Joulters Fly Fishing, located just outside the sleepy village of Nichols Town on the northeast side of north Andros Island, is a handsome beachfront villa, just a rifle shot away from shallow, easily waded flats that stretch to the horizon.
The operation is not new, but an assemblage of six North Andros guides (owner and partners) who have been guiding these waters for an average of 18 years, with two having over 25 years’ experience.
The location of the lodge finally allows anglers access to hundreds of square miles of wadeable and boatable flats, cays, shoreline, and inland estuaries – 40 miles down the “west side”, 20 miles down the east side of the island, north to the Joulter Cays and beyond to Chub Cay and the Berry Islands. The closest flats are only 10 minutes from the beach in front of the lodge, and beyond that are miles upon miles of ankle deep, white sand flats, perfect for wading all day long for tailing bonefish!
No longer will anglers endure hours of truck-time each day trailing boats on washboard roads to get the Joulters, they are now within easy striking distance thanks to Joulters Fly Fishing. Whether it be bonefish, tarpon or permit, the flats fishing opportunities here are near endless.
The following pages provide an in depth look at the exciting new program there at Joulters Fly Fishing. It’s an amazing and private fishing retreat for a maximum of 8 people and perfectly comfortable for hard core saltwater anglers, non-angling companions and families.
We are very enthusiastic about Joulters Fly Fishing and the access they provide to some of the finest and least-fished flats on Andros Island – all right out the front door.
Reservations & Rates
7 Nights/6 Days Fishing
2 Anglers per Boat/Room $4,600
1 Angler per Boat/Room $7,200
6 Nights/5 Days Fishing
2 Anglers per Boat/Room $4,100
1 Angler per Boat/Room $6,650
5 Nights/4 Days Fishing
2 Anglers per Boat/Room $3,250
1 Angler per Boat/Room $5,450
4 Nights/3 Days Fishing
2 Anglers per Boat/Room $2,650
1 Angler per Boat/Room $4,600
3 Nights/2 Days Fishing
2 Anglers per Boat/Room $2,050
1 Angler per Boat/Room $3,250
* West Side and Chub Cay Trips: Add $100 per boat fuel surcharge fee.
**Rates above are subject to change without notice. Call for information on single occupancy (individual bedrooms on groups of four).
• All Meals
• Non-alcoholic beverages (soda, soft drink, mixers, drinking water)
• Room accommodations
• Guided Fishing
• Snorkeling from the lodge beach
• Wi-Fi at the Lodge
• Airfare/travel to/from San Andros (SAQ)
• VAT Tax (12%)
• Alcoholic Beverages (available at local liquor stores)
• Taxi fare to/from airport, San Andros (SAQ)
• Fishing License $15/day, $20/week, $30/month, $60/year
• Rods, reels, and terminal tackle
• Gratuities for guides/staff
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Joulters Fly Fishing
Bonefish are prevalent on Andros Island year-round, and fishing can be great every month of the year. The most popular months are typically from October through June, when weather and water temperatures are most comfortable and consistent.
Late Fall/Winter (October, November, December) – late fall in the Joulters marks the end of the annual hurricane season, and typically calm weather, moderate winds, and some of the best conditions of the year on the flats. It’s not as popular for travel due to the holidays, but a great time to be on the flats of Andros!
Late Winter (January and February) – These are great months to visit the Bahamas, especially to get away from colder winter weather in the Northern climates. Because the fishing based out of Joulters Fly Fishing is primarily wade-fishing in very shallow water, it is less impacted by cold fronts during these months than other Caribbean destinations. Even if the weather is bad, fish can be found tailing on the flats!
Spring (March and April) – These are the most popular months for bonefishing in the Bahamas, as the weather is pleasantly warm and the winds light.
Early Summer (May and June) – These are often some of the better weather months of the year, after the winter cold fronts and before the summer hurricane season, so the climate is warm and conditions are fairly consistent.
Late Summer and Fall (July, August and September) – These are the locals favorite time of year, though not as popular for international anglers. The weather can be hot and humid, but fishing remains good all summer long.
Getting to Joulters Fly Fishing
Getting to Joulters Fly Fishing is simple. First, you will want to arrange flights into Nassau, the capital and main airport hub in the Bahamas, with multiple connecting flights daily from all over the US. From Nassau, there are two flights daily on Western Air (7:00 AM and 3:30 PM) to San Andros (SAQ) Airport on Andros Island.
Upon exiting the International Arrivals area in Nassau, you will proceed to the Domestic area of the airport to the Western Air counter for check in (you will want to reserve these flights in advance, easy to do online). You will want to arrange your international airfare into Nassau either the
night before (in order to catch the 7:00 AM departure), or before 1:30 PM (in order to have time to deplane, clear customs and immigration, and check in for the 3:30 PM flight to San Andros). Flight time is 12 minutes and the cost is approximately $70 each way.
There are also options for a direct charter flight available from Ft. Lauderdale with Makers Air. These are usually more expensive, but may have more flexibility on flight times.
As aircraft flying to San Andros (SAQ) are often small twin-engine planes, we recommend carrying a maximum of 40 pounds of luggage, soft sided if possible.
US Citizens are required to have proof of citizenship (valid passport) for travel in the Bahamas. If you are flying commercially into Nassau International Airport you will first clear immigrations, retrieve your luggage and clear customs. Once you have cleared customs, you will need to recheck yourself and luggage to San Andros (SAQ) at the Western Air counter.
Upon arrival at San Andros, (SAQ) you will have to wait a bit for your luggage, as it is hand loaded off the plane. Once you have landed you will take a taxi to the lodge, only about a ten mile drive. You will be provided directions to the lodge and phone numbers to call on arrival. You will be greeted at the lodge to give you the keys to your villa and show you around. One of the lead guides will come by in the evening to discuss the plan for the next day and answer any questions.
Lodging at Joulters Fly Fishing
Joulters Fly Fishing is not your typical lodge. You’ll have your own two-bedroom, ocean front villa with a living room, bath and full kitchen and everything you need. The guides go home to their families after dropping you off in the evening and after the chef has served dinner, you are left with the place all to yourself.
The lodge features two units that face the ocean with a common area between them that leads to an extra ¼ bath and laundry room. Each unit has a living room/dining area, two air-conditioned bedrooms, each with two twin beds, and a full kitchen and bath.
There is a TV and Wi-Fi if you are inclined. A full enclosed patio, completely screened, runs the length of the building with comfortable patio furniture to relax after a “tough day at work”.
The full kitchen will be stocked with everything you need to make your own breakfasts each morning. The chef will have prepared the next day’s lunches before she departs each night. Two healthy sandwiches each, in plastic containers so they can be freshly assembled at lunchtime, along with chips, snacks, a piece of fruit, soft drinks, Gatorade, juices, etc.
After each fishing day the chef will greet you with appetizers, typically conch fritters or the like. While you jump in the ocean out front for a swim, take a shower, or kick back on the patio with a cold one, the chef will put the finishing touches on dinner. Makesha is amazing and the entrees and side dishes feature lobster, conch or fresh fish as the main course. After dessert she will clean up and leave you and your friends time to unwind and chill.
Fishing at Joulters Fly Fishing
As you’re headed for the launch ramp in Lowe Sound each day, the sign on the side of the road says “Andros Island – Bonefishing Capital of the World” and it isn’t local hype. A complete chapter in the book “Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die” is dedicated to fishing North Andros”.
The guide staff of top “north end” guides can introduce you to this world-class angling destination from 40 miles down the west side of the island to 20 miles down the east side and north to the Joulter Cays and on to Chub Cay and the Berry Islands.
The guides will pick you up in the morning at the lodge in Nichols Town and it is only about a 10 minute drive to the launch ramp in Lowe Sound. If you are fishing the south end of the Joulters you can easily be casting to bonefish a half hour from “home”. The Guides will fish you late and never say ‘get in the boat’ when are you are standing in the middle of feeding fish as the sun gets low in the sky, but somebody better call the chef or you will all risk catching her wrath when you arrive late back at the Lodge.
The “Joulters” comprise a myriad of sand flats, which are roughly 15 miles long by 7 miles wide dotted by a hundred or so small cays from a couple hundred square feet up to over 2 miles long. On a ‘busy’ day there might be 4 or 5 guide boats spread over the entire 100+ square miles. Access to the flats in shallow-draft boats, “flats boats”, is via deep-water channels, usually 4 to 12 feet in depth, which are formed between the individual flats by the ebb and flow of the tides.
The consistency of the flats ranges from hard bottom to soft sand with essentially no coral or other bottom feature, which can snag a fly line, making them perfect for stalking Bonefish on foot. At higher tides fishing is done from the boat with the angler manning the bow and the guide poised on an elevated poling platform on the stern propelling the boat along stealthily with a “push pole”.
Bonefish are usually found in groups from a handful to a few thousand with the larger fish tending to travel in singles, twos and threes. When the fish are up on the flats, they usually feed in water from 10″ to 14″ deep moving along slowly preying on anything that tries to make a run for it.
The average Joulters Bonefish is about 3 - 4 lbs. but fish in excess of 10 lbs. are seen on every trip. Seeing Bonefish of this size is fairly commonplace on the Joulters but catching one is a challenge . . . first getting these very smart fish to take the fly, then break-offs and getting spooled are the obstacles. Their power is unbelievable. Usually, the biggest fish are taken from the boat for these reasons.
Lowe Sound Creeks:
North of Lowe Sound and to the west is a series of creeks that wind almost through to the west side of the island save a couple of hundred feet. The largest is very wide, essentially an inlet known as “The Sound” or “Back by the Airplane”. Besides holding some very large fish at certain tides, the area is excellent on particularly windy days to pole along the mangrove-covered edges of the creeks, which provide some shelter. Permit, Porpoise, and Sea Turtles are many times found in these areas as well. Have that crab pattern ready to tie on quickly if a sickle-shaped dorsal fin appears.
The West Side Creek Outflows:
Andros Island is approximately 100 miles long and is totally uninhabited by humans along its west side. There is only one access road leading to the west coast of the island and that is at Red Bay, located only a few miles down the west side from the northern tip of the island. Once you have run south ten or so miles there are a series of creeks that flow into the ocean. That continues for the next 20 miles along the west coast heading south.
Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit concentrate on those outflows waiting for their next meal. The farther south you travel, the less chance that fish have ever even seen boats and anglers before. For this reason the fish are far less spooky and will immediately jump on most any fly they see.
You can target Permit or Tarpon going farther south or just fish along for Bonefish and you will still get shots at an occasional Permit or Tarpon. You should plan on always having one rod on the boat rigged for Tarpon and another rod with a crab pattern ready to go for Permit. When they appear, you do not have time to tie on a new fly many times. Some anglers also have a rod ready with a wire leader for Barracuda, some as large as 5 ft long, which pop up everywhere.
The west side of the island tends to be siltier and so most all of the fishing is done from the boat. The west side cannot be fished on many days, especially after westerly winds, due to poor water visibility caused by the silt being churned up.
West Side South:
Running approximately 30 miles south of Red Bays, you come upon a vast system of creeks (estuaries) that go back many miles inland from the coast. You need to pick the proper day as a 45 minute run on smooth water, becomes an hour and a half pound in a flats boat if it is choppy and the wind has come up.
The area along the coast at the outflows of the creeks holds your best chance of getting multiple shots at Tarpon and Permit. The Tarpon are not particularly spooky and will usually follow and take a fly with no problem. Landing the monsters is another issue! The Permit are sometimes cooperative and sometimes not – they’re permit!
This area also holds Bonefish which are probably the least wary of boats and humans as any in the world. They just don’t see very many boats to the point where they have been seen following right behind the boat as you pole along seemingly curious about this big, white, fish that has come to visit.
Outside Joulters (The Permit Flats):
To target Permit without the 30+ minute run to the west side or Chub Cay, there is an area beyond the Joulters known as the Permit Flats, which holds a good number of fish during certain periods of the year. Fishing is done from the boat in shallow water looking for large rays, which the Permit follow as they cruise along scaring small shrimp and other prey that scoot out as the ray passes over.
Conch Sound can actually be fished from the shore but the boat can cover the area in about an hour and sometimes with great results. Not getting as much pressure, since the area is not fished as much, the fish are less spooky and spread out many days “tailing”, with their heads down and tails up nosing into the sand for the little critters they pray on.
Chub Cay and the Berry Islands:
On days with minimal wind, we cross the deep water to Chub Cay and the “berries”, The Berry Islands. Chub Cay is literally the “home of the rich and famous” with a marina filled with mega yachts and corporate jets lined up at the small airport. The fishing yachts are there for the deep-sea fishing. We are there for the permit primarily and some bonefish. Low pressure makes for cooperative fish.
Whether walking the flats back in the creeks or running down a channel on the way to the next flat, the ubiquitous Barracuda show up. Keep a wire leader ready with about any fly, usually bigger and brighter the better, and you will get a shot at a “Cuda”. If you see what looks like a dark 2 x 4 lying on the bottom it is “money in the bank” as when a “Berri” is motionless, that is when he is hunting. Pitch it four feet passed him and 6 feet in front and strip like hell. He will strike like a cobra and the show begins. Barracuda go ariel and the aerobatics are usually higher and longer than even Tarpon.
Typical Fishing Day:
The guides will pick you up in the morning at the lodge in Nichols Town and it is only about a 10 minute drive to the launch ramp in Lowe Sound. If you are fishing the south end of the Joulters you can easily be casting to Bonefish a half hour from “home”.
There often isn’t a huge rush in the morning as the better light, water temperatures, and fishing is often in the late afternoon, so guests typically enjoy a relaxed breakfast and meet the guides sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 am depending on the time of year.
Lunch is taken on the fly and usually consists of delicious sandwiches, fresh fruit, homemade cookies, chips, waters and sodas. If you like the cooler can be filled with a few cold beers.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• Joulters Fly Fishing is located on the far northern tip of Andros Island, allowing the best access to the remote, pristine, endless miles of hard white sand flats known as the Joulters. The lodge’s perfect location means anglers have incredibly short run times to the fishing grounds, with the closest flats a mere 20 minutes away. Less time in the boat, means more time fishing!
• The bonefishing here is almost exclusively wading, chasing tailing bonefish in ankle-deep water. Hunting bonefish on foot is one of the best experiences in saltwater fly fishing, stalking these wary fish in very shallow water, searching for tails glimmering in the sunlight. Moreover, you don’t have to share time with another angler in the bow of a boat, so you get more time with the rod in your hand and more shots at feeding fish.
• One of the truly unique features of the Joulters is that because of the nature of the myriad flats and channels, the tides are different on every flat. This means you can literally move around (short run times again, 5 - 10 minutes max) and fish an incoming tide all day long, constantly in search of feeding, tailing bonefish. Bonefish tend to feed most actively on an incoming tide, so having access to such optimal feeding conditions all day long allows for more consistent opportunities for hungry, happy bonefish on the end of the line.
• While the fishing here is focused primarily on bonefish, there are other target species available for those anglers in search of a bit more variety: there are some areas where anglers can target permit or tarpon as well; large barracuda are frequently spotted patrolling the outside edges of flats; there are also some huge mutton snapper in the area; and the offshore fishing can be outstanding for those interested in fishing the blue water just a few miles east of Andros in the Tongue of the Ocean. Bonefish remain the main focus – and the bonefishing here is hard to beat – but there are some great opportunities to target some other fun and exciting species as well.
• Joulters Fly Fishing offers an incredibly diverse fishing program with a ton of options. The Westside, Conch Sound, Southwest Side, Chub Cay in the Berry Island, Red Bay, the list of fishing grounds is extensive as are the species you can pursue. With so many options, no matter what the conditions, the talented guides can find a place to fish in comfort and safety and get you on the fish.
• The fishing guides at Fly Fishing Joulters are an assemblage of six professional North Andros guides (owner and partners in the operation) who have been guiding these waters for an average of 18 years, with two having over 25 years’ experience. Their years of experience fishing these waters is unbeatable. Put those decades of experience to work for you, you’ll leave a better and happier saltwater fly fisher.