We opened Bairs’ Lodge for the fall season in September. We were fortunate that South Andros Island in The Bahamas was un..
Here we go again! Another amazing week was upon us and we could not be more excited. Promising water conditions together with a full group of very capable anglers, most of them here for their very first time: Brian and Kevin (UK), Keith and Laurence (UK), Claude (CAN) and Jon (USA), Teresa and Martin (ARG), as well as Marina Gibson and her mother Joanna (UK), together with Stephan (GER) who came by to take photos along the week. While only Martin, Teresa, and Stephan had been here in recent years, all group members had experience with 2-hand rods in one way or another.
What a great group, we had lots of interesting and bright conversations during the first “tapas night” that would promise a week full of fun ahead, no matter what the fishing might bring.
The water conditions looked great. Although the river had been dropping constantly during the previous week, it still had a comfortable water level that allowed us to swing every pool from top to bottom. The pools were filling up with fresh fish day-by-day and when conditions aligned, some exceptional fishing would await us. While some days were blessed with those perfect conditions, on some others the fishing was troubled by harsh winds with gusts up to 100 km/h out of all kinds of directions, making it hard to even stand on some occasions.
The very first session started rather slow for most. Strong winds did not make it easy to find a rhythm and get the casting sorted at first. However, that did not keep Kevin from getting a head-start, landing four beautiful fish in his first session, including a cracking 17 lbs chromer. But it wasn’t long until everyone else caught on in the evening and by the end of the day, everyone had already hooked fish. Jon and Claude, for instance, had a special double-up in the evening with two beautiful 16 lb fish. What an amazing start into the week.
It wasn’t until the next day, that the fishing really picked up. Monday was one of those moody days with a constant cloud-cover and a slight drizzle. There was only a little wind, but it was just enough to make casting a bit more forgiving. You simply could not design a day that felt “fishier” – and the fish seemed to agree. Close to 50 fish were hooked on that single day and some groups came back from their session reporting to have hooked into a dozen fish. Joanna doubled up with her daughter Marina, two stunning fish of 18 and 10 lbs respectively. Keith managed to bring in another immaculate 18 lbs fish, while Kevin would land a great fresh 16 pounder amongst four other fish. Jon experienced the Río Menéndez from its possibly best side, connecting to fish in virtually every pool, including another muscle-packed 16 lbs fish on his light single-hander. Stephan topped this day off with two (!) amazing 19 lb fish in their evening session. That day was special for everyone, fisherman and guides alike. Although an above-average percentage of fish was lost during battles, it surely was a day to remember and once again proof of how strongly weather and water conditions, with all their various factors, can affect the activity of those incredible fish.
From then on it was just easy riding for most. Everyone had already landed some good fish after only two days, which takes the pressure away, makes you fish more relaxed, and quite frankly allows you to enjoy the ride experience even more.
While Monday would remain the most prolific day of the week, we could not at all complain about the following days either. On some days the wind would make it incredibly tough to put the line where you wanted, and simply standing or walking demanded a lot of energy. But that’s part of this wonderful place and everyone should experience the unleashed force of Mother Nature down here at least once – it is a humbling experience and makes you realize you are “only” a very small part of nature and never in control. I personally love it!
During the next few days, great fish in the high-teens (weight) were landed every day, including a cracking 18 lbs for Teresa out of the Menéndez, another 18 lbs for Brian, and two beautiful 16 lbs for Laurence and Marina. The very last day, however – Friday’s morning session – left us all with an open jaw. Brian managed to hook, fight, and land an unbelievable fish of 26 lbs, that would be the biggest of the season so far and possibly hard to beat in the weeks to come. Hooking a fish like this is one thing, landing it a completely different game, especially in a little, stump-filled river such-as the Río Menéndez. Yes, that is correct, this incredibly fish was caught in our favorite tributary and is yet another testament to how lucky we are to be able to fish this amazing piece of water. Brian worked hard, grinding every day, hooking plenty of fish but also losing many. This fish was well deserved and especially hard- won! Well done, sir and congratulations to a fish of a lifetime
In the end, we could not have asked for a better week. While the fishing was great – and we can all agree that this is a great factor – it was simply incredibly fun to spend time with each angler out in the water. Around the bar and dinner table friendships were formed and fostered, along the river-banks emotions shared and memories made. I cannot wait to meet and hopefully fish with these great people again soon.
Thank you all for an outstanding week!
Paulo Hoffman. Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide.