Andros Island, located approximately 150 miles east of the Florida Keys, is a premier bonefish destination. This Bahamas Island, which is over a 100 miles long and up to 40 miles wide, consists of a vast area of flats, creeks, cays, cuts, mangroves and fertile fishing grounds, which rival every other island in the Bahamas, and in many opinions, the world. A variety of other game fish can be found around the island including permit, tarpon, barracuda, snappers, jacks, grouper, dolphin, wahoo, sharks, etc. Andros Island is not called the "Bonefishing Capital of the World" for nothing.
World Class bonefish can be found in excellent numbers along Andros Island. In fact, Andros is the best island in the Bahamas for seeking big fish, if not the best in the world. Bonefish from 10-15 pounds (and a small percentage larger) are fairly common even though the average fish are from 4-5 pounds. The reason for the variety of size fish is due to the amount of bonefish in Andros. Being poled across a flat and seeing 30 or more fish in the 7-15 pound category is a possible scenario. If you are a serious angler looking for big bonefish, then Andros Island should be considered. When fishing with a partner (which is most often the case), be sure your guide knows the skill levels of both anglers so he can plan the day accordingly. This will help to insure both anglers have quality opportunities that match their needs and levels of skill.
Most people come to Andros simply for the superior bonefishing. Anglers new to fishing for bonefish can be taken to areas of the island where they can get their skills tuned on small-medium size fish (usually from 1-6 pounds). The smaller fish are easily fooled and are found in larger numbers. This is not to say that new anglers will not catch large bonefish. There are many first time anglers that catch their share of big fish There have been anglers who caught bonefish over 10 pounds on their very first trip to Andros. Anglers who are skilled, or have been fishing for bonefish for a longer period of time can "hunt" for large fish. Some of the better areas of the island for big fish are found along the west, east and north sides of the island and in the north, middle, and south bights adjacent to deep water or the tongue of the ocean. Realistically, big fish can be found anywhere in Andros where quick access to deep water is found. Large and more educated bonefish always feel comfortable coming onto a deep flat or a flat with quick access to deep water. Vast shallow flats are usually home to smaller bonefish (there are always exceptions). Some well known and famous "big fish" areas are Moxey Creek, Land of the Giants, Big Wood Cay, the west side, Joulter Cays, and numerous other areas too many to count. The tongue of the ocean is located a short distance from the east coast of Andros. This is one of the many reasons for the excellent numbers of large bonefish found here.
North Andros is made up of a vast area of land surrounded by beautiful and productive flats. Joulter's Cays south to Andros Town, approximately 45 miles, is considered North Andros. Many cays, cuts and superb flats are found along northern Andros. This entire section of Andros is home to an abundance of large average size bonefish. Flights to Northern Andros land at San Andros Airport.
The Joulters, a small group of islands/cays, lie approximately 6-10 miles north of the mainland of Andros. This area is home to a range of fish but is especially known for its large bonefish and permit. The Joulters are one of, if not the most fertile permit grounds in the Bahamas. Large permit to 40 pounds can be found here in good numbers. These explosively fast and powerful fish are very elusive and difficult to catch on a fly.
South of the Joulters you will find an array of cuts, cays, creeks and flats along the east side of the mainland. Conch Sound, Stafford Creek and Fresh Creek are a few prime areas along this stretch. The fishing in this region can be exceptional for medium to large bonefish ranging from 5-12 pounds and some larger. North, northeast, east and southeast winds can make the fishing more difficult although the array of cuts, cays and creeks make finding sheltered areas possible. During easterly winds the west side of the island can be accessed by traveling around the tip of north Andros (if you are stationed near the tip) or through the North Bight found to the south (if you are stationed in the Fresh Creek area), which will also help to find sheltered waters. The majority of flats along north Andros consist of sand, mud and/or coral. Bonefish will range the gamete from 2-15 pounds.
Andros is a great destination for anglers of all skill levels due to the numbers of fish and the diverse opportunities found here. Want to spend a couple of days fishing offshore? Ask ahead of time, the angling is superb for a variety of offshore fish from dolphin and wahoo to sailfish and tuna. Permit, tarpon, barracuda, and sharks can also be found on the flats at certain times. Specify your interest and your guide will lead you in the right direction. Central Andros is an impressive area of flats, channels, cays, bights and cuts that is made up of the land from Fresh Creek to the north end of Mangrove Cay, which are approximately 30 miles apart. The Fresh Creek area (15-20 miles north of the North Bight) is blessed with an abundance of hard flats, which provides exceptional wade fishing in this region of the island. The bonefish here average from 4-6 pounds with an excellent share of fish in the 10 plus pound range. Flights to central Andros arrive at Andros Town Airport.
Big Wood Cay is located along the east side of the North and Middle Bights, which lie between Cargill Creek (this creek is found just north of the North Bight) and Mangrove Cay. This area is home to prolific number of big bonefish ranging from 8-14 plus pounds with the average fish in the 6-8 pound category. Moxey Creek and Fever Creek are a couple of exceptional big fish areas as well. Permit are occasionally spotted in this area or around the deep channels that probe through the bights. The flats in this area range from hard white sand with easily spotted bonefish to deep dark colored flats with big "tiger striped" bonefish. The variety of flats in this area is superb.
Inside the bights you will find an array of flats, cuts, cays and creeks that are sure to impress any angler. This vast area is littered with quality flats which is home to an over abundance of bonefish averaging from 3-6 pounds with a good number of fish 10 pounds and larger. The bights, which cut Andros in half, offer shelter during strong winds that seem to consistently batter the Bahamas. When strong winds are from the northeast or east and the bights don't offer enough shelter, traveling to the west side through the bights is possible. Spanish Wells and Pretty Creek are a couple of popular areas inside the bights.
The west side of Andros is uninhabited and not pressured as heavily as the east side. A good portion of unexplored territory still remains. This equates to a large population of fish, many of which reach World Class size. Some bonefish on the west side will push 15 plus pounds. This is becoming one of the premier big bonefish areas in the world. A boat ride from most of the fishing clubs located on the east side to the west side through the bights will average at least an hour. The west coast is also one of the better destinations in the Bahamas for tarpon. Tarpon fishing is usually best during the warmer months. They can be found inside or near the mouths of creeks or on flats that lie adjacent to creeks. Tarpon are also found in fair numbers throughout the rest of Andros. If you are interested in tarpon fishing ask your resort/guide ahead of time. The west side consists of mainly light colored sand and mud flats.
South Andros stretches for approximately 40 miles from north Mangrove Cay, south to the southern tip of the island near the Curly Cut Cays. This stretch of Andros has numerous cuts, creeks and bays that create excellent bonefish habitat. Bonefish can be found here, from enormous schools of small fish averaging 1-4 pounds near the south end of the island, excellent quantities of medium size fish averaging 4-7 pounds inside the South Bight and along the eastern and westerns coasts to singles, doubles and occasionally a small school of big bonefish 8-10 pounds or larger on some of the deeper ocean flats. Permit are also found on some of the deep coral flats found adjacent to the deep creeks and channels that cut through the island. Tarpon can be found inside the South Bight in or near some of the deep creeks and channels especially closer to the west side.
Mangrove Cay is a great base for fishing the Middle and South Bights, which are both superb areas of the island. From this cay access can be granted to all three bights within a short boat ride. The west side can also be accessed, on days with strong easterly winds, through the Middle and/or South Bights. Flights to South Andros arrive at Mangrove Cay Airport. Inside the South Bight, which is found to the south side of Mangrove Cay, anglers will find a complicated labyrinth of creeks and channels that dissect the island. Medium to large size bonefish and occasionally permit can be found here. These flats are very fertile and offer a diversity of food for the bonefish, which in turn creates great angling opportunities. Libson Creek is located at the north end of the entrance to the South Bight. This creek is a diverse area that is very fertile and rich with fish.
South of the South Bight there are numerous cuts, cays and bays along the east coast that offer shelter and great flats for fishing. Numerous creeks also penetrate the mainland offering great angling for bonefish, tarpon and other species such as jacks and barracuda. Heading south from the South Bight you will pass Congo Town, Smith's Hill, Deep Creek and Mars Town as well as a few other towns. Fishing down here near the south end of the island is best for large schools of smaller bonefish averaging 1-3 pounds. Larger bonefish can be found along some of the ocean flats or if you travel through the creeks to the west side.
Andros Island is a fabulous destination. This is an island, however, that is not recommended for fishing without a guide. There are only a few select areas that are accessible by foot. Resorts and clubs can be found which will provide lodging, food and guides. Independent guides can also be hired. In this case lodging can be found and the independent guides can be hired separately. Large groups usually choose to fish with a resort while some anglers who come down on their own or with a single partner will choose to fish with an independent guide.
The atmosphere on Andros is delightful. The local people are overly friendly and welcome people with "open arms". The food usually consists of a variety of meals from seafood and chicken to conch and other delightful Caribbean meals.
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