Guests at some popular winter vacation destinations in the Bahamas, such as Kamalame Cay resort, can step out their door and be wading for bonefish. Image by Maria Armitage.
Guests at some popular winter vacation destinations in the Bahamas, such as Kamalame Cay resort, can step out their door and be wading for bonefish. Image by Maria Armitage.

One of the best winter vacations I ever took also morphed into one of my favorite fishing trips of all time. I like doing things on my own, and while I always recommend hiring a fishing guide to get the lay of the water, once I have a handle on the basics of the local fish movements and feeding patterns I prefer to pursue them—and fool them—by myself. Wading for bonefish is a special opportunity, and the Bahamas one of the few places where an angler can access some prime “wet-butt” fishing grounds without having to hire the services of a guide and a boat. I stumbled upon a great place to do just that while on a winter vacation arranged by—and shared with—my wife.

Separated from nearby Andros Island by shallows that fill with bonefish with each flood of the tide, Kamalame Cay Resort offers winter and spring guests the opportunity to wade for “the ghost of the flats” out the back door of their West Indies-style bungalows. Located on a private island off Staniard Creek on the east side of North Andros Island, Kamalame Cay is situated in the center of some of the world’s finest bonefish waters.

While most guests choose the traditional route, fishing aboard outboard skiffs with local bonefish guides who pole the craft over Andros endless flats, avid anglers time the tide that floods the backwaters of Staniard Creek on the backside of the beachfront resort. Twice each day, the rising tide covers the flats with a pane of water that fills with bonefish that can be seen tailing as they search the sandy bottom for crustaceans, and savvy guests time their trips to give them a shot at the rare walk-in wade-fishing opportunity. Fly fishing is the preferred method for pursuing bonefish off Kamalame Cay, and small shrimp and crab imitations fished on six- or eight-weight tackle will cover the bases for anglers who need bring nothing more than wading booties, good sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen.

Kamalame Cay is located 160 miles southeast of Miami and 20 miles west of Nassau, where commercial flights arrive throughout the day from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and major New York airports. Bahamas Air makes twice-daily 20-minute flights from Nassau to the airport at Fresh Creek on North Andros. Commuter planes also can be chartered to make a 55-minute flight direct from Fort Lauderdale or Miami into the airport at nearby Fresh Creek. For winter rates and more information, contact Kamalame Cay (242/368-6281; www.kamalame.com).

A few shrimp-imitating bonefish flies are all the "bait" that’s needed for a productive tide’s-worth of wading off many popular Bahamas resort destinations. Image by Dan Armitage.
A few shrimp-imitating bonefish flies are all the “bait” that’s needed for a productive tide’s-worth of wading off many popular Bahamas resort destinations. Image by Dan Armitage.

DIY wet-butt bonefishing is a heck of a way to enjoy what might normally be a frigid winter afternoon.

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