There, I said it, I underestimated bonefish completely. I underestimated their power, their spookiness, and how vast their habitat can be. I underestimated the entire experience, and I admit it.
Now that that is out of the way, I will get to the important stuff; the bonefishing experience at Andros South.
Fishwest’s 2017 trip to the Andros South bonefishing lodge was the fifth trip Fishwest has hosted and it was also my first trip to saltwater. My mission was to get a feel for Fishwest’s travel program and to hopefully bring my first few bonefish to hand. I did my fair share of research before coming down and I was as excited about the island’s history as a pirate’s stronghold as I was about the fishing. In 1713, the islands of the Bahamas were named a pirate’s republic and Captain Henry Morgan, aka Captain Morgan, frequented the island of Andros so often there are now landmarks such as Morgan’s Bluff and Morgan’s Cave named after the famous pirate. In addition to the pirate history, the island of Andros is world famous destination for bonefish anglers. The islands of Andros are home to multiple famous fly fishing guides with names like Charlie “Crazy Charlie” Smith and Josie Sands. There are many different bonefishing destinations Fishwest could have chosen from but the staff of Andros South, guide staff, and lodge staff alike, is the reason we continue coming back year after year.
“When you see this sign, you’ve reached bonefish heaven”
Coming from Utah, there are a few ways to get to Andros. Our Utah crew opted to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and then take a small puddle jumper from Florida to Andros. Your other option is to fly into Nassau then over to Andros. Upon touching down at Congo Town airport, Kermit, the local shuttle driver loaded up the bus and handed each of us the traditional “welcome to South Andros Kalik”. We rolled along the sandy roads of South Andros, sipping our beverages for 10 or 15 minutes before we arrived at a familiar blue sign I had, up until that moment, only seen pictures of. We were officially on island time now.
We were greeted by Jason Whiting, Kyle Shea, and Mike Sanders of Deneki Outdoors as we stepped off the shuttle. Andros South is one of five lodges Deneki operates and the only saltwater destination offered by them. Prior to Deneki operating the lodge, it was at one point a small motel for the now defunct harbor located a few hundred feet to the north of the lodge. The entire property has been updated for use as lodge since then and now offers the amenities roaming anglers require. While waiting for the second half of our group to arrive we settled into our rooms and enjoyed another ice cold Kalik on the patio while I bombarded the Deneki staff with the typical questions of a first time saltwater angler.
Our second group of anglers arrived shortly after we got settled in and the rigging bonanza started immediately. Leaders were being tied up, rods were assembled and fly boxes were compared and inspected (inspected more thoroughly by the anglers than the Bahamian customs). Clients were immediately found testing out new rods and lines purchased for the trip. Kyle and Jason could be found throughout the week perfecting their casts on the back beach where the lodge has retired a skiff and marked casting distances in the form of conch shells. Anglers were regularly spotted working on their double haul or short presentations with the aid of the FFF certified staff.
The appetizers offered on the patio, or better yet, the tiki bar, quickly distracted the anglers from their casting lessons or fish stories each night. The group would reconvene for crab salad, fried conch or seafood pizza before heading to the dining room for dinner shortly after apps.
I could write an entire blog post about the meals served at Andros South but I’d be drooling all over my keyboard by the time I was done.
Each day started out with a solid mix of breakfast essentials. The morning meal consists of eggs, bacon, toast and fruit. Periodically, there were substitutes mixed in to keep things interesting such as grits and sausages. Lunches at the lodge were left up to the anglers. Before or after dinner, the staff distributes a list of sandwich, snack, and beverage options. Whether you’re a PBJ, turkey on wheat, or a tuna wrap kind of angler, the kitchen staff has you covered. I showed up expecting to do some damage on the Kaliks throughout the day, but the sun and the heat will have you drinking as much water as any other beverage. One of my personal lunch favorites was the pineapple juice; it hit the spot after a morning in the sun. Dinners were something to look forward to all day long. Fishing in the sun all day long will have you ready to replenish the energy reserves and the ladies in the kitchen will make sure you have enough food to do that and then some. Dinners ranged from steaks, to lobster, to mahi mahi, or lamb chops. The main courses were accompanied by a couple side dishes such as mac and cheese, asparagus, and potatoes or rice. All of the meals are spun in Bahamian style to keep the meals original and authentic.
At this point, you’re probably wondering if we did any fishing while we were down in the Bahamas and we definitely did, but, you’ll have to stay tuned for part 2 of the “I Underestimated Bonefish” series.