Update November 11, 2018:
Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge – new location, new name, same great owner & staff
In 1932, The Great Abaco Hurricane screamed up Abaco Island in the Bahamas striking the settlements of Hope Town, Marsh Harbour, Green Turtle Cay, Coopers Town and Great Guana Cay. Six residents died and the hurricane destroyed most of the island’s homes and public buildings. Winds reached 200 mph on Great Guana Cay where some of the stone blocks from a destroyed church were carried over a half mile by the winds and storm surge. Vessels caught in the storm registered Force 12 winds on the Beaufort Wind Scale.
As the storm finally left the north end of Abaco, it had one last surprise upon reaching Cave Cay and the vast area of flats surrounding it. Cave Cay, lying 5 miles off the north coast of Abaco, was virtually obliterated by this Category 5 hurricane. The storm razed the island and the force of the wind and water cut the island in half. The surviving residents had no where to go. In the days following the storm, the government (the Bahamas were then under British control) relocated these residents to the mainland on Little Abaco Island. The government built small homes to house the victims and created in the process a new village called appropriately Crown Haven.
Now, 86 years later, Sidney Thomas and his wife Keeta, have returned to their home on Little Abaco Island. Sidney, frustrated by the lack of upkeep promised by the family that leased the building on Water Cay to them, are now relocating their bonefish lodge from the beloved Water Cay to Crown Haven, some 40 miles away.
They are calling this new lodge Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge. The lodge will occupy a home built by Sidney Thomas some 30 years ago. There will be no issues as to repairs or cooperation this time! Keeta and Sidney will be living on one side of the lodge and the other side will house up to 6 anglers in three bedrooms. A living room with TV will offer a place to relax and food will be prepared and served by Keeta in a kitchen which is adjacent to the living room. The three bedrooms will share two bathrooms. The entire home is air-conditioned with brand new outside units. This will not be a fancy lodge, but it will be clean, comfortable and cozy. Plenty of amenities for hardcore anglers.
To the west, east and north of Crown HaVEN lie some of the best bonefish habitat in all the Bahamas. Previously difficult to access demanding either a long boat ride from the east end of Grand Bahama Island or an hour drive from Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay, this area has always been highly prized by in-the-know anglers.
From Mangrove Cay to Cross Cay and from Stranger Cay to Powell Cay, beach flats, mangrove lined creeks, white sand banks, tiny cays and oceanic cuts stretch as far as the eye can see. In fact, the very channel that cut Cave Cay in half by the Great Abaco Hurricane is just one of hundreds of prolific bonefish spots within reach from the boat ramp. From Crown Haven, the guides of Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge can chase the tides on both sides of the island as tides can vary by as much as 4 or 5 hours.
If the wind is from the northeast you can fish the west side of the island, if its coming from the southeast you can fish the east side of Abaco, the lees of the west side and its oceanic flats that stretch to the north. But this variety and options are not really the best news… anglers who loved Water Cay and the guides there will be thrilled to know, Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge will access some of the BEST wading flats in the Bahamas. From hard-packed sand to beach flats to undulating pancake flats much of this vast area is very wadeable!
Those of us that loved Water Cay know that if Water Cay Lodge lacked anything it was wadeable flats. Not any more. Now the great guides of Water Cay including Greg Rolle and Sid are making plans to put visiting anglers on these great firm wadeable flats.
As renovations continue, Little Abaco Bonefish lodge is, at the present time, a work in progress. But the raw materials are in place. Good guides, good skiffs, hard-working staff, a good cook, and terrific flats and fishing hold great promise for the future.
We are still getting all the details on this great new destination, so please be patient, we are on Bahamas-time. One thing we know for sure is that Sidney, his wife Keeta and his talented guide staff, some of the most respected bonefish guides and watermen in the Bahamas – are hardcore and if you have been lucky to fish with them, you know what we mean!
Stay tuned, more information is coming…
Thank you – The Fly Shop Travel Team
Reservations & Rates
The 7 nights/6 day package at Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge is $3,757 USD per person (double occupancy)
• 6 nights/5 day package is $3,327 per person
• 5 nights/4 day package is $2,790 per person
• 4 nights/3 day package is $2,252 per person
• 3 nights/2 day package is $1,607 per person
Additional options as well as Single Occupancy (private room, boat and guide) are available. Please call for more information 800.669.3474.
The angling packages include: all ground transfers to and from the lodge, accommodations, guide service, meals and hors d'oeuvres, daily maid service, limited laundry and Bahamas 7.5% VAT Tax.
Tackle, alcohol, fishing license, items of personal nature, and gratuities.
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 Guard Insurance
Seasons at Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge
Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge is open November through August. The bonefish on Abaco are on the flats every day of the season. Big schools of fish are found in the winter months, mixed in with those schools is the chance at real trophy sized fish. Permit show up consistently near the northern cays as soon as the winter winds calm and the water temps climb.
It can be a perfect winter get-away. Yes, you might be subject to an occasional cold front, but the big bones of the Bahamas don't mind a slight drop in water temps. It is cool during the winter months but only by Bahamian standards. The air temps will range from low 60's to mid 80's (warm relief to those living in Montana or other northern states). This is the time to trade in the snow shovel for a fly rod, snow boots for sandals.
Spring time is an ideal time; March, April and May are the peak months for bone fishing. The cold fronts are gone and threats from hurricanes have all but subsided. Waters are warm and the air is super comfortable. This is also peak booking time, so early bookings for this time frame are encouraged.
The summer months are hot in the Bahamas, but the bonefish don't know that. They will be on the flats feeding as always. The best angling happens in the cooler parts of the day, but the fish are there none the less. There are fewer people and the fish actually are less spooky and more aggressive during this time. Big bones are caught during this season. Don't doubt this time of year as an option.
But, if you want the biggest bones of the year and maybe of your life, plan a trip during the fall when the water temps are cooling more to the liking of big bones. September through November can be very pleasant for anglers with moderate temps during the day and cooling off comfortably at night.
Getting to Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge
Getting to Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge is easy. Guests of Water Cay fly into and out of the Marsh Harbor Bahamas Island International Airport. Marsh Harbor is an easy destination for our guests. Numerous daily flights from West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami are destined to Marsh Harbor Bahama. Even Atlanta and other east coast hubs offer direct flights. The island of Grand Bahama is serviced by American, Bahamas Air, Continental, and several private charter services. After
clearing customs, guests catch the awaiting Water Cay minivan for a 30 minute drive to the "crossing".
Upon reaching the crossing, your head guide and host shuttles you through 3 miles of completely protected water. Expect about a 1-hour duration in completing the entire transfer process from Freeport to Water Cay Bonefish Lodge.
You can fly into Grand Bahama Island from just about anywhere in the US in one travel day. The airport at Freeport, Grand Bahama, accepts international flights and on the return flight, customs is handled right there so when you land in the US from Freeport, you can just proceed to your connecting flight without the US customs hassle.
Contact Lisa Donovan by Email or by phone at 954-359-0320.
Lodging at Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge
Water Cay Bonefish Lodge's three guest rooms are tastefully furnished, designed and equipped. Each room reflecting the natural colors of the Bahamas' waters, reefs and fish. All the guest rooms are cooled by reliable air-conditioners on the warmest of days. Comfy twin-sized beds, ceiling fans and a beautiful view of the local flats add to the relaxed atmosphere. Guests relax on the deck located in front of the lodge, swapping fishing stories while sipping cold Kaliks as the sun sets over
another perfect day. By the way, you might like to know all the water for the lodge is produced and filtered by an extensive reverse osmosis system allowing guests to have purified water right from their bathroom taps.
The main lodge has a phone line and a large flat screen satellite TV so you can catch the game. Just so you have the option of not being totally out of touch, access to the web provided by wi-fi. A stocked "cash" bar with beer, most of your favorite spirits and basic red and white wine, when available, awaits you at the end of each angling day. This sort of unpretentious attitude with a focus always on “fishing first” rounds out the kind of service and attention you can expect while fishing at Water Cay.
Water Cay Bonefish Lodge's Bahamian cook specializes in traditional out-island fare. Visiting anglers will be served from a wonderful, wide-ranging menu including “feel good-comfort food", as well as some delicious local favorites. Typical "American" breakfasts will be served. Lunches will consist of various sandwiches, plenty of drinks and water and a few other goodies packed in coolers. Lunches will be taken between casts while on the flats.
In order to maintain the great fishing found within the broad habitat surrounding Water Cay Bonefish Lodge and to truly offer a relaxed, comfortable experience, Water Cay Bonefish Lodge accommodates no more than 6 anglers per week.
Fishing at Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge
At Water Cay Bonefish Lodge, we have heard about Grand Bahama Island being labeled as a boat fishery only. Keep in mind, this is not because there are not great wadeable flats on the island, but simply because most of the guides did not wade historically. Bonefishing from a boat was just the way it was done on the island. Well, we have changed that at Water Cay Bonefish Lodge. Anglers will be encouraged to wade and the new Beavertail skiffs will allow anglers to be picked up in very shallow water at
the end of a wading beat. But when the flats are soft or if anglers would rather fish out of a boat, these high-tech 495 lb. boats are able to silently approach tailing fish in 6 inches of water! Better yet, when it's time to leave, the hydraulic jack plate on the boat allows the guide to get up on plane in depths as skinny as 11 to 14 inches. These features translate into more actual fishing time during your guide day, which is always a plus!
Looking for big bonefish? Of course right? It's the winter months that offer up the chance at a real trophy sized bonefish. Water temps stabilize in late March producing massive schools of bonefish. In those large schools reside truly awesome bonefish that can go over 8lbs. This integration lasts until late fall when the bigger bonefish go out to see on their own.
Water Cay Bonefish Lodge has it all. Both big fish and school sized fish. Permit show up near the northern cays in late March. Anglers will fish out of high-end, ultra shallow draft Beavertail technical skiffs. Did you know a boat's draft is an important issue when it comes to getting within striking distance of silvertails? These 5" draft, Beavertail skiffs allow Water Cay guides to reach areas other skiffs simply cannot. If you have never spent a day hunting silvertails out of one of these 18-foot gems, you are in for a pleasant surprise! This really is first class flats fly fishing.
Water Cay Bonefish Lodge has hired master Bahamian guide Sidney Thomas to run the fishing program. Sidney has a tremendous bonefish pedigree. Sidney has worked for all the best lodges on Grand Bahama either as their head guide or as a key bonefish guide. Devoted and hard working, Sidney is the "real deal" when it comes to guiding the flats off of Water Cay Bonefish Lodge. Fishing is in Sidney's blood and having guided some of the biggest names in the sport on a regular basis, he has honed his craft to a samurai's fine edge. Relying on his vast experience, Sidney has assembled a guide staff (including Ezra Thomas and Greg Rolle) that reflects his exacting standards.
Armed with an amazing sense of direction and the eyes of an osprey, Sidney and his fellow guides ply the labyrinth of saltwater fly fishing habitat near the lodge for silvertails. In many ways, the habitat at Water Cay Bonefish Lodge is similar to the Marls of Abaco or the west side of Andros. Deep cuts, perfect flats and crystal clear, rocky bottomed bays seem to hold an endless supply of bonefish. It is not unusual to spend a few hours poling an area (while casting to many schools of fish) and then pop out around a corner and see the lodge! The complexity of the bays, creeks and flats that surround the lodge can be quite deceiving.