ANDROS REVISITED – 3 NEW ROUTES TO THE WEST SIDE
I first visited Andros in 1982. There was one fishing lodge, Charlie’s Haven, located at Behring Point on the North Bight. I was the only angler staying at the lodge. I fished Big Wood Cay for several days, never seeing another guide or angler.
Since that trip, I’ve been back to Andros at least a dozen times and every trip I discover something new.
My most recent trip was in November, 2002. The “new” thing I discovered on this trip was Flamingo Cay Rod & Gun Club, the only lodge located on the unpopulated west side of Andros.
I was the only angler staying at Flamingo Cay. I fished numerous west side flats as far north as Billy Island, never seeing another angler or guide. I waded for miles plucking off bonefish tailing in six inches of water, caught a 50 pound tarpon that ate the fly within 3 rod lengths of the boat and cast to numerous permit from 20-40 pounds.
Flamingo Cay is located near the mouth of “The Wide Opening”. Access to the lodge is by floatplane. This location is about 100 miles from nowhere. I was expecting “rustic”, instead, I found an oasis, with every comfort imaginable, including outstanding food, Hell’s Bay skiffs, an airboat and several top notch guides. For anyone who wants to experience Andros like it was 50 years ago, this place is a find.
I fished the remote southwest side of Andros extensively in the early 1990’s, when Stanley Bain first opened his Grassy Cays Camp. Building that lodge was an incredible feat. The fishing was even more remarkable, endless wading for humongous schools of bones in shallow water. Tragically, Stanley Bain disappeared in 1995 and with his departure the lodge fell to ruin in a few years.
Interestingly, this void is now being filled by the two lodges based in Kemp’s Bay, South Andros, Bair Bahama Guest House (now Bair’s Lodge) and Bonefish Bay Camp (now Andros South). The South Andros guides have found a way to travel by skiff from the east side to the west side of South Andros through the protected waters of Little Creek.
The single route to the southwest side used to be a weather dependent one hour boat ride down the east coast. Breaching the west side through Little Creek opens up a huge new chunk of bonefishing habitat and eliminates the often pounding boat ride down the east side when the wind is up.
I’m happy to report that fishing on the southwest flats of Andros is just as incredible today as it was in 1990 and should stay that way for years to come. With just two lodges fishing these vast southern flats, there is little threat of over fishing. You will find slightly warier fish closer to these lodges, but with so much real estate no one spot gets pounded.
Also noteworthy is the pending change in management at Bonefish Bay Camp (now Andros South). Operated for the past 7 years by the Rahming family, we expect that within the next 30 days, American, JerryBottcher will have government approval to take over operation of the lodge. Bottcher has promised many improvements.
Today, there are at least 14 fishing lodges on Andros. I’ve visited every one. Fourteen may sound like a lot, but not when you consider the size of Andros. It’s immense. And, it’s all fishable. Andros has been referred to as the “Alaska of the Bahamas.” Please view our Andros map at https://www.angleradventures.com/androsmap.html
The highest concentration of lodges exists in the Behring Point, Cargill Creek area where Charlie’s Haven got started. There is Ivan Neymour’s, Tranquility Hill Lodge right on the North Bight. Rupert Leadon’s, Andros Island Bonefish Club (AIBC) located a mile or so away at the mouth of Cargill Creek. Next to AIBC is Creekside, formerly Cargill Creek Lodge. Across Cargill Creek is two time Bahamian National Bonefishing Champion Simon Bain’s brand new Bonefish Bay Club.
From these 4 lodges you have easy access to both the Middle and North Bights, and the excellent wading flats on the East side. In addition, a vortex of guiding talent lives and works in these two neighborhoods, guides such as Andy Smith, Simon Bain, Charlie Neymour, Ricardo Mackey, Nick Leadon, Glister Wallace, Danny Newbold, Ivan Neymour, Dwayne Neymour and many more.
About 20 minutes southwest is Mangrove Cay, located on the east side of the Middle Bight. Mangrove Cay is an island unto itself, with its own airport. The spectacular Mangrove Cay Club was built in 2000 by Liz and Allie Bain, who have turned Mangrove Cay Club into one of the best run lodges in the Bahamas in a matter of a few years.
In North Andros, Prescott Smith’s Stafford Creek Lodge continues to fish local east side flats and the Joulter Cays, but more and more is trailering to a small fishing village on northwest Andros, called Red Bays, and running south to fish. Here are more flats that have not seen a “prop scar” and are home to big bonefish, permit and tarpon.
The nearby Kamalame Cay, while offering an outstanding fishing program concentrating on east side flats and the Joulter Cays, is probably best known for having raised the bar on what anglers can expect in terms of luxury and elegance.
More information on the lodges described above can be found on our web sites noted below. However, if you would like to discuss theses or other Bahamian lodges, don’t hesitate to call.
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