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Bahamas gear needs? (Andros, bonefish)

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"I'm in a burb of SLC not far from you. The snow zone this time of year. We should hit the water sometime once it warms up. I am not a fan of de-icing guides. "


Cool, this time of year is the only time I fish the Green or the Lower Provo anymore, just for the solitude. What shop do you hang at? I can be found on occasion at Western Rivers, Fish Tech and Trout Bum 2. Going to attempt to be at the opener of the Box on Henrys again this year, try to catch the big stones. PM me sometime.


Cheers, Futzer.





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It occurred to me that I never posted an update post trip, so here it is!!


Okay, so I flew out of Chicago, which about an hour drive for me. Left Sunday morning at 7 AM or so, and landed in Nassau at 1:30 in the afternoon, where I met up with the rest of our group. After a quick jaunt through customs, we had a hour and half layover before our charter flew us the rest of the way from Nassau to Andros. The total round trip price for the flights was $490 including the charter. We landed in Andros, and the owner of Mt. Pleasant lodge picked us up in his van (he is also a Taxi driver). The cab ride to the lodge was about $120, and there were 6 of us, so $20 a piece for a 25 minute ride, we also stopped and picked up a case or two of Kalik.


Here is the Mt. Pleasant lodge:




There is room for 10 at least, but we had the whole place to ourselves. The food was really good, all fresh caught fish each day from the island. We had steamed konch, spiny rock lobster, snapper, grouper, and a bunch of other fish. After the first night they saw how much we ate, and started giving us huge mounds of food, more than I could really finish, but I am a small guy, I still stuffed it down. Breakfast everyday was great other than some weird hash they tried to feed us one morning. Lunch consisted of two sandwiches, a piece of fruit, and some chips along with two bottles of water each day for fishing, which was plenty given our weather conditions.


We had weather in the 70s each day from January 18th-25th. Midweek there was a coldsnap in Florida and the temperature dipped a little, but did not affect the fishing too much. Now for the fishing. The main geographical feature you fish around is called the White Bight. It's a giant tidal sand dune that floods twice a day, with a bay that stays underwater to the south of it, a peninusula that borders the east of it, and the mainland to the west. The north is open to the ocean, although not particulary deep, somewhere between 3-6 feet with a few more sand bars.


This is the White Bight looking to the east at the peninusula an hour or so before high tide. Tim Landwehr who owns Tight Lines of DePere, WI is in the photo, and he was my fishing partner each day.




The wind was consistent at 20-25 mph every day, with a few days gusting to 35 mph. It was tough to deal with considering the mobility of the bonefish. On the first day we walked the flats on the eastern side of the peninsula at first light. We saw one big bone roaming alone, but neither one of us caught anything on that side. We worked our way to the White Bight, and got into the bay on the southern end of it where we had schools of bones of about 20 fish a piece. I had two take the fly on this first day, but due to inexperience never really hooked up. Tim landed a nice one on the Bight later that afternoon.




After wading about 6 or 8 miles of flats that day, we were pretty tired, but not tired enough to dig into the beer:




The second day went much the same as the first, although I hooked up for real that day. I lost the fish though, foolishly breaking off what was probably the biggest fish any of us would catch while wade fishing that week. Tim landed fish consistently, although he was making casts of 70 feet into the headwind, something I don't have the ability to do. Typically we would see a school coming, and Tim would wait until they got in range of me, then I would make shot with Tim making one immediately after. If the school spooked or turned and got out of range, Tim often was able to get a second shot and hook a fish from the school.


The third day we worked up the western shore of the White Bight bay, and found a really nice spot where Tim and I both hooked fish from the same school at the same time. We did a bit of the bonefish dance, and both managed to land some nice fish.




Sharks were prevalent, but most were 3 foot lemon sharks, and were easilly spookable with a good poke of the rod. On Thursday while fishing we found something sitting on the coast where we had seen some big sharks the day before. Some of the sharks were at least six feet, and Thursday we saw one that had to be 10' plus. The reason they were there was this:




That morning we fished a really nice back bay without any luck, but it shows what the mangrove tidal bays are like, so here it is:




Friday and Saturday fishing was good, we caught lots of bonefish, and I had one that was in the 4-5 lb range that ran me through 5 or 6 mangroves before I was able to reign him in. We had a couple of other interesting events. On the second day Tim released a bonefish he had caught, only to have it swim about 30 yards from him and be devoured by a shark, it was a crazy mix of blood and foam in the ocean for about 30 seconds, and pretty intense to see. Saturday while fishing we spotted a barricuda within range. Tim hooked a wire leader to his crazy charlie at the bend, and tied on a blue and white deceiver that was gigantic. He made a cast of about 60 ft that landed just to the left of the fish, and started stripping away. After about 10 strips the barricuda started charging, and when the fly was about 30 feet from Tim it nailed it. The strike was intense, and within about 15 seconds the fish was 40 yards away where it leapt out of the water. Seeing a 4 foot barricuda get full air was aweseome, sadly it popped the fly. When Tim hauled his line back in his wire leader was nearly completely shredded. We saw one barricuda earlier in the week that was humongous sitting on the White Bight, but neither one of us felt like messing with it, that was a 10 weight fish if I ever saw one.


There are Blue Holes on Andros, and we went to one on Saturday morning that is within walking distance of the lodge, about 3/4 of a mile. Here it is:




This is a semi-freshwater hole, about 430 feet deep, and 30 yards across. They are actually connected to the ocean, and have a fair amount of undertow. We tried to catch some fish in their, but no luck. We did catch a fair number of mangrove snappers, grunts, and a few needlefish while fishing some little holes in some of the backwater creeks and lagoons. On the second night, just as it got dark, we had a school of what was likely 1000 bonefish swim by the lodge. I had never seen nervous water, but the ocean was dead calm, and there was a 80 yard wide patch of water churning away as the fish moved south. Most days we saw at least 200-300 bonefish, somedays far more. One of the guys in our group probably caught 30 or so on consecutive casts while standing in the same spot as school after school cruised by him. We just stood and laughed as he cranked them in. We say blue crabs like this one, who took a chunk out of Tim's rod cork as we poked at it:




He was having his way with a female crab when we came upon him, he was not happy that we interupted his nooner. Two of the guys we fished with booked guides for the latter part of the week, and Friday they spent the day targeting big bonefish in the Cargill Creek area with Charlie Neymour (sp?). They landed 15 fish that were over 9 lbs, the biggest almost 11 lbs. Fishing was excellent the week we were there, although according to the lodge owner, it's best at that time of the year. From December through February, Mt. Pleasant's flats are loaded with fish since the water in Cargill creek is too cool. As the weather warms, the Mt. Pleasant flats get very hot, and the fish move into Cargill creek, so fishing slows a little. Here is our last dinner on Saturday night:




Anyway, if any of you are interested in going there, the trip is pretty reasonable. The food and lodging is $1500 for the week. All total for me including flights, tips for the lodge staff, taxi rides, and beer I think it was $2500. I would definitely go back, there is a pretty good feeling when you catch a bonefish without a guide, and there is plenty of action each day. I would say any given day I had between 30 and 60 shots at fish, more than enough to keep anyone interested. The lodge staff was very pleasant and accomodating. Anything we needed, they made arrangements to get. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.



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It occurred to me that I never posted an update post trip, so here it is!!




RE> scaring sharks with a poke of the rod tip.

Yes, I discovered that one early on myself. 4' Lemons will sometimes cruise right at you or near-by,

often not even noticing you are there. But a quick slap of the rod tip seems to send them off

in a huge panic.


I told that to Eddy Bannister, of Lisbon Creek. Eddie said "oh ya, but when that shark turn around

and come back again, you betta run fass. You not scare him twice!"

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Great report on Andros, Ryan. I'm another Wisconsin boy who escapes to Andros every winter. Everyone’s advice has been good. I’ll just add a couple of my opinions for people doing this for the first time.


Of course, January isn't the best time to be down there, because of the weather. As you mentioned, there's the pretty constant wind and what they call "cold fronts." (It's funny to see locals all bundled up and shivering when the temperature gets down to the low 60's. I just remind myself of what it was like when I left Madison and feel really toasty warm.) I've found a 9 wt. is a little better than an 8, for punching line into the wind.


Something I wasn't totally prepared for on the first trip was the no-see-ems and mosquitoes. When the wind does die down, you can get eaten alive. And, of course, we always try to find a good lee to fish...which is where the bugs like to hang out too. Now I pack extra DEET to keep from getting bit up and a tube of hydrocortisone for when it inevitably doesn’t work.


I enjoy doing it the way you did, fishing pretty much on my own and with an occasional local guide. The organized lodge experience seems too much like work to me. You gotta get up and out on schedule, put in your eight hours (with a lunch break) and then be back by quitting time. All regardless of the weather and tides. On my own, I can pick the choicest tides and weather to be at my favorite spots. I may not spend as much time on the water as the lodge people, but I find the quality much better. And, I save a couple hundred bucks a day, which I can parlay into an extra week on the island.


I’d also recommend getting away from the lodge and out into the community. The people are absolutely great! And the local food!! The little restaurants and conch stands ain’t gonna win any Michelin stars, but I don’t think I’ve eaten better than fresh cracked conch and peas and rice.


Others have experiences to share?


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