The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 12, 1999 · Page 684
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 684

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 12, 1999
Page 684
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Page 684 article text (OCR)

ISLANDS ? i I w Exuma Bonefishing is the lure, bringing sports legends, wealthy entertainers and even British royalty to this quiet Out Island. Photos by Cheryl Blackerby CAPTAIN HOOK: Bonefish guide J.J. Dames (right) looks for the elusive 'ghosts of the sea.' Exuma's Peace and Plenty Beach Inn (left) is sister hotel to the main inn, which was founded as a fishing club by Henry Flagler's grandnephew. By Cheryl Blackerby GEORGE TOWN, Exuma Bonefish guide J. J. Dames anchored his Boston Whaler in the knee-deep flats off the island's windward coast and got out his $480 G-Loomis rod. He put a thumbnail-sized fly on the line and stepped into the water. "This is such a sweet job," he said, smiling. He cast out about 50 feet, calculated the tide and current and watched the water for the swift "ghosts of the sea" the elusive , gray bonefish. knowledgeable find their way here. Most come to bonefish. They include Buffett, who flies in on his seaplane, clocking at the P and P, as it is called locally, and amusing islanders by fishing from the plane. But in spite of its famous guests and residents, who include Johnson Wax and Colt firearm heirs, Great Exuma remains much the same as when Henry Flagler's grand-nephew Lawrence Lewis founded the Peace and Plenty Inn as a fishing club in 1955. The inn got its name from the trading ship that brought Englishman Denys Rolle and 350 slaves to the island in 1783, where he built a cotton plantation. His son Lord John Rolle later gave all of his land, 2,300 acres, and his name to his freed slaves. Many present-day islanders bear his name. One was late actress Esther Rolle, of Driving Miss Daisy fame, who often returned to the island to visit relatives. Dames has guided for Lee Iacocca, Jimmy Buffett, Toronto Blue Jays manager Jim Fregosi and Giants manager Dusty Baker, who hosts a bonefishing tournament in Exuma every January. Dames took Mickey Mantle out on one of the baseball legend's last fishing trips. "He gave me the rod, and he poled the boat. He was a lot of fun," Dames said. Mantle later sent a signed baseball for Dames' son Elton. Dames is a bonefish guide at the island's main resort, the small Peace and Plenty Inn. The inn is the social center of Exuma, a 50-mile-long sliver of white sand and rolling green hills on the Tropic of Cancer. Great Exuma is one of the Bahamas' Out Islands in the fullest sense of the . word. There isn't a casino or cruise ship in sight. But the rich and LITTLE EXUMA They came to bonefish Famous visitors: Jimmy Buffett, Jack Nicklaus, Prince Philip and Hume Cronyn. Where to stay: Rates at the 35-room Peace and Plenty are $110-$150 for two, through Dec. 15; and start at $120 at the 16-room Peace and Plenty Beach Inn. Ask for a room with a water view. Call (800) 525-2210. Other islands to bonefish: Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama's West End. Information: Call the Bahamas Tourism Center at (800) 4-BAHAMA. Steventon GREAT EXUMA George Town Page 11

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