More Bonefishing Mythbusting
Last year I conveyed some myths about bonefishing in The Bahamas, and how those tall tales were nothing but. This time around I’m adding to the list, with more myth busting on guides, gear, and getting to the prime fishing spots.
So here goes…
Myth #4 – Bonefish guides are stubborn, and yell indiscriminately at their clients just for kicks
They yell at me a lot, but then again I’m a cocksure loudmouth who deserves it. And I yell back at them too – I like yelling, no matter which direction it’s coming from.
All kidding aside however, let’s taste this bologna. You’ve just paid a decent amount of money to get to a bonefishing flat. You’ve got someone guiding you who has sought fish on this flat possibly thousands of times, over decades. Bonefishing is already a wild game of chance – one that a fish will come passing by, that the guide and you will actually spot the sneaky critter, that the wind won’t be blowing 30 mph right in your face, and that the fish will actually be hungry enough to eat the fly if all the other factors are on your side. In other words, the guide has their work cut out for them, and they desperately wants you to catch that fish.
That motivation is in their blood. And the guide knows that everything from the cast to the strip to the hook set to the fight has to be done in just such a way to land the prize. They are your guide, your instructor; actually think of them as your drill sergeant. Listen closely to everything they say, and I guarantee you a hero shot.
The problem is, a lot of fly fishers who go bonefishing think they already have everything figured out. So they don’t listen, and all things considered the situation might, at times, get a little tense. That guide’s livelihood depends on you doing everything right, so naturally they are going to bark an order here and there. Hopefully correct your mistakes.
Thankfully, The Bahamas is a pretty laid back place, and the guides I’ve met at Andros South are no different. They are more than willing to listen to what you’d like to do, and adjust the plan accordingly. Do yourself a favor – listen back, and have a lot of fun. Instead of a lot of frustration.
Myth #5 – You need three backup rods in 7, 8, 9 and 10 weight, plus every possible fly fishing accoutrement, in order to catch bonefish
I visited Andros South this past April. Accompanying me on this trip was a 2,600 cu.in. carry-on bag and a 32 x 4 in. rod tube. In the bag I had several changes of clothes, plus flats boots, a dry bag, a box of flies, a fanny pack, a leader wallet, three reels, and a few spare lines. I carried 6, 8, and 10 weight rods in the tube.
I cast the 8 weight almost the entire week, changed lines once, and used the leader I built Tuesday night for the next three days of fishing. I could have left the other two rods (and two reels) at home, as well as 75% of the flies I brought, and I still would have caught a lot of fish.
After you’ve packed, take stock. A couple of premium fast action rods in 7 or 8 (and one 9 or 10 for barracuda), some slick lines, a handful of leaders built from stiff mono or flouro, and a small box of flies will do the trick. You don’t need a net, pliers, radar, sonar, a handheld radio, a GPS unit, or a portable satellite dish. And you definitely don’t need a cooler for your fish.
The atmosphere at Andros South is very casual, and nobody cares if you’re relaxing at the Slack Tide in your fishing clothes, let alone what those clothes look like. A few changes will do the trick (because you don’t want to smell bad), along with toiletries, some sunscreen, some insect repellent, and your favorite hat. Buffs are optional, but highly recommended.
Every dime you save on unnecessary items should be spent on sunglasses! Bonefishing is all about sight fishing, which means you don’t cast to the fish until after you’ve spotted them. Your vision plays a role in the game that cannot be overstated, and you are going to face some harsh conditions. The sun will be bright, and the bottom often very light. Your target is covered in tiny little mirrors, and the water is crystal clear. Get the idea? Buy the most tricked out polarized shades you can handle, and I’ll assume you’ve already said “thanks” for the tip.
Myth #6 – Getting to the prime fishing spots around South Andros requires a long, arduous boat ride that is a big waste of time
Bunk. Let me say it again…bunk!
I’ve taken the run from the put-in at Little Creek to the “South Side” and back plenty of times. I’ve done it in the morning and in the afternoon. I’ve made the trip before my breakfast settled. And after a bit too much to drink the night before.
I’ve come back after five bones, ten bones, twenty bones, and a big cuda. After the sun beat on my head all day. After wading five miles. After running out of beer. I’ve gone off the far south side, to little shoals that you can barely find on a chart. Headed down south, and then come back from the west. And visa versa.
Not once did I feel worn out from anything other than the fishing, and only once, with big winds picking up unexpectedly while already in transit, did I ever feel knocked around. I’ve broken legs and cracked vertebrae playing other games, and often feel like crap when sitting at my desk. But on the boat it’s smooth sailing.
The skiffs used at Andros South are tough. And while they aren’t ultra-luxurious they get you to and from the best bonefish on Planet Earth in relative comfort. The captains of those ships know what they are doing too – by keeping a close eye on wind and tide throughout the day, they know what path to take for their clients’ sake.
While visiting Andros South, the longest trip I’ve taken from point A to point Bonefish was roughly 45 minutes, and that was to a spot so desolate the guide stopped at the 1/3 mark to apprise us of his plan and give us the chance to opt-out. By the end of the day we’d lost count of the number of fish we’d individually brought to hand. But after handing some test gear to the guide so he could join the fun, we did recollect eight “triples” – that’s the number of times the three of us were all hooked up simultaneously.
In other words, it was worth the trip.