Fishipedia Top 5: DIY bonefishing destinations

July 19th, 2011| 2 Comments

Fancy chasing some bones without the aid of a guide? Here are Fishipedia’s five favorite spots

DIY bonefishingIt’s tempting to think the rise in popularity of DIY bonefishing has something to do with the shrinking of the world economy. No doubt that has something to do with it, as people look for inexpensive alternatives to all-inclusive lodges – but really that only tells half the story. The fact is, some people (and I’m one of them) love the freedom that comes with the DIY bonefishing experience; tranquility, fishing your own hours, subject to no-one’s pressure but your own – all these things capture the true essence of fishing. And the sense of reward that comes with guiding yourself to fish on a remote flat in a far-off land is immeasurable. So where are the best places to go if you want to travel the solo road to fishing glory? Well, you could do worse than try these…

Mount Pleasant Lodge, Andros, BahamasMount Pleasant Lodge, Andros Island, Bahamas

The set-up: Located near Cargill Creek, at the end of a mile-long track, four ocean-front cottages sit just 50 feet from the Atlantic, and within casting distance of some great DIY bonefishing. There are flats right out the front, the White Bight to the north, and all around are some of those famous BIG Andros bonefish.

Lodge manager Stacey can hook you up with a local guide if you need one (wading or boat guides are available) or you can go it alone. Flexibility is the name of the game here.

Why we love it: The White Bight – which is a 20-minute walk/wade to the north – is a spectacular fishery. Tailing bonefish abound and on a falling tide, you can ambush schools coming out of the mangroves. Alternatively you can target them on the crystal clear Bight itself – silhouetted against the powder white sand, it’s about as visual as sight-fishing gets.

Price guide:
$210 per person, per night (double occupancy)
$235 per person, per night (single occupancy)
Fishing is extra – packages are available and the lodge frequently runs special deals

>> Find out more about Mount Pleasant Lodge here

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Salina Point, Acklins Island, Bahamas

The set-up: Sitting on a secluded, white sand beach on Acklins Island, this lodge is a great option for the budget-conscious bonefish angler. They offer a great DIY bonefishing programme, with a shuttle service to the nearby flats (not to mention a wadeable flat on their doorstep)

Why we love it: Despite being a DIY-focused lodge, Salina Point do their best to make sure guests still get plenty of variety in their fishing. You’ll be handed a packed lunch, given advice on where to go and sent on your way. You will have use of a vehicle, kayak, or be dropped off and picked up by a Salina Point staff member. A few locations are only reachable by boat, in which case you’ll be shuttled by boat. There’s also an excellent flat right in front of the lodge with bonefish, triggerfish and barracuda only a cast away. Here’s a little taster of what’s in store:

Price guide:
$1,460 per week (per person based on double occupancy)
$2,335 per week (single occupancy)

>> Find out more about Salina Point here

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Seascape Inn, Andros Island, Bahamas

Seascape Inn, Andros, BahamasThe set-up: Not a dedicated fishing lodge, but with bonefish flats on its doorstep (and plenty of guides in the area if you want one for the odd day), the Seascape Inn is a perfect alternative for the casual fisherman – and equally suitable for those travelling with non-fishing companions.

Seascape Inn, Andros, BahamasWhy we love it: With rates starting at $135 for a beachfront cabana, this places ticks the budget box. The flat out the front is great for bones on a rising tide, and if you strike out there, you can always take one of the bicycle (free for guests) and head down to the larger flats at Lisbon Creek. After a hard day’s fishing, you’d be hard pushed to find a better place to unwind than the Seascape’s elevated bar.

Price guide:
Standard beachfront cabana from $135
Superior beachfront cabana from $149

>> Find out more about the Seascape Inn here

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The Cove at Rainbow Inn, Eleuthera, BahamasRainbow Inn, Eleuthera, Bahamas

The set-up: Like the Seascape, this is not a dedicated bonefish lodge, but it’s closest you’ll get on Eleuthera. Renowned for its hospitality and top-notch service, this is the perfect base for the wandering bonefisherman.

Why we love it: With Palmetto Point to the south and the likes of Hatchet Bay to the north, The Rainbow Inn couldn’t be better located. Guests get a copy of Bonefish Graham’s Bonefishing Guide on arrival, with hints and tips on where to track down fish in the area. You’d do well to hire a car – although there are plenty of flats nearby, you’ll want the extra level of flexibility.

Price guide:
Rooms from $130 per night and villas from $225 per night.
Package rates available – see website for latest offers.

>> Find out more about the Rainbow Inn here

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Long Key State Park, FloridaLong Key State Park, Florida Keys

The set-up: Sitting right in the heart of the Florida Keys, this state park is one of the few places in the area where the DIY fly-fisherman can wade for bonefish from the shore. For those who like to camp out, this is a superb (and cheap) option.

Why we love it: If you don’t mind roughing it a bit, this is a unique experience – for as little as $5 per person, per night, you can pitch your tent right next to the water, and be up wading for bonefish at dawn – and this is the Keys, so we’re talking about big bonefish. There aren’t that many places suitable for the boat-less DIY bonefisherman in the Keys, so this represents a special opportunity. Don’t expect it to be easy though!

Price guide:
Admission (per vehicle): $5-$10
Primitive camping from $5 per person, per night

>> Find out more about Long Key State Park here

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Your favorite DIY bonefishing destination not on our list? Let us know the place you would have included below…

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  1. avatar
    Joe Blowhard says

    Are you kidding…..these may be DIY locations, but DIY fishermen do it right on a budget for months on end….these recommendations don’t take into account the long term costs accrued with fishing for a month or two solid…..try looking into Mexico and Belize for much better experiences. Thanks for the effort though..

  2. avatar
    fishipedia says

    Mr Blowhard,

    Thanks for the feedback. I’d dispute the notion that the definition of a DIY bonefisherman is someone who does it for “months on end”. The reality is that most people can only grab a handful of days here and there, sometimes a week if they’re lucky, and are often looking for somewhere they can realistically get out fishing without having to pay for a guide. Then there are the people travelling with non-fishing companions/family, for whom a single day might be the only option.

    I think it’s reasonably clear that the piece is aimed at the type of people mentioned above, rather than a minority of “hardcore” fishermen who can spend weeks/months at a time chasing bonefish. In that sense, I 100% stand by the recommendations made.

    Having fished in all of the places (and the ones you mention) I would also disagree that Mexico and Belize are a better bet for DIY fishing. Access to easily wadeable flats in Mexico in particular, is pretty patchy when compared to say, the Bahamas.

    If at some point in the future we do cover something more in line with what you’re after, I’ll let you know.

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