Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Calls for Petition Signatures

Fly fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas
Help protect this. Photo: Peter Viau.

The good folks at the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) have been working diligently to protect bonefish habitat throughout the Bahamas, but they need your help!

Proposals to create two National Parks covering prime bonefish habitat for Grand Bahama Island and Abaco have been issued and BTT is asking for your help by signing petitions in support of the parks.

We’re lucky that a great deal our flats here on South Andros are protected by Bahamian National Parks, and therefore support more National Parks throughout the Bahamas. Below is BTT’s most recent press release. Please, take the time to protect Bahamian bonefish.

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Calls For Petition Signatures in Support of Two Proposed Bahamian National Parks

MIAMI, FL – The Bahamas is world-renown as an excellent bonefish fishery. In fact, the fishery is so popular for traveling anglers that the annual economic impact of the fishery exceeds $141 million. Yet the fishery will remain healthy only if the habitats remain healthy. As part of the Bahamas Initiative, BTT has been working with the Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute to provide data to support the efforts of the Bahamas National Trust to create National Parks to protect habitats that bonefish use for feeding and spawning.

Proposals to create National Parks for habitat protection for Grand Bahama Island and Abaco are now on the desk of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. We are asking you to support the efforts of our Bahamas collaborators – Bahamas National Trust, Friends of the Environment, Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association, and the lodges and fishing guides on these islands – by making your voice heard.

If you fish for bonefish in the Bahamas, then you know how important this is. If you haven’t yet fished in the Bahamas, it is surely on your bucket list, so make sure the opportunity is there for the future.

Below are links to 2 petitions: One to support the Grand Bahama parks, one to support the Abaco parks. Please sign them both, and tell your friends about it so they can sign too.

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10 Commonly Forgotten Items on Fishing Trips

Kyle Shea and Jet Boat at Alaska West
Travel mug.. Check. Photo: Nathan Vazquez.

We operate fishing lodges in some rather remote locations, pretty far removed from drug stores, big box stores, and fly shops. Therefore, we encourage our guests to bring along any non-fishing items that they feel would make their trip more enjoyable.

Over the years we’ve noticed some common items that are needed by our guests during their trip. Most of the time we’re able to help them out (it’s not our first rodeo), but we realize not all of you will fishing with us this year!

So, here are 10 commonly forgotten items that we see at our lodges that might make your next fishing trip more enjoyable.

  1. Headlamp. Headlamps are extremely useful, relatively inexpensive, and far more convenient than a flashlight. And yes, it can get dark in Alaska in the summer.
  2. Wading Belt. By far the most commonly forgotten item at our lodges. If you’re fishing in waders, a wading belt is always a good idea. They also make a great belt on the flats too! Why? Since they’re made of plastic, they don’t corrode after wading in salt water.
  3. Sunscreen. Yes, sunscreen is a good idea in the Bahamas, but most of our guests remember to bring it. However, many of our guests don’t think to bring it along in Alaska. With roughly 18 hours of sunlight during parts of our season, that’s a lot of time to get burnt, and yes, it does happen.
  4. Paracord. Standard 550 paracord is extremely useful for a number of things in the bush. Its a great fix for broken shoe laces, can be made into sunglasses retainers, or used to fix broken wader or luggage straps to name a few. It’s also cheap and easy to pack along.
  5. Wader Repair. Leaky waders can sour a good fishing trip. Some sort of wader repair is always nice to have. We really like Aquaseal UV. Just like standard Aquaseal, it dries clear and flexibile, but cures in seconds! That’s huge when fixing waders in the field.
  6. Super Glue. Super glue is like fisherman’s duct tape. Use it secure knots, fix gear, or seal up line cuts on your hands. A small tube of super glue is always handy to have on the water. We prefer Zap-A-Gap Brush On.
  7. Travel Mug. For whatever reason, coffee seems to taste better on the water. A good travel mug will make sure it tastes better (or at least hotter) longer. Make sure to pack it along.
  8. Lens Cleaner. Dirt, salt, fingerprints and the like make it onto sunglasses during a trip. Looking through clean lenses is like a breath of fresh air and we always like to carry a simple bottle of lens cleaner in our fishing pack at all times.
  9. Extra Sunglasses. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine fishing without polarized glasses, especially on the flats. Don’t let a pair of shades falling overboard ruin your trip. Pack an extra pair! They don’t have to be top end, even an inexpensive backup (as long as their polarized) can save a trip.
  10. Hand Sanitizer. Great for cleaning up before eating, after using the restroom, or disinfecting whatever the airport throws your way. Travel sizes are available almost everywhere nowadays and are easy to bring along.

What other non-fishing items do you make sure to bring along? Leave a comment below to help out a fellow angler!

More on Packing for Fishing Trips

 

The Flyfish Journal at Andros South – Video

the Fly Fish Journal at Andros South Bonefishing Lodge
Rum, conch, and the FFJ. Three essentials at Andros South. Photo: Kyle Shea.

We were fortunate recently to host our good friends at the Flyfish Journal for their annual ‘BahamaCon’ pilgrimage to Andros South. They put a video together highlighting their trip, and today we share that video with you.

Enjoy!

They also put together a fantastic photo essay on their website as well. Be sure to check it out, here!

More Videos From Andros South

 

Friday Cookouts at Andros South

Andros South Tiki Hut Cookout
Tiki hut cookout. Photo: Jordan Sly.

We like great fishing as much as the next guy, heck, that’s how we chose the locations of our lodges!

However, we also think that a great fishing trip is about the whole experience as well, not just the fishing.

That’s why we started a bit of a tradition this year at Andros South; Friday night cookouts! Because honestly, who doesn’t love a barbecue on the beach?

 More on the South Andros Experience

 

BTT Bonefish Genetics Program

Releasing bonefish
Wait, where are you going? Photo: Derk Frank.

Although bonefish are cherished by anglers all over the world, many are surprised to find out that they are actually widely misunderstood throughout the scientific community! Spawning behavior and movement patterns of bonefish throughout the Western Atlantic and Carribean are still relatively unknown.

However, the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) have been making great strides conducting research to better understand the movements and spawning behavior of bonefish. In fact, a great deal of data has been collected right here on South Andros Island!

BTT has termed their efforts the Bonefish Genetics Program, and their findings can be seen, here! Get in there to learn some super interesting tid bits about bonefish and how you can get in on the efforts!

More on Bonefish Behavior

Bonefish Flies – Our Favorites for South Andros (Updated)

Flies for Bonefish
Good choice. Photo: Peter Viau.

It’s been a while since we’ve ran a comprehensive list of our favorite bonefish flies for South Andros. While we still use many of the same patterns, we’ve developed a few more favorites for our flats, and today we tell you about those favorites.

Our fishery is pretty unique when compared to other bonefishing locations. For whatever reason, our bonefish really like flies that are an odd combination of big and light, which is not often the case in other areas of the world.

With that said, our bonefish also receive very little fishing pressure, so many other flies are likely to catch fish. It’s a creative fly tyer’s paradise! Nonetheless, here are some of our favorites and why.

  • Tan GotchaIt’s no secret that bonefish love a standard tan and pearl Gotcha. The Gotcha has probably caught more bonefish around the world than any other fly pattern, and South Andros is no exception. We fish a lot of whitish/tan sandy flats, so tan is our go to color. As mentioned above, our fish tend to like flies that are big and light, so we lean toward a size 2 hook that is tied with bead chain, not lead eyes.

    Tan gotcha bonefish fly
    The Tan Gotcha. Photo: Kyle Shea.
  • Rubber Legged Gotcha. Improving upon the ever-productive tan gotcha, we’ve found adding some hot-tipped rubber legs makes for a killer fly on South Andros. Our fish tend to really like rubber legs, as well as subtle hints of orange, and we’ve found this to be a great fly for aggressive or schooling bonefish. Hit the link for tying instructions!

     Rubber Legged Gotcha Bonefish Fly
    The Rubber Legged Gotcha. Photo: Kyle Shea.
  • Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp. We’ve been fishing Bob Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp for years on South Andros with great success. The rubber legs provide great movement to entice aggressive fish, yet the fly is subtle enough to catch even the spookiest bonefish. We fish the Mantis Shrimp in sizes 2-4 depending on water depth. A great all around bonefish fly.

    Veverka's mantis shrimp bonefish fly
    Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp. Photo: Kyle Shea.
  • Spawning Mantis Shrimp. We’ve grown really fond of this variation of the Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp. It’s like a Mantis Shrimp on steroids and it’s becoming our first choice when we reach into our box. For tying instructions, click here!

    Spawning Mantis Shrimp Fly
    The Spawning Mantis Shrimp. Photo: Kyle Shea.
  • Peterson’s Spawning ShrimpThe Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp provides some of the best action out of any bonefish fly we’ve fished. With long rubber legs, a large profile, and a bright orange spawning sac, it’s no surprise why it works so well on South Andros. Because it incorporates a lot of materials, it’s also traditionally tied with lead eyes making for a great option when fishing deeper water. Sizes 2-4 seem to work best.

    Peterson's spawning shrimp bonefish fly
    Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp. Photo: Orvis.
  • Bonefish JunkWith bonefish, barracuda, sharks, and many other predators roaming the flats, not much survives if it doesn’t blend in really well. Therefore, when fishing over turtle grass or other vegetation, we like to have a fly with a ‘mottled’ look that better imitates what a shrimp might look like in such an environment. The Bonefish Junk (dark) does a good job at this, and when paired up with rubber legs, makes for a killer fly anywhere on South Andros. Once again, size 2 is our choice here.

    bonefish junk fly
    Bonefish Junk. Photo: Umpqua Feather Merchants.
  • Cathy’s Fleeing Crab. You’ve probably noticed that most of our favorite flies are ‘shrimpy.’ Well, bonefish eat crabs too, especially big bonefish, so we like to have a few crab patterns on us at all times. While most of the time we like light flies for the shallow flats on South Andros, there are occasions where a heavier fly can be advantageous such as windy days or deeper water (say, 3 feet deep). This fly incorporates lead eyes for a little extra weight and we like it in sizes 2-4. Plus, you never know when a rogue permit might come along, and a crab fly is a great option.

    Cathy's fleeing crab fly
    Cathy’s fleeing crab. Photo: Umpqua Feather Merchants.
  • Umpqua Tandem ‘Cuda FlyWe know, it’s not a bonefish fly, but most of our guests like to take a shot or two at a barracuda in between bonefish. The Umpqua Tandem ‘Cuda fly is one of the only commercial ‘cuda flies we’re aware of and we’ve seen plenty of barracuda taken on them!

    Umpqua Cuda Fly
    Umpqua’s Tandem ‘Cuda Fly. Photo: Umpqua Feather Merchants.

More on Flies for South Andros