So for the last several years, usually sometime in late February I begin fixating on points further south. As the monsoon season has yet to subside in NW Washington then, and the days are not yet noticeably longer, it is an entirely reasonable obsession to seek out, or at least fantasize about waves of vitamin D from above. And about bonefish.
I’d surfed the photo galleries of Bahamian lodges, mentally transported myself to the flats, sussed out flight schedules — even booking a departure flight before cancelling in a moment I confused with sobriety.
But this time was different. With an invite from Santiago, Oliver, Fernando, Andrea and Co. at Nervous Waters, I was going to Bair’s Lodge, legendary bonefish establishment on South Andros Island and FFJ Photo Editor Copi Vojta was joining.
Sometimes it’s as simple as pressing return on the “confirm” button: With a few keystrokes we had transport to Fort Lauderdale Intl and a Cessna Caravan flight beyond to Congotown, South Andros, Bahamas. After what had been years of shoulda/coulda/woulda, Copi and I found ourselves in the Bair’s van, headed down the Queen’s Road, being shuttled by our host Ann. Upon arrival, her husband and fellow host Ray greeted and directed us to the freshly made mai tais, which we drank overlooking a seemingly endless Caribbean flat directly in front of the establishment. We both kept shaking our heads in wonderment of the whole thing.
backyard of Bair’s Lodge
While print content on this venture shall likely follow in greater detail, suffice to say the next several days were a dream state of hooking up bonefish every day, including one session where Copi and I hit multiple doubles in a row. After having had my ass kicked in Hawaii by big, cagy bones, I had finally found the slightly dumbed down fish I needed. Which was good, because even a bonefish that has never seen a fly is about 10X more wary than the most suspicious trout. At the end of day one, Copi and I were bonefish virgins no more.
Bair’s was phenomenal, with a warm hospitality that makes guests feel completely welcome. Outstanding service and accommodations without any stiffness or stuffiness. Five star meals in T shirts and flip flops. A big thanks to Ray and Ann and the whole Nervous crew including the guides we had the privilege of fishing with: T, Leslie, Harlon, and Jason. The other guests, especially Jeff and his buddy Bob, who lost his bonefish virginity as well – progressing from Baitfish Bob to Bonefish Bob to Barracuda Bob in an impressive and often embellished evolution — were great dudes to hang with. They gave up their scotch, we gave up our money in evening poker games.
In addition to the bones, we brought snapper to hand, and in a moment proving that luck counts in large amounts — I caught a big and toothy barracuda on a Copi-tied Clouser, definitely one of the best moments in my fishing life to date. And the bones… they just kept coming. I doubt the longest we went without spotting a fish, was more than 30 minutes. Bringing several to hand each day — and Copi, being the bad ass he is, bringing double digits to hand most days. But you know, who’s counting. Not me. Obviously.
Another post to come on our continued South Andros mission. As well look for upcoming FFJ edit 0n this, including audio of screaming reels for the tablet edition…