World Class Bonefishing on Great Abaco Island at Blackfly Lodge in the Bahamas
The Blackfly Lodge Bahamas, previously known as Blackfly Bonefish Club Bahamas, is located at the south eastern end of Great Abaco Island. It is halfway between Marsh Harbor and Sandy Point in the Schooner Bay Development. This unique Bonefishing Lodge is perfectly located to fish some of Abaco’s finest flats. For more information on World Class Bonefishing on Great Abaco Island at the new Blackfly Lodge Bahamas, read on!
Read our 2013 Blackfly Lodge News Report here
Read our 2012 Blackfly Lodge News Report here.
About the Blackfly Lodge Bahamas
The Abacos are a 130 mile crescent shaped string of Bahamian islands located approximately 200 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and 75 miles northeast of Nassau Bahamas. With nearly 50 square miles of landmass, Abaco is the second largest island in the Bahamas. The Abaco Islands are rich with bird life and several areas have been set aside as preserves. The interior of the island is lush with Bahamian pine trees and here you will find the habitat of the Abaco parrot. Offshore, Abaco is also known for its elkhorn and staghorn coral reefs. Marsh Harbour is the principal town and hub of the island and is only a 30 minute drive from the Blackfly Lodge Bahamas.
The Blackfly Lodge Bahamas, previously known as Blackfly Bonefish Club Bahamas, is located at the south eastern end of Great Abaco Island. This is halfway between Marsh Harbor and Sandy Point, in the Schooner Bay Development. Blackfly Lodge is situated prominently at Harbor Square, perched up and overlooking the marina in Schooner Bay. This lodge is perfectly located to fish some of Abaco’s finest flats (more on this the later).
The elegant two-story colonial-style plantation building was built in the form of a traditional Bahamian manor house and is comfortable and very inviting. The spacious lodge can accommodate eight anglers very comfortably, each in a private room with private bath. The lodge features a public restaurant and cozy little bar on the main floor. Guest accommodations are located on the second floor, which is off limits to the public. There is a wrap-around veranda overlooking the picturesque Schooner Bay harbor and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. The lodge has telephone and internet access and provides maid and laundry service.
Blackfly Lodge Bahamas is managed by Captain Clint Kemp, one of the proprietors of the Lodge. Clint is a native Bahamian and can trace his family’s Abaco Island roots back to the 1700’s. Clint is the type of guy who makes you feel right at ease in his presence. Clint is as good at what he does as anyone we have ever met. Clint is versed on many subjects, whether it is Wall Street finance, Bahamian history, politics in the Bahamas or the US, and especially fishing and fly tying.
Clint Kemp is not only a tremendous manager; he may be the best Bahamian cook in the Bahamas. The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the great cuisine are as good as the fishing.
For breakfast, you will have a assortment of eggs, egg omelets, pancakes, fresh fruit, breads and more. For dinner, you can expect a variety of beautifully prepared Bahamian and American specialties including fish, lobster, conch, and of course steak.
Your cooler lunch will be a pleasure as well, with perhaps a lobster wrap, conch and/or lobster salad or a variety of sandwiches made on homemade bread.
How does this sound for evening dinner …. let’s start with an appetizer of thin sliced fresh Conch Ceviche marinated in sour orange and pepper, mixed with onion, peppers, and pickled ginger.And for the main course, let’s have Surf and Turf Tenderloin with basil butter lobster served on spinach smashed potatoes, or Steamed Filet of Hog Snapper with locally grown vegetables served over saffron rice with grilled asparagus, or Roasted Pork Tenderloin with silky saffron potatoes with a roasted red pepper and garlic sauce.
And for dessert, (if there is any room left) a Guava Cobbler with rum butter sauce, or home made Aztec chocolate ice cream with double chocolate chip brownies, or home made coconut sorbet with grilled pineapple with fresh mint garnish.
To head the restaurant at the new Blackfly Lodge, Clint Kemp has brought in master chef Devon Roker who trained at the culinary institute of Ft. Lauderdale. He also served in some of the best hotels in Nassau, including the great kitchen of the Compass Point.
As Captain Clint Kemp likes to say, “You can’t control the fishing, but you certainly can control the food.” He does!
The lodge includes a premium selection of liquor, excellent red and white wine, beer, juices, sodas and other appropriate mixers and garnishes for your pleasure. Help yourself as all drinks are included during your visit.
The Blackfly Lodge Bahamas fishing director and our guide for the trip was Captain Paul Pinder. Paul was born and raised on Abaco and knows the Island like the back of your hand. Paul’s vast knowledge of the fishery and good nature make for a pleasant day on the water. In short, Paul is one of the most knowledgeable guides we’ve fished with. Paul is organized and focused on maximizing productive fishing time.
And for those of you who have fished around the Bahamas, the Pinder name is synonymous with great guides. You may have heard of David, Jeffery and Joseph Pinder, well Paul is their first cousin.
Southern Abaco has been fished lightly in the past. The new Blackfly Lodge Bahamas is in the right place at the right time, located on the threshold of some of the most pristine bonefish flats of all of the Bahamas. The Black Fly Lodge has brand new East Cape Skiffs rigged with new light weight Evinrude e-tech 90HP engines. The skiffs have comfortable padded seats, a custom leaning bar on the casting platform, rod storage and ample dry storage lockers. The skiffs are trailered to various nearby boat ramps.
The house ramp at Crossing Rocks is just a few minutes away. The longest haul is to Sandy Point and is approximately thirty minutes. Most of the flats close to Abaco Island are protected by numerous outlying cayes and small islands. This is a visual fishery and these island flats can be fished while wading or fished from the boat. Plenty of wading opportunities exist on white sand flats. During windy days, you can expect to fish the coves and inland lagoons. These shallow flats are protected and ideal for stalking tailing fish and bones pushing water. When the weather is settled, the flats close to Moore’s Island and Sandy Point’s Cross Harbor lagoon are protected by coral reefs, resulting in calmer, clear waters.
The Blackfly Lodge has divided lower Abaco Island into six distinct zones, or fishing grounds. Each area large enough to spend an entire day or more. In fact, it will take you several days in each area to thoroughly cover it with the exception of the hundreds of square miles of the Marls, which will take you a very long time to explore.
Fishing on Abaco is exciting and life plays out intensely on the flats. Every day is different. Over the years, I have fished all of these areas, with the exception of the Blue water out of Schooner Harbor. From the lodge ramp at Schooner Bay north to the Big Mangrove Cay is the first zone.
If you have previously fished the now defunct Great Abaco Bonefish Club or Nettie’s place , then you are familiar with this area. This is the lower part of the famous Marls which is a vast mangrove studded area with a labyrinth of deep penetrating creeks and miles of rarely fished territory. Lots of pine and mangrove islands, hard and soft flats separated by numerous shallow cuts.
The second zone is from the lodge ramp at Schooner Bay south to Sandy Point. It is very similar in terrain and environment as zone one, but is more linear from NE to SW. Mostly bonefishing in these zones with jacks, barracuda and possibly a chance at stray permit.
The third zone on the southern tip of Abaco is the Cross Harbor flats from Sandy Point out towards Hole in the Wall. The Cross Harbor bay has one of the most beautiful flats you will find anywhere and a lot of this area is wadeable. There is a very good chance you will see and have casting opportunities at permit, as well as bonefish, snapper, jacks, sharks and big barracuda.
The fourth zone is blue water and ocean flats starting from mouth of the Schooner Bay Harbor. This zone requires a calm day for inshore fishing. The Lodge intends to add big game blue water fishing in the future. Bonefish in the morning and billfish in the afternoon, nice!
The fifth zone Cherokee Sound; again if you have previously fished the Great Abaco Bonefish Club then you are familiar with this area as Nettie usually kept a couple a skiffs there. There are numerous blue holes in Cherokee sound which attract a multitude of species including bonefish, permit, mutton snapper and barracuda.
And last, but not least, is Moore’s Island. Located about eighteen miles from Schooner Bay, Moore’s Island is the largest of a dozen small cays. Like Cross Harbor, here you will find beautiful unspoiled flats and unquestionably the best permit fishing in the Bahamas. You will find bonefish, sharks, snapper, big barracuda and perhaps a shot at tarpon.
On arrival at Marsh Harbour, you will be met by a Blackfly Lodge representative, who will transfer you to the lodge. It is a short 30 minute drive and the cost is included in the package. On your departure day, you will be taken back to Marsh Harbour in plenty of time to catch your flight.
Abaco Island has direct flights from Florida to Marsh Harbour. It is also possible to fly via Nassau, however a direct flight from Florida is by far the easiest.
The Future of Blackfly Lodge Bahamas:
On the main land of Abaco Island, there is a place where the land narrows and the blue water of the Atlantic on the East and the vast flats on the west are only separated by a half a mile of pine forest. Locals call it the “neck” of Abaco. Here, you will find the new harbor side town of Schooner Bay. The project is situated on 330 acre parcel of land and will occupy those 220 acres. The remaining acreage will be preserved as common green space which will only include native trees, vegetation and sand dunes. A lot of thought has gone into this development as it is being built to exact environmental and sustainable standards.
Blackfly Lodge Bahamas has a new fleet of boats including four 19′ Blackfly Lodge Edition Eastcape Vantage powered with 90 HP Evinrude E-TEC engines for the inland areas and a Hewes Redfisher 21, powered with a 150 Evinrude E-TEC for the run out to Moore’s Island and South of Sandy Point when required. Blackfly Lodge has also purchased a 31′ Yellowfin for offshore fishing and can accommodate up to 4 anglers.
Other Activities and Things to Do
For the non-fishing guest, there is plenty to do. Around the lodge, let’s start with exploring the local beaches, investigating the famous blue holes, bicycling around the Abaco pine forest, kayaking the tidal marshes or searching for the elusive Abaco parrot. Or take the thirty minute drive into Marsh Harbor and shop, dine at one of the fine restaurants, a day of golf or perhaps take a day trip to the picturesque Elbow Cay and Historic Hope Town where you can see the last operational kerosene-fueled lighthouses in the world.
Some people are under the impression that Abaco Island is out of the way and there is nothing other than fishing and boating to do there. Quite to the contrary, if you are looking for genuine natural outdoor experiences, there are a lot of things to do.
Bird Watching – Bring your binoculars and enjoy the outstanding variety of birds to be found on Great Abaco and the surrounding islands. The Abaco Islands are rich with bird life and several areas have been set aside as preserves. The interior of the island is lush with Bahamian pine trees and here you will find the habitat of the Abaco parrot
Day Trips for the More Adventuresome
My family and I have vacationed in the Abaco Islands for more than thirty years and have enjoyed all the activities listed below.
Beaches – The Abaco’s have some of the finest beaches in the world, most of them completely deserted. Go to one of the rental boat companies in Marsh Harbour and captain yourself across. While you’re there, grab your snorkel gear and explore the pristine world class elkhorn and staghorn reefs just off the beaches. You can scuba and discover the many offshore wrecks and caverns as well.
Take the ferry from Marsh Harbour and spend the day Nippers Beach Bar & Grill on Great Guana Cay. Nipper’s is open 364 days a year. Stop by for the music and fun, mix with the locals, tourists and cruisers. Everyone’s here, but there’s plenty of space to chill at Nipper’s, too.
Ride a 20 minute ferry from Marsh Harbour and spend the day at Hope on beautiful Elbow Cay. Rent a cart and explore the island. There are lots of things to do to keep you busy. Be sure to visit the famous red and white striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse; probably the most recognizable landmark in Abaco.
Take the ferry from Marsh Harbour and spend the day at Man-O-War Cay. Watch how the English Loyalist descendants still build boats by hand, walk around town, take a stroll on the beach or rent a golf cart and explore. Man-O-War is less touristy than the other islands. Do you enjoy snorkeling? Visit Fowl Cay underwater park – a national underwater sea park.
Take the ferry from Treasure Cay and spend the day at the Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle Cay. Visit the historic settlement of New Plymouth, a quiet 18th century village by the sea, with its museums, garden, shops, restaurants and pastel-painted clapboard homes that remind one of a turn-of-the-century village of the New England coast.
It does not take long for your senses to adjust to the solitude and the vast open spaces of the Bahamas. The sky so blue and ever clear, layers of clouds moving different speeds, and the crystalline waters carve a backdrop unlike any you have seen. If you have been there then you know already, if you haven’t been, then go now! Just remember, Edward Johnston told you so……….Book now for the rest of this year and/or reserve your spot at the new Lodge. Call us now at 800-771-2202 or 352-795-3474.
Click Here for Blackfly Lodge Bahamas Rates
Read our 2013 Blackfly Lodge News Report here
Read our 2012 Blackfly Lodge News Report here
View more photographs here
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