a concern that the guys going might not be open to a new guy but thats was surely not the case. We had a terrific bunch of anglers and I for one would like to hit another spot with the same guys."
Gary Rotolo, CO
"Vince,sorry for the delay in responding but hit the ground running on return.Martha and I had a grand time without any hiccups.the weather was perfect only several days of high wind.I didnt fish as hard as I normally do because we spent a lot of time looking around.Savannah Sound is not a place for the inexperienced.I didnt see a fish under 5lbs.I caught several pigs on worm flies but as you know they are pressured and spooky.Saw very big tailing fish just after sun up but as soon as the sun was up around 9 or they were long gone regardless of the stage of the tide.Had great fishing in Jack's Bay but the real fishable area is small and wont accomodate more that 2 rods.Caught some fish north of PawPaw beach and at Sponge beach.Saw the 2 biggest bonefish I've ever seen in the northern end of Half Bay,double digit plus ,but blew 2 cast at them because of excitement and a tough wind.All in all we had a great time,and enjoyed the Apt. at Unique.Best Regards,Ellison." Ellison Smith, Mount Pleasant SC
"We tried several of the spots that you recommended and saw fish at all of them. Savannah proved to be the most consistent, but was very tide and light dependent, best in the morning and right before sunset. Lots of tailers in small pods and large singles (and one shark that came out of the channel, made a bee line for Matt and gave him a good scare). All in all, I think you were right on with all your comments and very well organized. The room and view were great. I think both of us would consider doing another trip with you. Many thanks again and best regards." Dr. Alan Pollet--New York "Vince- Great time. I enjoyed fishing with guide Denny Rankin quite a bit, ended up going with him Friday as well. Saw the most fish at Savannah Sound, and the biggest as well. Got one Friday that went a solid 10 lbs. Thursday I managed to hook 6 and land 2 at Savannah Sound early and then went out to Deep Creek. Didn't see any bones there but got a big boxfish, small cudas and nailed the blue runners, little grouper and snapper at the point right at the turn of the tide. Best fly was 6 tan sili gothca, caught everything on that. I never got around to fishing the beach, too many other distractions ( Kaliks, etc.) I did snorkle a few times in front of the hotel and got some great shells for the kids. Mate & Jenny's was great & great cheeseburgers at Windchimes. I didn't fish as many spots as I should have, kind of overwhelming in a way, so much to choose from. I will definitely go back. The whole trip was a terrific adventure and your services were just as advertised." John Kirk--Maine
"Vince, we had a great week on Acklin Island. We ended up getting the guide,Terrance, for all six days. He was really good and we all did well with him. We caught 57 bones w/ Terrance and 43 bones on our own. The flats Terrance fished were huge and full of large schools. Lost a few to Lemons(3) and Cudas(2). Rick found a huge school at Nancy Cove fishing by himself and caught 22 in 4 hours. Bob and I went back the next day and caught 17. It was the small sand and coral flat at the north end of the cove w/ the mangrove shoreline. Rick and Ed went back the next day but they did not show. I guess three days in a row is too much to expect. Caught a few down to the left of the lodge and way to the right at the road culvert.
Rick caught a 10+ fish and I got 2 over 8 w/ Terrance. My biggest was 27" fork length and Terrance said Rick's was several inches longer. Will get you some photos of mine. Rick did not have a camera. Rick and Ed(84 years old) fished together as did Bob and I. The food and lodge were great. Julius and Arnett were wonderful. Thanks." John Bowden, Raleigh NC "Vince, I took your advice from the FlyFishing Show in Somerset and just got back from Eleuthera last night myself. I can't thank you enough, as it was a terrific family vacation. Were you at Ten Bay Beach with your family on Friday? I thought that I saw someone that looked like I had remembered you from the show. Anyhow, I had a great week down there and would go back in a heartbeat. I managed to catch a nice big bone by accident while at Northside Beach. I was actually trying to catch a big cuda that I saw lurking. I was amazed when my wire-leadered chartruese streamer connected with a beutiful bonefish instead (dumb luck!). I did manage to actually catch a small cuda (about 24") the next day when we were down at the tip by lighthouse beach. Spent half a day with Paul Petty in Savannah Sound and got to experience a nice morning on a boat. Unfortunately as you mentioned, it was pretty windy and the fish were very finicky. I was humbled by the experience. Man! And I thought Delaware River rainbows were spooky! He dropped me off back at the library and I proceeded to catch 3 and lose 2 right in the bay across the street from the library! This was my 1st time bonefishing and I can see why people can become obsessed. It seemed to me that if you are lucky enough to find a decent school of fish, they are much more competitive to get at the fly. The ones that were cruising and/or in small groups of 2 or 3 were much tougher. I learned a few things about these critters, and can't wait to get at them again. Again. Thanks for the tip! Keep the reports coming." Ted Bergen
"Accept an invitation by an experienced angler for a bone fishing adventure. The ambiance of the Island and its people are second to none. We found it very peaceful and laid back. The barbecues on the beach at night by the local people where warm and the food and Kalik where excellent. If you were looking for quality fishing and good camaraderie I would recommend Vince in a heartbeat. One week was a tease, next year Michele and I plan on at least a 2-week sojourn. Eleuthera and its people will warm your heart as well as the beautiful April and May weather that caresses it pink sandy shores. Our first bone fishing experience will not be our last. Vince you picked a wonderful location. Thank you for making our trip so enjoyable, your patience and guidance was very much appreciated. Tight lines and long runs , Phil Roderick" Phil Roderick, Bliss NY
"Vince-thanks, that was a trip of a lifetime. (Eleuthera, Bahamas) I had a great time and really hope to get a chance soon to try it again. I appreciate your cordinating the trip and all of your help/patience with the fishing." Luke Jacobs, Buffalo NY
"Vince: We had another good trip to Eluethera, taking our college senior son, who kicked my butt, as did my wife, Bonefish Bette. Seriously, Kiel caught 4 sizeable bonefish (4 lb. category) & Bette caught one. I failed to approach the 4 pound barrier myself, but caught good numbers (8 one evening in about2 hours). I personally prefer Acklins because better numbers, numerous schools, etc. Eleuthera, to me, is a destination where you really have to work very hard to find fish, & I've seen virtually no schools, although Kiel saw several (he's younger, more stamina). Bette & Kiel fished one afternoon w/ Denny Rankin, Kiel caught one of his 4 bigger fish, & Bette lost a bigger fish. That was our only guided day. However, some friends from Georgia fished on Sunday w/ Kelsey Rankin, Denny's brother, & they liked him too. This year we really tried to hit most of the spots on your maps, & we did so, liking some places much more than others. Weather was good except for first day, accommodations fine, but did have to exchange cars when a belt went out -- Stanton was real good in getting us another vehicle quickly. Thanks for your help." Kent Duckworth, Ronan MT "Thanks for everything- I thought the trip was great. I really enjoyed fishing with and meeting new people and learning form everyone’s prior experiences with tides and other saltwater considerations. I look foreword to fishing together in the future." Rod Squires, Waco TX "Vince, I wanted to thank you for a GREAT trip. The accommodations, food, company and fishing were perfect. I learned so much from you and the other guys that I will be able to put to good use on future trips. I plan on practicing (and taking lesions) a great deal on my casting over the summer so that next year I can get myself into many more good situations. I’ll get the pictures in the mail to you in the next day or so. Thanks again. Chuck"
Charles J. Foster IV, Wilmington DE
"Hi Vince... just wanted to drop you a line and say what a great time Lew and I had. We really go into the Bones on Monday... around the south point of Winding Bay. We landed over a dozen, one at least 4.5 - 5 lbs. Plus Lew got a good thrill from a 'cuda. Hope the rest of your trip goes well and pass the same along to the rest of the bunch." Tom Olszowy, Buffalo NY
"Hey Vince, Thanks for setting us up with Henry Hugh and Inagua Outback Lodge. We had an epic week of fishing with good weather, great food and accommodations. Henry cheerfully adapted to our schedule and provided everything we needed. He also swiftly came to the rescue when two of our group got the Bronco stuck in the sand near the Lighthouse Flat. He was also knowledgeable about when and where to fish and freely offered useful advice when asked. I n short, I enjoyed Henry Hugh very much and I was more than satisfied with Inagua Outback Lodge. We caught more than enough Bones to satisfy anyone, along with some Tarpon, large Cudas, Ladyfish and several other species."
Dave Eaton--Calgary, Alberta
"Vince, My wife and I had an excellent time in Great Inagua. We enjoyed every moment of it, although I would expect you to arrange for slightly better weather another time! Let me say that Jim really made this trip. He was the perfect host, a font of information and excellent company. The fishing was all that was promised and I especially appreciated the variety of locations and fishing opportunities on the island. Lastly, let me say that Henry Hugh operates a great lodge and is great company. All in all, a great experience."
Trevor and Elaine Drew--Montreal, Canada
"Vince, It was a good trip. We had a great time, and caught fish every day. I think we barely scratched the surface of what the place has to offer. Henry and Rosie took good care of us, and I'd like to come back for more. Thanks!"
John McCall--New York, NY
"Hi Vince, A few shots from our trip. We had a top trip and Henry Hugh what a top host and boy that man can cook! We were into fish from the first afternoon till last afternoon."
"Vince - Inagua was great! This was my first salt experience and I could not have asked for a better trip. We actually stayed a few days longer and took the Friday flight home. Everything at Henry's was awesome, especially the food and he went above and beyond to help us with everything we needed.
Fishing was a 10+, blew away any expectations I had. We concentrated on the lake and creek system. That creek system is amazing, in the back on the hard bottom we landed 33 bones in 3 hours one day.
Other highlights include seeing a turtle in the back of the creek and twice in the same day having a 8' and 5' shark aggressively swim at the kayak, I actually hit the 5' on the head with the paddle.
Exceptional trip on every level, I really enjoyed the freedom of the place as well. Thanks!"
Matt Winkler -Thornton, CO
"Vince, I just want to say that the trip to Great Inagua was one of the best Bahamas trips I've ever been on. This was number ten for me ,and the trip was a ten. The acomidations at Henry's were great, along with his home made cuisine. The fishing is some of the most diverse types for different species. Wading flats for bones, to Lake fishing for tarpon, to troling a fly for cudas. The average size of the bones were some of the biggest I've seen. I also caught the biggest bone of my life. I would highly recommend Great Inagua to any diehard saltwater fisherman. Thanks again for a trip of a lifetime!"
"Go ahead...mention Inagua to your non-fishing friends. i bet they'll wrinkle a brow and say they've never heard of it, or they'll ask if it's somewhere around Africa. Even most fishermen don't know it is the
southern-most and third largest bahama island...about 45 miles east of Cuba. I suspect it won't be long before serious flyfishermen find it among the their preferred bonefish destinations. It's probably an
acquired taste and a tougher do it yourself venue than other of the islands simply because of its rugged and primitive road system that makes travel slow going and a bit jarring. Still, on the whole, the
bonefish are larger and more plentiful than I encountered on either Acklins or South Andros.
I traveled alone to Inagua in February, accepting the suggestion of Vince Tobia. owner and operator of Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters, that I would like the fishing there. Vince has been fishing in the islands for
a good while. I trust his advice, as I do Rod's...so I gave it a go for 10 days. He didn't steer me wrong.
ACCOMMODATIONS: I stayed at Henry Hugh's Inagua Outback Lodge. Very comfortable accommodations in a beautiful setting. Oceanfront and just spectacular for those who enjoy solitude. Literally, it's at the end of the road and there are no neighbors. The location on the southeast coast
is about an hour drive from the only town on the island, so there are no quick runs to the beer store. The drive is over the worst road I have encountered in the islands. unpaved, sandy, rocky, bumpy, potholed,
twisting. a bit tiring after the first few times of traveling any distance. Power at Henry's place is supplied by a generator from evening to morning. The inverter on the solar and wind power system was out
while I was there, but that wasn't a problem as I was gone fishing everyday all day. The one cabin will sleep two comfortably. It has air conditioning, wi-fi, and a satellite tv. Henry says he is building a
second cabin, but he intends to stop there as he likes the small, intimate atmosphere unencumbered by too many demands on him as a host. Henry is a splendid host and cook, and he goes out of his way to insure his guests are well cared for. He provides three good meals a day, and he doesn't skimp on portions or variety. He also pours a decent drink! Bacardi Anejo is his favorite. Vince was candid about the place...it's not for everyone, especially those needing the "ambiance" of the typical upscale flyfish lodges. Frankly, I found it a fresh and charming place...very relaxing and easy to settle in to once there. well...the cool cistern water showers (no hot water) take a bit of getting used to, but even that became refreshing after a day of fishing.
FISHING: The bonefishing was outstanding. The best I've had anywhere yet ("anywhere" is Acklins and South Andros). Lots of fish - singles, triples, and schools. I poached on one school for over an hour, picking off fish after fish. Very few of the fish were under 5 pounds. Not your typical schoolies! I never encountered another fisherman in any of the spots I ventured to from Lantern Head on the southeast coast (accessible only by boat) to the Lagoon at roads end on the northeast coast.. One of the unique aspects of Inagua is the huge interior lake system, connected to the Morton Salt Company canals. pumps, and pond operations. The lake and its canals hold ladyfish, snapper, tarpon, barracuda, snook, and bones. The winds kept the lake in a froth while i was there, but i jumped one tarpon and had several others whoosh at the fly. I think a better knowledge of the winds and pumping schedules will make a
big difference in location selections and success with the tarpon...but it was fun riding the dike-like roads around the lake looking for rolling fish. did i mention the flamingoes, the nineteenth century
lighthouse, or lovely roselle? i reckon you'll have to discover them yourself."
Jeff Miller--Greenville, NC
"Thx Vince-trip was a total success in my view. Great fishing, great company, and a very unique environment to fish for and "catch" indelible memories! Will talk to you guys soon and send some pictures."
Ian Mccormick--Ridgefield, CT
"I had a wonderful time on the trip with everyone and the fishing was great. Lots of memories, including falling into the lake, to keep me going until next year! Good fishing and best regards, Joe."
Joe Didomenico--Buffalo, NY
"Hi Henry, Greetings from Tucson! It's taken awhile to catch up on work. Here's a report on our trip:
My Dad and I recently returned from our second fishing trip to Great Inagua, Bahamas. This time we tried a DIY (do-it-yourself) package hosted by Henry Hugh. We enjoyed the trip greatly and highly recommend the arrangements.
The fishing was excellent. We landed over 50 bonefish and had many hours of action on either side of low tide. During the high tide lulls, we caught barracuda, ladyfish and jacks. We did not, however, catch any tarpon. We went to the well marked spots on the maps provided, but, perhaps on account of the heavy winds (up to 35 MPH for several days) and low water levels, the inland water was muddy milk chocolate brown. We never even saw a tarpon roll. The barracuda were fast-twitch muscle fun: short sprints and great leaps.
Henry Hugh was a most excellent host. He was genuinely interested in making sure that we were comfortable, well fed and into good fishing. It was an adventure to drive the Ford Bronco on the island's rocky/sandy roads and Henry spent some time making sure that we didn't get lost. Henry is also a very good chef: We enjoyed conch ceviche (salad), grouper and jerked chicken.
The best fishing was at the Lone Palm tree. Flats go out in either direction for a half mile or more. Classically beautiful hard sand flats for stalking and catching bones. Our most productive day was a guided boat trip up a nearby stream. The bonefish there are especially hungry and unsophisticated (some might say "stupid" even). Probably a result of not being pressured much.
The only flats fishing disappointment was the Lighthouse Flat. Much like on our last trip here, this expansive, picturesque flat was devoid of bones.
We experienced a few hurdles (high winds, muddy water and several broken fly rods at the Inagua airport, apparently the baggage truck drove directly over the packed rods, breaking the metal cases and snapping the rods (fortuitously we were carrying a few extras)), but Mr. Hugh helped us overcome those problems and allowed us to have a great fishing trip. The value for this trip is excellent. We spent less than we did a few years ago and had a much better fishing experience. We highly recommend the Inagua Outback Lodge."
Tony Payson--Tucson, Arizona
"Vince, thank you for introducing me to the spectacular opportunity Inagua offers to the DIY flyfisher, to wade for and hook big Bones and Tarpon in the same day! Our accommodations were convenient, clean and well tended; the food was fresh and plentiful; and all of the people we met were friendly and delighted we were there. But above all, the vast flats we had to ourselves day after day made the trip remarkable. I have been to other islands in the Bahamas, and this was well worth the visit. I plan to go back!"
Randy Oppenheimer--Buffalo, NY
"Hi my name is Lew Abad and I fish with Vince Tobia on a regular basis. I have fished Great Inagua a few times now and the island is by far the most productive I've been to in the Bahamas. We fished for a great variety of fish which included bonefish, tarpon, barracuda jacks and more. The island is not only is a great fishery but exploring it is also an adventure. We did lots of exploring to find new spots to fish and were rewarded with excellent fishing. The people, the accommodations and the food were great. I will be returning to Great Inagua every chance I get!"