Last week I had the good fortune to participate in writer’s week at the Long Island Bonefish Lodge. The lodge is located at Deadman’s Cay in the center of Long Island which is located due north of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and just south of Andros Island. The island itself is about 80 miles long but only four miles at its widest point.
|The Long Island Bonefishing Lodge at Deadman's Cay|
The week brought together eight different writers including reps from The Drake, Midcurrent, Field and Stream, Trout Unlimited, Salty Shores, the Angling Report, and DIY Flats Fishing.
A BIG THANK YOU to our host, Nevin “Pinky” Knowles, brother Leo and sister Darlene (Darlene, I still think about those conch fritters you brought out every day at 5:00).
Getting to Long Island from the East Coast is fairly easy. I live in Washington, D.C. and took a direct flight from Reagan to Nassau. Then it was a quick flight on a local Bahamian airline to Deadman’s Cay. I left DCA at 8:30 and landed in paradise by 2:00 PM. I flew Pineapple Air and it worked great. Southern Air and Bahamas Air also service Deadmans.
The Long Island Bonefish Lodge is a whole new bonefishing experience that I think those who have some experience under their belt would enjoy. The lodge itself is located on what must be a hundred square miles of pristine bonefish flats. It consists of three duplex style cottages that can hold eight anglers. The main lodge is where you eat and stock up on Kalik at the end of the day.
The fishing is assisted Do-It-Yourself. Pinky has three brand new Mitzi Skiffs that take anglers out to productive flats. The guide will drop the anglers and point them in the right direction where they wade and hunt fish. Each group has a radio in case the flat is not productive or you have a problem. You might wade for two hours or four. The boat then meets you for lunch and takes you to another flat to coincide with tidal changes.
|Mitzi skiff's ready to take you fishing.|
To be sure, this isn’t a place to take your first bonefish trip. Seeing fish, learning how they react to a fly, and how to fight a bonefish are critical skills you need to have before any type of adventure like this. However, once you feel like you can sight fish yourself, this is a great way to save some money as the prices are a lot less than a traditional lodge experience.
The great thing about this lodge is that it takes a lot of guesswork out of traditional DIY. While I can hold my own seeing fish and casting and landing them, understanding the tides on a flat is still really tough for me. I understand the concepts, but unless you’re there all the time it’s tricky. It’s also difficult to get to productive flats unless you have a boat. Long Island Bonefishing Lodge solves these problems by putting the “assist” in DIY.
|Wading the flats.|
In addition to the flats at Deadman’s Cay, the lodge has several protected spots within driving distance that Pinky can transport you too. They have kayaks, too, that are well suited for anglers to move around on the flats and to wind your way through the mangrove jungles to skinny water where the bonefish live.
Finally, they offer a more traditional experience of fishing from the boat for an additional charge.
|Duplex style rooms|
The lodge itself is a great place. The rooms are not only very clean, they are very comfortable, spacious, and well made. The food? Well, I honestly haven’t eaten that well in a long time. Pinky does the cooking and served up grouper, lobster, hog snapper, and lots of conch. And everyday at about 4:30 or 5 the conch fritters pour out of the kitchen. It’s really a thing of beauty. Lunch is made to order and you eat on the boat. Breakfast is a hearty egg, bacon, or sausage affair with coffee being served beginning at 6:30.
If you need a bonefish fix and want a great Out Island experience, there is no better place to head than the Long Island Bonefish Club. If you go, tell Pinky The Bonefish Flat sent you. And ask Darlene to send me some conch fritters.
note: The trip report will follow, but I wanted to get a lodge review out first.