This first full week of April graced us with the presence of a larger than life figure who goes by the name of Andy Jensen, a.k.a. BigAndy.com.
Photo: Andros South Staff.
To say that Andy is a character is an understatement and the guys who travel with him always go home with tales of Big Andy. This year was no exception! His group this year included long-time Deneki friends Joe Dudra and Matt Tofanelli, who have both had some great fishing with us over the years. Jack Orgill joined us again and the rest of Andy’s group were first timers to Andros South.
The rest of the week was made up of a hosted group through Leland Outfitters and Fly Water Travel. Keith Westra was the host and he took great care of Paul and Sally Hayward and Don Nelson during the trip. Dick Engeman joined us through Angler Adventures. All the guests this week really seemed to get along with each other quite well and the nights were full of chatter about the day and what was in store for tomorrow.
The weather was quite nice this week with a lot of sun and moderate winds to keep the bugs down. Unfortunately this is Sand Fly (No-See-Um) season, but as just mentioned we had moderate winds so all were fortunate to not experience the full fury of this bug. We were given beautiful evenings to hang at the Slack Tide Bar and drink fruity rum drinks while listening to Big Andy tell stories of past conquests.
The fishing this week was quite consistent with a couple tough times thrown in for good measure. Bones were seen in some huge schools this week along with some great times fishing singles and doubles. The schools of bones also bring with them some great chances at barracuda and even shark if you’re into that sort of thing, which some of the guys (and gal) were. Maybe the story of the week happened during a bluewater trip in which Sally Hayward put the hurt on a serious tuna by whooping it in 10-15 minutes. She brought aboard a nice 40-50 pounder which, needless to say, ended up in our bellies as some of the best sashimi on the planet was quickly devoured.
For the second week of April, we welcomed back Frank Carlton and his crew. As per normal, the ladies in the kitchen prepared ahead of time, ensuring that there was a good stock of fresh limeade on hand and fresh conch salad daily! Returning with Frank were his sons Sam and Ben, and friends Hudnal Ware, David Oliver, Steuart Thomas, Alex McAlister, John Kulze. Joining the group for the first time were Aldo Marchioni , Thold Gill and Lowery King. It’s always great to see new faces, and even more exciting when you get to join any of them for their first experience of bonefishing on South Andros Island!
The weather held for most of the week – with slight thunderstorms occurring here and there. But for the most part, the group enjoyed the after-fishing swimming, fresh fish every night and they even brought back BBQ night. The challenge was to bring in some snapper for a fish fry. Norman made it happen! The guides and some of the kitchen staff joined us for a wonderful night of food and fire. With the fish fry, a bonfire space was also added to the camp!
A tournament was also thrown out there for any takers – and maybe with not enough rules and outlines. This created some high competitive spirits and built the appetite for fish! Fredlon ended up on top with his guests – boating 22 fish! (Though one PERMIT could have won it all!) Nice work Gentlemen!
And let’s not forget about the words that this group came up with. Some of them included:
‘VoluntaryMONslaughter’ – When you agree to pay a Bahamian good money to ride you south and back again through 6ft chop.
‘Bro-mance’ – A fishing trip with a group of male friends that you see once or twice a year.
‘ConFISHcate’ – Catching a fish from a school of tailing bonefish already being played by your fishing partner.
Following the Carlton group, we had more fathers and sons join us. Fred Filoon rolled in with his son, Cope. Dave Joys joined us with his two sons Jon and Bill. Larry Singmaster came with his son Ross. Lance Isham and his son Chris. All were joined by the token ‘grandfather’ of the week, Rusty Mather.
Micheal Metzman of Seattle was also brave enough to join this week as a first timer not only to the island and the group, but also to the fishery! He was prepared beyond measure, ensuring that no one would fall short on gear this week. I think we got him hooked!
The whole group had great fishing, sharing some good father – son moments and reeling in some hefty fish! The weather started off a bit breezy but fell quick enough ensuring that some could take advantage of our offshore fishing program. Lance brought in the biggest mahi mahi of the year, weighing 50+ pounds. And the group caught many more on the fly. They tested out Roggie’s new offshore boat: a 30ft Prowler Cat. Apparently, it was NICE! Apparently a SON may have his FATHER convinced of the need for such a boat!
Another year for the infamous group from Knoxville, TN put together by Scott Rogers and aptly named ‘The Creel Gang’. The Creel Gang has made quite the impression on Andros South over the years and they are always a welcome sight when they get off the bus. The whole gang was ready to forget about work and do nothing but enjoy the Andros sun while messing with as many bonefish and barracuda (and Kaliks) as possible.
Mother Nature decided to get a little nasty with Scott’s group and she threw a whole lot of wind at them throughout the week. Andros Island experienced winds from 15-30 mph for the week, but the sun was out most of the time so not all of the elements were against them. Temps were 70-80 for the week and since it was so windy we had no issues with sand flies or the hated ‘Doctor Fly’.
Due to the wind issues the catch rates were lower than years past for this group, but we did have a couple fish close to double digits. Fortunately this group has been around a bit and they have all dealt with some tough conditions over the years. They all kept at it through the week and everyone caught fish on a daily basis.
The week ended with a nice dinner served at the Slack Tide Bar with many of the staff members joining in as well. We had a nice fire going as Andros South guide Torrie Bevans brought in a couple up and coming drummers to show The Creel Gang a bit of the Bahamian culture. These kids blew our socks off. We were all amazed at the speed and rhythm that was kept by the two kids playing the drums. Torrie took his turn also and showed he had some skills off the water as well. It was a nice way to send the group home and we hope to see them again next year. Thanks Gang!