Dreaming of Bonefish

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By Louis Cahill

I’ve just wrapped up what turned out to be one of the best bonefish seasons in recent memory, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

As I write this I’m on a plane to Abaco for the last G&G Bonefish School of the season, and I’m already missing it. This was a great season and the anglers who joined the schools found themselves in the presence of some very big bonefish. A handful of them landed their biggest bones to date, a handful over 10 pounds. I can’t tell you how rewarding that is for me, especially when I have watched these anglers develop their skills and worked with them to make it happen. I caught some pretty nice fish myself this year, but it’s not my fish that make me proud. So after a season like that, what do you dream about?

I’m sure I’m far from alone in that I dream about fishing. I don’t mean aspiring to goals in fishing, I mean literally dreaming about it. I spend plenty of nights on the water, from the comfort of my bed, but over the years those dreams have evolved in interesting ways. I used to have stressful fishing dreams. Dreams where I’d be watching a strike indicator drift uninterrupted through the same run time and time again. Those were nightmares. I’ve had crazy fishing dreams, including one where I landed a fish who transformed into Kiera Knightly on the bow of the boat. Not a nightmare. Recently my dreams have been extremely detailed in the setups and presentations and most of them have been set on the flats of the Bahamas.

In these dreams, interestingly enough, I’m often not the one doing the fishing. Sometimes I’m just watching from the seat of the skiff, as I spend plenty of time doing when I’m awake. One of these recent dreams found me on the boat with my friend John Van Vleet of Scientific Anglers. John is a talented photographer and as good natured a soul as you will ever find and you’d be hard pressed to find a better guy to spend a day on a boat with. No Ms. Knightly, but a great guy.

In the dream, John and I were way back in the back country with Andros South guide Torrie Bevins. John was on the bow and we weren’t actively fishing. I think Torrie was taking a leak off the platform, when the biggest bonefish I’ve ever imagined appeared at 1:00 o’clock, swimming directly across the bow. The fish was close, maybe twenty feet off the bow and moving slowly. There were two smaller fish, only ten pounds or so, following it.

“Oh shit! John, look at that,” I whispered.

John’s eyes widened when he saw the fish and his mouth made a little O shape. In spite of being caught with his pants down, he made the most casual presentation in perfect position. I remember thinking he never expected the fish to eat, but it did. After a surprisingly brief fight, John landed a twenty-pound bonefish.

I’m not even sure what an actual twenty pound bonefish would look like but in my dream it was huge. Almost impossible to get a grip on, which I’m sure is accurate. It was beautiful and it looked at me in a really soulful way, like my dog does. Torrie was dancing on the platform. I was freaking out. John just released the fish like it happened every day.

I guess when you have one of those seasons when you see your share of ten-pound bonefish, and a couple of more shares, that’s what you dream about. Twenty-pound bonefish. I’ve decided to change my way of thinking about this. I’m not dreaming of fishing anymore. I’m calling this a premonition. I’ll be hosting bonefish schools again starting in November of 2018, Mr. Van Vleet, if you don’t show up, well that’s just on you.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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