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Out in the Bahamas, we just got word of a new lodge going up on the island of Andros – specifically on Mangrove Cay about 45 minutes south of Cargill Creek. The company behind the new lodge is Destinations in Livingston, Montana. Owner Steve McGrath says the lodge will allow clients to access all of the Middle Bight and even the lightly fished Southern Bight, as well as the almost un-fished Water Cays off the remote southwestern corner of Andros. McGrath says ground was broken on the lodge last month and the projected completion date is January 2000. Liz Bain, the well-liked former manager of Cargill Creek Lodge, will be the manager of the new lodge and she and her husband, Alton, will be a partner in the overall business. The lodge will be called Mangrove Cay Club.

Destinations, of course, is best known for its assortment of fishing venues around Livingston, Montana, which it packages under the title "Montana Sampler." Clients who purchase one of these six-night/five-day trips stay at Destinations’ own privately owned lodge, Yellowstone Valley Ranch. The company, which is affiliated with Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop in Livingston, also sells fishing trips to Alaska, Chile and all of the other well-known destinations around the world.

Interestingly, at press time, McGrath said Destinations was moving away from general booking. He sees the company’s future in managing and owning a small number of lodges. Hence the decision to build a lodge in the Bahamas. He says it will give the company a property to manage in the summer, from about June to September, and then another to manage in the winter, from October on through the opening of trout season in Montana.

Asked how he planned to handle the so-called independent guide movement on Andros, which has made it hard for some lodges to operate there, McGrath said he planned to handle the potential problem the same way he did in Montana – that is, by paying his guides better than anyone else. Time will tell. In the meantime, if the new lodge and the area it opens up interests you, ask McGrath about his tentative plans to offer early clients a "membership opportunity."

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