June 4, 2019
All images provided by Wild Outdoor Media
Confession: I’m an adventure junkie and my heart is as nomadic as a Smallmouth Bass in the St. Lawrence River. I crave travel, and experiencing new people and places. Once I heard about Andros and started doing a little research my curiosity grew and grew. Reading things like “Bonefish Capital Of The World” and “Third Largest Reef On Earth” immediately had me wanting to go on a journey to discover the mysteries of Andros! Once I got my invite from the Andros Island Bonefish Club I was full-speed ahead on exploring this Carribean paradise!
The first thing I found when doing my early research on Andros Island in the Bahamas was a lot of overly critical information. People made it sound like catching a Bonefish there is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. I read that I had to be able to hit a paper plate at 65 feet into the wind, that the fish are super spooky, and that getting chances for fish is super difficult. Because of those articles my anxiety skyrocketed.
I am not the greatest fly fisherman in the world. In fact, prior to going to Andros I had held a fly rod twice in a 7 month period, and despite countless teachers and years of trying I’ve never been able to learn to double haul. However, I planned to bring two spinning rods just to ease my frustration a little so that I could master the DH while I was there. This is where the things that I didn’t know would play a huge role in my successful fishing trip in Andros.
What the articles I read should’ve told you was not to panic. I actually caught a Bonefish on my first cast in Andros. The fish was in a group of 5, and I made a cast of roughly 20 feet, and the fish ate my fly quickly. The success I had in that moment gave me the confidence I needed to keep going. My guide, Danny Newbold, had me slinging line up to 65 feet within half a day. Only twice in 5 days did I even need to cast that far. Most of my shots came under 40 feet.
My gear also helped a lot. I was using a 7wt Asquith by G. Loomis, with a Nautilus reel. I don’t know exactly what fly line I was using but I know I used a Cortland 16lb leader the first two days and 20lb Cortland leaders the rest of the time. I also had an 8wt NRX rod that I probably should have switched to during the windy days, but the 7wt was so much fun to cast that I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. The spinning rods were held up in customs until after we left, and I’m thankful for that because it forced me to stay with the fly.
Here are the things I wish I had known for my Andros fishing charter: You need light colored clothing. The noseeums, mosquitos, and black flies are drawn to dark colors. Bring light blue, white, or yellow. Bring light pants. I was wearing Eddie Bauer Ascent, I’ve worn them on many trips and they are the coolest pants I’ve ever worn in the sun (they don’t sponsor me, I pay full price just like y’all). The bugs can be brutal. The only thing that would keep them away was an insect repellent called “PROVEN”. I only brought 2oz of that, but I returned with a tiny bit left in the bottle. It lasts 14 hours when you apply it, and it’s safe for children over 2 months, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers. Do not go to Andros without this.
Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas, and it is possibly the least populated. I think it’s roughly 80% national forest, and the reason for that was to keep it wild, natural, a true paradise. On the west side I fished the largest flat I’ve ever seen. It’s over 25 miles of crystal clear water that is less than 12 feet deep. In one small area we encountered hundreds of Bonefish. So many you couldn’t count them all. There are roughly 100 fishing guides on Andros, and at no time did we ever see another outside of our group.
Targeting Bonefish is complicated and there are many factors in play. Tides have to be right, wind has to be minimal so you can see them which is a feat in itself and you will need copper lenses. My copper lenses broke on the plane, and my blue lenses were ok, but I wish I had had my copper Breaklines. When there is too much wind it makes the water cloudy, so where you fish will be completely ruled by weather.
There are LOTS of species you can target there other than Bonefish. We caught or had shots at giant Tarpon, Permit, Jacks, and Barracuda. On the east shore, the third largest reef in the world is less than a 5 mile run, and at that point you’re immediately in areas filled with 200lb Yellowfin Tuna, 70lb Mahi Mahi, and world class billfish. No place in the world have I ever heard of Yellowfin Tuna being 5 miles from the harbor. And with seas being as calm as they are in Andros it’s perfect for even the most seasick stricken angler.
I started this blog with a note on being nomadic. I often tell people that it’s my goal to see every grain of sand, and every drop of water on this earth. I have never hated leaving any place I have ever been. I’ve been sad, but usually it’s because I know that no matter how badly I might want to go back I never will. I can honestly say that I hated leaving Andros. Even as I write this, I don’t know that my words will convey to you how truly magical it is there. You have to see that water for yourself. Feel those Bonefish ripping your line on a :60 run. Feel that breeze in your face on the flats.
Now I know why Lefty Cray kept going back to The Andros Island Bonefish Club. I’ll be back there again, sooner than you think. If you get there before me stay in room #1, and tell everyone I miss them.
Author: Jim Root, Reel Bragging Rights
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