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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Gang

I figured the fly board needed some action in the way of warm weather reports, so I took it upon myself to head to South Andros, Bahamas. Kidding aside, had the trip planned for a while, went with my friend Tom M, Billy (Tom's boat captain), Barrett (friend who I originally met in Argentina/Patagonia and author of the new Argentina/Patagonia Fly Fishing Guide Book Fly-Fishing in Patagonia: A Trout Bum's Guide to Argentina
you should check out, and Jack Stafford and Bonnie Ellis, a husband and wife biologist team from Flathead Lake Research Lab out in Montana. We were investigating doing a bonefish study we have been working on. The trip was a success in all ways. The weather this time can be a little rough with the cold fronts and prevailing northeast winds, but we managed to get out on plenty of flats and catch plenty of fish and have some fun.

We stayed at Bairs Lodge which is located about 25minutes by car south of Congotown. We fished the creeks and flats on the east and west side and all the way south to the tip of the island. The bones are not as big as the ones that we find up in the Berry Islands where we go a lot, but what you do find is a lot of fish in the 3-4lb class, some 5lb ers and a few bigger ones. Billy landed one about 8lbs, I got one around 6lbs, and Tom landed one around 8lbs and Barrett hooked into what the guide said was a 12lber, Billy saw it and said it was the biggest one he has seen. Lost it in the mangroves.

Some pictures below for your viewing pleasure:D

Flats at low tide


Flats as far as you can see back in Grassy Creek which we fished


More flats on the east ocean side where we found some bigger bones


Nice bone that fell to one of my Blanco Bunny Bone flies


Mr Bonefish with a Blanco Bunny Bone up close and personal


Dinner with some other guests, all retired well known heart surgeons, we got a lot of heart info at dinner


Barrett provided us close hand card magic shows at night, admission was free, the tricks impressive


Barrett with a nice shark he hunted down


Barrett with a nice bonefish


Barrett with a nice cuda


Me with a bone


Billy received the prize for the most interesting wading shorts award, look close


Billy proving that the wading shorts can catch bones, this one right out front of the lodge


The shorts can also catch these, Billy really is like Steve Erwin


Tailing bones


A nice tail


Gotcha


This is what happens when you hook one of those tailing bones


And here he is for you


Chasing bones on the beach of the flat


The last day we had a fantastic day and we came to the lodge and put the boat away, sure enough tailing bones were coming down the beach, I grabbed my rod and jumped on the boat and caught three bones in ten minutes out of the school less then a stones throw away from the lodge. This one was the last one of the day and of our trip. Always make that one last cast.
 

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Nice stuff Brandon. Great shots. Hope to be down around Andros sometime in March. Let me know when you are coming down to hit the Bay. Fly and LT bite has been hit or miss for us in the lower bay. The night time crew are doing well at the CBBT.

Todd
 

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Nice pictures and love the shorts! Looks like the bones and cudas you were into were bigger in genneral than those we got into in Mexico. But, those were the first bonefish I've ever landed and hopefully the first of many, so I'm happy.

Guy
 

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Great photos! I love the one of the just hooked bone and the cuda is too cool.

I've read a lot about south andros. Even heard of people camping and roughing it on some prime bonefish relestate.

With all those flats, are there many permit? What about tarpon?
 

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Thanks guys.
Salmo trutta, there is an occasional permit and one cay very very far south of the lodge holds a school of them. We did try and find them on the one day we got where it was totally flat making it possible to make the 1.5hr ride south in the flats boat. The flats on this cay are nothing less then spectacular, it reminded me of what the flats on Alphonse in the Seychelles looks like. We were able to catch some nice bones there, but never saw a permit and after about 5 hours looking and making our way all the way around the cay about two times decided to go chase some more bones. You can also catch tarpon, however, they are seasonal (more in the spring) and also on the west side of south Andros. We fished the west side a few times in that week, but access is controlled by the tides as you need enough water in the creeks to get through. You can almost always get through with enough water, its just how long it takes, because when its skinny you have to poll through or idle through all the skinny parts which there can be a lot of and it can take hours. If you go in the spring, you have a really good shot.

You can rough it down there and there are plenty of cays to stay on, however, south Andros is a staging place for people coming from Cuba and making their way to the US. If you are on an island plan on being buzzed my DEA and USCG coppers and maybe even visited by a boat. It's sketchy if its even legal to camp out, however I asked the same question as you because its so cool down there. One thing though is that you totally need a flats boat to fish the area. A few places you can catch them from shore and wade when the tide is right, but having a boat really gives you the ability to fish much better in that area.

dwilliamsceg,
Catching a bonefish is spectacular and probably the most rewarding fish for me to catch. I say this because, bonefishing is a total hunting experience, you see the fish, you sneak up on him and you have to put the fly just in the right spot. These fish are always on the move so it is not like a trout where you can get a few shots at the same fish even making a small mistake or two. Make a cast just too long and you might spook him, make it too short and the bonefish will likely change directions on you and you have to recast. There are just a multitude of variables to actaully hooking a bonefish. Once you do hook up, plan on him/her ripping a bunch of line off your reel. The fight of course all depends on the size of the rod and size of the fish, but even a small 3lb bonefish will put up a heck of a fight. They usually will give you at least 2 if not 3 really good runs, bigger fish more. They are quick too, so they can change direction on a dime and have you all over the place. Not to mention you are catching these fish generally on a flat in less then 3ft of water, that means there are all sorts of things to get caught on. Hooking one is a great feeling, landing one is even more fulfilling given everything that can go wrong.

One thing to note which being conservation minded always has a bitter sweet feeling. In some recent studies it has show that the catch and release mortality rate of bonefish can be as high as 30%. This stems from predation from sharks. If there are boenfish around there are sharks around and these sharks are looking for a meal. On south Andros especially there are a lot of sharks and they totally key in to the fishermen. I lost a few to sharks before I could even land them. What happens is that after a fight they swim off, but not too far from where they are released they will sit on the bottom, relax and try and burn off the lactic acid. They are an easy target from sharks who can easily smell and find them. The bonefish does not have enough energy to get away and becomes a nice meal. Key is to land the fish as fast as possible, eliminate any unnecessary handling, do not remove him from the water for very long if at all, revive him best possible( When reviving any fish you should use a figure eight pattern to keep the water moving through the fish's gills in the forward motion. Some people will move a fish back and forth in the water and think that is reviving them, its not and actaully can hurt the revival process because it put waters in to the gill in reverse which can actaully drown the fish), and check for sharks and try to release the fish in the mangroves where he/she can get protection.

Go bonefishing, its good for the soul:D

Brandon
 
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