I hosted a group of 7 fly anglers at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge in South Andros, Bahamas last week. Mike Perez and Stewart Lavelle, from Sarasota, FL, Les Fulcher, from Longboat Key, FL, Steve Coburn, from WI and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale last Saturday where we met up with Bill Crelin, also from WI, and traveled to Congotown, South Andros with Air Flight charter service. Kirk Grassett, from Middletown, DE and Richard Moxley, from Lancaster, PA, met us at the lodge via Western Air through Nassau.
This was my first fall trip to the Bahamas and my first time with a group at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge bahamasbonefish.com. Weather was very good with below average wind and sunny conditions most days. Bill Howard, the resident owner/operator, did a great job making things run smoothly during our stay at the lodge. Bill is a jack of all trades, handling everything from outboard motor and boat maintenance and repair, to fixing and maintaining anything around the lodge. We dined on a variety of excellent authentic Bahamian dishes including fresh fish, lobster and conch.
One of the best things about Mars Bay Lodge is the variety of options that are available. Its location, as the southernmost lodge on South Andros, means less time spent running to fishing areas and more time fishing. You can fish the vast sand flats and scattered mangrove keys to the south or head west through several creeks to fish remote backcountry areas consisting of large flats, mangrove shorelines and smaller creeks. There is also a very nice wadeable flat in front of the beach at the lodge where Les caught a few bonefish one day.
The staff of guides did a great job putting us on fish. We fished from flats skiffs and waded and fished everything from large schools of bonefish to cruising or tailing singles and doubles. Many bonefish caught and released were in the 3 to 5-pound class. Several anglers caught and released bonefish in the 7 to 8-pound class and we also had shots at and hooked a few double-digit bonefish. Top producing flies during the week were Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp, Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, Greg’s Flats Fly and Gotchas. I caught and released a couple of cudas and hooked a 60 to 70-pound blacktip shark on a fly popper one day and Richard caught a big cuda on a top water plug with spinning tackle another day. Like fishing anywhere, there were some great days and some slower days, but it was a great trip to a great lodge!
Back home in Sarasota, tripletail, Spanish mackerel and false albacore in the coastal gulf should be good options now depending on conditions. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find albies and mackerel. Look for reds and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder and more should also be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.