in The Bahamas
There are few countries in the world so connected to a single fish species. The U.S., for instance, isn’t just about small inland trout: it has salmon and steelhead from Alaska down the Pacific Coast.
It’s farm ponds choked with smallies in the Midwest; stripers in the Northeast; tailing redfish in brackish Carolinas’ tidewaters; and it’s a collection of supercharged pelagics from the Everglades to the Florida Keys.
But when someone mentions the Bahamas, one fish comes to mind: bonefish.
The Bahamas has been synonymous with bonefish since anglers first began seriously exploring its waters, with fly rods, in the 1950s and ’60s. What those pioneering fly fishers found was a skeletal island archipelago, stretching more than 500 miles under azure-blue skies and over an emerald-green Atlantic Ocean.
The northern end of the chain starts about 75 miles offshore of West Palm Beach, Florida, with Grand Bahama Island. Great Abaco lies just to the east. And scattered southward you’ll find the resort-choked hub of Nassau, followed by a string of laidback southward sprawling “out islands,” beginning with Andros and picking up Eleuthera, Cat, Long, Crooked, and Acklins—to name a few.
All told, the Bahamas has more than 700 islands and thousands of cays. Its total land area is somewhere around 5,000 square miles. More importantly, it also has more than 70,000 square miles of prime skiff- and wade-friendly habitat, home to one of the most robust bonefish populations on earth.
So finding bonefish in the Bahamas isn’t all that difficult. And pinpointing a place to begin your next adventure is often the tougher task. Truth be told, there are myriad options—from rustic, DIY operations to more opulent digs—spread throughout this tropical nation. But when it comes to a higher overall experience, one defined by immaculate accommodations, spectacular dining, and convenient, guided access to unrivaled bonefish flats, Nervous Waters brings two formidable considerations to the menu.
Situated on the west side of Great Abaco Island, Abaco Lodge has been a panacea for bonefish afflicted anglers since it opened its doors about a decade ago. Abaco has a strong reputation for sizeable bones from top to bottom. But its Marls section, in particular, is a special place for those seeking good average-size fish in high numbers. This protected wilderness expanse has more than 200 square miles of prime skinny-water habitat, where the average depth is four feet. Abaco Lodge is the only fly-fishing operation on the Marls, giving you unrivaled access to awesome bonefishing in the northern tip of the Bahamas chain.
Farther south, Andros Island is the largest landmass in the Bahamas archipelago. In addition to having the world’s greatest collection of blue holes—deep marine caverns popular with divers—it’s a premier destination for anglers targeting trophy bones that can (and do) push into the 8 to 10+ pound class. Bair’s Lodge, a bona fide bonefishing institution that’s been in business since the ’80s, sits on the southeastern end of South Andros Island. Home to elaborate creek systems and the famous South and West End flats, the area offers endless opportunities to explore unpressured waters and stalk tailing bones from the bow of a flats skiff or on foot.
Whether Bair’s Lodge or Abaco, accessing some of the best bonefishing in the Bahamas is a simple as booking a ticket and getting here. Nervous Waters invites you to experience the captivating nature of the place and the fish it’s famous for. After all, the Bahamas is bonefish.