The next morning came early and we decided to all fish together, starting at the small island where Kyle and I had found the big permit the day before. Five minutes into the session, Cameron had a shot at two big ones. Five minutes later, another permit bit but pulled the hook on the initial run. Then, not five minutes after that, he hooked yet another permit. This one would not get away; I helped Cameron land the trophy, his first.
Around noon the pushing tide ended the permit session, so we settled for some line pulls from a huge school of bonefish on an edge where the flat dropped off toward deeper water.
After a late lunch, the tide was our friend, the setting sun our enemy. For the last two hours, the fishing became red-hot. Shoals of bonefish, pods of permit and schools of milkfish fed in skinny water over mostly white-sand bottom. There were times I did not know which way to turn for my next shot.
Then it was time to go. At an hour till sunset, we had a 30-minute slog back to the inflatable and a 40-minute run to get back to Aman’i, including a coronary-inducing pull of the ducky over a nearly dry flat. Perhaps not surprisingly, the bones were easy, the permit impossible and no one had a milkfish fly.
On the third day, as we were dragging the inflatable across a flat, an unexpected call came in on the handheld radio. Keith had come over from Desroches on Flyer, a 30-foot Citation and one of two fast boats in the arsenal, with four lodge clients who wanted to bonefish. No holiday today; the boys were officially on duty. So I went along with Keith and his client, and everyone tested bonefish for the rest of the day.
“So what happened with you and FlyCastaway?” It was late into my visit and I’d finally found the stones to ask Keith the million-dollar question. We were relaxing at the bar after completing the best day of permit fishing I’d ever experienced, having lost the one while wading with Kyle. It was now or never, yet part of me was not sure I’d want the answer. I had gotten to know Keith’s former teammates at FlyCastaway and didn’t want to feel like I was picking sides by being on Desroches with another company.