February for Bonefish in the Bahamas! Just the thought of it sends my mind to a happy place. Everything about this trip was so good.
We arrived on Andros Island after a short flight from Fort Lauderdale, surveying the beautiful blue ocean on the way. Andros is the largest island in the Caribbean; only the eastern shore is settled. Rivers and mangrove channels dominate the island with prime fishing grounds.
A bus shuttle awaited our team to take us from the airport to Andros South, where gracious managers and friendly staff greeted us, along with comfortable, private rooms.
After relaxing a bit, manager Liz coached us on "into the wind" casting lessons on a boat set up for just that purpose. It was a handy refresher on casting techniques. We also reviewed knots and flies best suited for Bahama Bonefish.
For the next four days, we fished from special flats boats designed for shallow water... with a guide "poling" and spotting fish from high vantage points. Two guests to a boat using 8-weight rods, we cast our flies - shrimp and crab patterns - to just in front of the cruising bonefish.... strip.. strip.. faster... slower.. and it was FISH ON!! Smoking reels stripping line to backing again and again - followed by such joy in landing these beautiful ghosts of the flats.
Each day we had lunch on the boats with a cold drink and were back to the lodge around 4 for relaxing, exploring and telling of the day's adventures.
Day 1: The first day presented a wind challenge for everyone on the water. Our three boats spread out in search of Bones. One boat even explored a nearby Blue Hole - a biological masterpiece teeming with more fish varieties than I can name. Although catching was slow, everyone mastered casting techniques to be ready for the next few days.
Day 2: The air calmed a bit and it was Game On! This second day showed us what all the fuss was about. Bonefish are incredible swimmers! Fast! And so beautiful. Western mangroves held our much-sought schools - and along the way we saw small sharks, turtles and barracuda.
Day 3: Even calmer air greeted us on Day 3. We fished to the west side of the island, with the opportunity to wade and sight cast in the beautiful beautiful ocean. Casting skills continued to improve, and with calmer winds, this was one of the best days of fishing I experienced in years.
Day 4: On our last day of fishing, we embraced a mirror-smooth ocean with no wind. This day had the most barracuda on the line - our guides love taking these toothy beasts home for the table. Fishing was relaxed and successful for everyone. We were back at the lodge in time for snorkeling, sunbathing and saying goodbye to the guides, staff and dog friends.
The little things that made this trip special:
- Pre-dinner appetizers
- Fly tying station in the dining room
- Tiki bar and Gully Wash cocktails
- Beach fire in the evenings
- Building connections with new friends
Bonefish In The Bahamas is a mantra I will repeat over and over. I can't wait to go back - you should come too!