Cracking the Abaco Bonefish Code
By Dan Zazworsky Bonefishing doesn’t have to be hard, at least not on Abaco anyway. The most stressful part of any bonefishin..
The Bahamas opened up to international anglers in November 2020 with a negative PCR test 5 days prior to arrival. In the spring of 2021, The Bahamas opened to fully vaccinated international travelers without restriction.
Early on in the process Bair’s was certified as an on-site follow-up testing center for The Bahamas’ Travel Health Visa and an approved test site for the required rapid antigen test to return to the USA. This operational advantage allowed us to open and welcome guests when no one else was fishing Andros. The clarity of the travel rules allowed us to have an extremely successful season. We hosted groups that were rescheduled from last spring and new groups ready for adventure. The vast majority of our spring and summer guests were fully vaccinated, experienced, international anglers. From January through the end of June we operated at full capacity.
Those guests who made the trip in the fall months of November and December saw record numbers of fish that had not seen any pressure in many months. Bones were abundant and foraging on all flats on incoming and falling tides. They did not spook easily and often would turn back and rush a fly that might have been short or even behind the fish. The bonefish were foraging on the flats with reckless abandon.
The winter season saw more of the same behavior with relatively mild wind conditions. As the temperatures dropped and we experienced some cold fronts and north winds the larger fish continued to move into the shallow water. Even in January anglers had many, many shots at big fish and the overall numbers of fish seen were strong. We had several guests who have been fishing in The Bahamas for over 20 years remark that it was the most bonefish they had ever seen in their angling careers, anywhere.
Spring was dry with abundant sun. The fishing continued to be nothing short of spectacular. Our guests either landed or had shots at large, even double-digit bones on a weekly basis throughout the winter and spring seasons. Late spring we saw and landed permit and tarpon. As the water temperatures rose the best bone-fishing was in the mornings or on an incoming tide of cooler water; however, tarpon, permit, and mangrove snapper seemed even more active during the warmer afternoons.
All in all, it was an exceptional fishing season. Although Bair’s had a robust season, it seemed as if we were the only anglers and boats on the water. The flats are still fresh and vast. The fish are moving with the tides, the shots are plentiful, and the fish are eating. Now is the time to come visit, the fishery is stronger than it has ever been. We are small and our space is extremely limited, if you are able to get away to Andros – this is the time.
I hope to see you this upcoming season.
-Derek Hutton, Lodge Manager