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You may have heard rumors that the legendary Bang Bang Club of Andros Island in the Bahamas has reopened. Well, it’s true, and none other than famous flytier Charlie Smith is behind the club’s resurgence. The Bang Bang Club is Andros’ oldest fishing and shooting lodge, originally built by Colonel Hank Thorne in the 1950s. Those were the days of fishing legends Joe Brooks, Lee Wulff and W. L. Thompson, who were guided by Joseph Coakley, Bill and Arron Behring, Rudy Bell and Ivan Neymour. The name Bang Bang is a reference to the duck and boar hunting that the club offered alongside the fishing. The place eventually fell into disuse and lay dormant for many years, but now Smith and his son Eddie have resurrected it.
The Bang Bang Club is located on Pot Cay on the North Bight of Andros Island an equal distance from either the west side or the east side of Andros (see map). The location provides great flexibility in fishing both sides of Andros and also gives anglers easy access to productive interior flats, all three bights and inland lagoons and lakes. Because the tides are very different on Andros’ east and west sides, the Club’s location also allows guides to fish favorable tides all day long without long boat rides. The west side offers some excellent fishing, but it seldom sees many anglers because it requires more than an hour by boat to reach it from any of the other lodges on Andros.
There are no roads on this part of Andros, so access is strictly by boat, giving guests of the Bang Bang Club a secluded fishing experience.
Besides the fishing, the other attraction of the Bang Bang Club is the opportunity to spend time with Charlie Smith, considered the godfather of bonefishing on Andros. At 71 years old, Smith is leaving the bulk of the guiding to his son, who is also the club manager, and a number of reputable guides they have contracted from around Andros. But guests can look forward to tying flies with Smith each evening in the fly tying den/bar of the lodge. Smith is also apt to perform private concerts on his guitar and banjo between telling bonefishing tales and stories about Andros’ history.
The Bang Bang Club is not for everyone, however, as it’s a rustic kind of place. The rooms, we’re told, are simple bungalows, comfortable and clean with views of the North Bight. Each has its own bathroom and shower. Dated air-conditioning wall units in each bungalow are a bit noisy but work when the trade winds aren’t enough to keep things cool. Electric power is by diesel engine, and there is currently no back up. The place uses two brackish water springs. Although water treatment equipment has been installed, guests are advised to drink bottled water. There is a small swimming pool that is filled from the springs. Smith is currently creating a beach area for swimming close to the lodge. Meals are basic Bahamian-style cuisine, and the bar is stocked with Kalik beer, rum, wine and sodas, as well as bottled water.
Because of the remote location and lack of roads there is not much for the non-angler to do, except perhaps some hiking on the 80-acre island of Pot Cay and bird watching or snorkeling. There is no town to visit or stores to shop. Bugs can be a problem, especially in the mornings, and the summer months bring horseflies. For sportsmen, besides the fishing, Smith can arrange for a boar hunt or some duck hunting. In a nutshell, the Bang Bang Club is for the adventurous, hardcore angler seeking a remote setting that is thick with history.
The Bang Bang Club accommodates up to 12 anglers, double occupancy, and will be fishing year round. Guests arrive at either the Andros Town or Moxey Town airports and take a taxi to the Behring Point dock for transfer to Pot Cay aboard a 26-foot v-hull. Packages start at $1,430 per person for three nights/two days and go to $4,070 for eight nights/seven days, based on double occupancy. For more information, contact the Bang Bang Club’s exclusive agent, Ian Davis of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.
(Postscript: We learned about the Bang Bang Club’s reopening from subscriber Douglas Windsor, who fished the place this past May before it had officially opened. You can read his complete report about his experience there, in the Pleasurable Vignettes section of our web site at www.anglingreport.com.)