After three years of hard work and dedication, Abaco Lodge has been fully rebuilt and is now open for anglers! The lodge features 7 beautifully designed rooms with en-suite bathrooms, as well as decks and porches with stunning views of the Marls. Our Maverick skiffs are ready to take you on exciting fishing expeditions, and our staff is eager to provide top-notch service and unforgettable experiences.
As the only fly-fishing operation with direct access to the vast Marls of Abaco, one of the most sought-after bonefishing destinations in the world, Abaco Lodge offers unparalleled fishing opportunities. This expansive, unpressured flats system boasts unrivaled numbers of bonefish, making it a haven for anglers seeking a thrilling and challenging fishing experience.
The lodge consists of 7 double rooms with a capacity of 12 anglers. All of the rooms offer air conditioning and a private bathroom. Wireless Internet will keep you connected back home. Phone service is available and there is great cell coverage throughout the island. There is also a large flat-screen TV for catching all the games. The bright, charming lodge welcomes guests with spectacular waterfront views. Enjoy a cold Kalik by the pool, or gather around the fire pit where under a setting sun the day’s fishing stories enter into island lore.
The lodge’s main bar is stocked with spirits, cold beer, soft drinks, plenty of ice, and mixers for cocktails. We also have an on-site fly shop where you can purchase everything from flies, leaders, and tippet, and lodge logo wear. Fly-tying equipment is also available.
Fall Season – October & November
The fall season in the Abacos can offer some of the finest Bonefishing of the year. Starting in August, tourist season ends and hurricane season begins. So, by the time October rolls around and the lodge opens, anglers will be greeted by fish who haven’t seen a fly in almost 3 months. The fish are willing and ready to eat following a break in tourism and the end of hurricane season. We also tend to see generally larger fish and great numbers of tailing fish during the fall, as the bigger bonefish enjoy feeding all day in the shallow flats due to slightly cooler water temperature. Because the weather can be a little more unpredictable due to cold fronts, our guides can take advantage of the occasional clouds and breeze to get you closer to the larger fish, often times getting multiple shots due to lack of pressure the last few months. On calm days, the fall season offers outstanding fishing on the Ocean-side of Abaco. The Oceanside boasts a significantly larger average size fish (4 – 7 pounds) with shots at fish approaching double digits happening regularly. On the flat, hot, calm days during the fall season, anglers may have a chance to target permit on the oceanside and riding on the backs of stingrays on the Marls side closer to the lodge.
Winter Season – December, January & February
The winter season on Abaco is characterized by high, blue skies and sunshine paired with pleasant weather. The winter season comes with the most wind, but some great fishing as well. Good visibility allows us to see fish on all types of bottom and, as the sun gets higher, the fish get more and more comfortable as surface temperature increases. So, there is no lull in the fishing in the heat of the day and being on the boat is very pleasant. During the winter, we also see larger fish more frequently on the flats as well as large schools moving between the channels and the flats based on water temperature. Beyond the bonefish, large barracudas frequent the shallow flats during the late winter, and, occasionally, baby tarpon can be targeted in the dark-water mangrove creeks. Like the fall, the oceanside fishing for large, tailing fish can be extremely rewarding in the winter.
Spring Season – March, April & May
Springtime in the Abacos offers arguably the best Bonefishing anywhere in the world. The weather is beautiful with comfortable temperatures and minimal cloud cover as the cold fronts and north winds have tapered off, and the water temperature stabilizes to a level that our fish love. Fishing approaches take many different forms. We see large school, tailing fish on the mangrove shorelines, and larger singles and doubles moving between the flats to feed and back to the deep water when they have had their fill. This is the time of year when we have days where it seems every fish that sees a fly wants to eat it and it is not out of the questions that a boat could return to the lodge after a 30+ fish day. One of the more unique species, the mutton snapper, is also best targeted during the late spring season. Fish vibrant, blue and red snapper move onto the flats in April and May and offer a challenge to even the most seasoned anglers. As the spring gets warmer, we will also start seeing tarpon moving around the island and the permit fishing begins to heat up as well.
Summer Season – June & July
The summertime is our most calm season. Light winds and hot weather allow for good visibility and great sight fishing. Though the fish sometimes feel the pressure from the boat or hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance from afternoon showers, they are easy to spot and ready to feed, especially early in the morning. As the day goes on, large groups of fish will congregate on the slightly deeper flats to feed, creating ‘muds.’ Looking for fish in and around the muds are a great way to end a long day on the flats and often lead to some surprise catches. The flat calm summer days also produce a large number of shots at our famously large Abaco Permit. These fish are frequently seen riding on the backs of stingrays feeding hard. Anglers can expect to have a few shots at the same fish allowing for fly changes and strategy changes so long as the fish doesn’t spook! The summertime tarpon fishing in Abaco has been getting better and better each season. Both close to the lodge and on the edge, larger migratory fish can be targeted and often eat with reckless abandon!
Getting to Great Abaco Island and Marsh Harbour International Airport is simple. There are many direct flights from the U.S. and it is also possible to fly via Nassau. Our Lodge is located on the Marls side of Abaco Island, just a 10-minute drive from the airport.
Located approximately 180 miles off the coast of Florida, the Abaco’s cup the eastern edge of Grand Bahama Island at the northernmost tip of the Bahamas archipelago. Abaco Lodge is the sole bonefishing resort in the Marls, on the island’s western edge. The Marls is enveloped by a designated National Park; inside its perimeters, with an average depth of about four feet and little tidal influence, lives one of the top-rated bonefisheries in the Bahamas.
Your guides at Abaco Lodge know every inch of it. From blue holes that attract juvenile tarpon (and not-so-juvenile barracuda) to productive bonefish flats and hundreds of cays extending from Cross Harbour in the south to stretches well north of the lodge, you’ll explore new and unpressured water daily.
Abaco’s sheltered Marls region is big. So big that it could swallow 13 Manhattans within its 300 square mile footprint. Instead of sputtering cabs and people crammed into skyscrapers, however, this wilderness flats area is peppered with unpopulated pine forest islands, mangrove cays, and a prodigious bonefish population.
From Abaco Lodge’s central location, we fish the Marls from as far south as Cross Harbour to its northern extremities off the west side of Treasure Cay. A twenty-minute skiff run due west puts anglers within striking range of the Marl’s ocean-side edge. And from all points in between, Marls bonefish average 2 to 4 pounds. Larger fish in the 5 to 8-pound class, although fewer and harder to seduce, are also found in good numbers. Permit and juvenile tarpon shots are frequent enough that you should be prepared with gear for targeting both species, and barracuda, jack crevalle, plus various shark species also call the Marls home. But bonefish generally rule this kingdom thanks to an ideal mix of sheltered habitat and prime forage sources through the seasons.
Fishing in the Marls is done from our meticulously maintained Maverick flats skiffs. Wading opportunities also exist. From the lodge dock, runs to the flats vary from 10 to 45 minutes. All skiffs are fishing (and comfort) friendly, with padded seats, backrests, line mats and lean bars on the bow. They’re also equipped with first aid kits and an emergency satellite phone.
In addition to wonderful flats, Abaco has incredible blue water fishing. We are happy to coordinate a day, or two, with the best captains available. Target species include: marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, and tuna—depending on the season. Arrangements can be made at the lodge, but the best captains book early and we recommend you do as well. There will be an additional charge for this type of fishing.
Bonefish are pound-for-pound some of the strongest and fastest saltwater gamefish. Their scientific name is Albula vulpes, which means “white fox.” But to anglers, they’re also known as “grey ghosts” due to their elusive nature and their ability to show up then seemingly vanish in an instant.
Bonefish are noted for moving from deeper water onto shallow tidal flats to feed, where you can find and cast to tailing fish—one of the most challenging (and rewarding) saltwater experiences. They typically retreat to deeper water as the tide ebbs. Bahamas bones can reach upwards of ten pounds, but a more representative size would be about a third of that. Trophy bones are generally considered any fish equal to or in excess of ten pounds. Large adult fish break away from schools, traveling in singles and doubles and offering great sight-fishing opportunities on the flats of South Andros islands.
We recommend 9ft, 7-8wt. rods. Under normal conditions, you can make a delicate presentation with a 7-wt. rod, a long leader, and an unweighted fly. A fast 8-wt, on the other hand, helps you punch flies through the wind. Use saltwater capable reels with adjustable drags and capacity for 150 yds. of 20lb. test backing. Weight-forward bonefish lines should be paired with fluorocarbon leaders. A general rule of thumb is 10’ 10 lbs for leaders. Bring extra leaders and a few spools of tippet in the 8-15lb. range. Fly-wise, the list of options is endless and selections depend on the kind of flat you are fishing, its bottom color—turtle grass or sand—and depth. A few we wouldn’t want you to go without include: Puglisi’s spawning shrimp, Miehieve’s Flats Fly, Kwabbit, mink shrimp, Veverka’s mantis shrimp, spawning mantis, and of course the Gotcha.
Tarpon and permit opportunities are rare, but you will see both species on occasion. For juvenile tarpon setups, a section of 40-pound bite tippet is perfect. Recommend flies include the Toad, Black Death, or any smaller baitfish imitations. For permit in the 10-25lb. range, keep a 9-10wt rod rigged and ready with a merkin- style crab pattern—just in case!
For barracuda and sharks you want a stout leader with a wire bite-tippet, about 12 inches long. Use a haywire twist to combine sections of mono to wire. Flies for ‘cudas include any and all needlefish imitations. For sharks, we like large poppers in blood-red or other bright, attention-grabbing colors. The topwater takes are awesome.
Loop produces many of the rods we use regularly. In addition to a great lifetime warranty, the company engineers high-performance options perfectly suited for this fishery.
A brand new fleet of 5 high-performance Maverick HPX 17’s with 70 Yamaha 4 strokes, and 1 Maverick HPXV 18’s with 115 Yamaha 4 strokes, awaits you at Abaco Lodge, all moored next to the lodge, so there’s no trailering needed.
These technical poling skiffs have stealthy, extremely quiet hulls that draw minimal water when pushing toward tailing bonefish in the ultra-skinny stuff. Open-water handling, on the other hand, is unparalleled: fast and smooth in the surliest conditions. Additional angler-appreciated details include lean bars and removable cushioned YETI coolers—because nobody wants lukewarm beers.
CUSTOM FLY OPTIONS FROM DREW CHICONE
If you wish to buy some of these flies prior to your trip, or if you are looking for more information, you should visit Drew Chicone’s website.
Food in the Bahamas is the magical encounter between the treasures of the sea, history, culture and its people. We pride ourselves on serving delicious fresh local produce, specializing in fresh fish (Mahi, Tuna, Grouper, and Hog Snapper), conch, and lobster. We carefully stock our larder with fine quality foods from the US and Nassau.
Every day begins with a full breakfast featuring a variety of cereals, as well as fresh fruits. Eggs will be cooked to your preference, with bacon, sausages, and grits. Hot cereals are also available to order. Our chef bakes bread, pastries, and cookies daily. Our coffee is made from freshly ground beans.
A daily lunch menu card allows you to choose the next day’s lunch and the contents of the boat coolers. After you return from fishing, you will find cold beers, spirits, and a blender for cocktails, as well as stacks of soft drinks. A wide range of local spirits will be available free of charge at the lodge.
Delicious appetizers are served before dinner on the veranda, so you can sample local specialties such as cracked conch, grouper fingers, and conch salad. Dinner starts with appetizers such as homemade soups or conch ceviche. Our culinary emphasis is on mixing local dishes with light fresh recipes such as snapper with mango salsa, and some barbecued fish. Desserts will vary from chocolate decadence to key lime parfaits.
House wines such as Malbec from Argentina, Chilean Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon will be served with dinner. We can happily cater to special dietary needs. When you complete your pre-trip questionnaire please mention any requirements or food allergies you might have, so we can inform the chef. Salads are offered in our cooler lunches for those on low-carbohydrate diets. The lodge has a good supply of drinking water from our reverse osmosis system. You will find water in your bedroom and your boat, and you can drink the tap water. In our arid climate, conservation is always appreciated.
Fall Season 2023: October – December 2023
Season 2024: January – June 2024
Our research and experience tell us that over 65% of anglers are also actively interested in bird hunting and big game hunting. If you are a part of that majority and are interested in adding variety to your sporting life, look no further than David Denies Bird Hunting and Red Stag Patagonia. All three brands are owned and operated by the same company, The Kautapen Group, and each operation is dedicated to making your outdoor experience fun, memorable, and productive.