World Wide Fishing!


Montanans Go To Andros

By Don Cianca (AKA Uncle Don)
Photos by the Author

After having fun catching two-pound Bonefish from schools off the island of Exuma in the Bahamas, it was obvious no type of de-tox would ever rid the addiction for Bonefish that now possessed my fishing partner Jack and me. Every run make by a hooked Bonefish tested the knot which attached our flyline to the backing. If these "little guys" could do that, what about a really big bone?

Many places on the face of this earth are hosts to big Bonefish. We have seen videos of some of the monsters off the east coast of Africa, our own Florida Keys are known for producing huge bones, and the Bahamas advertise being the "Bonefish Capital of the World." Because we choose to take our wives along on our Bonefishing trips, our choice was back to the Bahamas and to Andros. (Africa is too far, the Florida Keys provide too many opportunities for wives to shop thereby making the trip too expensive.)

Emerald Palms, Driggs Hill

We found a place called Emerald Palms near Driggs Hill on Andros. Andros is the biggest of all the islands in the Bahamas and it is sparsely populated. It is also know for larger Bonefish and very, very few shopping opportunities! The resort is situated on the beach and is surprisingly beautiful and elegant. Unfortunately, the lodge is managed by the government. While the food menu had many choices, most often a selection was not available. Each day we heard, "We're out of that till the boat come in next Tuesday." We had no brewed coffee for several days and a tea-bag-style decaffeinated verson is all we had for the morning wake-up. It appeared some bureaucrat back in Nassau controlled what was to be ordered for the dining room. We, we were there to fish, not eat so inconvenience was not a major issue.

Simon Bain was already booked for our time in April but he helped arrange for someone to get us out onto the flats. Stanley Forbes, known as "Jolly Boy" showed up to take us on the "Bite" separating the south and middle portions on Andros. Stanley is no more than 5' 5" and weighs a little over 300 pounds. Agility is not his long suit to say the least. However, he has the eyes to spot bones and was raised in the area and familiar with all the creeks, flats and channels. We made clear we were after bigger Bonefish and Stanley managed to get us into casting range of many big cruising Bonefish. One learns quickly that Bonefish don't get big being stupid. Too many false casts, noise on the boat or a poorly placed fly will spook a big bone and have it on it's way toward the ocean at the speed of light.

Jack Hendrickson, Divide Montana

On our second day, we waded a narrow flat adjacent to a deep channel next to Mangrove Cay. We had been there the day before and spotted several large bones from the boat. One cast and they were gone. Today, the tide was a little lower and the wind was stiff. Three large bones came up out of the channel and headed our way onto the flat. The wind was coming at us too. Jack was off to my right. I tried a cast into the wind attempting to get my fly ahead of the oncoming bones. The cast was close enough, but the bones made a turn toward Jack and his cast was on the mark. The lead bone burst ahead and took Jack's fly. Jacks line followed the big bone across the flat to the edge of the channel. It sounded like someone ripping a huge piece of canvas as the line sliced through the water. "Keep that pole tip high!" Stanley ordered. Jacks arms were already over his head and he was many yards into his backing. There were at least three more similar powerful runs. The smile on Jacks face will no doubt remain there well into the next century. One the fish was landed and a few photos were taken, Stanley estimated the weight to be about nine pounds. The bone was released and it's education had just been increased a notch. The activity was enough to assure us no more bones would be on that flat for quite a while so we got back to the boat and headed to another area.

Jack and Jolly Boy

Our fishing method was one of us would be on deck with rod in hand while the other sat and helped spot until a fish was caught, then we would alternate. We were forced to modify our method and changed it to either rotating when one caught a bonefish, or, after five opportunities were "blown." It's embarrassing to write we had to employ the modified method far too many times.

There are several fishing lodges distributed on all the bites of Andros. Fortunately, the area is large enought that seeing another fising boat is very rate. We say only one. It was Simon Bain with two guests. Our guide Stanley recognized Simon's boat as it slowly approached us on our second day out. Simon came over to "hello." I yelled out, "Simon Bain!" He responded: "Uncle Don, is that you?" (Even if our guide had not said it was Simon Bain, it would have been obvious anyway. On the bow of his boat is a large sticker that reads: I GOT A GATTI."

Before I close, yes I too did get a few big bones. However, my biggest was estimated at only eight pounds so I feel any glory was earned by my partner Jack Hendrickson. Neither of us caught any real monsters but we feel we satisfied our goal to catch some "bigger bones." Are we going back to Andros? YOU BET! After all, we got some more education too.

The flies

For ref; Jack Hendrickson used an 8 weight 2 piece 9 foot St Croix he made. I used a 7 weight 4 piece Loomis. We both used Scientific Anglers Bonefish Taper flylines and our packaged 9-foot leaders were shortened to between 7 and 8 feet, 10 pound test. Fly patterns were variations of #4 gotchas and Crazy Charlies and those NOT TIED SPARCELY worked best. The colors Tan and White will be what I tie for the next trip. ~ Uncle Don

More Fly Fishing in the Caribbean:
Montanans Go To Andros
Peacock Bass Fishing in Puerto Rico
Grand Bahama Island - Bonefish
Grand Bahama Bonz

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