: A few notes on Andros
05-26-2006, 07:22 AM
Just a few comments from a recent trip: Andros bonefishing industry is in full swing. Lodges seem to be busy, there are good numbers of skiffs to be seen on the water, and the bonefish have become very jumpy indeed once again. The area near Cargill creek, i.e. North bight to Young sound, requires particularly 'technical' fishing. It's a worthy challenge to the experiences, but I heard many a lodge visitor bemoaning how difficult the fish are. This is not the place to come without prior bonefishing experience. I hear tons of guide stories about 'motherships that raped the flats yesterday', and such, but think they are just stories. Lodge guides are feeling frustrated as well, but they have also lapsed into the '9-3 "full day" routine, where there's always some reason to not leave much before 9, and sports find themselves within 1/4 mile of the lodge at 3
Cargill creek and the eastern end of north bight are the heaviest concentration of bonefishing skiffs and sports, so fish jumpiness decreases with distance from the place. By the time you get to Fresh creek, west side, or south island, bonefish are noticably more eaget to tolerate imperfect casts and imitations.
That's bittersweet news...
I like the fact that the bonefish are adaptive and learn to survive under the increased threat, and I enjoy tricky fishing much more than easy fishing.
However I have a sweet spot for "virgin" bonefish country and although there are operations on islands like Acklins the majority of it is virgin territory and it's a wader's paradise.
thanks for the report
05-26-2006, 08:59 AM
The key to that area is when you go. I fish in early January and the fish are far from spooky at that time, even the big fish. I also go again in early March and every year there is a noticeable difference. By May the fish have been pounded for the better part of four months. That, the heat, and the bugs are the reasons that you'll never find me down there from late April through June. I know the winds tend to lay down during that time, but the other issues just don't make it worth it. I wouldn't call January on Andros "virgin" fishing, but the fish are far more cooperative than later in the spring. They really haven't been seriously fished over since the previous June.
05-27-2006, 09:16 AM
Good point JR.
All my trips have been in the late fall with the last week in October being the earliest. The fish have hardly seen any pressure since June. The weather that time of year is normally like it is in the spring but with less wind as long as a hurricane doesn't come along. Hurricanes are possible that time of year but if you do a little research and check the number of hits for any given Island during that period you will find that in all likely hood you will have a hurricane free trip.
Since 1950 the Bahamas/Turks Caicos area have had only 6 hurricanes or tropical storms but that covers a huge area. If you look at just an island it is much less likely. Inagua, a southern island, has had one hurricane or TS since 1950 and Grand Bahama, a northern island, has also only had 1. Pretty good odds to find eager fish.
This site has that information.
05-27-2006, 09:32 AM
"Since 1950 the Bahamas/Turks Caicos area have had only 6 hurricanes or tropical storms but that covers a huge area."
Would that be 6 total or 6 per year?
Regardless, going to the Bahamas during hurricane season requires some careful thinking about evacuations in case of a hurricane. 'We'll get you off in time, mon.' is just not good enough, IMHO.
I remember getting evac'd from AUTEC one summer and watching panicked tourists clustered at the airport with really no hope of getting out. You don't want to go through that, believe me.
05-27-2006, 05:23 PM
Josko, thats 6 total since 1950. You can check it in the site I linked above. All those were not full blown hurricanes, some were tropical storms. With the hurricane forcasting these days you can have a pretty good idea of wherther or not you are going to be in any danger before you leave. They start tracking them off the coast of Africa and have a good idea where they may head even then.
I wouldn't consider August, September or even early October but a November hurricane is rare.
05-27-2006, 06:08 PM
Ok, help me out guys. When I do this: http://stormcarib.com/climatology/WCAR_all_car.htm
I get a lot more than 6??? I get 7 just in 2005.
05-28-2006, 07:25 AM
Josko, I apologize. I knew what I was thinking but didn't convey it too well. I was thinking only of storms in the month of November. The point being that during that month the chances of a hurricane are rare. I had Turkey and lobtster on Crooked a few years back the week before Thanksgiving.
05-29-2006, 10:05 PM
Appreciate the insights - I am headed down to TQHL on Wed's and will make sure that I sit down with Ray and set some firm expectations around areas fished and what the definition of a full day is for the six guides that we will be using (RayMackey, Dwain Neymour, Barry Neymour, Frankie Neymour, Deon Neymour, Ricardo Mackey). Also plan on fishing the West side for a couple of days as long as the weather cooperates.
We have progressively moved the trip back from late March to Late May based on some really wicked cold fronts and bad weather over the last couple of years (of course this year would have been perfect for a late March trip).
07-06-2006, 06:23 AM
I'll be in Fresh Creek the first week of August. If anyone wants to hook up for some kayaking/bonefishing let me know.
07-07-2006, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the report.
I wonder if the increased gas prices have anything to do with the the bones feeling hammered. I got the feeling that on Andros, the guides are not so inclined to run an inch further than they have too. And this was a few years ago (befor the latest gas price hikes).
I have heard Bahamian guides complain about the "mother ships" on a couple of the islands, but with as many flyfishermen that I know, and with all the fishing web sites I have browsed, I have only heard of a few "mother ship" trips. I don't buy it.
The notion that do it your selfers can some how have any impact on the locals simply means that the local guides are either too lazy to find the good water, or wouldn't recognize it if they looked. With all the exceptional water that they have in the Bahamas, a guide in a boat should have no trouble finding unpressured fish. You certainly wouldn't hear a good guide in the Keys crying about pressure. And they know a thing or two about hammered fish.
I've heard Keys guides crying about pressure many times but like you say the good ones find the passion in the pursuit regardless of pressure and rise above the challenges with their skills. I agree this makes some Keys guides exceptional.
As far as guides associations who want to impose extortion on all fishing...
I have grown into an Acklins bonefisher which means everything is good, including the guides - but guides elsewhere are trying to create an environment of exclusivity where only those who pay them can fish the waters.
This is a bit ludicrous as vast as the Bahamas is, and will only make it harder to fill the empty lodges as only the exclusive will travel there. It's a selfish ploy put together by powerful lodge owners and based on faulty logic IMHO. Let me explain my opinion...
Lodges are popping up all the time, but people to fill them are not keeping up. The more exclusive the sport becomes, the less people will come. At the same time lodges are increasing. This is a broken supply and demand model. Exclusivity and growing supply don't work well together.
Just like in flyfishing itself, the harder it is to get into something the less people will participate. To fill the lodges, it must become easy to fall deeply in love with bonefishing and nothing does that like a little taste during spring break (where millions of people come to the Bahamas on a student budget) or while on a visit with the wife along a hotel beach flat before breakfast, or on a shoe-string while you have two kids in college (that would be me).
IMHO only a small percentage of people jump from never having bonefished to high priced lodges. Many more would grow into it after having visiting on exploratory trips, without being hassled. The hassling will make me not return under any circumstances out of spite. And we have been hassled, like on Exuma.
I am bringing my wife to the best lodge I can afford someday to share my love of bonefishing with her when the kids are out of college. It will not be on any island where I was hassled by guides I will tell you that.
Moreover it will be because I have developed a deep love of bonefishing by coming during those years when I had no money and was able to string along a trip.
Someday I will stay in lodges every time I come, but for the many years I could not I am grateful I was not blocked out by exclusivity.
I think the demand would increase dramatically for not only lodges but businesses throughout the archipelago if it does not become exclusive for those who are not financially able to pay top dollar, that being a minority.
In the end the passion is what creates the demand, and as people advance in their lives they upgrade (another inevitable market trend).
I think the guides associations have the mistaken impression that all tourists can afford thousands of dollars each to stay in these lodges and that the supply of these people is endless if they just keep building lodges.
Just like the flyfishing industry itself a customer base must be cultivated by seeding the passion.
08-07-2006, 04:17 PM
FWIW, my trip is now delayed for 8/10 through 8/21. I'll be down on the AUTEC base (Fresh Creek) and would be glad to hook up wiuth anyone from this boad for some conch, Kaliks, bones or whatnot.
08-19-2006, 07:49 AM
A brief report on summertime Andros. I only saw two bonefishers on the island, despite visiting most lodges on the north island. Nottages, Tranquility, Cargill Creek, AIBC, Pleasant point, Stafford, etc are all closed. Nobody there.
I'm really not sure why, as fishing was quite good, once I figured out the summertime patterns. Ankles were the best way to distinguish hot flats water from cooler outside water coming in on the tide. Temps were hot, but not unbearable. Wearing a flats shirt and long pants, and layng down in the water every hour or so provided adequate cooling. Still, I tried to do much of the kayaking outside peak heat hours. Iwas going through 3 quarts of Gatorade/day, as opposed to my usual 2 in off-summer months.
Fishing was OK numbers-wise, great size-wise. Bonefish definitely prefer bushier patterns in summertime than in spring or fall, and are somewhat less picky, although fly splash and distance (to fish) still have to be judged carefully. A hoy-type fly worked well for tailers, whereas it doesn't get much of a look in spring.
I'm at a bit of a loss to understand just why the island is so devoid of fishers this time of year. Is it the threat of hurricanes? availability of other summer-only fishing destinations? or some mis-perception on bonefishing quality? I'd appreciate hearing why so few people go to Andros in summer. Thanks in advance.
08-19-2006, 09:06 AM
Josko, would you go to Andros this time of year if your visit wasn't job related (nice work if you can get it)?
Why don't you cut and paste your story about the persistent bull shark here. Nice report.
08-19-2006, 10:12 AM
The answers to your last three questions are yes, yes, and no. At this time of the year it is often miserably hot and humid, and the bugs can be fierce. Since there are so many other types of fishing that one can do in the summer that don't have this problem to this extreme, most of us choose to do those instead. I don't think there is a big misconception about fishing quality during this time. In fact, it is often said that it is the best time to score a flats' grand slam. The other issue is traveling anywhere in the tropics during hurricane season. I usually try to visit Andros between late Octrober and late March. Heck, in mid-summer I can fish the flats of Lake Michigan for golden bones in a much nicer climate, with almost no bugs, and the average fish is the size of a giant bonefish.:biggrin: :Eyecrazy:
08-19-2006, 05:30 PM
Everyone is Montana! (One day off in 45!)
Josko - this is a good question.
We each may have our own reasons but here is one man's view...
First and foremost I can not justify a summer trip to the tropics to my family / wife. We have a cottage to borrow free on the Cape, and she expects that I will use my weekends to guide if possible to help cover the kids tuitions (which are killing me BTW).
Acklins is my annual Xmas / Birthday present (January child) and because I go with other scruffy fishermen and DIY it - it's within the threshold of cost.
I dream of visiting Andros lodges or taking Bob Berquist's week of adventure on Acklins or staying at Four Seasons Exuma with my wife and fishing while she is in the spa but...
reality is I can only scratch out one such trip a year and it's going to be cheap and happen when I get to skip some shoveling :lildevl:
09-21-2006, 10:34 AM
FWIW, I'll be down at AUTEC from 10/2 through 10/12 and would be glad to get together with any other flyfisher on the island.
10-04-2006, 08:44 AM
Rained and winded out these past 3 days.
Guys, I could use a word of advice wrt my guyide relationship down here. I've beenfishing with the sane guiode for a decade or so, typically booking 2-3 days per trip, maybe 3 times/year. Recently I've become more intrigued by wade fishing, so I'm not booking trips with him much any more.
However, I'd stll like to stay friends with the guy, but I don't seem to be doing very well with this relationship. List time out, he was dumping his sports on a flat right in front of me, this with nobody in sight for 5 miles each way. I smiled through that one, but get that feeling this could end up badly if I don't watch it. A cynic might note that his $1k/trip meant a lot to him,and he is loth to loose it. Anyway, I'm seeing lotsa signs it's not going well.
So any hints for how best to tell him I really don't want guided trips anymore without ticking him off.
Barter with him. Your insights and reports have already intrigued thousands of readers. You could multiply his bookings by working together instead of worrying about just your fare.
10-04-2006, 08:56 AM
I certainly don't mind telling friends about him, but don't want to get in a position of being expected to send him business. I certainly don't mind bartering 'hardware goods' but would need to figure out a terminal strategy.
This guy IS a very good bonefish guide, and we've known each other for over a decade now.
10-04-2006, 09:37 AM
Am I reading that you are fearful for your health & well being?
(aren't the Bahamians a mild & friendly people?)
The last time you said "it might end badly" you were cornered by a bull shark. :eek:
Let's be careful out there.......
Josko, disappointing news about Andros. Does this mean you wouldn't recommend a trip to Andros for a first time bonefisher in April?
Also, what do follks here think about fishing Grand Bahama? How does the fishing compare to Andros and the other islands? I'm looking to go in April and have to watch pennies. Andros and GB are both relatively easy to get too so the flights are what i need to watch.
10-04-2006, 10:39 PM
trip of a lifetime with honeymoon on kamalame cay in north andros by stainard creek. fished joulters 2 days with over 50 bones, few cuda landed. with i brought my flesh fly for the lemons as well. was an awesome trip. FWIW the fish were mostly smaller 3-5 pounders but even my totallly newbie wife got into the bite on fly as well.
10-06-2006, 12:47 AM
Don't ge tme wrong guys, I think Andros is an excellent place to go bonefishing, although it's becoming a bit of a 'Bonefishing Killington' , i.e. a large tourist industry oriented towards a good, but uniform package consisting of a week at a lodge, with mediocre to (sometimes) excellent guides, skiff fishing two to a skiff. If that's what you're after, then Andros offering is very good indeed. If you're after wading, DIY, or anything that differs from the standard lodge week, Andros is probably NOT the place to be.
For instanace, a friend was just at a lodge, and wanted to get dropped off in the morning on a flat (by a skiff with two other sports) and picked up in the afernoon. They hemmed and hewed and basically wouldn't do it; it revolved around a local guide's a job for the day.
If one is new to bonefishing, it is a very good place, particularly on lodges away from North bight, which is fished rather hard, resulting in 'technical' fish. You can expect ~10 fish/day in most places, with many in the 4-5 lb range.
BTW, Andros lodges are still pretty much shut down this week. Nobody here, nor are they expecting any numbers until the end of this month. Despite that, there are at least three new lodges under nconstruction on North Andros. This place is really building up with lodges at a rapid clip.
10-10-2006, 08:02 AM
Yellowfin bite in the TOTO's been spectacular. Most are over 50 lbs and a few over 100. We came up with a double, 51 and 84 lbs on 10/9, casting live pilchards, <2 miles from land. ished a total ofab out an hour, dock to dock. I was very sorry not to have my 15 wt with me.
They are picky on bait freshness and pass up fluoro > 80 lbs and most regular mono.
If you're coming down in the next few weekls, pack an offshore flyrod and try to bum a ride out to 500 ftms.
BTW, there was another shark 'incident' just off Fresh Creek on 10/8, with a freediver getting a fin bitten off. Luckily, the bite was about 4" short of the guy's toes. I talked to the diver and his buddy, and saw the freshly bitten-off fin.