It began as a fishing film in pursuit of a world record Bonefish on a fly rod. It ended up a document for the preservation of a fishing culture and the ecosystem that created it.
The little film that became a big favorite and started it all. The Bonefish Culture of Andros Island, Bahamas has not been experienced in full candor on camera from a native Bahamian’s point of view — until this project was completed. Filmmaker Jamie Howard does this by hitching a ride on a boat bow, setting up impromptu interviews on lobster crates, and driving the roads of the Bahamas’ least explored island. The driving force of the story is the fishing reunion of two of the best guides in the world, Andy Smith and Charlie Neymour. It is a fishing trip for them that had not occurred since childhood. As the duo pole deeper into the flats, the film digs (often in wry Bahamian style) into the native fisherman’s clandestine world. With the saltwater flats as the backdrop, Howard seeks to find the things that shaped their hearts and minds for the challenge of catching the lightning fast Bonefish with a fly rod. He also discovers how such a skill was passed from one generation to the next (despite the encroachment of an increasingly modern world).
As the journey goes deeper into the flats of Andros we go deeper into the culture of fly fishing for Bonefish. We share a rare glimpse of how native guides pursue big bonefish when they are “off the clock.” In this case, it was a pairing of two aficionados, Andy Smith and Charlie Neymour, who had not fished together since childhood. We meet the the deans of the flats – the relatives of Smith and Neymour – who cast the first flies to Bonefish. The camera follows Smith’s father,“Crazy” Charlie Smith, through the darkened halls of his Bonefish lodge as he takes us back to the roots of Bonefishing. We see Charlie Smith’s “Crazy Charlie” fly, which helped serve as the harbinger of modern saltwater fly fishing. The team’s goal of finding a world-class fish is refreshingly interspersed with the all the candid moments and adversity they experience in their pursuit of the “ghosts of the flats.” Still, what they ultimately find makes up for the wait. Note: (Note: a 5-pound Bonefish can take nearly all of a fly fisherman’s line on its first run. The world record is almost 17 pounds).