South Andros bonefishing trip primer, part 1: apparel and fishing gear

A no nonsense, no fluff guide to fishing South Andros Bahamas. (mainly because I’m too lazy to type a novel) 😉

Note: to make it easier to reference I will keep useful articles like this in the review/how to section in the menu above.

Every time I travel to different area and I always wonder what to bring with me.  I know you can do your research and  talked to friends. Invariably though you forget or get wrong information at times.

I’m not saying I am the expert by any means but I will do my best to help.

What to bring when you go fly fishing  for bone fish in South Andros, Bahamas.

Since I’m want to thorough I will be breaking this down into sections. Otherwise it would take me forever and the length of a small novel.

  1. Apparel and fishing gear
  2. The travel, the food, the accommodations
  3. The Fishing

Fishing gear:

  • The Rod:

A 6wt or 8wt will work just fine. The 8wt works great on windy days but on calm days the 6wt will work great.  I like a fast action rod (helps with cutting through the wind), but of course this depends on your preference. My choice was the G. Loomis GLX series. Being a four piece rod it packed nicely plus it has a very good fast action. Another good choice is the 8wt TFO BVK. At $249.00 retail w/ lifetime warranty, it’s a great rod to bring over.

  • The Reel:

The fly reel of choice was the Nautilus NV, not that I needed something that heavy duty but it was my only reel in that size. The drag is also waterproof. I have a Loop Opti salt as well, unfortunately only in 10 and 12 wt sizes.  I prefer a water proof drag fly reel just to be on the safe side.  The last thing I needed was an equipment failure if I accidentally dunk it wading or take underwater photos etc.

Another good choice would be the Nautilus FWX series. At about $300 super light weight and waterproof drag it would actually be a better choice than the NV for the Bahamas.

  • The line:

The line to use is a floating, weight forward saltwater line. You will be either wading or on the bow of a skiff. Distance and accuracy is what you aim for. The bone fish over there are not spooky compare to Islamorada bonefish.   The Cortland tropical taper+ was my choice on the big rod and an Orvis all purpose saltwater wonder line was on the 6wt. Any floating weight forward line will work just fine as long as it can handle the heat.

  • The Fly:

Unlike south Florida, the fly the bonefish prefer in the Bahamas are crazy charlies flies. I got a variety of them that I picked up at Flint Creek Outfitters but you can pick them up at any fly shop around town. I don’t think I have ever been to a fly shop in Florida that does not have crazy charlies flies. They run about two to three dollars. Tom, and the guys that I went with also tied a bunch so we were not in a shortage. They tell me to expect to lose a few flies each day of fishing due to break offs etc.  The main colors we used were white, pink , and tan.

The apparel:

Anytime I leave my comfort zone I always worry about what kind of clothes to bring. Going to the Bahamas for the first time was no different. Even though living in Florida, you would assume the climate was pretty similar, but one just never know.

I just usually walk around in “Croc Ace”  and shorts for the most part. One would figure the same for South Andros. This however would have been a mistake. There are insects over there locals call “doctor flies”. These guys look like big flies and they bite you and on one occasion drew blood from my toe.

One should wear long pants, long shirts, sun mask, hat and socks. The bugs are not as bad as the everglades or flamingo but it will make you life much more comfortable on the water.

Here’s what I recommend bringing when you do decide to make the trip. I will start from head to toe and give a reason why.

  • Hat:

I wore a trucker style (mesh in the back) cap from Simms. This seems to do just fine. A wide brim hat would work better but when you are running in a boat, those types of hats tend to get blown around. I’ve lost a few in my days so I can testify to that fact.

Polarized Sunglasses:

This is a must have! This will allow you to sight fish. The best colors I find are copper, amber, and yellow. I was wearing my Costa 580 but I also like the Smith Optics in amber.  The ones you get a Wal-Mart for $15 works too but if you going to be wearing something all day mine as well get something that is better in quality.

Face Mask:

Being bright and sunny out there just like Florida, a sun mask is a great idea. Not only will this item protect you from the sun but also from the bugs. Not to mention wind and rain when you are running. If  you’re like me I do not like applying sun lotion on my face every 30minutes.

Buff is the most popular of these masks for fishing anyways. Local companies like Skinny Water Culter and Breath Like a Fish also has their version and works just fine. BLF, Simms and I huntfish shirts even has them built right into the shirts so you can’t forget them.

  • Shirts:

For shirts I’m pretty picky when it comes to what I wear on the water. Not that I’m a trendy guy but I just want to be comfortable and protected. Typical fishing shirts get wet, they get dirty plus they need to keep you nice and cool. For the most part I try to wear things that function well on the water.

It has to be long sleeves.  It has to dry quickly. It has to protect you from the sun and they have to be comfortable.

While over there I used microfibers shirts. Most all microfibers shirts will do these days but I was pimping Redzone, Ihuntfish, SWC, BLF. I also liked the button up fishing shirts from Simms (the simms with the hood I found to be too hot) and Underarmour.  Due to the big vents in the shirts of BLF, though it kept me cool, the bugs got to me easier.

I tend to stay away from cotton when fishing however. It is comfortable until it gets wet. Once it gets wet you will be wet all day. This is not comfortable in hot weather and it is deadly in cold weather.

A light rain jacket is also a must. Being a tropical environment it will rain. If you have an option bring a breathable one. This will be a lot more comfortable. I brought along the Simms In-Vest Rain Jacket, super light weight.

  • Pants:

For the most part, long pants are a must out there. Long pants are preferred not only for the sun protection, but also to protect you from the “Doctor Flies”.  I use the Exoffico and Simms pants, they are lightweight and sturdy.  They are also made out of quick drying material. This will keep me nice and dry if I get rained on or decide to take a swim or do some underwater photos.

It’s one thing for your pants to be wet, it’s really annoying for your underwear to be wet. I packed three Exoffico micro fiber underwear for my four day trip.  Every day, I would hand wash them as I take a shower and hang it dry. For the most part, they would be ready the next day. This saves me weight on the travels and the issue of having to do laundry was no longer a concern.

I picked mine up at Flint Creek Outfitters here Tampa but you can get these at most outdoor stores. The Basspro brands are cheaper and will work as well. They however are not as sturdy imho. The ones I have own seem to start tearing after about season.

  • The Feet:

Feet protection is pretty important when it comes to fly fishing the Bahamas. Not only because many times you want to get out and do are some wading but you also standing on your feet most of the day.

As far as wading there, any saltwater wading shoes will work just fine. It is hard bottom and you can stand up most anywhere there.  Since most of my fishing was on the boat I try to bring the cheap $20-$30 pair to save on weight.  A good pair in that price range would be the BassPro Flatsboots.

Most of the time though, I wear my Croc Ace 90% of the time and fishing the S. Andros with them was not a problem. Unlike the regular Croc they have boat bottom on them. This keeps me from slipping and they last a lot longer than normal Croc. The EVA foam that it is made does not absorb moisture or odor. This is a big problem when you get it wet quite a  bit. Most shoes will eventually starts smelling pretty rancid if you get them wet all the time.

One thing to remember is to bring some socks. This is especially true when wearing shoes like Crocs which has holes in them. Not that is cold but the “doctor” bugs can bite you through the holes. The socks helps tremendously.