Reprinted with permission – By Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures on December 9, 2014
“You should have been here last week” was the first thing we heard upon arriving to the Blackfly Lodge on Abaco Island this past trip. It was hard to even hear the lodge manager, Clint Kemp, due to the piercing winds as he was telling us about the amazing week of permit fishing before the current cold front slid over the island. The eight anglers, hosted by Ian Davis from Yellow Dog, hearts sank as their last trip to Abaco was cut short due to a hurricane. The fall is typically one of the best times of year for pure numbers of bonefish on the flats, as well as good permit opportunities. We had picked out the week based on the tides and moon faze to focus on big Bahamian permit.
When we woke the first morning, the winds were ripping from the West, which was very rare. This made the Southern Marls and all the way to Sandy Point un-fishable, so we trailered the boats South. The boat ride was a bit rough, but not like other parts of the island due to the lee shoreline. Once we got into a vast and protected bay we found good numbers of feeding bones. Not huge numbers of fish due to the cooler water, but they were big and willing to eat. On day two the winds rotated to the northeast and we hit the areas we couldn’t fish the prior day. We found schools traveling down the shorelines that were feeding well and provided some opportunities. Not all the boats had excellent days, but everyone had their shot. The last two days the bones came onto the flats with reckless abandon. Massive schools of larger bones invaded the flats to feed after the water temps heated up. The visibility was great due to great sunlight, especially when the occasional cloud passed over the white sand flats. There were times when anglers were catching bonefish three to five casts in a row! We also had the option to get away from the big schools and target large bones swimming in singles and doubles in knee-deep water. It was difficult to leave the football field sized schools after the few low count fish days. It’s fairly common to see large schools of bones however, they usually quit feeding once a few have been caught. These fish never stopped feeding all day!
Oftentimes, when running boats in high winds you get very wet from ocean spray, your back is killing you from crashing through the waves, and the ride isn’t fun. Well, at Blackfly they run customized East Cape skiffs that are very stable, dry and have tons of dry gear storage with interchangeable casting decks. We were blown away by the overall comfort of these skiffs. If you like a lean bar, a flip down seat in the lean bar, casting platform, or a clean deck with nothing on it, they can do it. Each boat is customized to your specifically requested set-up. The seats have padded back rests and raised shelves under the seats to keep your boat bags dry, but easily accessible. They even have line tamer buckets and when the wind is cranking, these are critical to store your line between shots at bonefish.
We have found at Yellow Dog that if the conditions are tough, the lodge and food aspects of a fishing trip better go well or we will hear about it. Every little problem is magnified when the fishing is challenging. The Blackfly Lodge is an amazing program. Between the single occupancy rooms, perfectly thought out lodge layout, and strong management team you will not find anything to complain about. Besides the fishing, the most looked forward to aspect of the trip each day was what chef Devon was creating in the open kitchen. Devon is a true culinary master.
His unique blend of traditional Bahamas cuisine with American and European influences will tantalize your taste buds. Fresh wahoo, lobster, and conch were all on the menu, as well as beef fillets, rack of lamb, fresh soups, and amazing desserts. Even the fishing lunches were incredible. The smoked wahoo wraps left the guests asking for it again and again. After fishing, anglers socialized around the all-inclusive bar or on the front deck, with Devon presenting wonderful appetizers consisting of conch fritters, grouper fingers, white pizzas, and bacon wrapped peppers. You won’t go hungry at Blackfly.
The managing partner, Clint Kemp has done an amazing job with Blackfly. We feel what really sets this destination apart are the people involved, the comfort of every aspect of the trip, and the fishery which can produce even in the most challenging conditions. We were pretty bummed that first day due to the weather, but at the end of the four days of fishing, each guest was 100% satisfied with the amount of bonefish caught, and this is a testament to the guides at the lodge. They are all long-time guides that know this area very well, are fun to fish with, and true professionals. While we only got a few shots at the big ocean going permit, which Blackfly is becoming very well known for, we will be back to pursue those game fish very soon.