Outfitter or Lodge: Beyond The Blue Bonefish Charters. PO Box 510757. Melbourne Beach, FL, 32951.
Personal Guide (if any): D. Lockhart
Booking Agent (if any): N/A.
Trip Arrangement, (if self-guided): Contacted Bibo Jayne by email and arranged air travel with Air Turks and Caicos, brought
our food for lunch (cooler and cold drinks provided).
Problems on the Trip: None.
Highlights of the Trip: A six-pound double, tails everywhere on the falling tide when the sun finally broke.
Cost of this Trip (Excluding Airfare): $800 for two (excluding tip).
Would You Recommend This Trip to a Friend? Yes
Why? The flats are vast, fish abundant, large and wading is easy.
Are There Non-Fishing Activities: No.
If So, What Are They?
This was my fourth family Spring Break trip to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. On two previous trips my son and I had fished
with Silver Deep. They have a website (www.silverdeep.com) as well as a shop located on Grace Bay Road in Provo. The shop
stocks mostly sports/beach apparel, but carries a few good-looking but very expensive - can you believe $10 each - bonefish flies
tied by Arthur Dean, by reputation the best flats guide in Provo. Our guide both times was Arthur Dean, Jr. (“A.J.”), who is a very
competent boathandler, guide and conversationalist. We enjoyed his company. Both times A.J. took us on an approximately one hour
run to flats near North Caicos, where we saw and caught from his poled Actioncraft skiff plenty of 3-5 pound bonefish in small
group or singles.
Silver Deep charged $850 per full day then (I hear they have gone up to $900 but didn’t confirm this), plus extra if you ask them (in
advance) to furnish lunch. All in, including a modest tip and $11 for a one-day license, this amounts to $950 to $1,000 per day, by
far the most expensive bonefishing without accommodations and meals I’ve encountered on the planet. I must add, however, that
the fishing is productive and perhaps worth the cost if you are on a family vacation and can devote only one day to fishing.
I have also tried, but without much success, the various do-it-yourself options described in recent issues of The Angling Report.
This trip, I decided to try something different. Friends had recommended Beyond the Blue Bonefish Charters (“BTB”) on South
Caicos, a 20-minute flight from Provo. I made reservations ($800 for 2) with BTB by email through their website,
www.beyondtheblue.com, then booked on the first morning flight (7:20 a.m.) from Provo to South Caicos on Air Turks and Caicos at a roundtrip fare of $116. The 5:05 p.m. return would get us back to Provo in time for dinner with the family.
My family was staying in a villa on the beach at Taylor Bay on the South side of Provo. At about 9:00 a.m. the day before my
scheduled flight to South Caicos, I was on the beach casually practice casting with my saltwater 6 wt, without a fly and without my
prescription sunglasses, when I noticed a pattern of dark spots on the sandy bottom I hadn’t seen before, about 80 to 100 feet
from shore. After making about 5 casts toward these apparent “rocks”, it seemed the pattern had shifted and the “rocks” had
changed positions. My heart rate quickened when I concluded the “rocks” had to be a school of 30 or so bonefish. I was stoked! I
had never before seen bonefish in this shallow bay, where kids and dogs play in the pristine waters all day long most days.
Well, I put down the rod and raced to the house for a fly and my sunglasses. It must have taken 10 minutes to return and tie on a
#6 orange-nosed Gotcha, but when I did school was still in session! I make a couple casts and then: Boom! A hook-up! I had a
great fight from, and released in good shape, a five lb. bone – directly behind the rental villa. What an unexpected treat! Hopefully
a good omen for the next day’s trip to BTB.
Next day up at 6:00 a.m., pack some sandwiches for lunch (drinks provided by BTB) and off to the Provo airport. Parking the
rental car there for the day cost $10. The 7:20 was right on time. If you know the way from the South Caicos airport to the ramp
where you meet BTB, it’s at most a 10-minute walk; otherwise, it’s a $7 per person cab ride with Holton Lightbourne of
Lightbourne Taxi (Tel. 649-242-7716).
BTB (South Caicos Tel. 231-1703) operates an airboat (hearing protection provided). No poling here, but the wading was not
difficult. The boat operator/guide (in our case, Dwain Lockhart – otherwise known as “G” for “good”) spots fish and deposits the
anglers in advantageous positions for wading. We were fishing by 8:00 a.m. And by 9:00 we had caught fish. It was high tide and
overcast, cool and breezy, so spotting fish was a challenge, but G found them. These fish were big: 5 to 7 pounds in singles or
doubles. And the airboat could get to places a flats skiff could never reach. I liked the fact that while wading we could fish at the
same time rather than alternating, as is our pattern from a skiff. The habitat at South Caicos is vast and full of fish and seemingly
no one was fishing it except us. At about 2:30 the sun appeared, the tide was falling and we started to see tailing fish everywhere.
These fish were in larger schools. We had to knock off at 4:00 to make the 5:05 flight back to Provo, but by that time we had
caught about 40 fish between us; a highly successful outing.
As a day trip from Provo, this option is tiring for an old guy like me. It takes some doing and it’s not cheap. I would not recommend
it for a novice fly fisherman. You have to be able to see fish on your own and cast in sometimes challenging wind. But the fishing
was excellent – I would do it again!