Q&A: Fishipedia meets Steve Brown from Honduras bonefish lodge, Fly Fish Guanaja

January 15th, 2013| No Comments

The Fishipedia Q&A: Steve Brown of Fly Fish Guanaja

Honduras – specifically the remote Caribbean flats of Guanaja in the Bay Islands – sounds like our kind of place. Lots of fish and negligible angler pressure is a ratio that always works – but when you throw in friendly locals, top-notch guides, a laid-back island vibe and a realistic chance of a grand slam (bonefish, tarpon and permit on the same day), the whole thing starts making a lot of sense. All of which makes it slightly mystifying as to why this place has remained such a well-kept secret for so long.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, HondurasGradually, that seems to changing now, and one of the people we have to thank for that is Steve Brown, owner of Fly Fish Guanaja lodge and pioneer of flats fishing in this remote pocket of the Caribbean. Anyone lucky enough to have stayed with him will have discovered a fishery where bonefish are present in exceptional numbers, where permit abound and tarpon are regular visitors. But don’t take our word for it – read on to find out what the man himself has to say. If Honduras wasn’t already on your bucket lost, we’re willing to bet it will be by the time you’ve finished reading…

It seems like more and more people are finally waking up to Honduras’ potential as a serious fishing destination. Does it feel that way to you? 

As a saltwater fly-fishing destination, Honduras has always been just on the edge of Belize, Mexico and the Bahamas, but only in perception. Honduras is actually in the middle of the best saltwater flats fishing in the Caribbean. Unstable environment and politics have kept Honduras mostly unexplored by the fly-fishing world. Roatan, however, offers safe passage into Honduras, which offers safe passage to Guanaja. Those willing to explore a remote area somewhat off the map will be delighted to experience some paradise untouched Caribbean flats fishing.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

Up close with a Guanaja bonefish

Your lodge, Fly Fish Guanaja, is in the country’s Bay Islands. For the uninitiated, can you tell us about the location and what makes Guanaja such a special place to fish? 

The Bay Islands of Honduras are a separate entity from the mainland. They emanate a peaceful Caribbean vibe. Guanaja is the most remote one and consequently holds the most fish and healthiest reef. Although the mountainous Caribbean terrain sets Guanaja apart from all other saltwater destinations, the people are the most special part. The fish brought us to Guanaja and the people have made us stay. We have been told my many that we have the best staff in the Caribbean and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. You will struggle to find better guides, chefs and friends anywhere in the world.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

Guides of Guanaja: some of the world's best, says Steve

Fly Fish Guanaja has a reputation as one of the area’s finest lodges. Can you give us a brief history? 

The story of Fly Fish Guanaja will make a great novel, but here’s the short version: after exploring every corner of Caribbean flats in Central America, it was evident to me that Guanaja held the most opportunity for the next best saltwater fly-fishing experience in the Caribbean. A combination of destiny, coincidence, hard work and good luck brought Fly Fish Guanaja together six years ago. We started with an exploratory four-week season, and now we are booked for five months and growing. The best young men in Guanaja gravitated towards the operation and we are proud to have one of the most hard-working, talented and charismatic staff in the industry.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

Permit are plentiful on Guanaja's flats

What makes your lodge stand out from the crowd? 

Our lodge is a private island surrounded by flats full of bonefish, permit and more. Nowhere else can you wake up, have a cup of coffee on the deck, spot tailing fish and cast to bones and permit without even putting on your shoes. The lodge is run by fly-fishing guides, so we have an extensive fly-tying table, we fish the tides, we know what we are doing. The accommodations are first class with AC, new beds, fine dining and mahogany interior. We also stand out from the crowd because there is no crowd. Guanaja is still remote and unknown, we are typically the only anglers there with miles of expansive flats to ourselves.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

After dark at Fly Fish Guanaja. Note the ready-rigged rod - you never know...

Describe a typical day for a fisherman at Fly Fish Guanaja… 

There really are no typical days in Guanaja. Each day is filled with unique adventure and fishing opportunities. We fish the rising and falling tides, so sometimes it’s worth getting up at the crack of dawn, others we sleep and have a late breakfast before we go fishing. There are always early-morning opportunities at the lodge for tailing fish. We venture out in boats for the day with a combination of wading and casting from the boat. We see tailing fish all day long, sometimes in schools of hundreds, sometimes record-breaking singles. Fishing in Guanaja is not just about fishing, you will experience authentic island culture whether it’s hunting your own iguana, visiting villages with our staff, or relaxing in a hammock.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, HondurasWhat can we expect to catch? 

Guanaja is full of bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, trigger fish, barracuda, sharks, snapper, grouper, wahoo, tuna and more. Most people target the big three, but those looking for diversity can catch up to 12 species in a day! Bonefish, permit and tarpon, by nature, are a challenge to catch on a fly. What you need is many opportunities with many fish, Guanaja has both. Everyone visiting our lodge has caught several fish. We also catch big sharks off the deck at night for those who just can’t get enough of having a bent rod.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

Some people are still under the impression that it’s hard to reach. Is that true? 

Guanaja used to be impossible to reach, but a few new commercial flights have made it easy to get there. Fly directly to Roatan from Houston, Miami, or Atlanta, then catch a 20-minute flight to Guanaja. This is a 3/4-day of travel from anywhere in the United States.

Anything in particular that should be in my bag? Flies with weed guards presumably… 

Well some clients wished they had enough room in their bag to bring one of my guides home with them, but that’s not gonna happen, so, yes, bring appropriate flies with weed guards as we have varied terrain including sand, turtle grass, mangroves, and coral. Some of the best flies we tie locally and typically give them away to our special guests, you. Check our website for up-to-date fly selection as we are always learning something new. Bring a positive attitude, bring a thirst for adventure, bring a camera and bring your A game – you’ll need it when a 30-pound permit is tailing 50 feet away from you…

Fishing aside, what else do you love about Honduras and the Bay Islands? 

The people, the paradise, the parrots.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

Lastly, we hear you’ve had the occasional famous guest over the years. For anyone out there who doesn’t know, can you tell us who? 

Everyone that’s visited our lodge is now famous in Guanaja because we are making history. We have been graced with the presence of former President Jimmy Carter, his first lady and his best friends. President Carter loved his trip to Guanaja so much he wrote an article and published it in Fly Fisherman magazine. I am blessed with the best client list in fly-fishing as a result of my long, illustrious career guiding in Colorado.

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras

President Jimmy Carter: a former guest at the lodge

Fly Fish Guanaja Lodge - Bay Islands, Honduras>>For more info about Fly Fish
Guanaja, including pricing, pictures
and video, click here



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