A really interesting video about Andros… from the crabs to the sponges to the fisheries. Worth a watch, even if PS does make a couple brief appearances.
Six years ago I got invited to Andros South for a week of fishing and blogging, something called FIB FEST 2011. This was back when maybe blogs were a bit more relevant and before the age of… well, whatever this is the age of.
The trip was great and the people I met were awesome and when I got back, after being in bonefish heaven for a week, I found out my marriage was pretty much over.
So, Andros serves as a kind of line of demarcation between the life I had before Andros and the life I had post-Andros. I still feel profoundly grateful to have had such an amazing experience be the buffer between those two periods of my life.
Fishing trips are kind of like that. I think back to important times in my life and I tend to think “Now, that was just before Cuba” or “That was just after my 2010 Belize trip.” The trips serve as milestones in so many ways. They are a map to my past.
Thank You Andros (and Andrew).
The Bahamas are full of unfulfilled, if not outright broken, promises. An arial view of almost any island will confirm as much. So many folks have blown through and made grand promises of economic security and revolution. Every paved road in a fantasy real estate development tells the tale.
I have to wonder if the International Development Bank sees something similar when it looks at its own investments in the fly fishing community in the Bahamas.
Turns out they invested in a program, to be led by the BFFIA, to “Support the economic empowerment of fly fishing guides.” The project was approved in December of 2014, although very little, if any, of the project seems to have been carried out.
Oddly, this BFFIA project was focused only on Andros, coincidentally the home of BFFIA President and Head Bahamian Snake-Oil Salesman.
The general objective of the project is to enhance the skill sets and business acumen of the Andros fly fishing guides and their families while sustaining the island’s natural ecosystem.
There was about $140,000 available for the project and only about $34,500 was reported to be spent.
This project was supposed to include a market survey… ya know… like BTT did, and it appears the BFFIA at least made a go of it, as they inflated the value of the industry from 2x-4x to suit their politics, but the report is not available on the website.
Maybe some of the projects milestones were met, but it sure doesn’t look like it. I don’t have a crystal ball that reveals such details, just the project page, but it sure looks like the IDB’s 2014 investment produced some shite returns in 2017, the year their project was supposed to be wrapped up.
Go to the Bahamas though… just go to one of the places that fought for all anglers.
I saw some photos yesterday of some mangroves being ripped up near Fresh Creek in Andros.
Mangroves, as most folks here would know, are vital. They are the nurseries for juvenile fish. They hold the shoreline in place when the big storms come through. They are host to crabs and shrimp and all manner of wild things.
You shouldn’t rip out mangroves because you want to put in a fuel station.
But… if the reports are true, that’s exactly what our good ole pal Prescott Smith is doing down in Andros. Yup, that Knight of Conservation appears to be ripping out mangroves. And yes, that’s a bonefish flat right in front of the ripped out mangroves.
It boggles the mind.
The number one threat to bonefish is not angler pressure or illegal netting or pollution. The number one threat to bonefish is habitat loss.
There is a lot of habitat in Andros. Miles and miles and miles of it, square miles. It is the biggest nursery in the Caribbean. It is only that good because it is mostly intact. Bonefish won’t be lost by a few huge devastating blows, but by a thousand little cuts. This is one such little cut.
Somehow the new season of Buccaneers and Bones (which supports the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust) started without my noticing. But I’ve noticed now and watched the last episode, which was on South Andros at Bair’s Lodge.
Oh, South Andros. I love that place. Only spend one week there, but it is etched in my memory forever. It was an important trip and the line separating one period in my life from another.
My trip there was FIBFest II, a thing that has gone by the wayside, an experiment of sorts.
The Buccaneers and Bones crew this year is pretty interesting with Jimmy Kimmel among the cast. South Andros is a special place. Glad to see it again, even if it is on TV.
This interview was originally in the Angling Destinations newsletter.
Sounds pretty good Bill. Sounds pretty good.
This looks like a place my wife would like… something to think on.
I do love the first bonefish stories. Here is one from blog reader Steven. Steven went to Andros… magical Andros. Love that place.
I thought we’d start off the week with a cool little story from Scott Heywood over on the Fly Paper blog.
A day like this is a rare gift. These islands own a hot sun, making wind a constant companion for the bonefisherman. Learn to live with it or quit… it’s your choice. But this morning had dawned calm and it was still dead calm. There was not the slightest exhalation coming off the big island of Andros. These are the kind of days you dream about… a few wispy clouds, a few small thunderheads way off on the horizon and a sea as slick and quiet as a marble slab in a morgue.
Glassy days. I haven’t seen many of those, but I did have one in Belize for my honeymoon. I know the conditions he’s talking about, even if he actually had good fishing that day and I got skunked. Still, calm days can be really tough. The fish see you from a mile away and the lack of wind, that same wind we curse when it blows in our faces, makes the air bake, and you with it.
Scott’s story is from Andros, which, among all the islands in the Caribbean, is special for the miles and miles of mangroves which serve as a nursery for all manner of species.
Love this place.