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The Future of Walker's Cay

The Future of Walker's Cay

Growing up in South Florida, the Bahamas have always been a favorite escape. And as a kid, no place was more alluring than Walker's Cay. It was like a Safari Lodge for salty fisherman. And it didn't matter if you were on a sportfish or center console. Chasing Marlin, Grouper or Bonefish. Everyone knew each other and there was a real sense of community among all the locals and visiting fisherman(many of later were there almost every weekend).

Walker's Cay was just far enough from Florida and just small enough to go unchanged for decades. As the rest of the Abacos boomed with development and tourism, Walker's small size and private ownership allowed it to keep its charm and personality. 

When I was 10 I caught my first bonefish right off Walker's. I remember my friend Dave Lee and I running a small Dolphin skiff from the marina to Great Sale and fly fishing all day for bonefish, barracuda, and sharks. We went out for a day with Billy Black on the Duchess and caught wahoo and Mahi just off the reef. And coming in I'll never forget seeing swell hit the reef in the pass and breaking, the first surfable outer reef break my eyes had ever seen. In college, Jason Norcross and I spent 5 weeks in the Walker's Marina on his dad's 31 contender. We set up a tent on the bow every night and slept on air mattresses. We had a $69 window unit plugged into shore power and setup to blow cold air on us. And we spearfished all day every day. It was one of the most formative trips of my life. And that 31 contender was named The Headhunter and it became the namesake for our brand when Jason and I started Headhunter Spearfishing in 2002. 

All that changed in 2005 when hurricanes devastated the island. With the hotel and marina in shambles, the Island was closed to the public. And has remained closed. But it looks like there is about to be another chapter written in the Walker's Cay story. A press release this week announced that Texas businessman and philanthropist Carl Allen has purchased the island and will soon begin a “phase one development plan”.

Not a lot of details were given regarding his plans for the island, but he did mention that he has been going since he was 12 and has a love for Walker's and the surrounding community. I hope he can steer this project in the right direction and restore Walker's to its former glory. 

 

2014 Bahamas Spearfishing Expeditions was a huge success!

headhunter spearfishing slings bahamas expedition
We found some amazing spots over the 3 weeks of diving!

For those of you that don't know what the Bahamas Spearfishing Expeditions are, here is a summary. We setup a live-aboard boat for a month in the Bahamas and we took it to some very remote places. Places so remote we had to use chartered airplanes to get people there. From April 22 to May 17 we covered about 500 miles of reef through the Southern Bahamas. Places like Andros, The Ragged Cays, Mira Por Vos, and Crooked Island. We dove some incredible places, shot 10 world records, and ate like kings. I am sad that it is all over, it was truly a trip of a lifetime. Can't wait to do it again next year!

 

headhunter spearfishing bahamas expedition

One of the best parts of this trip was how much gear we had. We had tons of float lines and floats for everyone, slings with or without reels, polespears, gopros, etc. So guests could bring a minimal amount of gear and still be able to do whatever they wanted. For many of the guests, this was their first time using a polespear with a float and float line, so it was a great learning experience.  And we had tons of cable, crimps, and all the other tools and parts to make sure everyone's gear was working. Every afternoon the guides would go through the guests polespears and slings and sharpen tips, freshen up cable, staighten shafts, etc. The fish of a lifetime could have been around any corner and everyone was prepared!

A deep bluewater coral head

 

Our days started by waking up to a killer breakfast and relaxing on the back deck of the mothership. After that we would walk 20 feet and get onto our dive boat for the day. Our gear was already loaded and ready to go, no wasted time. We had a 36' sportfisherman with a dive platform, a new 25' contender and a 25' mako at our disposal. There was also a 17' skiff we could use for shore excursions. 

A nice Andros Black Grouper shot on the wall. 

Most days we would start our diving with warm ups on the shallow patch reefs. Diving between 10 and 25 feet, these areas where loaded with mutton snapper and hogfish. After we had dinner in the boat and everyone was warmed up, we would head out the the drop to look for seamonsters.

We really put the Guerrilla slings to use over the last month!

We setup the Guerrilla Slings with removable reels so we could free-shaft in the shallows then switch to a reel in the deep. It was a very effective tool. 

We spent at least half of every day on the drop. The reef edge varies so much throughout the Bahamas, and we put almost 500 miles of reef under our hull. We dove everything from gentle rolling drop offs to vertical walls. Some spots were deep and had huge boulders, other spots came up from 600 feet to 30 feet. We even found inshore blue holes that were 144 feet deep!

 

A particularly fishy section of wall in Mira Por Vos.

 

 

This was a blue hole in the middle of a 20 foot deep reef! The boat's depth sounder read 144 feet at the deepest part. You can even see it on google earth:

 

Our daily afternoon ritual. Cold beer, soft cusions, and shade!

 

I don't think we had a day with less than 80 foot visibility, and we had 200 foot vis in some areas! The cleanest water I have ever seen.

Headhunter guerrilla slings and predator pole spears in action! 

 

After six days of diving a few guys needed to dry out, so they hit the bonefish flats.

 

This whale shark was swimming under a school of 10 lb yellowfin tunas

 

Just about everyone landed stud hogfish on their trip.

 

the sharks in Crooked are a little agressive!

Not only did we find some crazy reefs, we also stumbled upon this ship wreck. Hopefully it will still be their next year. For more information on how to join one of our 2015 trips, sign up for our newsletter or email us!