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Bryan Whiting sent us this report on his late-winter trip to Andros South Lodge with his wife, where they experienced the full force of the island’s renowned bonefish resources. Despite being saltwater newbies, both Bryan and his wife were able to productively fish the flats due to a guiding staff they rated as “excellent” and “willing to help salt water rookies.”
Coming from Colorado, this trip was a nice respite from the snow. Even better, Andros South provided a great experience for saltwater rookies like my wife and me. The variety of fishing as well as the presence of turtles, sharks, iguanas, and colorful birds all added to the trip’s tropical splendors.
We had full sun every day except one day when the sun would alternate with clouds. This was a blessing because without the sun, spotting bonefish was very difficult. When the clouds did appear, the guide would move us to shallow water, where we could see the dorsal fins of the bonefish protruding out of the water.
Usually, we would boat from 30 minutes to an hour to one of the desired fishing locations. Whether one goes to the eastern or western shore is a function of the wind. An eastern-based wind lowers the water level on the western side to such an extent that the boat can’t make it. So, four of the days we fished the eastern coast. On two days, we crossed the island on a creek and fished the western shore. There was quite a variety of areas to fish.
Besides bonefish there were abundant barracuda, which made exciting jumps out of the water when hooked. In addition, we occasionally came upon blue holes—underwater caves—which are always full of different varieties of fish. There was also the occasional shark. The sharks were not an issue, however, even when wading, since they were smaller.
There were literally hundreds if not thousands of miles of flats, with water six inches to two feet in depth. Competition for fishing area is not an issue. We never saw another boat from Andros South or any other lodge. Sometimes we waded and sometimes took turns casting from the front of the boat as the guide poled from a high platform. Both were equally effective. Personally, I liked wading. We were constantly in bonefish. If we missed one due to a bad cast or spooking them, there was another school soon to be found.
The bonefish usually hit stripped shrimp imitations. Sometimes they would hit the fly as it was moving during the strip, or, on occasion, we would let the fly sink to the bottom and we could watch the bonefish tip and literally dig the fly out of the sand.
Living in Colorado, my wife and I have fished extensively in the Rocky Mountains and have also fished many times at the Alaska West Lodge on the Kanektok River, but bonefishing was a completely different type of fly fishing. We had seen videos of bonefish and heard the descriptions, but the bonefish runs pulled off more line than we had imagined they would. Even a three-pound fish would take over 100 yards of line. Larger fish would burn a significant portion of our 300 yards of backing, occasionally so much so that they would try to go around a corner.
We should have practiced our casting in the snow of Colorado before we left. Even though we caught fish at 5 feet, and most at 20–35 feet, we did have opportunities at 60 feet as well, which proved difficult for us. Luckily, the distance is not as important as accuracy when placing the fly in front of a bonefish. If the fly is there, they almost always hit it. Mostly we stripped the fly in front of the fish, and many times we wouldn’t even feel the fish take the fly but would strike when the guide would tell us to.
But our “trout” strikes, either up or to the side, also needed modifying, as they only succeeded in pulling the fly out of the mouth of the fish. Strip-striking was the most effective method, and we learned to keep the rod as low as possible—as opposed to level or up as one tends to do for trout.
As for the lodge itself, it was very comfortable, with great beds and air conditioning that made for easy sleeping. They also have single accommodations at no extra charge if you so desire, which is not true of many lodges. There is a tiki hut–type bar down by the beach where they made a fire every other night. They also have a great place to practice casting and/or get some teaching from Jason, the lodge manager, who was very effective not only at demonstrating, but also communicating, how to cast.
The Bahamian cooks created wonderful meals. Breakfast was to order, and they made any type of sandwiches you wished to take with you for lunch. The dinners included wine and always had two different meat entrees. And the desserts were almost too good.
All of the guides were excellent—very knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to help saltwater rookies. They worked hard to assure we caught fish. Jason, was very helpful and hands-on with all the guides and employees. He and the staff made the entire trip comfortable, enjoyable, productive, and fun.
In regard to getting there, we flew United from Denver, to Newark, and then on to Nassau. It was a normal flight with no issues—Newark is generally a well-organized airport with access to many restaurants and amenities. You can sit at your gate and order food, or utilize computers at all the available counter space. The Western Air flight to and from South Andros Island was a commuter-type prop plane, which was fine. Immigration and Customs were simple both in and out of the Bahamas.
Unfortunately, our return flight plan was a different story. Once we arrived back in Nassau, we flew Southwest to Ft. Lauderdale, and then on to Denver. It was very uncomfortable, with seats quite close compared to the United flight. At 6’2″, I couldn’t get my feet on the floor because my knees hit the back of the seat in front of me. There is no assigned seating unless you pay $50 extra, but we were fortunate to get two seats together. Luckily, there were no luggage problems.
Whether you are an experienced or new saltwater fly angler, you will have a great trip to Andros South Lodge. If you haven’t experienced warm-water fly fishing, don’t let that stand in your way; they will teach you and make you feel comfortable—besides getting you into fish. By the way, the lodge faces the eastern shore, and your room will be about 150 yards from the water, which makes for very memorable sunrise photos through the palm trees.
Another nice factor is that Andros South will try to work with you regarding the length of your trip. The lodge only takes 10 anglers, but if they have space, they will take you for three, four, or five days instead of the standard week if that works better for your schedule.
The cost of the trip, excluding airfare, was $4,900 per person for seven nights, six fishing days. That includes everything but a fishing license and guide gratuity.
Postscript: Bryan booked his trip through Deneki Outdoors. For more information, go to https://www.deneki.com/. You can check out photos from Bryan’s trip at https://www.anglingreport.com/subscriber-photos/. Have a trip report to share with us? You can submit via our newly reformatted File a Report page at https://www.anglingreport.com/file-a-trip-report/