When you travel to the other side of the planet on a fly fishing holiday there is one thing you fear; that your luggage will end up in Kuala Lumpur when you and your friends just landed in the Bahamas. If your final destination is Acklins Outback Fishing Lodge you can just relax and focus on the shallow flats as there are Guideline backup equipment on site. Acklins is one of the most untouched and unspoiled islands of the Bahamas, offering beautiful waters and superb bonefishing on endless flats, creeks and beaches.
I was at Acklins two winters ago and enjoyed every minute of the ten day stay on the island, and some of the images below are from my trip there. But we also just received a report and nice images from twin brothers Martin and Mikael Cristensson who recently returned from their holiday.
This was the first bonefishing trip for the brothers, and to say the least they got some really challenging conditions. High winds and cloudy days made visibility poor and this also affected the water levels which got very high. Nevertheless they kept fishing and of course they ran into bonefish, especially as guide Fedel did his best to help them and joined the several days to get them into action. They got to feel the power of a hooked bonefish taking off over the flats and also caught several other spices of fish on the fly.
Acklins Outback Fishing Adventures is run by bonefish guide Fedel Johnson and his wife Erica. Fedel is born and raised on the island and you stay in their home during your stay and sit down for breakfast and dinner prepared by Erica. In the morning you get a cooler with lunch and drinks and then it’s off to the flats.
The great thing about staying with Fedel and Erica is the wide array of choices you have, from a fully guided week with Fedel in his skiff, to a week completely on your own, and all guests get the same attention. Even if supplies of groceries and stuff can be limited at times it is nothing you as a guest will notice, and fresh fish, conch and lobster makes the dinner an event you look forward to all day. In short, the food made by Erica is just wonderful! There is also a bar area in the house where you can sit down in the evening and share todays events and have a drink.
Getting to Acklins Island is not as easy as to other islands in the Bahamas. Presently there are four flights a week from Nassau to Acklins Spring Point Airport, AXP, which are located right in the middle of the island. Getting to Acklins requires an overnight in Nassau as the Acklins flights leave in the morning, and no connecting flights arrive in Nassau early enough. From Europe there is one British Airways flight from UK direct to Nassau, otherwise you need to go via Florida, USA to reach the main travel hub of the Bahamas, Nassau. But this extra hassle in logistics is why Acklins is less visited than other Bahamian islands.
The packages offered by Fedel and Erica always includes; airport pickup & drop-off, accommodation in double room, sheets & towels, three meals per day with softdrinks/water & lunch packed in a cooler, drop-off & pickup at fishing spots each day, maps and daily fishing instructions from guide, use of kayak, free wifi & laundy service. Flights to/from Acklins Island, tip and alcoholic beverages is not included in packages. Optional at extra cost is guided fishing, from skiff or wading. So in short, Acklins Outback Fishing Lodge is a great place away from the crowds with superb food, good accommodation, endless fishing opportunities, lovely hosts and flexible packages. Only downsides may be that the lodge do not have a waterfront location and the lack of shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. But for most fly anglers this is not a problem, as you instead have the area all to yourself.
Tackle & gear.
In the Guideline product line you will find plenty of tackle which will fit perfectly on a saltwater trip to the Bahamas or other warm water destinations in the world.
The perfect rod for walk-and-wade bonefishing is a 9´ #7 or #8. The 8wt will handle some more wind and the 7wt will let you make delicate presentations in calm conditions. Choose a rod that fits your budget and preferences, like LPXe RS, Exceed or EXP4, and remember that it is more common to cast at close distance with good accuracy then the opposite. A four piece rod is a must so you can pack it in your main luggage and do not have to check in an extra tube.
Ad a sturdy saltwater reel like the Quadra 68 or Haze V2 68 and plenty of 20lbs Micra Backing to the spool. As you fish in very warm conditions you will need a flyline with a tropical coating to cope well with then heat. The Airflo Ridge Bonefish floating WF line is a very good choice and the no-stretch core will help you set the hook solidly when a bonefish eat the fly.
Leader; the 0X PowerStrike+ TROUT 9´ and 12′ Leader is a very good starting point and have a heavy butt that makes it easy to turn over the fly and leader in some wind. For less visibly and added abrasion resistance I use the EGOR Fluorocarbon as tippet material, and most used diameters are the 0X and 0,33 mm.
Other useful items: When you travel to the destination, pack all your stuff in the GL Large Roller Bag which have plenty of space and heavy duty wide roller wheels that won’t fail even on a gravel road.
Protection from the sun is a must, and a good cap + the GL HeadWear cover your head and face in style.
Good footwear and quality polarizing sunglasses is probably the two most important pieces of equipment you bring on a bonefishing trip. Guideline have a wide array of polarizing glasses to fit perfect on different faces. For shallow water bonefishing the BB Copper lens is one of the best, as the brown/yellowish tone add contrast while it still darkens the view and protects the eyes. For cloudy days with low poor light glasses with a yellow lens can help you spot fish.
As you walk and wade a lot packing light is a must, and the Ghillie Lanyard lets you have a small selection of needs at your fingertips at all times. A few spools of tippet, clipper, forceps, hook shapener and a dozen flies will be present even if you leave the big box and pack for a while.
Acklins Outback Fishing Lodge, Lovely Bay, Acklins Island, Bahamas.
Background info from:
All written in pure swenglish so please pardon any linguistic prances and errors.
Tight lines / Henrik Larsson
Pic below; Erica and Fedel Johnson flanked by brothers Martin and Mikael Cristensson website here from Gothenburg, Sweden.