Publish date:

'Mother' Was a Home at Sea


Looking at a map of Florida and the islands to the east, a fisherman feels that he can reach out and touch the sandy spits of the Bahamas from the shores of the mainland. Artist Tom Allen and his Florida fishing companions had always considered the reach too short and had taken all their trips farther afield. But last summer they decided to drop a line in their own backyard, and they chose the Curly Cut Cays off the southern tip of Andros Island. An armada of five boats set forth on the two-week jaunt, camping five adults and four brand-new high school graduates. A 50-foot twin diesel, appropriately named Mother, was their home at sea. She carried provisions and fuel for herself and the outboard motors of four 22-foot Aquasports. In the Curly Cuts the group found excellent reef fishing and trolling in the deep water, and the flats among the keys surged with bonefish, not enormous as bonefish go, but after fighting them on spinning tackle using four-pound line for an afternoon everyone was glad to head home to Mother.

Wash waved from Mother's outriggers in the sun; at evening outboards and the children came home.

On the trip down we made our last refueling stop at Driggs Hill. It was not much of a hill, and there was not much to buy at the Hatchet Creek Shopping Center, but there was a rickety jukebox on the dock that took us back to the '50s.

Even on squally days bonefish were numerous. The most productive spots were found near the mouths of creeks in the mangrove islands.