I have had the opportunity to fish with the guides from Andros South Lodge for the past three years and I cannot wait to keep going back. One thing that keeps me dreaming of returning is the world class fly fishing opportunities. I would argue that the flats around South Andros are the crown jewel of Bahamian bonefishing. This is the perfect place for all different types of anglers from rookies to salty vets due to all the different situations and types of fishing one may experience with the Deneki guides.
You can expect to see all sorts of fish throughout the fishing grounds near the lodge. From shots at single and pairs of bonefish to schools of ten to twenty or even hundreds at certain places one thing is for sure: You are bound to get casts at happy bonefish. If the bonefishing ever gets boring (which it won’t), make sure you have a 10 weight or spinning rod on hand in order to throw to some rather angry barracuda or Jacks. No matter how you slice it the fishing on the island is spectacular. Don’t fret over missed shots… You will get plenty.
I hold this place with such reverence because this is where I tasted my first success as a saltwater fly fisherman. The staff and guides will do all they can in order to make your stay and angling the ultimate adventure. However don’t just take my word for it. Pack up an 8 weight, some mantis shrimp and gotchas and check it out for yourself.
We want to invite you to experience this amazing place with us in Spring 2016!
There is a reason that we (Fishwest) go back to Andros South Lodge every year…everything about it is incredible. As a fly shop trying to provide a superior international destination fly fishing travel trip to our guests at a reasonable price, this place cannot be beat. At Andros South Lodge, you don’t need to remember that your salad fork is on the left, but never worry that the accommodations are sub par. Your every need is taken care of and you will never be hungry or thirsty. If you ever need anything, just ask.
Not to mention the guides; they are outstanding. There is an eight man guide rotation and there IS NOT a bad draw. From Freddie the singer to Josie the hunter to Torrie the entertainer (I could go on and on), every guide is unique, but the one thing they all have in common is that they KNOW bonefish. South Andros Island is home to some of the biggest bonefish in the world and these guys will give you the best chance to catch one.
Andros South Lodge is a special place and I hope to return there many, many more times. We want to invite you to experience this amazing place with us in Spring 2016.
We recently had a customer come into the shop asking about clothing to wear on a trip to Andros South Lodge he booked with us. So we here at Fishwest thought this would be a great time to write about sun protection clothing for warm weather situations.
When I’m planning on being on a boat or hiking a stretch of river without much shade all day the first item I think about is the shirt I’m going to wear. I look for breathability and coverage when it comes to features in a shirt. My usual go-to is the Solarflex crew neck shirt; it’s the most comfortable all-around shirt I have found on the market. Super lightweight, quick drying and the COR3 anti-microbial features of the Solarflex allow you to fish all day long without a worry, while the flat-seam construction gives you a next to skin comfort. These shirts are available in a number of different colors and prints to best fit your personal style and fishing environment.
The next item I grab for a trip would be my Simms’ Sungaiter, this isn’t just another sun sleeve tube thingy, it’s a step up from those. Featuring laser cut breathing holes for better comfort and to reduce sunglass fog from breathing, the fit is more true to one’s facial features cutting down on excessive material around the eyes. I can take it off when needed; dunk it on those extremely hot days, and packs easily into a waist pack.
Lastly I always try to remember my Solarflex Sun gloves; these gloves are made out of the same lightweight material as the Solarflex Shirts and Sungaiter giving the same performance and feel. My favorite features of the gloves are the open palm and extended coverage on the middle ad index fingers. The open palm allows you to have optimum feeling of the cork grip while fishing, this is a main reason why I dislike fishing with gloves but have become a fan of gloves since trying these out. The extended coverage on the stripping fingers gives you protection when throwing steamers or saltwater flies all day. I have tried using stripping sleeves before but they always move or twist on me, when I moved over to the gloves I noticed they held their position much better than stripping sleeves, allowing me to pay more attention to the action that was happening in the water.
There are a few other items I usually grab before a trip, lightweight quick-dry pants or shorts are a great choice on hot days, the pants will give you the maximum protection from the sun but shorts are more comfortable in my opinion. Also make sure you grab your lucky fishing hat and socks come in handy if you are fishing off a boat all day.
All of these pieces are available in UPF50 giving you the most protection in today’s market and making sure you have a few of these items packed for your next trip will make your fishing more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on your fishing techniques instead of worrying about your skin burning. Give us a shout at 801-617-1225 if you have any questions about the product or the South Andros Lodge trip.
One of the hardest transitions for me to make into saltwater fishing continues to be the art of the strip set. Countless times I have seen the backside of a bonefish travelling 100+ MPH to get away from the shrimp that just bit him in the face. While the guide laughs, the advice coming from the platform is always the same. Whatever you do, don’t trout set!
This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for a beginner saltwater angler who primarily fish for trout. Trout anglers have been trained through countless hours on the water to raise the rod when a trout eats the fly. A slow and steady raise of the rod promotes protecting light tippets that are associated with trout files by turning the rod into a small shock absorber. Trout have very soft mouths and setting the hook with a size 20 dry fly and 6x tippet doesn’t take a lot of effort.
However, a majority of saltwater flats species have extremely hard mouths. For example, when a bonefish eats, they suck up unfortunate critters and smash them with large molar type “crushers”. Raising the rod tip upon hookup with a bonefish will result in the fly getting pulled right out of their mouth. A majority of bonefish flies are designed to ride hook up when retrieved. With that in mind when the bonefish eats the fly, a long and smooth strip will drive the hook into the hard mouth of the fish, leading to more hookups.
Things to keep in mind when learning the strip set:
KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water pointed straight at the fish, this will help to eliminate slack in the line when retrieving the fly.
If you have the fish interested chances are it is following your fly; KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water.
Once the fish has looked down to eat your fly: KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water.
Once you feel the pressure or see the fish eat the fly, KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water and give your line one long smooth pull.
Lastly continue stripping until the line comes tight. Once the line comes tight chances are the fish is off to the races.
If you miss the first strip set, keep stripping the fly as long as the fish is still actively chasing the fly. If you miss the initial eat the fly will be in front of the fish as long as you KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water.
This technique will take some time to sink in for most of us… New tricks take a while (especially for an old dog). Just remember KEEP YOUR ROD TIP in the water and strip till the line comes tight.
Stay tuned for more tips & Tricks. Fishwest is excited to offer trips to the island of South Andros as well as other destinations. For more information please click HERE.
One of the hardest parts for a beginner saltwater fisherman is being ready to go at a moment’s notice. The window on shots for bonefish and other saltwater species can appear and disappear rather quickly. When fishing from a boat and a guide calls out a fish, keep these tips in mind to be setup properly and to make a quick presentation.
Strip off an amount of line that you can cast & drop it below you on the deck:Know your limits! This will allow you to be prepared to make a shot at cruising fish rather quickly. Keep in mind that if you have too much line out that tangles may occur if you shoot too much line. Don’t just strip your line into the bottom of the boat however. Doing that may cause all the line to coil up unnaturally and that may cause tangles. Make sure to make a few practice casts to prepare yourself and also to remove all the twists that may be in your fly line. If you are fishing with a partner, kindly ask them to help manage your line at the bottom of the boat.
Take off your shoes: This is by far the most important tip on this list. The easiest way to blow a shot is to make a beautiful cast only to find out that you have been standing on your line. By the time you recover, the fish are long gone! Barefoot is best, just remembering to apply sunscreen liberally and often, or better yet, wear socks!
Keep about 10 feet of line out of your rod tip: This will allow you to have your rod partially loaded when a shot presents itself. Having too much line outside the rod tip can be harder to manage, so be mindful of how much line you have out.
Keep your hands off your fly: The best thing to do is to hold on to your leader right above your fly. That way your fly doesn’t get any sunscreen on it, or anything else for that matter. A shrimp or crab with the essence of SPF 50+ isn’t appealing to most flats fish.
Now you are ready to go! Keep in mind that even the best anglers screw up and blow shots… so don’t get discouraged! Just be ready for the next one!
Stay tuned for more tips & tricks. If you are interested in destination travel with Fishwest click HERE.
Our friends over at Smith Optics put out a real cool video showcasing one of our favorite fly fishing destinations. The islands of the Bahamas, and Andros in particular, boasts some of the best Bonefishing in the world. Check it out below:
For those who are interested, Fishwest Outfitters hosts a series of trips to the island of Andros and the Andros South Lodge. Check out the details for our trips HERE.
The black canvas of my shoes so hot that it hurts my toes and I’m wondering how hot it needs to be for the glue that holds these waffled soles together to start melting into a chemical swirl of sticky syrup. The temperature is around 106 degrees right now and it should get a little hotter as the day goes on, but right now it’s close to 11:00 AM and I am trying not to get skunked before I have to go to work.
On a day like today it’s clear to me that I would rather freeze to death than burn to death. In the past I had waded out into the deep cool waters of half frozen lakes for this fishing addiction and felt that soothing numbness as my limbs disappear into the oblivion of icy cool water, but on my new home waters there’s no such relief. Still, on a day like today it’s tempting to wade into this murky mess of grass clippings and unidentifiable scum to try and get some relief from the sweltering sun, but my better judgement is telling me it’s a sure way to blow any chance I have left at slipping a hook into the gaping mouth of one of these saurian scaled creatures.
When I lived in Utah, I’d been a big fan of the Provo and Weber rivers and caught my fair share of handsome trout in them, but my favorite thing was dry fly fishing the small creek systems that run through the canyons of the Salt Lake City area. Now in Arizona, I was spending my days in a cubicle solving Identity and Access Management mysteries. I was haunted in day dreams by mountain streams filled with brightly speckled “Brookies” and Rainbow Trout with bands of pink glinting on their flanks in the summer sunshine.
What I’m chasing now, well, I thought these were the kind of fish that you hit with oars at Lake Powell. They were the kind of aquatic game you should take up bowfishing for. I thought these garbage sucker fish should be killed on sight because they were ruining quality fisheries around the nation. Now that I am here I’m seeing them with different eyes, their ancient mailed backs glowing gold in the sunshine as they feed in the shallows of a small pond. Seeing them like this has made me think I’d formed some hasty opinions.
It was sometime in late April that I first cast a fly at a carp with any real intent. I approached the water’s edge to see tailfins swishing lazily back and forth above the water line, their visages rooting deeply in the sediment scored banks, making small sepia clouds that drifted out into the deeper water. I cast a tiny crimson bugger on a tailing fish’s dinner plate and gave it a couple slight strips. When the fish darted toward, it my heart started to race. When its mouth hovered over the fly, my nerves caused me to rip up a “trout set” that sent the fly up to tightly wrap an overhanging branch of a bank-lining tree. I was baffled. When I looked back toward the spot where the carp had been there was a welt rippling on the surface of the water and a foul brown mud cloud sweeping through the area. I untangled my line from the branch and made a few more casts to other carp I found feeding along the bank. I had another take…this time I tried to set the hook even harder and faster and I felt a little something snag the hook. I saw the fish erupt in horror and swim away snapping my 4x tippet with ease. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t hooking these fish. These fish were playing a joke on me. I went home thinking about buying a bait caster and some corn feed to chum the water with so I could catch one and be done with them forever. A week later I was back in Utah for a quick visit with friends and family. I set myself up for some serious time on the water since Arizona aquatic life was not yielding to my fly fishing prowess and I needed to catch a fish. I landed some handsome bows on one of my beloved small streams… but I found my mind drifting back to the challenge of the elusive “golden ghost” that I had yet to catch. I’d been out sight fishing them at least 6 times now and had only really hooked into 2. I hadn’t even fought one yet, let alone land one. I wanted to catch a carp so badly but my repeated failure had left me feeling like I couldn’t do it.
When I got home from Utah I went back to the carp pond. I could see carp feeding in a shoulder section of the pond. A floating green fascia separating their world from mine lent me the stealth I needed to approach them. I crept up a few feet from the bank and took cover behind a tree. I slowly stripped out some line trying to limit the reel’s squeal and took a cast that plopped my fly down into the path of the feeding carp. When they were right on top of my fly I felt nothing, not even a twitch, so against every ounce of intuition I made a light strip set. The water exploded! It was like someone had heaved a bowling ball into it. The fish ripped line off of my reel as it bolted for the depths of the pond. It was powerful, but nimble too as it darted back and forth trying to free itself. The fight was a flurry of pure terror. I thought at any moment I might lose this fish. I managed to retrieve a small trout net that was strapped to my back and got the front half of the fish into the net. I put myself between the fish and the water and snapped a quick pic, then put the fish back in the water and watched it speed off into the green murk. When I looked at the picture, I was shocked. With all the excitement and adrenaline I hadn’t taken a moment to appreciate the fish or examine the quality of my photo. Just like the battle, my picture was a blur, it was dark with a poor angle. I couldn’t even tell it was me holding the fish! I was disappointed that I didn’t prepare for a better shot. I also didn’t expect the subsequent rush of adrenaline that accompanied my first carp on the fly and now I had ruined the evidence of my catch.
Since then I have been chasing those spooky creatures in every body of water I can find, from canals and local ponds to large bass fisheries around the state. I have been reading articles, watching videos, tying flies, and observing the behavior of the fish, trying to understand them with that same pedantic fervor of any novice angler. So maybe now it’s clear why I’m standing in this blazing summer sun watching the fish feed and waiting for them to sip down a fly. I didn’t expect that moving to the desert would make me a better angler. It’s only now that I realize I didn’t pick up my first fly rod because I thought it was the best way to catch a trout. In fact, I wasn’t even really thinking of trout. It was the art of the sport and the creativity it required that appealed to me. It was the mystery of the water and the forms that live therein and not their definite species that first intrigued me. It was the belief that what lurks below in an alien world could be understood if one put in the time to understand. So I’m putting in the time, on the water and off the water, to understand an under-appreciated gamefish that is worth picking up a fly rod for.
As fly fishermen, we know (and have experienced firsthand) the parity that exists between fly rods. By and large, you get what you pay for when it comes to rods. Given the parity that exists between rods, we here at Fishwest were curious to see if the same parity exists between waders.
We rated the waders on a scale of 1-10 in 3 categories: breathability, durability, and aesthetics. After all, waders are meant to be worn and we all want to look good out on the water.
Obviously, these ratings are subjective and they’re just our opinion. However, we’re not just shop guys or writers – we’re fishermen too. I spend around 250 days a year on the water, while JC works the Fishwest shop in Sandy and spends plenty of time out on the water himself. We know what anglers look for in a pair of waders and think that we made some objective judgements.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how the waders fared in their respective categories.
The SS waders are very light and they breathe exceptionally well. I wore them for 10 straight hours, hiking over 3 miles in 70 degree heat, and they didn’t get me nearly as sweaty as I’d imagined they would have.
I did notice that water tends to bead off these waders, meaning they’re water repellent as well as water resistant.
I wore the waders in pretty cold runoff water, hiking around at high elevation, and they did a good job of letting my legs breathe so I didn’t freeze too badly.
Durability – 9/10
I’ve had these waders for a solid month, and they look brand-new. The neoprene booties have a thick rubber lining along the seams, which is absolutely brilliant engineering on Orvis’ part. The rubber lining will reduce wear along the neoprene seams, the most common place for neoprene to leak.
The only knock I have in terms of durability relates to how thin the material is. While I’m sure it’s a material that will stand the test of time (if these waders last two seasons that’s a win in my book – I’m pretty rough on my gear) it’s thin enough that a well-placed branch could tear a nice hole.
Aesthetics – 9/10
These waders look great. They’re colored in the classic Orvis green and gray, and the waders match the blank color of the Superfine Glass rods, for the fashionably astute angler.
The waders come with “anatomically correct” neoprene booties (and attached gravel guards, of course) according to the Orvis website. I do have to say, I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in fit and comfort in these neoprene booties compared to the Redington SonicDry Waders.
I do enjoy the green Sonic logo on the left leg, and the large Orvis logo across the front. I do think Orvis could get a bit more creative, though, which is why I knocked off one point.
These waders are made from Redington’s patented 37.5 active particle technology. It’s supposed to dry up to five times faster than similar materials, as well as breathe better and be lighter.
Truth be told, these waders do dry quickly, but the Silver Sonic waders dry faster. However, the SonicDry waders fit a bit more snug along the leg, and it seems to me that they breathe a bit better when walking longer distances than the Silver Sonic waders.
Durability – 4/10
This is the big knock I have against the SonicDry wader. The material is a rouger nylon than most waders – it’s almost abrasive. In theory, that’s a great thing because it reduces the likelihood of the waders tearing on a stray branch. However, the welded seams on these waders (the same as on the Silver Sonics) started splitting after only 7 months of moderate-to-heavy use. While I know that waders aren’t supposed to last forever, having the seams split after less than one full season on them isn’t good.
To make matters worse, because of the abrasive fabric, the traditional Aquaseal doesn’t hold to the fabric as well as it should, and I’ve had to apply it three times before getting a seal on the seams that holds water.
All in all, Redington should have some way to fix this issue, and until they do, I’d stay away from the SonicDry waders if you walk longer distances in them, as I tend to do.
Aesthetics – 10/10
These waders do look nice. The two-tone coloration has a certain flair to it, they fit very tightly, and I like the look of the thicker wading belt. If you were to buy waders purely based on how they look (let’s be honest, fly fishermen are more vain than we’ll ever admit) then these would be the ones.
All I need to say is Gore-Tex. The Gore-Tex Pro Shell material is both lightweight breathable. The G3 waders use a combination of both 5 layer and 3 layer fabrics to make up the body of the wader. I (JC) have found this combination keeps me dry and comfortable no matter the season. The 5 layer from the thighs down can get a little hot during the summer months depending on the situation, otherwise it is pretty close to perfect.
Durability: 9.5 / 10
People who come into the shop always ask me if these waders are worth the $499.95 that Simms is asking for these waders. My answer is always the same. These waders are worth every penny based on how long they will last. I put my waders through the angling ringer of thorns, sticker bushes, and drift boats and sure, they do spring a leak from time to time but that is nothing a little Aquaseal can’t fix. I retired my last pair of Simms guide waders with 7 seasons of heavy wear and tear on them and they could have lasted longer. Bottom line is that Simms built these puppies to last, and they most certainly do.
Simms hit a homerun with these in the looks department. Features like the left and right articulated feet as well as built in gravel guards are just two of the things that set these apart from other waders in our test. The fleece lined hand warmer pocket is also perfect for those days when the temp drops.
Fly fisherman are great story tellers. Not a day goes by in the shop when we aren’t witness to a fly fishing related tale. As you all know, fly fishing takes us to some of the most beautiful places in the world and a lot of fly fishers are also great photographers. Here’s your opportunity to get your thoughts and photos out there – and to a lot of people!
We’re delighted to offer the opportunity to post your thoughts and images. We’re looking for interesting articles that cover anything and everything fly fishing related. Write about some of your travels, show how to tie that hot new fly pattern or discuss a technique. If it is interesting to you, it will be interesting to others, probably lots of others.
Are you interested in sharing your stories, experiences, or product reviews? If so please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org . If your article or photos are picked for our blog you will earn valuable Fishwest store credit to use towards new gear. What fly fisherman doesn’t love new gear?
Submitting an Article
We look for articles written about anything fly fishing and we don’t want to stifle your creativity. This can include, but is certainly not limited to, trip reports, fly tying tutorials, product reviews, fishing techniques, illustrations, etc….ANYTHING FLY FISHING.
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When anglers talk about planning their next fly fishing trip in the U.S. many of the first regions that comes to mind are usually Alaska and the North West for trout and salmon, the Gulf for Redfish and Spotted Sea Trout, and possibly the North East for Atlantic Salmon and Striped Bass. Many overlook the Mid-Atlantic region and I can’t understand why.
I recently took a trip back to Maryland to see family and friends, and while there I took advantage of the great fishing opportunities available in the Chesapeake Bay region. My first stop was to the small creeks around the town I grew up in. Small spring creeks surrounded by lush forest and a variety of wildlife, exposing granite boulders in the stream bed and filled with a variety of fish species. Most of these creeks have been continuously stock with brown and rainbow trout for decades, and although the region is too warm for the rainbows to survive, the brown trout make it through the hot summers and are able to reproduce to a small extent.
The trout fishing is good but the real reason I brought my gear back this time of year was for the bass fishing opportunities. The smallmouth fishing in the Baltimore/Washington area is world class, with the Susquehanna and the Potomac plus many of the local reservoirs having healthy, reproducing fish populations that produce trophies every year.
I didn’t pull out any trophies nor did I expect to. This trip was just to relax, to go back to the pools and runs where I taught myself to fly fish and look at the water with a new perspective. I headed to a little spring creek in Carrol County called Morgan Run, it starts up around Westminster, Maryland off route 97 and runs into Liberty Reservoir in Finksburg. I took my trusty Ross Essence FC 8’6” 5 weight and when I first got there I tied on a couple of nymphs and threw into a pool with a few trout in it. These fish were stocked about two months back so they weren’t all that difficult to fool. I quickly pulled out a few trout and then headed up stream. I was on a mission to what we call “the honey hole”.
I approached the hole and I instantly saw a smallmouth sitting behind a pile of sticks, maneuvering left and right, eating anything that floats its way. I was looking for large aggressive fish so I switched over to a white articulated minnow pattern. I threw it about 10 feet above it and started to strip it in. It didn’t budge, so I tossed it again, and again with the same result. I knew there were larger fish in here so I decided to try up around the large bolder laying in the creek. With the first retrieve I saw both trout and bass following it, none of them committed though so I tossed it in again and slowed down the retrieve, “BAM” something came up and slammed it. By the way it was fighting I could tell it was a bass, it was way too aggressive to be any of the trout that I would expect to be in this spot and as I worked it in my assumptions was correct. It was a bass, a decent one for the size of the creek; I reeled it in, took a few shots and quickly released it.
After being rewarded with that nice bass I decided to start my way back and run that streamer through some of the runs and pools I nymphed earlier. I managed to get a few more follows with some trout in the pools but as I was approaching the trailhead I saw a deep run with two small boulders leaning into it. I threw between the two boulders and as soon as it had become fully submerged “WHAM”, a bass had ran from one boulder to the other and sliced it! Knowing I might have one more chance at it, I waited a minute before I attempted it again, took a breath and tossed it at the back of the run in-between the two boulders. Gave it a few twitches and “BAM” he took it! I noticed that was a good spot for the little guy as I saw two dead minnows, a little larger than my streamer, float out from under the boulder he ran under after eating my fly. I was a little impressed it was still so aggressive even after having a full stomach. I released him back into the run and started my way back down the trail.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day, an easy hike through a thick forest and got into a variety of fish that were a blast on the old 5 weight. I got back to the car and headed home. This trip out was exactly what I was looking for, back on one of the old creeks where I taught myself how to fly fish, taking what I have learned in the years I have been gone and seeing what I could come up with.
I know I may be a little biased in my love for fishing this area but there are many overlooked fisheries and a variety of species from small to large mouth bass, pickerel and musky, multiple trout species fresh and saltwater variety, the opportunities are almost endless. If you haven’t already, next time you get some free time do a little research on some of the local fisheries around the Chesapeake Region and stay tuned for Part Two where I will write about my first Striped Bass trip on the Susquehanna Flats!