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The continuing success of the Mangrove Cay Club (www.mangrovecayclub.com) on Andros Island in the Bahamas is one of those good-news stories we like to tell here at The Angling Report. This month, we’ll let subscriber Jed Lyons tell it for us after a visit there in early April. He writes:
“I have always wanted to fish Andros Island, the largest island in the vast archipelago of the Bahamas. In early April, two friends and I flew from Washington, DC, to Nassau, followed by a quick 20-minute flight to Mangrove Cay. There are six inexpensive daily flights to and from Mangrove Cay, which is located on the northeastern shore of the famed Middle Bight of Andros. The Middle Bight cuts through the island east to west, as do the North Bight and the South Bight. Collectively, these bights comprise hundreds of square miles of flats, creeks, and mangrove swamps that are one of the greatest saltwater fisheries in the world. The flats vary in depth from a few inches to four to five feet depending on the tide, which changes depth by three to four feet. The astounding richness and variety of water color is unmatched in my experience, with deep azure blue colors switching to aquamarine and turquoise as water depth on the flats changes over the course of a day’s fishing.
“Mangrove Cay Club opened in 2000 under the management of the current husband-and-wife team of Alton and Liz Bain. Alton is a native Bahamian and professional engineer. Liz is from Toronto, but she has lived in the Bahamas since 1987. They are a constant, congenial presence throughout the long day, which begins with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. followed by departure for the flats at 8:00 a.m. Two of us in our party shared a boat and one of us fished solo during our two days on the water. During our stay, there were two other groups of two in the lodge, as well as the club’s new part owner, Dan Vermillion, and his wife, Lynne, who were visiting from their home in Livingston, Montana. Dan and his two brothers own Sweetwater Travel Company, which has an ownership stake in nearly a dozen lodges all over the world. It also handles the bookings for other lodges.
My friend, Jim, and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day with our able guide, Micah, who grew up on the flats and knows them as well as his own backyard. We saw dozens of bonefish each day, along with numerous small sharks, barracuda, turtles, rays, and needlefish. Fishing in the morning was as good as we’ve seen in any part of the Bahamas, with average bones ranging between two and four pounds. Although our largest was a five pounder, other anglers reported catching several eight-pound bones, and we saw and cast to a number of larger ones. Interestingly, one of my pals turned two different permit to the fly, but they did not take. Altogether, we boated around 35 bones in two days. The speed of the flats boats and the vastness of the three bights allow one to fish many miles of water here in a day. Wading is possible in some areas, but almost all fishing is done from boats.
“Mangrove Cay Club accommodates up to 16 anglers at a time. It employs a staff of 24, including nine local guides who rotate among the guests. The food is prepared by a talented Nigerian chef named Iyke, whose repertoire is impressive for such a remote location. The cabins are clean and comfortably air conditioned, which makes for a welcome retreat after a day of temperatures in the high 80s. The camaraderie at the bar here is heightened by the graciousness and attentiveness of Alton, Liz, and their staff.”
Postscript: Lyons does not indicate the price of his trip, but the lodge’s Website gives the following range of double occupancy prices: two nights/one day of fishing, $1,350; seven nights/six days of fishing, $4,975. Prices given are for shared-boat fishing.