Josie Sands Passes

A bazillion years ago in a world that doesn’t exist anymore I went down to Andros South to fish with a bunch of other fly fishing bloggers. It was called FIBFEST 2 and it was an amazing time (thanks Andrew). It was, literally, the demarcation line between my life how it was and how it would be. I’m eternally grateful for that opportunity.

The crew there at Andros South was a stellar collection of very good guides and staff. One of the top guides there was Josie Sands. Josie was very good, very stern and very serious, I was told. You better bring your A game when you fished with him. All that made me a bit nervous to fish with him. I was worried I wouldn’t live up to his high expectations as my interest and excitement usually outpace my abilities.

I don’t remember who I was fishing with (might have been Andrew Bennett?) but I had one day with Josie. He had me up on the deck as he was poling us along a beautiful bit of Andros when he called out a bonefish. 80 feet. That’s a hell of a cast. By the time I had everything ready to go it was 70 feet, but there aren’t a lot of guides who would even call out a fish at 70. They’d wait until the angler could reach the fish, maybe not even saying anything until it was at 50′. I remember making that cast, consciously thinking about the mechanics and trying to clear my mind of everything else. I summoned up some nordic casting spirit and laid it out 70 feet in a bucket and Josie issued the customary “strip, strip, pause, strip” commands until I was on the fish.

I don’t remember the fish at all. I remember the cast and I remember how good it felt to be given that task and to not let Josie down.

Josie recently passed away in a boating accident down in Andros. It is a loss for that community for sure.

Godspeed Josie.

Here’s a link to a tribute to Josie from FishWest.

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  1. Great story. Being obsessed with Bonefishing has changed me too. Interesting sport with an endless learning curve and multiple variables that are out of your control.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful story. Josie will live on in the memory of everyone who crossed paths with his bow. He is a true legend of South Andros. He will be missed. In my opinion, the Andros South guide staff is now like the Chicago Bulls playing without MJ. Still exceptional, just not the same.

    BTW, thanks for sharing our tribute as well.

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