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Rod Hamilton

March 20, 2014

The Girls vs. Mr. Bonefish – Abaco

I’m in the fortunate position of being able to talk “fishing” everyday with people from all around the world.  So I have a fairly decent feeling for the demographics of our sport.  I don’t see a lot of women on the flats, but certainly am encountering more.  At this point most that I know of use the services of a guide, but walking the flat on their own is starting to creep into their fishing days.

I heard from Julia Wheeler and Mary Eastburn from Delaware who were recently fishing in Abaco.  As with most DIY’ers they divided up their days between a guide (Buddy Pinder) and wading on their own around Casuarina Point.

What follows is the guest blog, that Julia agreed to write.  The pictures were taken with Buddy, with whom they were quite successful, but they did catch fish on their own, just didn’t get any pictures.  I look forward to seeing them on the flat one day.


“Fly fishing started for me in high school, with a beautiful blue rod and reel combo from Roses Department store in Aiken, SC – a Martin fiberglass rod, automatic reel, with fly lines that required wax to float well.   I learned to roll cast in the back yard following the diagrams that came with the rod. Fly fishing wasn’t so popular in my neighborhood in the ’70’s! Small pieces of wood became little poppers, with a Dremel motor tool, rubber bands, blue jay feathers and airplane paint.

Julia in the Marls

Julia in the Marls

After college, graduate school, jobs and travel, I picked up that rod again 20 years later and got serious about learning the sport, including fly tying. Trips to grand places like New Zealand, Mexico, Idaho and Montana helped!

This past January, my friend Mary and I spent two glorious weeks at Casuarina Point on Great Abaco island in the Bahamas, fishing for bonefish on the fly. I had heard of Casuarina Point from my friend Lisa, who has been fishing there for bones for several years. Having just retired after 29 years, I was ready to find a place where I could return to my “next career” – a love of fishing, unplanned adventures, beautiful places, and the quiet calm that nature gives.

Julia with Buddy Pinder

Julia with Buddy Pinder

It was a wonderful trip!  I learned a lot about flats fishing, casting in the wind, sighting skittish bonefish, and keeping it all together when the fish were closing in and everything seemed to go wrong!   I met some wonderful people, including my new fishing buddy Ben from Paris.   My favorite moment was the last morning walking the flats, sun high, no wind, when we each hooked a nice bone on small tan and white Clousers I had tied!  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Thanks Julia, you have captured the essence of bonefishing in very few words.  Wading on a beautiful morning and catching them with your own fly.  What a wonderful memory to take back home.  Thanks for sharing.

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