I Think It's a Jack
We were following the channel of the incoming tidal flow as it pushed over the spine of the outer cays into the immense inner bay, hoping to meet bonefish nosing in to cruise, troutlike, dorsal and tails fins waving over the thin sheet of water that would cover the mud marl among the mangove bushes. We met them at the inner border of the cay when deeper water of the bay beyond came into sight. The channel turned left ahead of us out of sight behind a large isloated mangove tree to avoid an eelgrass bar, barely flooded yet. Even the channel was too thin. The boat scratched to rest on a hard coral ridge. Riega got down off the poling platform to wade, pull the boat back and manuver it around a kink in the channel. Then, in the water up to his knees, he pointed to the left.
“Tailing bonefish, nine o’clock, fifty feet”, he said.
I saw the fish, contently going around in small circles in the mud.
“There’s something coming up the channel, way off down there,” Dave said, pointing roughly at the grass bar. Two dark backed shapes were pushing bow waves, larger, much larger than bonefish, moving fast and purposefully, right at us.
“Look like sharks, or maybe big snappers”, I said. Actually I was thinking to myself that they reminded me of trevally at Christmas Island. But this was the carribean.
“I think they’re jacks”, I corrected myself. A jack would not be likely to take this bonefish fly, actually a Bitters, a small Belizean crab pattern, I thought to myself, but a snapper might.
“Tailing bonefish, cast now”. Riega insisted from the water, screened from what we
were seeing..
“We’ve got something coming up the channel”, I explained. “I don’t know what they are though.” God, they’re coming fast, just like jacks. What the hell, I can catch another bonefish anytime this week. I would really like a big jack or even better a snapper. I better get my cast out there.
Two false casts, a decent lead, a little windage, gentle plop, the Bitters pattern hit the water ten feet ahead of and a little beyond the path of the dark line under the bow wave. The current flow and sink would bring it into an intercept with the fish. Actually just about perfect. One strip. Right.....there.
The fish stopped. The line came tight.
“Holy shit.”
“What is it?” Riega asked loudly. From his wading position behind the boat and me, he obviously
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