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South Andros, Bahamas 05-12-1996

The wind had been blowing for two days and on this, my third and final day on South Andros, it was beginning to swell once again. Yesterday, in spite of the wind, I had had great fishing up Deep Creek. As the tide had turned at midday toward the flood, large bonefish had begun to prowl the shallow waters of the feeder creeks. They weren't really tailing, the water was too shallow to tip down in, but their tails and often part of their backs were clearly visible shimmering in the mix of tropical sun and warm trade winds. These fish had been eager to take my flies and exciting to catch in such shallow water.

Today was a new day. I would have gladly settled for a repeat of yesterday. As we bounced across choppy seas towards Hawksbill Creek, I was accompanied by two fellows from Germany whom I had met the day before. Helmut Gottschalk was new to bonefishing, but could cast well and was obviously an excellent trout fisherman. George Guther had bonefished before in the Keys. Both men had not had good luck bonefishing the previous few days at South Andros. Their guides (from an unmentioned bonefish camp) were inexperienced and had repeatedly positioned them on the flats with the wind and often the sun in their faces. They were frustrated and tired of being forced to cast into the wind to every fish sighted. We had agreed to go out together in an effort to change their luck. The venue for our day's fishing had been chosen by our American host. He assured us we would find fish.

George, Helmut, and I waded up a small creek that entered into a shallow bay. I could see nervous water at the far end of the flat. We spread out upwind and quietly waited for the schools to swim by us. The next two hours were the stuff of winter dreams. The action was nonstop, nothing huge, but all nice solid 3-5 pound bonefish. Helmut caught more bonefish in those few hours than he'd caught the whole rest of the week. George hooked 10-12 and was equally elated. I caught so many I finally put up my rod (feeling gluttonous) and photographed Helmut and George. Over dinner that evening, we recounted our day and forged friendships catalyzed by this great fishing experience.

South Andros is incredible. It is a vast area of mangrove wetlands, deep inland creeks, and meandering lagoons and cuts. It is ll perfect bonefish habitat and the main characters show up in incredible numbers. Because of the vastness of this area, making contact with a good guide is a must. There are three bonefish camps on South Andros and one general vacation resort that will arrange bonefish guides. Depending on where you book, you can either have an incredible bonefishing vacation or be saddled with an inexperienced guide who was literally dragged off the streets yesterday and been made a guide today.

Angling Destinations recommends the lodge at Little Creek owned and operated by Andy and Stanley Bair. The owners are transplanted Americans who have renovated a beautiful home and designed it around the needs of the bonefisherman. Their three clean and spacious, air-conditioned rooms are designed to house no more than six anglers at a time. This is a small, personal operation, with wonderful accommodations (it's like being in your own private home). They serve excellent home cooked meals. The guides are very experienced and personable. They know the area well and get you away to unknown and seldom fished areas. The flats boats are customized for their clients and are extremely well maintained. All this for no more than it costs to stay at the other lodges, some of which are far less appealing or well run. This is definitely the best way to fish South Andros.



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