Bairs Lodge | Bonefish and Tarpon Trust | Fly Fishing Andros Island Bahamas

World Class Fly Fishing for Bonefish on South Andros Island Bahamas at Bair’s Lodge

Bair's Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bair’s Lodge Andros Island Bahamas – Bonefishing Capital of the World

Bairs Lodge Bahamas  – Fly Fishing Andros Island

Bairs Bonefish Lodge January 2016:

What’s nice about living in Florida is the close proximity to the Bahamas. Some islands have a direct flight or direct charter service from Florida and most of the remaining islands are accessible in two hops.

And yet for anglers living in the eastern US, there is no reason to go half way around the world when there is incredible fishing in the Bahamas, many islands within a single day’s flight.

The weather channel tells me that New England is currently getting buried with snow. On this bright and sunny January day I am riding in a comfy Embraer 190 jet from Orlando Florida to Nassau, where I will catch a short hopper to South Andros Island.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bonefish photo courtesy of Bairs Lodge

Thirty minutes into the flight we are passing the west end of Grand Bahama Island with her white sandy beaches and water as clear as glass.  Tropical palms and Australian pines border the south shore.

We pass through a frontal band of heavy cumulus clouds, an ominous sign of tomorrow’s weather.  I have been in this game a long time and sometimes it is what it is, you just deal with it.

We landed on time at Nassau International Airport. I picked up my bags and breezed through Customs and immigration quickly, then on to the gate for my short flight to South Andros Island.

Over the years I have probably made 80 trips to the Bahamas and numerous trips to Andros Island.  My first trip to North Andros Island was in 1988. My first trip to South Andros was in 1991, which was twenty-five years ago, and I can tell you, not much has changed. The pace of life is mellow and relaxed. A few new buildings here and there but otherwise it seems time has stood still, which is a good thing is you’re an angler in search of a remote bonefish destination.

Bairs fishing Lodge and Andros Island

Andros Island is located approximately 150 miles Southeast of Miami, and about 30 miles Southwest of Nassau, New Providence, Andros is still one of the least developed.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bonefish photo courtesy of Bairs Lodge

Andros Island is divided by inland creeks and large channels, called bights. The island is comprised of clusters of large and small cays connected by mangrove estuaries, saltwater marsh, tidal wetlands and sandy beaches. When the whole thing is combined Andros is the largest of the Bahamian islands.

South Andros is part of the Andros islands that make up the 2,300-square-mile Andros chain.  One mile off the coast of the island lays the third largest barrier reef in the world, the Tongue of the Ocean where the water depth plummets to 6000 feet. The reef runs approximately north to south for about 170 miles. Cool waters from the depths flow upward against the walls feeding an unbelievable fishery. Just off the reef in deep water are Dorado, Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, and Jacks. On the reef are Barracuda, Snappers, and Grouper.

Andros is surrounded by hundreds of square miles of fish-able flats known worldwide for trophy bone fishing. It’s no secret that one of the largest populations and largest bonefish are found on the flats of South Andros. The south and west side flats are isolated and renowned for large, unpressured bonefish. Some of most consistent fishing in the Bahamas Islands is on South Andros and that is why it is considered the Bonefishing Capital of the world.

Bair’s Lodge is located on the southeastern side situated between Deep Creek and Little Creek. These creeks open out into a broad area of inland flats, with hundreds of small cays and connecting channels covering more than 100 square miles.  You will be fishing areas like Beach Cay, Grassy Creek, Hawks Nest, Cistern Point, the Curly Cuts, Jackfish, and Water Cays to name a few.

I will tell you more about Bairs Lodge and the fishing shortly, for now I will enlighten you on the research of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust  

The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust

This past January the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) scientists were conducting research on spawning bonefish on South Andros Island, Bahamas.  Bair’s Lodge had generously donated the space and boats for the scientists to perform their work.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientist at work

I wanted to see first-hand the work and research that the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) scientist performed, especially the spawning research.  I can tell you it was a very interesting trip as I was able to see firsthand how the BTT scientist went about their business. The BTT crew shared their information freely at every opportunity and it was a great learning experience.

The BTT team initially tried to use seine nets to capture bonefish for tagging however the weather was not cooperating and the fish seemed to prefer the deeper water.  So, the fly rods were brought out and bonefish were caught.

The BTT team had deployed acoustic receivers around South Andros Island to track bonefish spawning migrations. Acoustic tags were placed on some of the captured bonefish which gave a good indication where the fish were headed to spawning sites. And as a result one huge spawning aggregate was found and observed. This information is important to protect these important spawning locations.

Other duties included tagging bonefish to collect information on bonefish movements and collecting fin clips for the Bonefish and Tarpon Genetics Program to help understand how the bonefish populations in different locations are related.

After bonefish spawn in deep water near full moons, the larvae that hatch from the eggs drift in the open ocean almost two months. Some of the larvae may remain in the local area while other larvae may drift for hundreds of miles to places far removed from the spawning sites.

It is thought that a significant amount of the Florida Keys bonefish population originates in Cuban and Caribbean waters, and as a result of commercial fishing there, the Keys bonefish population is diminishing. BTT scientists haven’t reached a consensus that the Florida Keys bonefish originate from spawning in the Caribbean and Cuba, but that they are investigating the probability with additional studies because they think it’s a viable possibility.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientist at work

The BTT scientist are conducting research to hatch fertilized bonefish eggs and may start an Aquaculture Center in South Florida to breed bonefish to replace those lost to the breeding stock in elsewhere in the Caribbean. After watching their efforts on South Andros I have no doubt they will succeed.

How You Can Help?  Join the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.  BTT will provide you with envelopes for saving the fin clips and collecting information like location, date, and bonefish size. When you return home just send BTT the completed envelopes. Collecting the fin clips for genetic analysis is that simple.

And while you are at the BTT website you will notice a huge amount of information, not only on bonefish, but permit and tarpon research as well.

Please click here to go on to Part Two – Bair’s Lodge and Bonefishing South Andros Island

Please click here to view a short video of Bair’s Lodge and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientist at work.

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.
531 N. Citrus Ave.
Crystal River, Florida 34428
352-795-FISH (3474)
1-800-771-2202

All Photgraphs by Edward R. Johnston unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2016 Edward R. Johnston & Leisure Time Travel, Inc. 1996-2016

 

Bairs Lodge | Bonefish Capital of the World | Fly Fishing Andros Island Bahamas

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bairs Bonefish Lodge –  Andros Island Bahamas

Bair’s Lodge on South Andros Island offers deluxe ocean-side lodgings. The lodge accommodates guest in spacious and comfortable air-conditioned guest rooms, each with tile floors, well-appointed furnishings, luxurious bedding and private bathrooms with plenty of hot water.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bedroom photo courtesy of Bairs Lodge

The beach and flats boats are at your door step. Two outdoor showers are available on the beach should you desire to take a swim.

Most rooms at Bair’s open onto a spacious, ocean-facing veranda. There you’ll find comfortable benches and tables to enjoy morning coffees and a great place to relax after a successful day on the flats. Delectable appetizers are served on the veranda and include local specialties such as cracked conch, conch salad, fried fish fingers and ceviche.

Laundry service is available upon request, and laundry bags are provided in all bedrooms.

A fully stocked open bar is open 24/7 with a variety of beverages for your enjoyment.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Each morning at Bair’s Lodge begins with an a la carte breakfast. You will choose your boat picnic lunch from a menu. And for dinner you will find meals containing beautifully prepared Bahamian specialties such as fresh seafood, fried conch and fresh bread baked daily.

There is also a fly tackle shop fully equipped with flies, rods, reels, lines and a small selection of clothing.

The boats are well maintained sturdy 16-foot Dolphin Super Skiffs powered by Mercury outboards. The skiffs have two bucket seat for the anglers, plenty of storage for rods and baggage and of course a poling platform for the guide.  The guides are the best you will find on south Andros and fun to spend time with.

 My friend John Stout joined me on this trip. I have known John 20 years and he is a good angler with hundreds of bonefish scored and a fair number of permit.

As I mentioned in Part One a front was passing over so the weather was not optimum.  We started out under a heavily overcast sky with rain on and off the entire time we were on the flats. We had some shots, got some nibbles and caught a few. Our guide Harley did his best, but it was just one of those days.

By the second day the front had mostly passed by. Some remnant clouds, however the winds were still howling.  Bairs Lodge rotates their guides which I actually prefer. On this day we were assigned to Tee whom we were both very impressed with. Tee really thinks the conditions out: tide, wind, sun, water temp, et cetera. Standing on the poling platform, with his set of eagle eyes, Tee constantly on the lookout for the elusive Grey Ghost.  Despite the high winds John and I both scored several nice bones each.
Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

The third day we had clear skies but the wind was still high. We fished with Chris, another fine young man who worked hard and did not give up until late in the day. Standing on the back of the skiff, he pushed hard constantly scanning for fish.

Despite the weather conditions John is on top of his game. Up to this point John has been out fishing me. Let me tell you, I’m no slouch. I have hundreds and hundreds of tarpon of all sizes, more than a hundred permit and many bones under my belt, but for the last few days John has been “kicking my ass”.

Finally, I’m on the bow and Chris tells me “there’s one, man, one o’clock”. I spot the lead fish, a nice one, along with a few others slowly making their way through kelp grass in skinny water.  I made the cast a few feet in front of the lead fish and let the fly sit.  When the lead fish was almost on top of the fly I gave it a small tug. The bonefish pounced then flushed dragging my fly line through the kelp grass as it fled.  I was surprised the tipped held but gradually I brought the bonefish to the boat. He was a fine one, but more importantly he had a tag which our guide Chris promptly cut off to return to the BTT staff at the lodge.

Unfortunately, I was scheduled to return home the following day, however my friend John stayed one more day and fished solo.

As a side note:  John Stout had just returned from Belize where he encountered eight straight fishing days in a row with wind over 25 mph.

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

John’s own words in a note to his fishing buddies:

Well what do you know……no wind!  It’s been eleven straight fishing days in a row with high wind. I forgot what it’s like to be smoking down a cay with nary a ripple on the surface. Sweet, finished the trip with Leslie who has been guiding here 22 years. We headed to the west side of Andros for the first time this week. Let me state for the record, Edward Johnston from Leisure Time Travel was the one who brought Bairs Lodge to my attention, South Andros is VAST. You could fish here every day for over a month and never be in the same spot twice. I think that’s what I liked best about this place.

Of course, on this day we found the bones. Ten fish on and seven to the boat. A 5 and a 6 lb fish were tops. I had various shots at another twenty or so. The highlight was the 5 lb fish. The water was skinny, gin clear, the bottom white sand and the sun high overhead. Leslie spotted the fish coming out from behind a mangrove. He got the boat into position for the expected shot once the fish came out. The fly landed about 2′ in front. We literally watched in 4K HD as the fish eat the fly. Three attempts to head into the mangroves were thwarted, barely. Any more pressure and the tippet would have broken. All very cool when the fight was finally over, South Andros is pure magic.

 ***

In closing, South Andros has some of the most under-fished flats in the Caribbean. Places like Deep Creek, Little Creek, the Water Cays, Curley Cut Cays and West side are naturally linked to sight fishing for some of the world’s largest bonefish.

On the south end you will find sandy hard-bottomed flats particularly good for wade fishing. These wadeable, productive flats are home to large populations of bonefish.Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

Bair’s Lodge has established the benchmark for quality of the fishing in the Bahamas.  The management and house staff are delightful friendly people and work hard to insure your visit is enjoyable. The professionalism of their guides sets a very high standard in all of the Bahamas. Combine that with their excellent accommodations, wonderful hospitality and delicious fresh food make up an outstanding combination.

Bairs is fairly easy to get to. Flying commercial you will go to Nassau International (NAS) and pick up the Western Air flight to Congo Town (TZN). Or there are multiple charter operations from Florida available.

What’s the cost?  For current prices for Bairs Lodge click here.

Let us help you plan your next perfect trip… For impartial advice and a wealth of knowledge there is no substitute for firsthand experience.

If you missed Part One Please click here to go on to Part One– Bairs Lodge and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

Please click here to view a short video of Bair’s Lodge and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientist at work.

 

 

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.
531 N. Citrus Ave.
Crystal River, Florida 34428
352-795-FISH (3474)
1-800-771-2202

All Photgraphs by Edward R. Johnston unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2016 Edward R. Johnston & Leisure Time Travel, Inc. 1996-2016

 

Bairs Lodge Andros Island Bahamas

 

 

 

H2O Bonefishing’s new “Bones” Clubhouse at Grand Bahama Island

H2O Bonefishing is proud to introduce to you to their latest addition to their fly fishing program on Grand Bahama Island.

The Bones Bar at Pelican Bay Bonefishing

The new “Bones” clubhouse

The new “Bones” clubhouse and bar is located at the Pelican Bay property at Port Lucaya Marina within a few yards of all the guest rooms  at Pelican Bay Hotel..

The Bones clubhouse will open daily as it would at any fishing lodge worldwide. Bones will be the meeting place for all H2O Bonefishing’s guests on arrival for orientation All H2O Bonefishing clients will receive reserved seating. Bones will serve daily as an ‘ Après Fish ‘ clubhouse for all bonefish anglers to relax, swap stories and the usual shenanigans. Side note: No, bonefish are not served here!The new Bones Bar at H2O Bonefishing

Bones clubhouse provides all anglers bringing their non-angling wives a quality place to enjoy a few sundowner cocktails overlooking the bay.  Also, for Kids to enjoy the pool while parents can ‘ supervise ‘ from the bar. A swim up bar is also part of the clubhouse. Bones is not a restaurant ( yet ) but will have some snack type bar food !!

Also available is an already expanding  retail area selling a selection of fly rods, reels, fly lines, flies, leader, tippet, sun protection items ie Buffs, lip balm and sunscreen and of course clothing, mostly Shirts and hats.

Whether you are an ardent angler seeking fine bonefishing on some of the productive flats in the Bahamas, or in the spirit of compromise, you wish to provide a good vacation for your non-angling companions, then Freeport Grand Bahama Island is the perfect destination to achieve your objective.

H2O Bonefishing is so uncomplicated to get to. For anglers living in the eastern US, there is no reason to go half way around the world when there is incredible fishing in the Bahamas within a single day’s flight. There is no need for a charter flight and no need to spend the night anywhere en route.

You can take a direct flight from many cities in the United States to Ft. Lauderdale, then a 40 minute jump over to Freeport. From the airport, it is a short taxi ride to the Hotel. Also, there are not any specific transfer days at H2O Bonefishing, so you can arrive on any day of the week and visit for as many days you wish.

On Grand Bahama Island the fishing is as good as or better than ever . After a hot day have a cool beer in the Bones Bar!

The northern side of Grand Bahama Island is virtually uninhabited, and has some of the most expansive flats in the Bahamas. This is where you will be fishing. Grand Bahama Island is 96 miles long and 17 miles at the widest point. If you have fished the upper Bahamas before, this area is reminiscent of the middle bights of Andros, the east end of Grand Bahama Island, and the marls of Great Abaco Island. If you are new to this sport, this is where you will find some of the best bonefishing left on the planet.

Port Lucaya one of the few places that has great fishing for the angler and comfort and charm for the non-angler; there are numerous leisure activities the spouse and non-anglers can enjoy in area’s lively retail and restaurant district, casinos and of course the beautiful beaches.

The Port Lucaya Marketplace offers upscale shopping in duty free shops, dining at many fine restaurants and bars, and entertainment. This six-acre waterfront entertainment complex centers on the bandstand at Count Basie Square where local events are frequently held. The legendary jazz pianist built a home in Freeport. If you want to get in on the gambling action, the Lucayan Beach Casino will give you plenty of excitement and action.

Greg Vincent and Jason Franklin, of H2O Bonefishing will continue as they have for many years, operating a first class bonefishing operation.

For the H2O Bonefishing main page  Click Here.

For additional photographs of H2O Bonefishing Click Here.

Click Here for Rates.

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc. 531 N. Citrus Ave. Crystal River, Florida 34428 352-795-FISH (3474) 1-800-771-2202

All Photograph’s courtesy of Greg Vincent

Copyright © 2014 Edward R. Johnston & Leisure Time Travel, Inc. 1996-2014

Greg Vincent and Jason Franklin, of H2O Bonefishing will continue as they have for many years a first class bonefishing operation.

H2O Bonefishing’s new “Bones” Clubhouse at Grand Bahama Island