Andros South

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Andros South

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Andros South

The smallest bonefish in this picture are over 3-pounds, the largest are over 5-pounds.
Harlon, our Bahamian guide coached from his high position on the poling tower at the back of the small skiff, "Twelve o'clock, forty-five feet, two feet from the beach...in that little cove."  Suddenly there was a stationary bonefish where seconds before there appeared to be only barren sand. The wind was at perfectly the wrong angle for the back-cast, but somehow the heavily weighted fly landed two feet to the side of the fish's head. "Too damn close", was the thought that blasted through my head when the fly landed. The fish did a 360, but instead of running off, it pounced on the fly and bolted over a hundred yards into the backing when it felt the hook. Ten minutes later the six-pounder was released, a fitting end to a memorable trip to Andros South Lodge.

Six-pound bonefish are common at Andros South.

Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas chain has been a famous bonefish spot for nearly 100 years. The bonefish even appears on one of the Bahamian coins and sport fishing for bonefish is a major staple in the Bahamian tourist based economy.  Netting or commercial fishing for bonefish was outlawed about twenty years ago after the specie was nearly wiped out. Since then the bonefish population has rebounded and specimens over ten pounds can be encountered nearly every day on the flats around Andros.

Patty and I recently spent six days fishing out of Andrew Bennett's new Andros South bonefish camp.  Each day we fished with a different guide, and I asked the same two questions of each, "What's the largest bonefish you have seen? What's the largest bonefish your clients have landed?" Nearly every guide said their clients had landed fish in the teens, and some had seen fish over twenty pounds. During our stay we had at least one shot at a ten pound fish each day. A couple might have been larger.

Our room at Andros South...

Headed out to the flats...

Andros South bonefish guide Jose Sands looking for bonefish...
Patty landed this six-pound bonefish...

However, these big fish proved to be very wary and a ten pound bone fish, like a twenty pound steelhead tend to be elusive. The largest fish we landed were six pounders.  Andros South has access to nearly unlimited flats of nearly every description. During our stay, we fished different water each day and covered hundreds of acres. Fishing was done both from the boat and by wading. By far the most popular rod size in camp were 9'-eight weights. Bonefish are found in shallow water. Floating lines are all that is

needed. Your reel better run smooth and carry 250-yards of backing. Concerning fly patterns, over eighty percent of the fish are caught on Gotchas. Sizes vary from #2 to #8 in both lightly weighted, medium-weighted and heavy-weighted. (An over-haul of our fly selection will reflect this in the near future). Nine foot fifteen pound test leaders are most popular. The fish around South Andros don't seem to be leader shy. There are enough very-large fish available that you want to be prepared to meet them.

The evening meal...

Andros South is the best bonefish camp we have fished out of. Their guides are knowledgeable and extremely helpful. Of course Patty and I shared a room, but all the rest of the guests had private rooms. The food was excellent and plentiful. The last dinner featured stone crab claws. Beer & booze was unlimited. The staff was friendly and extremely professional.


Bonefish Money
In an age when everything natural seems to be getting in shorter supply and when the world's most enlightened countries still allow commercial netting of sport fish that are listed as endangered, tiny Commonwealth Of The Bahamas runs against the grain. In the 1980's bonefish nearly went extinct from commercial harvest.  The Government outlawed netting and bonefish responded immediately. Now the Bahamas has the largest, most divers bonefish sport fishery in the world worth millions $ annually.


In Search Of The Perfect Bonefish Rod

The rod rack at Andros South...

What would some guy from Oregon know about bonefish or bone fish rods? Bonefish live far south of the Pacific northwest.  But, with today's economical, high speed travel you can be on a bonefish flat within 24-hours from anywhere in the United States.  Oregon to Andros Island is about 15-hours counting down-time between flights. An hour after you hit camp, you can be testing rods on real bonefish. Eight weight rods are most popular at most bonefish destinations. An eight weight rod is perfect where fish weigh

2-10 pounds. An eight weight rod will handle any fish that can be landed on a 15-pound tippet. In bonefishing, casting accuracy is everything. If you can place the fly precisely in the right place, nearly every fish will eat the fly. That means if you can deliver the fly within a two foot circle, four feet in front of a cruising bonefish, you will get hooked up nearly every time. Many fish will still take the fly even if the cast is not that accurate, but as the margin of error widens, the success rate goes down. In calm, sunny conditions the average cast for bonefish might be 30-75 feet. Under these conditions, fast action rods are an asset, as they help generate line speed to deliver long accurate casts at these ranges. At these casting ranges an angler is loading the rod with the full length of the head-end of the fly line extended beyond the rod tip. When the visibility goes down and shorter casts are required, the fastest action rods can become a liability, especially if you are throwing a heavy weighted fly. During our stay at Andros South the weather was often cloudy and windy. This weather pattern limited our ability to see fish at long distances. Most casts were under sixty feet. Some cast were only twenty feet.  The average cast was thirty to forty-five feet. Because of the wave action, most fish were found in water that was more than eighteen inches deep, which demanded that heavier weighted flies were used.  This mixture of short casts and heavy flies changed casting dynamics from simple to demanding. Under these conditions, we found that moderate actions rods were easier to use. Of course the same casting dynamics can be achieved by over-lining your stiff rod with a heavier fly line. Over-lining a rod can help when using heavy flies during windy conditions. We caught bonefish on all of the rods listed below. Rod testing probably interfered with our catch rate, especially under the difficult weather conditions we encountered, because it took time to get familiar with each rod and some casts were performed badly. To keep the playing field level, all rods were tested with the same Equator Taper II fly lines. None of the rods were over-lined during our stay at Andros South. There simply wasn't enough time. Our tests reflect only our assessment of practical usability under the conditions we encountered. In other words features such as price, craftsmanship, availability, etc. weren't taken into consideration. Patty and I have quite different casting styles, but pretty much agreed on which rods we enjoyed most. The rods are listed in our order of preference.


Sage 890-4 Z-AXIS

Length: 9'     Line: 8     Pieces: 4

Sage 890-4 Z-AXIS

Under the conditions we encountered this "true eight-weight" was clearly the best tool for the job. It is lightweight and responsive with a progressive action that allows short casts and still has enough butt to throw easily to seventy feet. It balances perfectly with the Equator Taper II line and 3400D reel.
Rod weight: 4 Ounces
Item
Series
Line Wt
Action Handle Price To Top
890-4 Z-AXIS 8 Fast D $680 SALE ENDED

Winston B2X890

Length: 9'       Line: #8     Pieces: 4   

Winston B2X890

This is superb bonefish rod. It is a little softer in the mid-section than the 890-4 Z-AXIS, so it lacks the punch at long range. But, it is as effective in ranges of sixty feet or less and proved to be the best close-in tool. It has the most forgiving action and is Patty's favorite bonefish and baby tarpon rod.
Rod weight: 3 1/2 Ounces.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
890 B2X 8 Fast Full Wells $645 SALE ENDED

G. Loomis FR1088-4CCGLX

Length: 9'    Line: #8     Pieces: 4   

G. Loomis FR1088-4CCGLX

We agreed that we liked this the best of the magnum action rods. It is a faster taper than the two rods listed above and there is no doubt this is the rod we would go to if really long casts were the norm. It is a rod that will appeal to anglers who fish bonefish a lot of days per year. For shorter casts during windy conditions, over-lining this rod with a nine-weight line might be worth a try.
Item Series Line Wt Power Taper Handle Price To Top
11288 Cross Current GLX 8 Stiff Fast 130 $645.00 SALE ENDED

Sage 890-4 Xi2

Length: 9'    Line: #8     Pieces: 4
Sage 890-4 Xi2

This rod has been on a lot of saltwater trips with us. It has fished all manner of floating and sinking lines, and has landed such divers species as bonefish, snook, jacks, barracuda & tarpon as well as steelhead and salmon.  It is a superb rod in the wind if you load it with a WF9 and it will cast sinking heads to 300-grains. If you only had one bonefish rod, this could very well be it. It would also make a great companion to the 890-4 Z-AXIS (slightly heavier action).
Rod weight: 4 1/8  Ounces.

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
890-4 Xi2 Xi2 8 Medium-Fast J $675 SALE ENDED

Winston Boron II-MX890

Length: 9'       Line: #8     Pieces: 4   

Winston Boron II-MX890

Winston's newest series is very fast, has tons of punch and would undoubtedly be a long range cannon on calm days. We caught quite a few fish with it, including the bonefish I am holding at the top of this page. The BIIMX Series is noticeably heavier, stiffer and faster action than the popular BIIX Series. We would have liked to have tried to tried a 9-weight line on this rod to combat the wind, but there was no time. No doubt that the BIIX and BIIMX would make a potent team on the flats.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
890 Boron II-MX 8 Fast Full Wells $660 SALE ENDED

TFO Axiom TF 08 90 4 A

Length: 9'      Line: #8     Pieces: 4
 

This is Lefty Kreh's newest design, and like the rest of his rods, it will appeal to the most skilled casters. The blank employs Kevalr in the graphite mixture to increase hoop strength and tip recovery, which increases line speed. And it does deliver amazing distance under ideal conditions.  We found this rod to be somewhat demanding when the wind was blowing and would have like to over-lined it to see what would happen, but once again there was no time. There will be further investigations.
Rod Weight: 5.5 oz.

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
TF08904A Axiom 8 Fast   $274.95 SALE ENDED

Equator Taper II Fly Lines
Superior performance at all casting ranges.                                                
Other Sage Lines

Sage Equator Taper II  Fly Lines helps solve the challenges in saltwater fly fishing...

Because Sage couldn't find a saltwater line they were satisfied with, they built one from scratch. Featuring a braided monofilament core and an exclusive saltwater Taper II formula, Equator Taper II lines provide the stiffness, power and accuracy you need, even in hot, tropical conditions. Thanks to Sage's special saltwater coating, these lines shoot easily, float high and resist the corrosive effects of salt and sun. Best of all, we found that these new lines resist the collection of salt residue that slow lines down.  We fished a couple of days between line cleanings with no change in line speed.
These lines enhance the performance of faster action rods such as: Sage Z-AXIS & Xi2, T&T Helix & Horizon, G. Loomis GLX, TFO TiCr & TiCrX and Winston B2X & B2MX.

Equator Taper II 
Floating Weight Forward
Visible Color - Easy To Cast Taper



light olive color

Sage Equator Taper II Fly Line Specifications & Prices

Item Size Color Length Price To Top
8601-06 WF6F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-07 WF7F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-08 WF8F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-09 WF9F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-10 WF10F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-11 WF11F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED
8601-12 WF12F Light Olive 100' $65.00 SALE ENDED

Simms Neoprene Wading Socks
Ideal to wear with wading sandals when fishing cold rivers on hot days, or wear them under your flats boots when stalking bonefish & permit. These socks will definitely improve your flats fishing experience.

  • Lightweight, stretch 1mm neoprene

  • Fitted foot design

  • Perforated to let the water out

  • Color Light Gray

Simms Neoprene Wading Socks
Item Description Size Price To Top
ANS4120 Simms Neoprene Wading Socks Small $19.95 SALE ENDED
ANS4130 Simms Neoprene Wading Socks Medium $19.95 SALE ENDED
ANS4140 Simms Neoprene Wading Socks Large $19.95 SALE ENDED
ANS4150 Simms Neoprene Wading Socks X-Large $19.95 SALE ENDED

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty

 


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