Months after Dorian, Grand Bahama and Abaco are back in business

Both islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian are welcoming tourists back to fish healthy, uncrowded waters
Photo: Tom Rosenbauer

I’ve had a long love affair with the Bahamas and with Grand Bahama Island in particular. I’ve spent many days exploring its vast bonefish habitat—from the lush, food-rich north side with its mangrove abundance to the snotty bones that prowl the achingly clear beaches on the south side. I’ve made friends. And so I agonized, sitting in the comfort of my green little bubble in Vermont, while Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Grand Bahama—especially the East End, where the storm hovered with winds of over 150 mph on September 2nd—and stubbornly refused to move on.

Review: Aquaz DRYZIP waders

Can these zip-front waders from lesser-known Aquaz compete with offerings from more recognizable brands?
Photo: Bridger Lyons

In fly fishing – and the outdoors in general – we highly value what our friends and mentors think of the gear we use. I’d wager that more gear – rods especially – is sold based off a recommendation from a friend, than any number of reviews or ads.

That’s how I first heard of Aquaz. I was fishing with Mike James (the head guide and owner of The Quiet Fly Fisher in Loa, UT) and commented on the Aquaz waders he was wearing. I’d never heard of the brand, and it’s rare for me to see guides in anything other than the big name brands.

Skunked and sated

How should we define fishing success?
Photo: Todd Tanner

I fished this past Saturday, and again on Sunday. It was cold — mid 30s — and every once in a while the skies, which were dark and threatening, decided to dump rain on me. Rain, of course, has no place in Montana in January when, by all rights, the precipitation should be white. Still, rain is what we had.

Warm on the water: Layering for longer winter fishing days

Staying warm, safe and comfortable means longer winter days on the water
Patagonia's River Salt Jacket, R1 Full-Zip Hoody and Swiftcurrent waders (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Staying warm when fishing during harsh winter conditions means staying safe, but it also means staying on the water longer. And while self preservation might not be ingrained in all anglers, the desire to log more hours on the water typically is. But staying both safely warm and comfortable while outdoors and active during wintertime can sometimes be complicated.

Mississippi highs and lows

Plans conjured from afar are best printed on cork
Sun bursts through storm clouds off the coast of Gulfport, Mississippi (photo: Johnny Marquez).

Catch a tripletail on a fly rod: That’s the plan. But as anyone who's spent a year south of I-10 knows: plans conjured from afar are best printed on cork so at least they'd float.

At oh-my-God-it's-early, we bark tires out of south Austin headed east by southeast in a hurry. If we do well and get lucky, we’ll get to the boat slip in time for a couple hours chasing tripletail before night falls. And, I’ll see the sun set on my home of Mississippi as a tourist for the first time.