The Flats on Deadman’s Cay

Part 3,  The Flats

The flats on Deadman’s Cay were very shallow, very clear, with mainly light-colored bottoms. Thick turtle grass, or areas of heavy coral, were notably absent. All the flats were dotted with tiny mangrove islands, varying from 30 feet long and 3 feet wide to more than twice that. Bottoms were fairly firm, making wading easy, although you occasionally hit soft spots.  Typically this meant extricating one foot, and was never a huge deal.

A Flat  on Deadman's Cay

A Flat on Deadman’s Cay

The flats  we fished typically ranged from ankle to mid-shin or so deep. Given the “skinny” conditions, it was relatively easy to see “bones” and even easier to spook them. Wading slowly and quietly was mandatory. By slowly, I mean barely moving. Failure to do so alerted “bones” to your presence a long way out. You have been warned.

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The mangrove islands attracted feeding bones.

In the deeper sections between the mangrove islands is where you were most apt to see cruising schools, particularly on the first hours of the incoming.  These fish tended to be aggressive. During the final hours of the ebb, on two occasions we saw schools of bones “circling” in a deeper area, awaiting the tide. These “circling” schools stayed a considerable time, affording you several shots. And even when spooked they would return minutes later. On rising water, feeding “bones”, including “tailers” were often very tight to the islands, sometimes right in the roots system.

In Part 4 we’ll cover flies, and equipment next


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2 Responses to The Flats on Deadman’s Cay

  1. Jim Deady says:

    What an incredible spot ! Your description of the fish sounds fantastic. If the water were any clearer it wouldn’t be there. Major envy here ! What were the temps like and were the fish on all day ?

    • Ed Mitchell says:

      The water is crystalline. When you stand still, you can feel it, but you might not be able to see it. While we were on Long Island, a wicked cold front attacked the Eastern Atlantic seaboard, some of it spilling down into the Bahamas, bringing wind and cooler than normal temperatures. Still days were in the 70’s and the water was warm. Given Long Island proximity to the equator, air & water temperatures vary very little all year.

      Bonefishing can be mondo challenging. Some would say it is the toughest angling of all. But that challenge is an allure. And the raw power of a bonefish, and beauty of the surroundings seals the deal. At Deadman’s the fish are on the flats all day. To me, they seemed most aggressive during the first hours of the incoming tide.

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