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Old 03-27-2011, 11:51 PM
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Andros trip report

Just got back from 2 weeks on Andros this morning. I stayed at Mars Bay on South Andros the first week and Swain's Cay Resort on Mangrove Cay the second week.

Tally for the trip:
~50 bonefish landed, including at least a dozen of 7-8 lbs and a 9.5 lb'er on my last day
2 permit landed
Several lemon sharks landed on 7 lb tippet (it wasn't easy!)

The weather was great overall both weeks. Normal morning clouds that burned off by lunchtime to bluebird afternoons. There was only one day that was really bad, last Monday, when we got blown off the water due to 30-35 knot winds and solid clouds. I went and played dominoes with the guide and a bunch of other locals and was drunk by lunchtime. Great day! The tides were perfect the first week and a little off the second week, but still pretty good.

Mars Bay is an awesome place. It's all about the fishing there and the owner, Bill, is a Nebraska native now down there for 10+ years. He runs a top-notch operation and all of the little details were taken care of perfectly. The guy should teach people how to run lodges. His guides were great and put us on a ton of fish, though I had to go to remedial stripping school after the first couple of days because I kept pulling the fly away from fish. They do mostly wade fishing around the south end/cays of the island, with a couple of days spent in the creeks too. Lots of schools to cast to and not many singles or doubles. I got a few fish in the 2-4 lb range but most were larger fish of 6-8 lbs. The only poling they do is in the morning when the light is still low and they pole the mangrove edges while waiting for the sun to come up.

Swain's Cay Resort caters more to people that want to do a range of things. It's a good place to go with a non-fisherman companion since there's other things to do. The fishing was almost entirely poling with no wading at all. Lots of singles and doubles in the 7-8 lb range with some smaller fish. It was rare to see more than a couple of fish together, though I did run into one big school on my last day, and several small schools of less than 20 fish. There's some great guides on Mangrove Cay. I fished with Shine 3 days and DJ 2 days. Both were excellent and I'll use either of them again any day.

The second week, after the weather blew through on Monday, it was dead calm in the morning the next 3 days. The fish were acting really weird and just sitting dead still in any slightly deeper depression on the flats in the morning. You couldn't see them until you were on top of them, and the fish you could see, were the spookiest bonefish you can imagine. I'd raise my rod for a 60 foot cast and they'd be gone in a snap at the first motion of the rod. Thankfully, the wind kicked up each day at maybe 11-12 and got stronger as the day wore on, so the fish got less spooky. Even 15 foot leaders with 8 lb tippet and perfect casts that barely made a sound or ripple weren't good enough in the mornings. I only got 1-3 fish to the boat each of those days before 11 AM. Most of the time they spooked before you ever got a chance to cast to them. Even the guides were talking on their radios about how weird the fish were acting.

I got the 9.5 lb'er on my last day. It was probably the smallest fish of a school of 8-10 fish that came right at the boat. I thought it was a school of cudas when I first saw them since they were so big. The big guy ripped off 250+ yards of backing before I told the guide to start the boat and help me get a little back before he made another run and I ran out of backing. 15 minutes later I jumped out of the boat and beached the fish since I was using 8 lb tippet.

Hot flies:
Pink or red puff
Pink flies (clouser, Gotchas, Crazy Charlies all good)
Tan Gotcha
Double Gotcha (my own pattern, big dark fly. I can post the pattern for if you want)
Gotcha/puff hybrid (again my own pattern, absolutely killed the fish for two days with it, if you want the pattern ask)

I also lost my fly box with most of my flies the end of the first week. I had to wade a chest-deep channel to get back to the boat, and it floated up out of my pocket and now resides somewhere in the Caribbean. 150 flies gone, including much of my best stuff. I managed to scrounge together enough flies to make it through the trip though.

All in all an amazing trip. If only I'd taken pictures of the lemons I landed I might now be the world record holder for 7 lb tippet for a lemon shark.

I'll definitely be going back again next year, Mars Bay and probably fish the South Bight too for more monsters. I was just hoping to get one fish in the 8 lb range, and totally smashed that goal. I never expected to get well into double digits on 7-8+ lb fish.
My passion for catching fish is eclipsed only by the fish's passion not to be caught.
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