Fri Jul 19th, 2019
Special to the Drum
Not long ago, our son told us he and his fiancée were going to get married in the Cayman Islands. I congratulated them, hung up the phone, and moaned to She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO), about how much this was going to cost, and how much work it would be for me. SWMBO reminded me that as father of the groom my only responsibilities were to show up and fly fish. She was muttering other things, I couldn’t understand, as she walked away. I now wish my hearing aids had been turned up a notch. For, I had bought into that statement fly, line, and indicator.
To prepare for my week in paradise I did some research. I discovered; I didn’t need a fishing license, the beaches are public, and there was easy access to all sorts of places to fly fish. I also learned there were bonefish, tarpon, permit, snapper, and sharks. Things were looking up. Since we were staying on what is known as Seven Mile Beach, I figured I could walk out of our condo and fish for hours on end. As I have mentioned before, I once believed in the tooth fairy.
Once I had cleared customs and unpacked, I began to put my fly rod together. It was at this point, SWMBO gently told me there were, in fact, duties other than fly fishing in store for me. First, I had to go grocery shopping with her. Then a loosely organized schedule of when I would be in charge of the wild bunch was handed to me. That was followed with all the information about the rehearsal dinner. And then the reminder of the family, 18 people, boat trip we’d be taking. Fly fishing in the Caymans was beginning to look like wishful thinking. I am happy to say fly fishing in the Caymans did become a reality.
Let’s start with the family boat trip. I was told to take a fly rod because arrangements had been made to stop at an island to swim, wade, and fly fish. It’s here I learned just how smart Cayman bonefish are. As we anchored I saw bonefish, things were looking good. However, as the family started wadding and swimming the bonefish stayed in and amongst them. They seemed to know that all these people would be chumming up food for them, and I would not be able to cast a fly into the family group. I did make a futile cast, or two, around the periphery of the group.
Back at the condo I came up with a game plan to be able to do more fly fishing. My eight-weight fly rod, flies, and several cigars, went everywhere with me. That way when I had breaks from father of the groom duties, I would be ready to cast a fly. I have to say this plan worked.
I was able to wade in front of our condo, in short spurts, and made lots of casts to very educated and elusive fish. It was great. On one two-hour break my son-in-law stood on the deck of the pool and directed me to a pod of bonefish. I followed and cast to these fish, with no success. I was talking to my son-in-law about this and he mentioned that the bonefish were paying more attention to the two sharks swimming around them than the flies I was casting. I stayed out of the water for a little bit.
I did hire a professional guide for the last morning of the trip. I asked one of my best friends, who had never done any saltwater fly fishing, to go with us. We hadn’t been on the water for 20 minutes when my friend hooked, and landed, a snapper. What a great day!
Now that the last child is married I am looking forward to going back to the Caymans to fly fish all day, every day.