This location gives lodge guests easy access to the flats, whilst providing many sheltered locations irrespective of wind direction, within the interior of the Marls. In addition, from Abaco Lodge, guests have the opportunity to try for occasional Permit, Tarpon and Snook, as well as offshore and reef species such as Wahoo, Tuna, Dorado,(Seasonal Billfish), Snapper, Barracuda and Grouper.
The guides are highly professional, hard working and personable, and more than meet the high standards of the lodge operation. They are also commercial fishermen for lobster and conch in the off season, and as such they know these waters inside out. They understand the effect of the tides and know where to go under different weather conditions. They also know the honey holes where a Permit, Snook or Tarpon can be found, and this can be a nice addition to bone-fishing. With their skills as boat handlers, and great eyes developed over years of spotting bonefish, they will put you on fish and give you as much or as little guidance and instruction as you want. Each day your guide will decide where to go, given the weather conditions and guest preference as discussed with the lodge manager. You should express any special preferences to the lodge manager, such as wading versus boat fishing. If you only want to target large individual bones, or if you prefer to fish to large shoals of fish, just let them know.
The lodge staff will work with your guide and try to tailor your day accordingly! Their policy of rotating guides, gives anglers the opportunity to fish with all 4 of these top notch guides. They would be hard-pushed to recommend one over the other!The Abaco Lodge boats are brand-new 16 foot Dolphin flats skiffs, that accommodate 2 anglers and the guide. They have elevated poling platforms and have a forward casting deck, cushioned seats and rod racks. All of the boats are equipped with a leaning rail and should you require this extra balancing aid please let the lodge managers know on your arrival. Our skiffs are powered by 50HP Mercury engines, which put the boat on plane well, are fast enough to get you to the Southern or Western flats in less than an hour and are light enough not to "bump" the bottom in shallow water. While the hull design on the boats eliminates backache on longer journeys, be sure you have reel covers on all your reels, as they will bounce with the ride out. The guides are equipped with satellite telephones, emergency flares, first aid kits, leatherman tools, IGFA rated 30 lbs Boga grips (for your record bonefish!), lifejackets, and a human de hooker!
Reef fishing for snapper, grouper or barracuda as well as ocean fishing for Tuna, Wahoo and dolphin can be arranged for your trip. This can provide a wonderful day off from the flats. Please let us know in advance if you would like us to arrange this.
The typical trip does not fish on arrival or departure but we can arrange for a half day fishing if your flights allow. Breakfast is served at seven; leave the dock at eight and return between four and five. This schedule can be tailored to your needs with advance notice. Picnic lunches and cold drinks are taken to the flats in a cooler by your guide.
The Marls are accessed directly from the lodge dock; the flats on the ocean side require a short drive. All of the skiffs are equipped with padded seats with a backrest and a lean bar in the front. The majority of the fishing is done from the boat but wading opportunities exist if you prefer. Runs to the flats vary from 10 to 45 minutes. The bonefish on the Marls average 2-4 pounds with the occasional shot at bigger fish.
The ocean side flats offer opportunities at some of the largest bonefish in the Bahamas but they are incredibly wary creatures.
The Bahamas are primarily a bonefishery and Abaco is no different. There are the occasional shots at permit, tarpon, 'cudas, jacks, and sharks and it is recommended that you bring the appropriate tackle just in case. There is nothing like seeing a 20 lb permit tailing or the juvenile tarpon cruising the flat and not having the right gear set up.
In addition to the wonderful flats fishing Abaco has incredible blue water fishing. We are happy to coordinate a day or two with the best captains available in search of marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, or 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 fishing.
One of the biggest mistakes a bone fisherman can make is not to adjust his fly to changing water depth. Your fly should be weighted such that it sinks quickly to the bottom and then stays near the bottom within view of the fish after you begin stripping. However fishing too heavy a fly, (Lead Eyes) in shallow water will undoubtedly spook many fish. Often bonefish are spooked by seeing flies that do not match the environment in which they are swimming. A fly that matches the background color of the flat you are fishing, can pay dividends. The watchword in general is flexibility; listen to your guide, no-one in the boat has a better idea of technique or choice of fly than him.
The average flat depth, whether you're wading or poling, ranges from 12"-30". In this depth, a Gotcha or Shrimp pattern with medium sized bead chain eyes should provide close to the perfect sink rate without overweighing the fly (and potentially spooking the fish). A good rule of thumb is your fly should reach the bottom in about 3 seconds. If you find your fly is not getting to the bottom, you should switch to a fly with lead eyes or add a few wraps of lead wire to the eye of the fly.
The angler who is willing to fish deeper flats will often be rewarded with the largest bonefish. Big bonefish prefer the protection of deeper flats or shallow flats close to deep water. When you're fishing water 3-4 feet deep, you'll need a fly with lead eyes to get to the bottom quickly. A proven deep water fly is the Clouser minnow and the two best color combinations for bonefish are tan and white and chartreuse and white. Another killer, deep water fly is the Simram, which is a fuzzy (rabbit fur) version of the Gotcha fly with lead eyes. Lead eyes come in a variety of weights but for ease of casting, you'll want to carry flies with the smaller lead eyes as well as the heavier lead eyes that cause many of us to duck when forward casting.
Shallow Flats & Tailing Fish:
The last thing a bone-fisherman wants to do is scare an actively feeding fish by casting too heavy a fly too close to the fish. Therefore, you must go light in skinny water. By light we mean no weight other than the weight of the hook. For this we recommend mono (or plastic) eyes and a body that lands softly in tan and white, brown and white and the Gotcha colors, pink and white.