Trip Report: Tiamo, South Andros - May, 2010
(About me--been a long time since my last post. I live in Annapolis, MD and used to edit the Chesapeake FishWire here on RT back in the 90's. Ran a lodge in MX for a bit, now fish the Bay all the time and travel to fish/hunt a bunch.)
Sorry for the late trip report--things at work have been hectic all summer and I am just now able to report on what was probably the best overall fishing/vacation trip I have had to date. And this includes 10 years fishing in Abaco, 10 years in the Keys, and running a flats lodge in Mexico for a season! Other's experiences may vary depending on time of year and weather, but here is our experience in South Andros.
This winter, right after the last day of duck season in Maryland, my wife and I began planning our annual fishing trip to the Bahamas in May. We go through the same routine every year--she asks "Should we look at somewhere beside Abaco year year?" After a few minutes running down the list of what we like about Abaco--plenty of DIY flats and offshore fishing, guides if you want them, snorkling, great rental houses, etc.--we usually just book the trip. Well, during that few minutes, I happened to look on Reel-Time in the Carribean forum and noticed a trip report for Tiamoon the South Bight in South Andros. The place sounded very cool--big bones, lots of medium bones, somewhat remote, luxury accomodations, and killer food. OK, so we checked out the Tiamo Resorts site. Nice site, pretty pics, blah, blah, but what was the real deal. Then we read all the reports on TripAdvisor. The overwhelming majority of reports were something like, "the best trip of my life", "5 star food, beautiful accomodations, and incredible bonefishing", etc. Come on... I was pretty skeptical, but the chance to go to Andros with my wife instead of a week in a typical lodge with the boys (which is great, but a different trip...) was too good to pass up. We booked a week, with 3 days guided. The plan was to self-guide for bones around the lodge some, slide offshore in the lodge's 27' World Cat, and snorkel, sail, swim, eat, drink, etc...
The reason we go to the Bahamas year after year is that it feel so tropical and remote, yet is really easy to get to from Maryland/DC-area. We took a 2 hour direct flight to Nassua, short layover, then got on the all-cash (seriously!) airline turbo-prop to Congotown.
15 minutes later, we land in Congotown in take a quick cab to the Drigg's Hill harbor. We jump in the Tiamo boat and make a short run into the South Bight right up to the Tiamo dock. Pulling in, it looks like Gilligan's Island:
Accomodations for the week were a private cottage (1 of 11 total). We thought it was cool, comfortable, and really liked the design:
Every day we ate in the main lodge area, which was also very tastefully decorated:
Food was killer... They said 5 star chef on their site and I would agree. We are pretty snobby about food quality and preparation and this was as good as we could have hoped for. All the food was super-fresh and often include fish we caught ourselves (dolphin and tuna):
We booked 3 days with a local guide, as we would not have our own boat and wanted to make sure we were covered if the fishing around the lodge was tough. The 3 days were with Marvin Miller, and it was great. From big fish outside the bight, to high numbers inside, to a bonus tarpon, we could not have had more fun. 2 of the days I ended up fishing with another guy who was at the lodge and we hammered the 3-7lb bones--doubles all day (no big schools/muds) both days, with 25-35 fish totals per day! The last day I even had about a 40lb tarpon on for about 10 minutes before jumping him off. Wes mostly fished the West Side, hitting creeks and flats right off the Bight.
We also fished DIY from the lodge and I caught a couple fish each time I went out. The folks at the lodge would drop me off on a nearby flat and come pick me up in time for happy hour... It was great.
So I kept talking with Bill, the owner, about heading out to 6000' of water just 3 miles offshore to try and find some dolphin we could target with flies. This is one of my favorite things to do, so we loaded up the 27' World Cat and cruised around looking for birds. And we found them. And tuna...
Try as we might, I could not get football blackfins and yellowfins to eat my flies, but they nailed the trolled baits on light tackle and trolling gear. We later hooked a nice dolphin on the spinning rod and held him near the boat while we waited for his buddies to show up. And they did. Multiple hook-ups were the norm, as we danced around the boat:
The end result was some really nice dolpin on our 10 wts:
In between all the fishing, cocktails, great food, and making new friends, we snorkled some incredible reefs, sailed the Hobie cats watching the sunset, and my wife went on a nature tour, checking out several in-land blue holes. Oh, and we managed to relax too!
Bugs--there are bugs all over Andros and the doctor flies and mosquitos are well documented. Tiamo has a misting system around the lodge which really helped with the bugs, though the no-seeums managed to get my wife one night. On the flats, you must wear long-sleeve shirts and pants or you will get crushed by the doctor flies. Other than that, the bugs were not really an issue, IMHO.
Tiamo, as you may have read in other reports, it not your typical fishing lodge and you pay for it. Inexpensive it is not, but I can tell you this, if you are looking to take a spouse somewhere absolutely stunning, with first-class accomodations and service, oh yeah, and some of the best bonefishing in the world, I doubt you could find something better than Tiamo.
We still love Abaco and will probably go there for many years, but this place in South Andros was the trip of a lifetime for us and we will be back!