Bonefishing Essential Destinations: The Lodges of South Andros, Bahamas
I loved visiting South Andros for the second time to explore its fishing lodges. I saw and fished with virtually every lodge there including the remote Mars Bay on Andros’s southern-most tip. As most of my clients know, I love fishing and the more I learn about an area the more enthusiastic I become.
The South Bight of Andros is a large, virtually untouched land mass surrounded by flats and mangroves. My purpose this trip was to investigate each lodge there to determine whether it had all of the essentials. By essentials, I mean those qualities that make a specific lodge worthy of any angler’s wish list; specifically, excellent fishing, guides and management as well as amenities suitable to specific anglers’ needs.
Transportation to the island can be easily arranged by flying into Andros’s Congo Town Airport via Nassau or Ft. Lauderdale. Flights are usually very reasonably priced, making the trip quite convenient from most the U.S.
My journey started on Andros’s southern reaches at Mars Bay Lodge. I couldn’t wait to visit Mars Bay’s remote and undiscovered flats. Mars Bay’s location equates to less time spent traveling to spectacular southern fisheries like Jack Fish Cay, Water Cays, and Curley Cut Cays. And of course, less time in the boat means more time fishing. The facility at Mars Bay consists of two buildings designed in the practical, minimalist style of the Bahamaian Villa. The main building consists of two bedrooms, with shared bath. The second one has one bedroom, private bath, Satellite TV, dining room, kitchen and a very nice sitting area. The lodge emphasizes basic, clean comfort.
Debbie is the assistant manager as well as the lodge’s gourmet cook. Bill Howard, the on-site owner / manager makes Mars Bay function very smoothly. Bill has very strict standards concerning his staff which are especially noted in his team of guides. Wilfred, for example, has been a south Andros resident all of his life and has been guiding professionally for over 20 years. A true Bahamian, he is one of the finest boatman I have ever come across as well as an expert flats wader. George is also an excellent boatman and a determined flats stalker. Chris has the best eyes of the group and spots fish at impossible distances. Mars Bay keeps Rahming skiffs and nicely kept poling boats.
From Mars Bay I traveled to Bair’s Lodge. I had been to Bair’s once before for an extensive stay during which I enjoyed optimal fishing with one of my clients. I knew immediately that I would have to visit again.
Upon my return I received a warm welcome from managers, Nicolas and Cecelia, Argentine citizens whom also manage Futa Lodge for Bair’s parent company, Nervous Waters. Nicolas and Cecelia are great managers. Their personal, hands-on approach to guests and the lodge’s daily operation has made Bair’s the “5 Star of South Andros.” Nicolas also oversees Bair’s professional and experienced guiding staff. The staple guides, Leslie, Nate, “T” and Gary all have slightly different areas of guiding expertise. Nicholas takes advantage of this by putting his guides on a rotation, which allows guests to explore the large flats, creeks, and mangroves thoroughly. Depending on tides, trips to Andros’s west side can be made as well. Nervous Waters is continually re-investing in Bair’s by rigorously maintaining and improving boats and accommodations. Nervous Waters is very consistent in its ability to maintain the perfect mix of staff, guides and management.
Bair’s has recently added space for two more anglers; the lodge can now accommodate 10 rods at a time.
Past trips to Andros South (formerly the Bonefish Bay Club) have made me a bit wary of recommending it to my clients. Having come under new management and ownership, though, I decided to return to see what future clients could expect. I could have not been more pleased with the changes made by Andros South’s new owner, Andrew Bennett. He has made ambitious improvements to the plumbing systems, single accommodations, landscaping, boats and other equipment. He has also added a Tiki bar and casting area beside the white sandy beach in front of the lodge.
The meals were also very good, often consisting of a fresh catch of the day reeled in by manager John Toker. Like Bair’s, Andros South uses a rotating-guide system that works well to make each guide’s specific knowledge and experienced accessible. All guides at Andros South are hardworking and extremely enthusiastic. Their are quickly becoming legends on the island due to their fishing zeal.
Before leaving south Andros I stopped at three other lodges: Glatos, Sunrise, and Nathan’s Lodge. I would not recommend Glatos or Sunrise.
I was somewhat impressed by Nathan’s Lodge. The atmosphere there was friendly, comfortable, and it offered real Bahamian charm. The inconsistent guiding quality, however, makes me a little hesitant about giving Nathan’s my full endorsement.
I can confidently say, though, that the south Andros fishing lodges as a whole have improved considerably since my last visit. At Mars Bay, Bair’s and Andros South anglers will certainly find those fishing essentials that make guest return again and again. Given the right conditions, these lodges can provide an atmosphere of fishing nirvana, allowing guests to see why this area of the Bahamas has become part of fishing lore.
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