Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part series from a recent trip to south Andros Island in the Bahamas. Part II, posted later this month, will feature a bonefishing video from the region.
I’ve been trying to make at least one trip to the Bahamas each year for a while now. And why not? The Bahamas islands are close, they’re safe and the fishing is terrific.
Last year, I made my initial voyage to Andros Island, and while the stay was short, I enjoyed every minute. So when the chance arose to visit Andros again, I jumped at it. This time would be really special, though.
I was headed to Tiamo Resort (www.tiamoresorts.com), a posh operation located on some of the best real estate in south Andros. Tiamo sits directly on the South Bight, with bonefish flats literally along its shores and a host of blue-water species only a short boat ride away in the Tongue of the Ocean.
You can only reach Tiamo by water. It’s completely isolated, and its waters (and land, for that matter) are totally unmolested. The South Bight runs clear through Andros to the protected west side of the island, and the bonefish along the way – both in the bight and throughout this western region – are plentiful and big. And they eat flies without hesitation.
Along with me on this trip was RA Beattie. RA’s one of the best independent fly-fishing videographers in the business, and he and I had been talking about fishing for quite a spell. The timing on this trip worked out perfectly.
I’m not sure how many bonefish we caught over the 2 ½ days that we fished Tiamo, but we caught a number of them each day. While we didn’t encounter any schooling fish, the action was excellent in terms of quality fly-fishing. We tossed big patterns to singles, pairs and triples, and just about every fish responded well to our presentations, even those that were not so good. These fish were also very nice size, with several in the 5- to 8-pound range.
Most of the fishing here is by boat, especially on the west side, with its soft, muddy flats. But there’s surprising variety, as well, with plenty of water flowing over wadeable hard sand, as well as jagged, sharp coral flats.
Also of note is the nature of this region. It’s always a remarkable thing to be in a place that is still essentially untouched by man. I was blown away when, after having just arrived, I came across a rare Andros Island iguana. Andros is the only place in the world these critters exist – and while they’re weird-looking buggers (and fairly large), they’re perfectly harmless.
Tiamo is by no means an inexpensive place to stay. It’s not your average fishing lodge. The resort’s new owners recently completed a host of renovations to the property and are positioning the resort as a place that can be enjoyed equally by anglers and non-anglers alike. The food alone is as good as any five-star resort in the States, as are the accommodations. There’s much to see and do here. I’ve got a 10-year anniversary fast approaching, and this is just the kind of place I’d like to go (and I know my wife would too!).
But what really struck me from an angler’s perspective was the location. We literally saw no other boats during our entire stay. You’re fishing water that just isn’t accessible to many other places – and there is no traveling to the boat ramp. Your gear is loaded into skiffs right behind your cottage. Then, there’s the blue-water scene.
We’d planned to head offshore, but a nasty east wind during our entire stay prevented this. The deep water holds real promise, though – the bottom falls off precipitously only a mile from the South Bight’s pass, and tuna, mahi and many others are taken well within sight of land. No one really fishes these waters, either, but it’s easily accomplished in reasonable conditions aboard Tiamo’s 28-foot World Cat.
And, don’t forget, there’s always the chance of bumping into species other than bonefish on the flats. Check out this cool YouTube video shot earlier this year with one of the resort’s top guides from the island’s west side:
All in all, this trip produced some of the better fishing I’ve had in quite some time. Tune in later this month for an exciting video from the region.
Till then, enjoy some PHOTOS, and tight loops,
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism