Tag Archives: andros

The Rainy Season


Tosh Brown Photography

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning

Well, from the perspective of six blokes fishing Andros Island between May 20-25, 2012, that’s a big honkin’ load of crap.

Rainy season came early this year and Tosh Brown lays down the truth on a recent trip to Andros South. See the photos here:

Andros, How I Miss Thee…


…and thy monster bonies. True story. Ye are all witnesses thereof. Yaaar.

BIG WIND. BIG FISH. (life is good) from Davin Ebanks on Vimeo.

From our 2009 excursion. I’m assuming that fish is a few pounds bigger now… food for thought.

Guides Can Bonefish Too


While his clients have lunch Andros Bonefish Guide Alvin Greene hooks a bonefish. Nice.

*TV-MA (strong language)

Travel Log: Andros (Pt. III)


Dad with his Bahama Mama: North Bite, Andros

Last Chance

April 29, 2005

Day V. It’s been tough. Weather. We’ve had patchy overcast skies, winds at times pushing 25 knots, but we’ve still caught fish, 5-7 pounders mostly and shots at double-digit trophies. But Dad still hasn’t gotten his ‘big one’. Sure, there’ve been some nice fish, but the mythical double-digit, the ten-pounder has eluded him. And we fly out this afternoon.

Luckily Charlie has a sympathetic streak and has offered to take us out this morning early. Half day trip: in and out on a mission. That morning I stowed my rod in the gun’l knowing I wouldn’t use it until Dad got his fish. Until then it was camera duty for me.

We cross the bite and begin poling with Dad on the bow. Charlie is on today. By 8am we’ve already missed several shots. We’ve been passing on fish in the six pound class, deemed too small by Charlie. The chance of missing a shot at a big fish is too great. Finally I hear Charlie say clearly, Twelve o’clock, 80 feet, two fish.

At 65 out feet we spot them and Dad makes a cast. The fish are big and the pressure’s on. Of course the fly drops way left and short.

Very calmly Charlie says, Cast again… to the fish, man.

This time the fly lands about three feet dead ahead of the fish. Both rushed the fly and the lead fish, the big one, nailed it. In the face of such a clear, deliberate eat Dad lost his nerve. His strip-set would have pull-started a lawnmower.The fly popped out and the second fish darted forward and ate. This time the hook set was smooth, almost gentle. The rod bowed deeply and I heard Charlie’s now excited voice: Set the hook, man!

Half a second later the fish is burning off heavy drag and eating backing from Dad’s reel. It’s a good fish, a solid fish, and when we land it several minutes later Charlie laughs down from the platform: Nice fish. Another 10-pounder.

Then he adds, (rather whistfully, I thought), but if you had hooked that first one…

Read Part I here
Read Part II here

Andros, Bahamas Snapper


Apropos of a serious lust for unknown waters, I’ve been doing some deep dredging of ye ol’ YouTube trove. Here, my friends is a gem: a real guide’s day off.

(BTW, that dude w/ the rod? That’s Andy Smith of “In Search of a Rising Tide” fame, one of the many sons of Charlie Smith… of the Crazy Charlie bonefish fly fame. I’ve met that guy: a real fisherman. Period.)

 

Captain Shawn Leadon, Andy Smith and Glister Wallace exploring the inland lakes on Andros Island Bahamas.

Travel Log: Andros (Pt. II)


Gotcha Clouser: big bonefish food.

Interpolation

April 26, 2005

A few notes about Andros bonefishing. If you’re after the big girls, forget light tippets and #8, weightless flies. Standard gear for big bones here is a 9-weight rigged with 9 foot, 16-20 pound leaders and #2 forged saltwater hooks, double strength preferred. (I straightened two #4 stainless Mustad 34007’s [1] on smaller fish—fish under 6 pounds—and the big fish there are serious.)

And by big fish I mean big. Charlie said the biggest caught from his boat was 43 inches long, to the fork! About the only thing I can say to that is no $#!t? I personally saw fish there that looked more like baby tarpon than bones. How big? Well, bones are one of the few fish that look smaller in the water than out, they seem to bend light around them somehow. A 6 pound bone can appear half that size before you hook it. Hook one of the real trophies and you’d better have strong hooks, heavy tippet, and plenty of backing. A strong guide to pole after the fish helps too.

The standard fly is a big rangy Clouser tied with heavy lead eyes in Gotcha colors: white belly, tan wing, pink thread and plenty of gold flash. They’re simple to tie and deadly on big bones, and anglers. Have one of these suckers nail you in the back of the head on a windy day and they’ll be flying you back to Miami, Med-E-Vac style. So, keep those casts low and to the side, well away from the old noggin. It’s either that or a helmet… which I think just looks silly.

End Interpolation

Read Part I here
Read Part III here

____________________
1 You’d be surprised how big of a deal hook selection is when dealing with bonefish. The venerable 34007 stainless steel saltwater hook from Mustad has been one of the mainstays for fly-tiers for years because of 2 simple facts: 1) corrosion resistance and 2) price. But let’s be honest, they’re cheap hooks. The temper is soft, the barb is way too big, and the points often need sharpening before you can fish them. On this trip we fell back on the more expensive Mustad Signature Saltwater Big Game Light hooks, in #2. With 16-lb tippet and drags cranked down we were able to subdue double-digit bones and not worry about the hooks at all. In fact, the materials on our flies—eyes, wing-material, thread—were regularly stripped clean off the hook or so badly mangled that we had to retie. But, back at the lodge I’d clean the remains off and tie another Gotcha Clouser on the same scarred, beat-up hook. No worries. Furthermore, years after this trip I got an email asking about full-proof hooks for monster bones. He was headed to a little place called Aitutaki and was worried about bent or broken hooks on the monster bones they have there. Good worry. Well, I recommended Mustad Big Game Lights and he sent this pic and the following report: “I took your advice on those hooks and was glad I did.  I heard of two hook failures while I was on Aitutaki.  One on the 34007 (bent) and one on a Tiemco (broke). [The Big Games Lights are] solid hooks for sure.” [back]

Travel Log: Andros (Pt. I)


A Break in the Weather = Spooky Bones, West Side, Andros Island

Living Vicariously Through the Past

April 26, 2005

Yesterday we flew out of Miami, the old D concourse where American Eagle buses passengers to miniature aircraft bound for points south and east—the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Key West and more, places a fly rod is pretty much required.  We were treated to our first view of north Andros as we descended to Nassau, standard port of entry to the Bahamas. To get to Andros we’d have to clear Customs and Immigration in Nassau, collect our bags, and check in for the puddle-jumper over to Andros, back the way we came. The domestic terminal is in a whole different building, so you have to walk, dragging your gear through the Bahamian sun and the throngs of porters and taxi-drivers to find the poorly marked, poorly ventilated domestic flight terminal. Estimated connection time: 2 hours… about 3 hours too long.

Flight time to from Nassau to Fresh Creek, Andros: 5 minutes. Perfect.

What wasn’t perfect was the weather. Andros was under the same weather system as the Florida Keys we’d just left. Upon arrival we rigged rods and checked leaders while Charlie mixed drinks and regaled us with stories of monster bones, massive schools, and, well, everything we’d dreamed of for months. We went to bed early dreaming of giant bonefish and worrying about the weather, both with good cause.

*

Day II. Dawn is clear, but windy: 10-12 knots already. Breakfast is a hurried, tasteless affair and then we’re on the dock handing our rods down to Charlie in the damp skiff, a incongruous figure in his camo fleece and socked feet that make dry foot-shaped marks on the dew-beaded deck. I step aboard, cast off the bow-line, and fight back that feeling of unreality I always get in a new place as we pole slowly across the low tide bay.

Despite the less-than-perfect conditions with Charlie on the platform we start catching fish—at first we cast at anything, and nothing was what you’d call small: all over 4 pounds except 1 dink I catch casting into a school of much bigger fish. Then Dad gets a 7 pounder and all of a sudden Charlie’s serious—or as serious as he gets. We began poling deeper edges along nameless keys, searching the blue water for ghostly shapes, big shapes.

And then it happens. Charlie spots a few smaller fish at about 12 o’clock off the bow; they’re deep and I can’t see them so I hold my cast. Good thing. Suddenly a school of bigger fish rise out of the deep channel on our right. I don’t know how I got the fly out there but I drop it when Charlie says and start stripping. Immediately I feel the line come tight, but I set too violently and pull the hook. The fish grabs it again and again I pull the hook. I’m practically frantic by this time, but still the fish isn’t done. Suddenly I’m cold, I can feel my heartbeat slowing, peripheral sounds drop away and I hear my own thoughts: “Davin, slow down.”  The fish grabs again and at this third time of asking I strip looong and slooow, just faster than the fish. The subtle feel of the bite shifts by surprising degrees to an  immense weight and suddenly fly line is jumping everywhere. I remember nothing about that fight, but I end my day with a legitimate 10 pound monster. Not bad for day one.

Back at the lodge we dine on fresh hog snapper while I tie a half-dozen more big Clousers on the strongest hooks I can find.

 

Read Part II here
Read Part III here

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