The Story

Big Hole River 1780 cfs

The Big Hole seems to be a roller coaster flow the past few days ranging from 1500 to 2000 cfs. The visibility remains about the same. There were a couple wade fisherman above the house yesteday chiucking streamers and picking up a few fish.

This is the story told to Linda, my roving reporter on Andros directly from Art’s mouth. I only had to a wee bit of editing.


The anticipation of a trip to the Joulters is always an exciting prospect and a day like we had with Clifton our guide, who is also a full time Pentacostal Preacher, turned out to be more than we hoped for. He took us to a place he called “Herman’s secret spot and swore us to secrecy. We parked the boat and waded the flats for qwuite a ways without seeing anything and then the sight we encountered before us was unbelievable. We could see bonefish tails in every direction oa far as we could see. Thre were literally thousands of then=mn. We immediately got into them and started catching fish and as it turned out the average one was 7 pounds. They were all huge. The second one I caught turned out to be the boner of a lifetime…a 10 pounder ….backed by a 9 pounder. Then the most amazing thing happened. I hooked a bone and played it out real good…had the fish circling me when all of a sudden a 5 ft shark appeared and instantly all hell broke out. When it looked like the shark was going to get the fish I yarded on the line to break it off to let it go. I was too late. The shark was already on him. Then all of a sudden there was a huge geyser of water and swirl of mud. The preacher started screaming words like I never heard in any church before then started running toward the shark and immediately jumped on the beast and started beating the shit out of him kicking and punching til the shark must have figured the wrath of god was upon him and fled for his life. I think that’s where the precher turned guide. Clifton turned around and looked for the fishwhich was headed in the opposite direction by then, chased him down and caught the guy with his bare hands and brought him back to me with that huge Bahamian grin. My special fly along with a short piece of chomped off tippet was still in his mouth. I couldn’t even speak. Where was my video camera?

The day continued with 15 bones over 6 lbs. I had gone to heaven and didn’t even have to die to get there. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.


  1. OK, I’d buy this story…..except that every Bahamian I’ve met is scared s____less of sharks. So, the part about it being 5′ long must be suspect. I’d guess 3′ is closer to the truth. One also must question the quantity & size of the bonefish, Lets see, its been 3 or more days since the day in question so the story has gotten exagerated by at least 30%. Depending on how many hanky pankies Art had before telling the story to Linda and how many vodkas she had, we can only assume that there is room for reasonable doubt. Therefore, we could have a great start on another fictional fishing story. The only way to really confirm the veracity of this tale is if Clifton would comment personally (with impartial wittnesses present).

  2. john bradford

    One hell of a story! I don’t know how one could even make that one up, so it must be true. I’ve only fished for freshwater fish, mostly in montana and in north carolina in my youth, so don’t know much about bonefish, but that sounds like a tough way to catch one. a day in paradise for Art, but a day in hell for the shark.

  3. Speedo, You have a very good point and I’m inclined to question the amps also.
    Linda is working on getting an exclusive, non biased story from Clifton himself.
    It’s going to take a little under handed means but we gotta get the whole story, the truth and nothing but the truth.

  4. Thanks for the reply on the global warming deal.. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just “flip a switch” when the weather got chilly out of season? Great stories and keep em coming!!

  5. goodmorning all from spokane wa. art and i arrived last night at 1:00 a.m. long trip. for those of you that make the trip down be very wary of nwa and bahamas air. when going down to the island things went without a hitch. the way back was a different story. my son sean called the day of their departure and was stuck in fort lauderdale overnight. bahamas air got them to ft lauderdale o.k. but required them to pick up their bags and then recheck them in with nwa. they had a 35 min window. needless to say they missed the flight back to spokane. upon hearing this art and i insisted to bahamas air to check us and our bags thrue to spokane. they were very rude and said that they had no partnership with nwa and that was that. upon departing nassau we told the flight attendent about our problem and was very sympithetic to our problem. upon arriving in fort lauderdale they got art and myself off as soon as the plane came to a stop. we ran to the baggage claim and for a great stroke of luck our bags came off first. looking panicked; a porter must have saw the look and aproached us and said “you guys are late” he grabbed our bags and the race was on. the guy new every shortcut to nwa. we got to the counter and the gal did a great job and got us to the plane as the doors were being closed. must be all that clean livin that art and i had led on the island. well; a guy can dream cant he? our last 2 days on the island were very good. we fished somerset with a little luck but very…..bad visibility. clouds wind and rain for most of the day. got back to hanks ate dinner, drank heavily and then i was off to the poker game in hanks office. myself, hank, audry, john, harry and chuck were playing some gutsy stuff. 7 holdem, 8 card and the likes. late in the evening we were playin 8 card and hank had a flush. audry had a full house as well as john. as the betting got larger and larger john flipped the last card. i only had about 40 bucks left on the table so i’m grabbing for more out of my pocket. FOUL! had to play table stakes. threw my 40 in and all called and raised. flipped our cards and to everyones amazment tony had a royal flush in clubs. how sweet is that. lol hank went ape shit and he had the weakest hand in the bunch. very fun and did i have a headache the next morning. we all did! the next day linda; our terrific guide landed us two seats on the autec helicopter. went south and saw the north, middle and south bytes. absolutely beautiful. the emensity of the place is overwelming. saw schools of bones cudas and sharks. wish i could forward pictures. if anyone would like some just e-mail your address and i will send them to you. with regards to the preacher and the shark. all very true with maybe a few wee stretches. you all know as well as i do; good fisherman are even better story tellers. with that said; hope all is well and tight lines. tone the bone.

  6. Well Speedo, what the hell… I get to work on Monday morning after a grueling weekend here on the last frontier only to read your comments that seem to be full of “reasonable doubt”. Now let me tell you… I first heard Art’s story the very next day, and the man was cold stone sober, and had been for at least a few hours, so your 3 day/30% thing is way off. 10% I think would be very acceptable in the fisherman’s world… we will find out the true exaggeration factor when I do the exclusive interview with Clifton and any impartial witnesses I may be able to find in Bowen Sound. By now that shark may be at least a 14-footer, but you gotta admit, it was a pretty ballsy act. Of course, being a preacher and having the Man on your side would definitely help. You, who can’t even pick up a little defenseless crab without getting closer than 9 feet should appreciate that. Art, where are you? You’re not gonna defend your reputation on this one?

  7. I will never fly Bahamas air again. I had to have paper tickets printed for my trip this past March, which screwed me up on my way down there when the airline decided to change flight times but somehow I wasn’t “notified” before I left only to panic the day before when I checked in…….long story there but then on my return flight as the engines fired up on Nassau runway we start going forward and then POW, a loud pop and the plan lurches forwards then backwards then NOTHING. Dead with no power. Needless to say several hours later and a missed connection we finally got out of Nassau on a different airline.

    Fortunately I was on a 10 day slow-burn from the trip so what could bother me after that, right? It’s all good mon. But lesson learned, no more Bahamas air for this cat. I’d heard enough bad about them before and should have known.

  8. For all you foreigners coming to the Bahamas… here we call Bahamas Air “Bahamas Scare”. Spirit Air is great… flys from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau and is cheap. Never had a problem with them yet. Also Western Air and Gulfstream fly here. Definitely ditch the Scare.

  9. Linda I heard that too, but at the time of booking it was the best connection I could get. And the kicker was the only time bahamasair was involved in the whole process was one leg of a return flight from nassau to lauderdale. The rest was all US Air, but because of bahamasair’s antiquated systems it screwed everything up (had to issue paper tickets instead of everything going online) from the start. How about going to do the e-checkin the night before your flight leaves at 7am to find out they changed the flight time on you in the morning and you can’t make your connection in Philly. I was a close to a panic attack as I ever will be.

    I should have known better, and won’t make that same mistake again. Thanks for the heads up on Spirit

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