Blackfly Lodge is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of their recently completed fishing lodge located at Schooner Bay, a new seaside community on Abaco, the Bahamas. The venue’s location was created around the outstanding flats fishing opportunities for bonefish, permit, seasonal tarpon plus barracuda and world-class offshore fishing for wahoo, billfish, and a variety of different species of tuna. Blackfly Lodge is more than just a fishing venue, and is part of a developing community that will dramatically enhance the quality of life for Bahamians by providing necessary jobs and environmentally-friendly operations.
The idea for the lodge stems from a rich, inspirational history that began in 2007. Bahamian Captain Clint Kemp, whose heritage extends back to the original settlers in the 1600’s, commissioned internationally-renowned marine artist Vaughn Cochran to paint a series of portraits commemorating the legendary, albeit aging, Abaco flats guides. Over time, the two realized they shared many other similar views, and their discussions progressed to creating a fly fishing venue on the island.
Kemp and Cochran’s model called for a traditional-style Bahamian veranda home with a sweeping veranda, an open kitchen featuring fresh, local ingredients and family recipes, and a spacious and relaxed layout and design. They engaged the best guides led by Head Guide Paul Pinder, and secured a six-bedroom lodge that was quickly booked to capacity. Soon enough the entrepreneurs reviewed expansion plans.
In 2011, Kemp approached Orjan Lindroth, a visionary who was creating a new community based on Abaco’s seafaring traditions. Their shared belief was that a natural harbor with a fishing focus would create an infrastructure that would support an entire community through a wide variety of goods and service-related businesses. They agreed that a fragile ecosystem required a state-of-the-art, green energy and water treatment plant that would contribute to the community’s sustainability.
Along with longtime friend and expert angler Dave Byler, the group created a business model that is a combination of two companies, the Jacksonville, Florida-based Blackfly Outfitter and the Bahamian Black Fly Bonefish Club Ltd. They trio broke ground on the new Blackfly Lodge that now serves as the Schooner Bay anchor property. Their success has been overwhelming, with high occupancy rates, rave reviews and booking renewals from a majority of customers
According to Kemp, “we have introduced many people to our South Abaco location through charter fishing, fly fishing schools, and ecotourism. Adjacent to our lodge epicenter will be a general store, a school, retail establishments, restaurants, and other service-related businesses. Building lots are available for those interested in homeownership as well, and we are in the process of building homes for islanders who will work within the scope of the Schooner Bay project. We couldn’t be more excited or blessed with success.”
Cochran agrees. “Along with sustainable farming and green energy practices, our eight-bedrooms, private baths, and stunning views add an unparalleled level of intimacy as well as privacy. Local Executive Chef Devon Roker prepares all meals from day-boat fish and shellfish, and harvests fruits and vegetables from the Schooner Bay farm which will also supply other parts of the island with fresh produce. We also chose a room naming exercise which would honor our friends who many anglers will recognize as some of the most famous fly fishermen in the business. We named each room after folks like Lefty Kreh, Flip Pallot, Chico Fernandez, Stu Apt and others, and we have placed personal memorabilia in each of the rooms.” A special touch comes in the form of Cochran’s original and award-winning marine artwork that hangs throughout the lodge. The lodge had a soft opening in the spring of 2013, and will continue with a series of special events that include guest appearances by many notable anglers.
Of interest to fly fisherman are the flats that offer outstanding fishing for bonefish, permit, and seasonal tarpon in the Marls, at Sandy Point, and on the fabulous Moore’s Island. Blackfly Lodge was recently named the Best New Bonefish Lodge by the esteemed magazine, Garden and Gun.
Image courtesy The Keer Group