Andros Island ñ by far the largest of the Bahamas' 700 officially recognized islands ñ has three major bights and countless tidal creeks that cut into and through the island's extensive pine forests and massive mangrove lowlands. The island's eastern shore is protected from prevailing northeast winds and resulting wave action from the deep "Tongue of the Ocean" by the third largest barrier reef in the world. This windward shore has all the island's firm, high ground and it is here where most of the island's 7000 inhabitants live in scattered small villages. These settlements begin at the northeast corner at Nicholls Town and end at Mars Bay about half way down the south island. This leaves the south and west sides of Andros a remote and untouched wilderness. These areas can only be accessed with considerable effort by motoring around the north and south ends of the island or by way of the serpentine bights that slice through the island's midsection.
All of Andros' bonefish lodges were built near these eastern settlements where supplies, air service and access to deepwater shipping were readily available... but not necessarily the island's best fishing waters. Some of these lodges survived and some did not and over time, Andros' solid reputation began to erode due to overuse of these easily accessible fishing waters. Once prolific areas became less productive as bonefish, harassed by a seemingly constant stream of anglers, moved on to feed over less visited flats.
Some of the better lodges on both the north and south islands have recently made concerted efforts to access the island's western shore through the North Bight (Tranquility Hill Fishing Lodge) and through Little Creek on the south island (Bair Bahamas Guesthouse). These noble efforts reaffirmed Andros' reputation as the "big fish" (both in terms of numbers and size) capitol of the world... meanwhile, the South and Middle Bights, along with most of the west side, remained largely ignored with virtually no fishing pressure.
Recently, a group of Montana anglers along with Cargill Creek veterans, Liz and Alton Bain, pulled together necessary resources and manpower and opened a lodge strategically located to access these prime bonefish waters. Built on the southern shore of the Middle Bight on Mangrove Cay the new Mangrove Cay Club is a state-of-the-art bonefish facility. The club is located on ten acres, surrounded by pristine wilderness and is accessed by a two mile private drive. The accommodations are very comfortable designed with the discriminating angler in mind. Eight spacious air-conditioned rooms each with a spectacular ocean view, sitting room, veranda, and private bath (with oversized shower) share club grounds with a beautiful dining room and lounge. Here some of the most affable and nattily dressed guides imaginable meet clients each morning to go over the fishing plans for the day. These guides have been hand-picked, well-trained and well-equipped with brand new Dolphin Superskiffs complete with poling platforms, padded seats and 90 hp. Yahama motors. These guides know the Middle Bight and west side extremely well. Their knowledge of bonefish habits and local tides is reflected in the numbers and size of fish produced at the club. Safety is the number one priority at Mangrove Cay Club. These guides have great boat handling skills and each day carry a pack that includes a VHF radio, flashlight, GPS and other emergency gear.
The club fishes primarily the bights of Andros, especially the Middle and South Bights, in addition to the legendary west side. This is a true "big fish" fishery but Andros also harbors many school fish perfect for anglers just "learning the ropes". Anglers can expect fish to average 4-5 lbs with daily shots at 7-9 lb fish. Most experienced anglers consider Andros to be one of the Bahamas' best locations for a double digit "fish of a lifetime". Although primarily a bonefish destination, permit and tarpon are always a possibility and rods should be rigged accordingly.
With a wonderful array of delicious meals, the dining at Mangrove Cay Club is an experience in its own right. Chef Iyke Moore is well know for his innovative menus that include fresh, local seafood, as well as more traditional American favorites that are prepared with just a bit of an island twist. Chef Moore is very experienced and many of his entrees rival fare served at the finest of American restaurants. His grouper fingers are superb and his delicious Bahamian desserts insure no diet plan survives long on Mangrove Cay. Guest can take these sumptuous dinners either in the comfort of the main dining room or on the seaside open-air veranda. The attractive bar and lounge in the clubhouse offers a complete selection of premium libations and ice cold beverages. A large-screen satellite TV alows anglers to check weather conditions, market reports or enjoy the "big game" with companions.
The Mangrove Cay Club hosts a maximum of 16 guests in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere that emphasizes personal service and quality fishing. The Bains are very attentive to important details and committed to making your trip a first-rate experience. They have combined great food, comfortable accommodations, personal service and a friendly atmosphere with great access to sensational angling areas... an unbeatable combination if you love to fish in the Bahamas!