Andros Island Bonefishing
|This is a place of unusually large bonefish. Possibly up to 18 pounds.
Earl Waters is in the water again, doing what he seems to do best: unlooping fly line that a bonefish has twisted around a hoard of mangrove roots.
Getting snarled seems to be a favorite habit of Andros Island bonefish, since this is the second one that's played loop- de-loop with Earl's line before speeding off into deep water. Last time Earl was lucky and saved his fish, but he'd happily trade it for this one, an exceptional bonefish that looks well over eight pounds.
Earl finally frees the line, just in time to see it go slack. He immediately raises his rod tip and starts cranking. The line snaps taut and Earl is rewarded with the sound of his drag kicking in again. A few minutes more and Earl is scooping the bonefish out of the water and weighing it at the boat: it goes just over 9.
We'd taken a 7-pounder the day before, now followed by this 9 pounder. Not too shabby a showing for the Andros Island Bonefish Club, one of the best known bonefish camps on the Bahamas' largest out island.
After it opened in March of 1988, the Club quickly gained an international reputation, attracting legendary anglers of the time such as Lefty Kreh, A.J. McClane and Billy Pate. That in turn has brought in fishermen from all over the country, from San Francisco to the Keys.
Bahamian Rupert Leadon is the Club's owner and chief guide. Although his facilities may be new, the experience of Rupert and his fellow guides is not.
Rupert has guided the Andros area for almost two decades, which gives him an intimate knowledge of fish movements here. Most of his guides also have spent extensive time on the flats.
Andros Island flats are blessed with a lot of bonefish, big and small. While the average bonefish is around 5 pounds, lots of larger fish have been seen and taken.
Biggest for the Club is a 14-1/2 pounder, although one that probably weighed well over 16 pounds also has been landed. Its true weight couldn't be verified because a shark ate the tail section.
Rupert says several people have spotted bonefish over 18 pounds, but so far no one has managed to entice these heavyweights.