GPS Coordinates: 23°51’54.95″N 77°30’53.41″W
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Getting to Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge
Day of Arrival into Congo Town (South Andros Airport):
Check in time at Mars Bay is after 2:00 pm on the day of arrival and check out is before 10:00 am on your day of departure.
An excellent option for flights into Congo Town is with Makers Air out of Fort Lauderdale. They offer private charters and seat fares. You can look them up on their website at https://www.makersair.com/. To book a fare it’s best to give them a call for available seats and pricing at (954) 771-0330. These flights are more expensive but can off-set the cost of having to overnight in Nassau. With Maker’s Air, you’ll clear customs in Fort Lauderdale at their terminal.
Another option in travel to South Andros is flying to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) and then taking a short, 20 minute flight into Congo Town (also sometimes called South Andros Airport, code: (TZN) with Western Air. You can make a reservation on their website (www.westernairbahamas.com) or by calling them in the Bahamas at (242) 377-2222. Please note that Western Air has a limited flight schedule and may not meet your travel timing.
Phone: (954) 771-0330
Email: email@example.com | https://makersair.com/
2331 NW 55th Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Seat fares and charter flights available to Andros and other islands.
Phone: (954) 900-2739
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | https://stanielair.com/
2201 NW 55th Ct
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
Seat fares and charter flights to Andros and other islands.
Once you arrive at Congo Town a pre-arranged car and driver will be waiting at the airport for you and your party. From there it’s a twenty-two mile drive to Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge.
When booking your departing flight from Nassau back the states, be sure to allow enough time to get from Western Air to your connecting flight. Western does not arrive in Nassau until 9:30 AM some mornings, so scheduling a departing flight at 12 PM or later is best.
Please reconfirm your flight arrangements with the lodge the night before departure. Again, you will need to take a shuttle from the lodge to the Congo Town Airport. As you leave Nassau, a Bahamas departure tax of approximately $15 is assessed at the airport. There is generally no fishing on departure day unless by special arrangement.
Passport & Visas:
All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States when travelling by air. U.S. citizens do not need visas for short trips to the Bahamas for tourist/business purposes. It is important to note that although the Bahamian government only requires proof of citizenship and identity to enter the Bahamas, the U.S. government requires that Americans have a valid passport in order to fly home.
You will complete an immigration card upon arrival. It will be checked at your first point of entry and a copy will be given to you. Be careful not to lose this copy as it must be given to Immigration upon departure.
The lodge does WIFI throughout the property. Phone calls to the states are complimentary through their VOIP line. Most cell phones usually work. AT&T seems to work best on the Bahamian network. Check with your carrier prior to departure to be sure you have international coverage.
The electrical outlets are AC 110 volts (same as the U.S.) and most appliances will work fine. Make sure that you have plenty of spare batteries for cameras and other small appliances, as the cost for replacements in the Bahamas is high.
The Bahamian dollar is at par with the US dollar and can be used interchangeably. Purchases from the Lodge tackle shop can be made with cash or credit cards. MasterCard, Visa, and American Express are accepted for all lodge purchases, but cash is appreciated for tipping.
Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge
Bill Howard, owner/operator
Cell Phone: (242) 357-2106
The Fly Shop®
(800) 669-3474 | (530) 222-3555 | email@example.com
U.S. Embassy Nassau
Queen Street #19
Phone: (242) 322-1181
Emergency after-hours telephone: (242) 357-7004 | Fax: (242) 356-7174
In case of emergencies involving the death, injury, welfare, or arrest of an American citizen in The Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos Islands, please call (242) 328-3496 or (242) 311-1181 x9 during business hours, and (242) 357-7004 at all other times. (Please note that the Duty Officer who answers this number will not be able to assist with visa or routine passport matters.)
Water is limited on the island. There is no same day service. They ask that guests combine their laundry, and when they have a load the maid will wash and fold your laundry. She does this from the kindness in her heart and a tip. Please leave her a gratuity at the end of your stay.
All tips must be paid in cash. Please be sure to bring enough cash to cover tips and other incidentals while on the island.
- Guides: $125 per boat – Please tip your guide daily
- Lodge staff: $40 per night per guest, collected by the manager at the end of your stay
Included in your package.
Typical Fishing Day at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge:
The ladies arrive early and get the coffee brewing, ready at five, on time for a hot cup in hand and the sunrise over the ocean. Breakfast is served at seven, and shortly thereafter everyone climbs into the truck and heads down to the marina to meet the guides. It’s a one minute drive from the lodge to the marina, where the guides and their skiffs will be ready and waiting. Bill does the guide assignments the previous night, typically rotating the guides, so guests have the opportunity to fish with different guides during their stay.
A delicious homemade lunch is in your cooler, ready when you are. These are full fishing days and you should be back to the boat ramp before six, in time for a well-earned shower, cocktails, some great appetizers, followed by a delicious Bahamian dinner at seven. They serve classic Bahamian dishes, cracked conch, conch salad, fritters and chowder, lobster, and fish a couple different ways. They also serve grilled ribeye steak and New Zealand lamb rack, and occasionally a stuffed pork loin or chicken. It’s certain that you’ll never leave the table hungry and wanting for more.
Staying in Nassau:
There are many options for your stay in Nassau, ranging from small family-owned inns situated in quieter areas to full-scale resorts. There is an array of restaurants and clubs, day cruises and other activities available. Below are some of our recommendations, and we encourage you to do some research of your own. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.
Orange Hill Beach Inn
West Bay Street
(242) 327-7157 | https://orangehill.com/
Orange Hill is a quaint family-owned inn 5 minutes from the airport. It is a convenient, economical choice for our traveling anglers. It sits across the street from a nice quiet beach and has a small bar/restaurant and a refreshing outdoor pool. Several good restaurants are just a short taxi ride away.
Sandy Port Hotel and Resort
West Bay Street
(242) 327-4279 | https://www.sandyportresort.com/
Sandy Port Hotel is part of the greater Sandy Port Development. It is located 10 minutes from the airport and can be a great choice for your over-night in Nassau. You will find a variety of dining options, stores and even a health club within walking distance of your accommodations. It has a relaxing atmosphere and a very professional staff.
British Colonial Hilton
No. 1 Bay Street
(242) 322-3301 | https://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/bahamas/british-colonial-hilton-nassau-NASHIHH/index.html
The British Colonial is a beautiful, well-appointed, luxury hotel situated right in the heart of the action on famous Bay Street. The grounds are amazingly quiet considering where it is situated. It is everything you expect from an International Hilton property and places you within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants of downtown.
Atlantis Resort and Casino
(242) 363-2000 x 65401 | https://www.atlantisbahamas.com/
The grandeur of “The Atlantis” is hard to describe. It truly is a “mega” resort in the spirit of Las Vegas. It houses one of the largest aquariums in the world, a Vegas-style casino and numerous shops and restaurants. It hums with energy and activity 24 hours a day. If you are staying elsewhere in Nassau, it is worth taking a taxi to Paradise Island and wandering through.
The Poop Deck West
SandyPort on the Beach/West Bay Street
An island favorite, the Poop Deck features a full bar, great steak, seafood and traditional Bahamian dishes.
Located at the Arowak Cay Fish Fry Grounds, Twin Brothers is a fun, relaxing place to enjoy great local Bahamian cuisine. It is a favorite among the locals.
Harbour Front / East Bay, Nassau
A well-known, very popular outdoor bar and grill that sits on the Hurricane Hole Marina. This is a fun place to hang out day and night watching the boat traffic in and out of Nassau Harbor.
Insects on Andros:
Mosquitoes and “doctor flies” in the Bahamas are always a possibility. Wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts is your best protection, and insect repellent (with DEET) will deter these bugs. Pesky “No See’ums” may come out at dawn and dusk, especially when the winds are calm. A light pair of socks with your pants tucked in will eliminate any bites.
Clothing & Sun Protection:
Andros may be the most informal place on the planet Earth. Comfortable, casual wear is accepted and encouraged. Flip-flops, sandals, shorts, T-shirts…casual is king. Expect air temperatures in the mid-80s during the days and high 60s to low 70s in the evening and early mornings. We recommend long-sleeved shirts and long pants while on the flats. Apply a waterproof sunblock of at least 30 SPF to all exposed skin including your ears and lips each morning. Re-apply occasionally throughout the day and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat and/or Buff. After applying sunscreen, scrub your hands with a scoop of sand and water as bonefish can smell lotion on your fly resulting in refusals. Applying sunscreen with the back of your hands minimizes transferring sunscreen to your fly and leader.
Andros Island lies just north of the Tropic of Cancer, with a moderate temperature range affected by the surrounding waters. Average daytime temperatures range from the high eighties in the summer to the low seventies in the winter. Relative humidity holds at approximately sixty five percent throughout the year. As with most tropical climates, summer is the wettest season, with the majority of the rainfall occurring between May and October. Often dry and sunny for extended periods of time, Mars Bay is superbly located for year ‘round fishing.
You’ll need an assortment of personal gear for your days on the flats, and a boat bag to keep them in.
Your boat bag will contain all your gear for the day in the boat and in transfer to and from the dock. Anglers often prefer some organizing dividers inside, and quick access pouches on the outside. It needs to be large enough to hold your rain jacket, fly boxes, sunscreen, extra leaders and tippet, camera, and back up glasses and fly lines. Fishpond, Patagonia and Simms offer quality boat bags.
You may be wading for hours and the boat will be just a spec on the horizon. Be sure to bring a wading pack to carry your flies, leaders, tippet, clippers, a water bottle, snack bars, camera, etc. The design is your choice, with sling, fanny and backpack the most common. Fishpond, Patagonia and Simms offer proven models in these designs.
Pliers, hemostats, leader snips, hook sharpener, and release tool.
Lightweight and breathable is the best for warm climates. Bring your rain gear with you on the boat everyday no matter how clear it looks. Squalls pop up quickly and the boat ride can be wet.
Polarized glasses with amber or copper lenses are the most popular for flats fishing, and having an extra pair in your boat bag is a darn good idea.
Tackle & Equipment
Tackle & Equipment Lists by Species (click on links below):
- Bonefish Tackle & Equipment
- Tarpon Tackle & Equipment
- Permit Tackle & Equipment
- Barracuda & Jacks Tackle & Equipment
About Andros Island & the Fishing
Andros Island is the largest island in the Bahamas, 25 miles west of New Providence Island and about 125 miles east-southeast of Florida. A flat, heavily forested island, Andros extends about 100 miles from north to south and spans about 45 miles from east to west at the widest point. The island is crisscrossed with creeks, bights, and is home to some of the best bonefish habitat in the world. It is impossible to fish all of the water available to you in a week of fishing. Whether you like to wade fish or fish from a boat, you will have plenty of water to explore.
Andros Island can be divided roughly into three distinct parts; the creeks and bights, the hard sand flats of the East and Southern side, and the wilderness of the west side, aka “The Land of Giants.” The bonefish in the Middle Bight and the South Bight are plentiful and average 3 to 5 pounds with regular shots at fish weighing 6 to 10 pounds. The fish of the outer, hard sand flats of the east and south sides of Andros also average between 3 to 5 pounds with bigger fish always lurking in singles and doubles. Andros is home to some of the largest bonefish in the world. Double digit fish are a distinct possibility.
Bonefish evolved their incredible burst speed to avoid being eaten by predators. Since they are the favorite food of sharks and barracuda it is very important to release them in good condition and give them a strong chance to survive. Please be careful when handling bonefish and be sure to fight the fish quickly. If it has been a long difficult battle, please consider taking photos of the fish only in the water. Trophy bonefish are old fish and what makes the fishery special, so please take good care of them. We hope all anglers realize that the release is more important than a photo.
We do not recommend ultra-light leaders and long fights with loose drags that tire the fish excessively. Leader should not be lighter than 12 lb. and we recommend 16 and even 20 lb. leaders.
For photographs, please revive the fish before removing it from the water for the photograph and please keep the fish out of the water for as short a time as possible. Handle the fish with clean, wet hands as little as possible. Please allow your guide to take the time to revive the fish before releasing.
We follow the recommendations of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s “Best Practices for Bonefish Catch & Release”. https://www.bonefishtarpontrust.org/education-outreach-bonefish-catch-release/