Staniel or Normans? Any info appreciated. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Staniel or Normans? Any info appreciated.

04-12-2010, 02:49 PM
Anyone fish these locations? Going in June and have a choice of locations. Which is better? Guides? Easy DIY? Will have boat and a RIB. Thanks.

04-13-2010, 09:11 AM
I flew over the Exumas a lot but only fished Great Exuma. Normans itself looks uninteresting but Shroud nearby looks like bonefish heaven. Maybe it's status as a major cocaine depot has kept the bonefish big and stupid. It hasn't been a tourist destination for long and the entire island was taken over by drug kingpins at one point.

Staniel is much more appealing in and of itself in terms of it's flats structures. I'd love to explore all 300+ Cays sometime in my life.

04-15-2011, 09:15 AM
I searched the forum for info on Norman's a couple of weeks ago and found this original post, so I thought I would report back just to help fill in some blanks.

A friend of a friend has a house on Norman's and I spent four days there last weekend. First, the island is very underdeveloped which I loved and was a sort of stopping place for wandering souls. The people and the island's history were very interesting and really made the trip, I can't wait to get back.

But back to the fishing...

There are bonefish flats and lots of bonefish in the area of the island called the pond. Although we had a tough time finding them, my buddy has caught hundreds there. The bones are in the 3-4 pound range. The wading in this "pond" however is a nightmare. The sand is very soft and uneven. Every other step went from knee high to waist high. We did have access to a flats boat but we found a leak in the fuel line so only got to use it once for a couple of hours. The wading would have been worth it if we found the fish in numbers but from my point of view this is not a place you would go specifically to bonefish with all the other options around the Exumas. There are no guides or boat rentals etc. in the area. There are only about a dozen residents on the island.

Here's a link to the aerial of the island where you can easily see the "pond" which is BTW where the drug runner's plane crashed and remains to this day.

We didn't have a chance to explore it this time down, but the bonefishing on the Gulf side of the island is supposed to be much easier. The beach is about four miles long at dead low tide and the last of the drop and first of the rise is supposed to be best. Next time we plan to explore this area.

A short distance away at Shiplane Cay the bonefishing flats are harder under foot and there are bones there as well in about the same 3-4 pound range. Highborne Cay also has some flats and bones. Again a short distance from Norman's by boat. Highborne is also where we went for groceries.

All the times my buddy has been down there, he has never seen another angler on any of the flats chasing bones, so the fish tend to not be very picky when it comes to fly pattern, presentation being the more important factor.

The east side of the island gets a lot more interest from locals and folks passing through. The deeper canyon waters are just a short distance from the dock so within a mile or two you go from a 30-60' reef to about 250+ feet. We had most of our fun there playing with schoolie dolphin. The fish were not feeding actively on the surface so we had to raise them with teasers and ballyhoo but it was a fun experience. There were also some yellow fin tuna and some albies that were too small to spark much interest.

I'm not sure if it will pan out but the guy who owns the house down there is also a pilot. He has been talking about getting a float plane that would allow him to explore more of the out islands in search of bonefish. I sure hope I get invited on a couple of those.

04-15-2011, 11:25 AM
Hey. Thanks for the info. I waded about 2 miles without seeing a feed , mud, any trace of a fish. I have never seen such beautiful barren flats in my life. I climbed a hill and could see trigger fish at 1/2 of mile and still didnt see one bone in 3 days. i was one surprised guy.

04-15-2011, 12:00 PM
Wow gorgeous pics... odd that you saw none. Was the water chilly? With 365 Cays in the Exuma chain and the nomadic tendencies of the bonefish I'd bet a spawning shrimp fly that they were carousing somewhere near or far and not visiting at the time.

They seem to be even less inclined to get into a location specific cycle than striped bass, who are coastal nomads to a huge degree.

All guesswork of course, but from what I've seen I'd draw that hypothesis.

04-21-2011, 09:51 AM
I know sound shady. But the water was warm, I fished different tides, the sun shined and Im a pretty good bonefisherman. Attached are a few more pix of the flats. Zero pressure. All by myself. Water so clear and sand so white a novice could have seen a bone piss at 100 yrds. I mention this only to save people some time. Its a small community of us really. I've caught 10lbers on flats so littered with trash that you would think you are in Queens, NY and hence my surprise. Yes of course there might be a big school in the deep (but I didnt even see any muds from the boat). ANd of course they might be viable from time to time, but my point is, dont head there if bones is your primary goal. That being said its a spectacular place. Spectacular.

04-21-2011, 10:08 AM
Were there a lot of 'cuda? Spots like that can be ruled by them and any passers by are deftly driven against the shore and cut in half. Any chalky marl bottoms or mangrove creeks or both there?

04-23-2011, 10:30 AM
Another possibility is Poaching - i.e. netting out the shoals of bones for lobster bait. This used to be a big problem on Exuma down at the Sandy Cay end.

Miles of pristine flats and not a bonefish in sight ...:confused:

2nd Mate
05-08-2011, 05:59 PM
I spent a week with my family in the Exumas back in the early 90's. Uncle and grandfather ran charters out of Nassau and we were able to him Allen;s, Staniel, Hibourne and Normans. I remember the beach at Hiborne being just amazing. I would think that in that Staniel would have some nice fish in near the YC. It has been 20 years though??? Maybe some day I get back there.