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May 07, 2009

Fishing's Grand in the Northern Bahamas

Walker's Cay may have closed, but the Northern Bahamas still rock

We had yet to hit the mother lode  of 'hoos that we knew we were  somehow narrowly missing. We ran the backside (west) of Walker's toward the notch off Matanilla because the seas were calmer and we wanted to troll that side of the shoal. Doyle placed his wire-line bait about 130 feet behind the boat; the braided-line bait ran about 200 feet back; and a third flat line streamed out 250 feet.

Flying fish skimmed the surface next to the cruising 34. The water color seemed a deeper blue, and clouds had begun to form. "It's gonna happen," Doyle said, turning to address Dave Bertolozzi from Yo-Zuri lures. "Here's your low light, Dave. They bite better when the light's a little lower."

Rain squalls began an intermittent march across the horizon. The 34 and 39 continued their serpentine paths, sometimes disappearing from each other's sight as the rains came.

The Bull Run hooked up in 350 feet of water at about noontime and boated a 15-pounder. A decent 'hoo hit our deep cone-head lure, but we lost it at boat-side.

As seas piled up, we pulled lines and reluctantly left. Halfway to Palm Beach, Smith spotted two frigate birds and a school of porpoises. We dropped lures and trolled up one more small wahoo.

We neared the Jupiter Inlet at the end of a busy Saturday. Boats jockeyed for position in a parade toward the drawbridge. Radios blared and children squealed as people lined the     jetties and the waterfront park.

The sea of humanity erased some of the easy camaraderie of the previous days, but it enhanced the memories of that still-magical place, that northernmost island where time slows and the only amplified sounds come from wind and waves.