Andros Island Bonefishing
here aren't as spooky as those
in the Florida Keys.
Flies and jigs popular in the Keys work equally well here. For fly fishing, that includes No. 4 pink or brown Crazy Charlies, Orange Mite Mites and Epoxy Charlies. Seven to 9 weight rods with matching floating line, a reel with a capacity of at least 150 yards of backing, tippets of 8 or 10 pounds and 9 feet of leader are the preferred setups. For spinning, 1/5 oz wiggle jigs in brown and white, yellow or pink all produce equally well.
A couple of other quick comparisons between Andros and the Keys. Andros bonefish aren't nearly as spooky since they don't have that many people chasing them. And the Andros flats are far more extensive. Most fishing is done over a clear bottom and not grassy areas which are predominate in parts of the Keys.
Besides a slow retrieve, another important point we quickly learned about Andros was the importance of the moon on fishing. If at all possible, avoid a full moon. Unfortunately, we didn't. Full moon conditions all favor the fish: lots of wind (bad enough) but also many cloudy days. As Rupert says, "Clouds take away 90 percent of the fishing."
A full moon also brings higher tides, which allow fish to stay back in the mangroves where we sometimes couldn't reach them. When we did, we had to fight to keep them from going back in. Three weeks out of the month, a lot of the mangrove cays we found awash would normally be high and dry.
Earl and I also were fishing in the hot days of July. Obviously, we found good numbers of big fish, but we didn't see
great rafts of fish that Andros is noted for. According to Rupert, February and March are when he sees the most fish, including the big fish. Bonefish fish move in on the flats then to feed before and after the spawn.
That puts them in a more voracious mood than our hot weather July bones who seemed to lose interest in eating as the water warmed up near mid-day. They often stopped feeding completely, until late afternoon when the flats began to cool down.
Although Spanish Wells' soft muddy bottom made walking difficult, we found many areas that had a packed sand bottom ideally suited for wading. We tried this method several times but without a great deal of success.
Once we spotted a large school of fish that we stalked relentlessly for over an hour. Being on foot, we should have been able to approach closer to the fish since we presented a lower profile than we did standing on a bow platform.
It didn't work that way. We didn't stumble, splash, fall or do anything obnoxious to let the fish know we were in the neighborhood. But they knew we were there just the same, always staying just out of effective casting range.
In frustration we finally tossed our lures near the school of 40-50 fish. As a single unit they reacted. A few splashed on the surface but most waked away instantly.