The FishingAndros Island, the largest of The Bahama Islands, is actually several islands of which there are three main inhabited islands: North Andros, South Andros and Mangrove Cay. Mangrove Cay is in between North Andros and South Andros and is surrounded by the waters of the Bights, wide and meandering waterways that bisect Andros from east to west. The Bights, known as the North, Middle and South Bight are themselves dotted with countless uninhabited cays and islets with shallow shores.
One huge flat on the West Side of Andros Island “The Land of the Giants” has incredible numbers of very large fish can be found here on a consistent basis.
Mangrove Cay Club is located on the north shore of Mangrove Cay which is the southshore of the Middle Bight. The lodge is tucked just inside the Bight far enough from the windward east side of the island to provide us with sheltered access to the flats and estuaries of our fishery.
We chose this location to give us water access to mile after mile of prime bonefish water without ever having to trailer a boat to a launch point or take a rough boat ride in the open ocean. We have access to all of the waters of the Bights, the eastern flats and the remote and legendary West Side.
It is widely known that bonefish follow the tides, using them to feed in shallow water. Tides on Andros behave in an odd way that works to our advantage. When the tide is low and rising on the east side, it is high and falling on the west side and vice versa. This gives our guides the advantage of being able to move through the Bights all day, never leaving you sitting on a shoreline waiting for the tide to “be right”.
There is no tide or moon phase that cannot be successfully fished at Mangrove Cay Club.
Andros bonefish are plentiful and average 3 to 5 pounds with regular appearances of fish 6 to 10 pounds. Several 11, 12 and 13 pound fish are landed every season. Our daily recorded statistics prove that the waters just minutes away from the lodge are equally productive in both size and numbers. In fact, some of the largest fish have been taken within sight of the Mangrove Cay Club just across the Bight around Big Wood Cay and Moxey Creek.
Bonefish are seen in schools of anywhere from a few fish to very large numbers, often in the hundreds. Large fish tend to travel in singles and doubles although they can hang out in large schools with smaller fish.
The Bights and West Side of Andros have soft bottoms and are best fished from the bow of the skiff. Wading is done on hard, sandy bottomed flats which are all located on the eastern shores and the south west of Andros.
Guides are rotated during your stay, and you can generally expect a new guide to be assigned to you every third fishing day. The rotation is a good way to match guides with guests and provides the opportunity to enjoy old favorites, as well as learn from different guides during your week.
Your assigned guide will choose the flats you will fish from an almost unlimited number of options and his choices are based on tides, wind, weather and where experience tells him he will find fish. Please note that, if you have a preference of which type of fishing you prefer (wading or boat fishing), you should let both your guide and Liz know before you go out so your guide can plan accordingly.
Most fishing is done from the bow of the boat giving you and your guide the elevation to see fish and the mobility to move from flat to flat.
For some anglers, wading is the preferred option. It may be your choice to wade alone or with your guide. Let your guide know, and he can plan to include as much or as little wading in your day as you desire.
Occasionally, wind can make fishing from the boat impractical and even getting to the flats uncomfortable. On these days, we have the option of using The Big Boat (our 26’ twin hull with twin 150 hp engines) as a ferry to transport you and guides to lee shores and creeks for wading. This program has saved the day when many of our guests were resigned to a good book or a day at the tying table. These ventures can be very satisfying – in February of this year an 11# bonefish was caught, minutes from the lodge on a day that most lodges could not even get to the flats.
Southwest Side of Andros – Wading Trips
- Under the right conditions, we also use The Big Boat for transport to the remote and seldom fished Southwest Side of Andros. The area is a vast collection of hard bottom and sandy flats that are home to huge schools of bonefish.
- The boat is operated by Captain Johnny Green and you are dropped off with your guide to wade the flats. Johnny stays with the boat and can be summoned to move you from flat to flat.
- Because of the expense involved, we do charge extra for use of the Big Boat for long trips to the southwest side of Andros. The rate is a surcharge of $650, which can be split between 1 to 6 anglers.
- If you want to learn specific saltwater techniques or just brush up on your skills, casting lessons conducted by our guides are available.
- If you would like the guide to incorporate the casting lessons into your day of fishing, let us know. If you would like the guide to come to the lodge during non-fishing time to do a casting lesson, we charge $125 for 45 minutes, from 1 to 4 anglers.
Many of our guests enjoy fishing off the dock at night. Shark visit the area around the dock in front of the lodge on a regular basis, encouraged by regular chumming. We have had many hook ups and some landings of bulls, black tips, lemons and nurse sharks. We bait up heavy spinning reels with chunks of fish, cast it our and let it sit. You can watch the sharks coming in and searching for the bait. When they pick it up, the fight is on. The kitchen saves the bait we need and we supply the spinning gear, hooks and wire leaders. So, if a long day on the flats is not enough fishing for you, you can continue to fish from the lodge late into the night.
Other Fish SpeciesAndros Island is a marine wonderland. In addition to the bonefish, there are Tarpon, Permit, and a wide variety of flats fish such as snappers, jacks, and barracuda on the flats. We encourage all of our anglers to spend some time chasing these fish during their week at Mangrove.
Tarpon are not present in our waters on a regular basis,but we certainly come across them. They range in size from 20 lbs to 200 lbs. Tarpon are the largest, strongest, and most acrobatic of flats fish. Even juvenile fish will put your angling skills to the test and strain your tackle. We highly recommend having a rod set up for Tarpon each day as the moment of opportunity does not last long.
We also see permit on occasion. They are by far the most difficult, picky and frustrating fish you will encounter on the flats. Permit are very finicky about what they eat. They will often charge your fly, only to stop at the last moment and refuse it. When you are presenting the fly, focus first and foremost on landing your fly near the fish and getting the slack out of your line. If the fish appears interested do nothing but let him eat. If the fish doesn’t seem to be reacting move your fly slightly. If he doesn’t see the fly cast again.
At the top of the food chain, these tough flats predators offer some outstanding action on a fly or lure. They will strike anything that darts away from them in an injured manner. When hooked, they are some of the fastest and most powerful fish to be taken on light-tackle.
Andros also has good off-shore fishing available for Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, and Tuna. If you would like to try some off-shore fishing, let us know and we will arrange it if conditions allow.
We are always encourage anglers to take advantage of the other species present on Andros. It is a wonderful fishery. If you would like to target other species, please let Liz know, so she can tell your guide.