World-Class Bonefishing

World-Class Bonefishing

Above: Captain Ronnie Sawyer

For avid anglers, stalking “phantoms” is one of the most challenging and rewarding of all fishing adventures, an experience The Bahamas intend to protect and preserve for generations to come.

It was 45 years ago, when Jerry Lavenstein, a Virginia Beach sportsman, and his Bahamian guide Ansil Saunders headed out on the Bimini mud flats to cast their luck and chase some bonefish. Waiting silently in the gin-clear waters were small schools of the wily Grey Ghosts that have long frustrated saltwater light tackle and fly fishermen with their stealth, smarts and speed from Grand Bahama to Abaco and Great Inagua.

Stalking bones in “skinny water” is an art—part patience mixed with technique and an eagle-eyed guide that can pole the angler close and not spook the prey. The rest is up to the fishing gods and some good luck.

Lavenstein and Saunders hooked onto immortality that day in 1971 with a record catch, a 16-pound monster, caught just 300 yards from the docks of the historic Big Game Club in Alice Town on Bimini—the largest ever landed in The Bahamas and Florida and still a species in the all tackle and men’s 12-pound line test world record.