Andros Island Bonefishing
|You need to be able to cast a fly 60 feet into the wind to be successful here.
Rupert believes some of the large fish should have been caught, but his anglers just weren't up to it. The problem, he says, is that too many fishermen lack the ability to cast a fly far enough to reach the big fish.
"Eighty percent of the anglers who come here fly fish, but some of them shouldn't," Rupert says. "They can cast only 15-20 feet, but they refuse to use spinning.
"The big bonefish are too spooky to get so close. You need to be able to cast at least 60 feet to have any chance to reach these big fish. If you shove a boat in any closer, the fish will leave."
You need to be able to make a 60 foot cast into the winds that frequently fans the Andros flats. Obviously, Andros is not a good place to practice fly casting technique. If an angler simply isn't up to it, he should swallow his pride and use spinning gear. It didn't bother me to.
Andros Island Bonefish Club is located on Cargill's Creek in the upper northeast corner of the Andros Bights. The North Bight, a long wide expanse of alternating flats, rocks and cays, is right at the lodge's doorstep. Winding our 16-foot Dolphin Super Skiff through this maze, we always found a lee shore regardless of wind direction.
One of the most popular spots is known as Spanish Wells.
The channel leading to the mud-bottomed flat is deep and the sides incredibly straight. It looks man-made, but our guide Glister swore it was a natural phenomenon. After all, who would dig a channel out in the middle of nowhere?
Only someone who knows how much bonefish would appreciate such a deep hole. Bonefish hold up head there at low tide, then re-emerge onto the huge mud bottom flat. It's a good cool hiding place for summertime. The deep hole also is where every hooked fish automatically goes, unless of course it detours to shore to first wrap itself around a few mangroves as one did. When we fished here, we tried to take advantage of the channel refuge by placing our boat between it and the fish.
Our first Spanish Wells bonefish taught us an important lesson about how the fish here generally feed. Unlike Keys bones, Andros fish do not favor a fast retrieve. In fact, they often run from it.
It was something that Glister kept trying to impress on us over and over that first morning. He kept urging, "Slow, down! Slow, down! These fish eat slow moving crustaceans, like small shrimp and crabs. They don't like to chase their food. You need to slow down!"
He was right, but old habits are hard to break. Only when we finally heeded his advice and reduced our retrieve almost to a crawl did the bonefish show any interest. Their forage may move slowly, but they certainly don't, not once they feel the hook.
At least the bones aren't finicky about what lures they ate.