We took a trip on May 16th of 2013 with Simon Bain's company. I am not sure I will have enough room here to explain what an absolutely horrible experience it was - but I will try.
A key point was that the day was beautiful with sunny skies, a temperature of about 84, and slightly breezy - this is important when you see Simon's response.
Booking: We booked a trip for 8 people and were scheduled to have 4 boats. For our personal boat, we requested both fly equipment and spinning as we do not have a great deal of fly experience. The day cost $700 per boat - $2,800 total.
Arrival: When we arrived, we were notified that there were only three boats and that one of our crew was going to go on a wading trip (he still was charged the same amount).
Equipment: On the way out, our captain (who was not a regular) asked about our fly fishing experience. We explained our situation and he uttered an expletive and said "Simon didn't tell me that, we don't have bait for spinning". We also only had one fly rod. The other two boats had to split one fly rod between them, but luckily one of the quys brought his own.
TILT: Upon arriving at the first flat, we discovered from our captain that the trim on the boat was broken and that we were going to have trouble getting into the flats. To somewhat counter this, he had my friend jam the boat in reverse causing the engine to kick up and then the captain and I jammed a 2x4 between the engine and the transom to gain some tilt. This had to be repeated several times throughout the day and eventually the 2x4 cracked from repeated abuse. Later in the day, we got in the water and manually lifted the engine high enough to use the trailering bracket to keep it high out of the water.
CONSOLE: We were fishing on Simon's ActionCraft, which is a small center console flats boat. In this particular boat, the screws holding the console to the actually hull of the boat were stripped and several were missing. This may not sound like a big deal until the captain stuck his foot in the water at speed causing him to fall back and actually separate the entire console from the boat. We later tried to fix the boat by rounding up screws and reinserting them into the stripped out holes - it didn't work.
BATTERY: On our return trip back to the docks, we encountered some chop that resulted in a somewhat rough ride for us - not a problem in and of itself. The problem arose when we were cruising at speed and the boat came to an abrupt halt causing the captain to tumble over the console. Turns out, the battery cables were not tight and the jolting caused them to separate from the terminals. Probably wouldn't have been a huge issue if we had tools to tighten the clamp. Oops - no tools. We must have encountered this issue at least 10 times before the captain pounded the clamp with a piece of wood, flipped the clamp over and wedged it on the terminal. We made it back.
HULL: While at anchor, the bilge ran almost non-stop. This was due to what must be cracks in the hull that caused it to leak like a sieve. What is funny about this, is that it must have been a known issue because they had created a "hot wire" to the engine so that the battery could run the bilge as needed. To start the engine, the captain did not use a key - he actually had to get into the battery compartment and "hot wire" the boat to start it. WHO DOES THIS?
FISHING: With all this going on, the day probably would have worked out if we had actually seen some fish. We left the dock around 9:00 Thursday morning. We saw our first fish at 3:00 pm. Alright, game on, right? NOT. The fish were tucked back in the mangroves and there was no way to successfully cast at them; if we had actually hooked a fish, there is no way it would have been landed. The only hit all day came from a cast the captain made - the fish popped off in the mangrove.
Prior to posting this for future customers to review, we did reach out via email to Simon to see if we could resolve our issues as he was not waiting for us when we returned to the dock. We explained our day in full and here is his latest response - this is unedited".
"Ever one hook and see bonefish first time also e ver one made it back safe. Please note these clients first time bone fishing. My guides work hard I no that. Yes one boat centre console come lose bad weather. No one got hurt or was kill that day everyone hook bone fish. I was on the beach waiting on all the boat I was it the dock when all the boat leave simon bain catching bonefish nassau
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device available from BTC."
If I had known that a successful fishing trip was based on whether you get hurt or die, then maybe I would have adjusted my expectations prior to leaving the dock.
This is a highly accurate account of our trip and is provided so that hopefully you don't make the same bad mistake we did.