March at Andros South is typically one of the nicest weather months of the season and this year was no exception. The season has been wonderful so far with very few bad weather days since we began back in late October. Our temps in March were between 75 and 85 degrees every day with winds varying from 0-20 mph at times, though the norm was more like 5-10 mph. Most days we awoke to clear skies and threats of bad sunburns for anyone that did not heed the warning!
Our first week of March we were joined by return guests Pete Durno and his wily group of anglers. Many of them have been coming here for multiple seasons. Names like Dick Cuda and Tom Hunter make this group pretty memorable. We also welcomed Walker Parrott of Davidson River Outfitters and his small group of seasoned anglers. Overall the fishing was pretty good though the guests had a tough time this week bringing to hand the larger bones. The weather cooperated for the most part and all parts of the island were accessible. That meant this week was a good mix of fishing the wily Westside fish in small numbers and the southern Andros bones in massive schools that went on past the horizon.
For the second week of March we welcomed back Stewart Gordon of The Green Drake Fly Shop and a couple of his friends like Thad Gulliford. We also welcomed Roy Jensen whom we most recently saw at Alaska West a couple seasons back. He is the younger brother of the infamous Andy Jensen whom fished with us for years at both Alaska West and Andros South. Also this week we were lucky to have father and son duo Jamie and Brad Pugh. As a whole this group got along incredibly well and through all the bad jokes and jibes they all became fast friends by the end of the week. They all agreed that doing this trip again with all of them together could become an annual event.
The second week of March gave us good fishing through the week for all anglers. Even Jamie Pugh with no bonefishing experience at all put the whack to them pretty good with the spinning rod. His son Brad fly fished the whole week and did quite good. These two gave full attention to each species of fish and did not care what they were catching as long as they were catching! Brad and Jamie both harassed the bones as much as they did the sharks, very cool, though hard on tackle! Roy found that bonefishing is not as easy as casting to a pool of holding silvers in western Alaska, but none the less he enjoyed every minute of it. Stewart and Thad had as much fun giving Jamie a bad time (all in fun) as they did chasing bonefish all week.
The third week of March saw the return of Jeff Becker and his great group of guys. Names like Anthony Pampillonio, Jim Gilmore, Al Renz and Bob Merrill to name a few. These guys are partial business with some play mixed in. They are a lot of fun to have in camp and all are a pleasure to hang out with. We also met first time guests to Andros South, Tom Prince and his two sons Adam and Alex. This was a very special trip for these three. Adam has been serving his country oversees for quite a few years now and Tom asked him what he wanted to do on his next period of leave. Bonefishing dad, that’s what I want to do (and maybe a toothy critter or two, or three)! So Tom booked them for a week of bonefishing at Andros South. How cool is that? And we were honored to make it happen for them!
We had stellar fishing through the third week of March with just about any type of bonefishing that a guest could want. Schools all day or hunting for the giants and fishing to singles and doubles all day. Adam and Alex Prince took care to fish all the species available to them and were rewarded with toothy critters like cuda and shark, even though they tore the gear up every time they hooked one.
The final week of March brought us FIBFest 2011, the brainchild of Deneki Outdoors owner Andrew Bennett. FIBFest, which stands for Fly-fishing Industry Bloggers Festival, is now in its second year at Andros South and again it was a huge hit! Lots of great people from the fishing industry brought together to inundate the blogosphere with daily accounts of bonefishing the flats of South Andros, gear reviews, product testing and whatever else they could come up with about fishing with us at Andros South. We also met some very cool first time clients to Andros South. Robert Feldman and Paul Milne came as singles, but ended up hanging and fishing together. Jerry Tipper and Carl Dornish also joined us this week as a pair; these two have been fishing together quite some time and were a lot of fun to have around.
The fishing this last week of March was quite good with enough bones to go around, even for the newbies in the group the fishing was pretty consistent. Lots of shots at fish and even a few big ones brought to hand. Carl Dornish was quite the story teller after jumping a 60lb tarpon on his 7 weight. It proceeded to kick Carl’s butt with a large jump to the heavens that quickly crackered him off. That was probably the best scenario anyways since tarpon and 7 weights just don’t get along! One big one not brought to hand will be forever burned into the memory of Eric Rathbun. A 14-16lb bonefish that never gave him a chance will keep Eric chasing that dream for a long, long time! All in all it was a memorable week with a great group of friends and we hope to do it again next year. One thing we learned this week is that bonefish do not like red shirts, at least not on the flats!
On to April.