Abaco Lodge: Southern Hospitality with Serious Fishing

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If you are in need of southern hospitality with serious fishing, Abaco Lodge may be your spot! Anne and Ken manage the lodge with a tight rein and smooth southern hand. My husband, Mark, and I found their laid back and easy-going attitude welcoming. Just in time for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, we watched the Hells Bay skiffs bringing the anglers back to the dock. Equipped with slips, each has its own water hose so the guides have fresh water for cleaning your gear. At night, the lights installed around the dock illuminate the fish sanctuary created by Anne and Ken. We enjoyed an evening show of jumping snapper and other fish.

There were eight guests during our stay and they were all couples. What a pleasant surprise for us. At dinner, we joined the other guest with stories of “the big one that got away.” I was proud to have a few “fish tales” from my recent visit to Delphi Club.

Dinner consisted of spiny lobster delight cooked by Abaco Lodge’s newer chef – Sid – which is short for Sidneka. Throughout the meal, I wanted to smuggle her back to the states with me. Ending the evening around the welcoming camp fire kept the mosquitos away. We highly suggest packing bug spray!  I have to say many thanks to Anne who gave me some solar rescue spray for my sunburn. The ointment’s cooling effect worked to immediately to stop the stinging.

We woke up to virtually no wind and skies that were promising to be sunny. There was not even a ripple on the water. After a delicious breakfast cooked-to-order by Marie, we readied for the skiff. Our guide, David, was tall, talkative and proved an excellent fit for us. We jumped on the skiff and were at our first flat in less than ten minutes.

DSCN5144He sized up our casting skills and gave us another lesson. Our first day of fly fishing back at Delphi Club was an extremely windy compared to the calm breeze today. “Use more wrist, less arm, feel the rod load as you pull the rod and line back to re-cast and slowdown that forward cast,” David coached. I can still hear David’s voice in my head as he gave us instruction. We saw barracuda and lemon sharks as well as landed a few more bonefish. Plus, the “big” one that got away made for a fun filled day. We headed back to the lodge for a meal that reminded me of sitting at my grandmothers table.

Near the end of our stay at Abaco Lodge, the infamous Flip Pallot and Lefty Kreh were due to arrive. I was disappointed not being able to get the chance to meet them, but knew we had to depart early so the lodge could have time to prepare for their arrival. I would have loved the chance to have Lefty show me how to do the double haul that Anne and I were discussing the night before.

DSCN5150We wanted to explore more non-fishing activities, so Anne arranged for a taxi and short ten minute ferry ride to Hope Island. We reluctantly said our goodbyes and off we went. Anne, an avid fly fisher herself, is hoping to put together a fly casting week for just woman. She invited me to come and I just hope I can make it.

On the ferry over, we saw a lovely couple we met at the Delphi Club. We decided to tour Hope Town together. The Bahamians are very religious; therefore, many of the stores and shops were closed. Another surprise on this Memorial Day weekend was the limited amount transportation in Hope Town. Even the golf cart and bicycle rental shops were either closed or all booked up. We shopped a bit and found the Bahamian dollar on par with the US currency exchange rate. The walk around the island in the midday sun was unbearable. We decided to hop on the next ferry back to Marsh Harbour and hoped our next stop at the Abaco Beach Resort would allow us to check in early.

The resort had many deep sea fishermen and their yachts docked at the marina. The shootout tournament had just ended the day before and the resort was hopping with leftover guests. They allowed us to check-in early and we were grateful for their flexibility. Watch out for the snakes and curly tail lizards if you happen to book first floor accommodations. I recommend the second floor in the first building if you happen to need to add a night pre or post trip.

The food was every bit as delicious as the Delphi Club and Abaco Lodge. My filet easily rivaled that of Morton steak house. The lobster and spicy butter sauce was succulent and the staff was courteous and friendly.

We found the Wi-Fi at Abaco Beach Resort the same all over the island and was much like that of the Bahamian lifestyle… relaxed. I could barely connect and when I did, my connection did not last long.

Heading back to Marsh Harbour airport, we concluded our tour of Abaco Island with sore arms, wrist and fingers, new skills, new friends and fond memories. I already have plans to practice, practice and practice my cast for the next trip.

By: Laura Thompson
Lodge Photos By: Barry & Cathy Beck