Delphi Club Hosted Trip Report

Author: Chris Gay

Photography By: Chris Gay

Intro

Tailwaters’ has been sending guests down to the Abacos for a little over a decade now and has long been one of our favorite islands in the Bahamas. Three years ago hurricane Dorian wiped out the Abaco Lodge along with the entire northern end of Great Abaco Island. An area that is slowly being built back and offers a thriving bonefish fishery for all skill levels. After checking out multiple operations that survived the storm we found the Delphi Club to be the best fit for our clients with its luxury accommodations, excellent service and top notch guide program.

One of the perks in traveling to the Delphi Club is the ease of Travel. Located on Great Abaco Island, in the Bahamas, getting there is one of the many reasons why Delphi Club is such a great saltwater destination. From Dallas, we flew American with a short layover in Miami and then straight into Marsh Harbour, Abacos. From the airport it’s just a 40 minute taxi drive to the lodge, which is included in your trip package.

We arrived in Marsh Harbour around 11:30 am with a few hours to kill, so we made a stop at one of the more iconic bars in the Bahamas, Pete’s Pub. Located just north of the lodge, this quaint little bar sits right on the water in a small harbor protected from the elements and surrounded by palm trees. Baja Blasters were the beverage of choice and within no time we were on the Bahamian “Island time”. From there we made our way to the lodge.

Upon arrival at the lodge we were welcomed with cold Kalik’s along with a quick tour around the Club. The lodge itself sits up on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Rolling Harbour and Atlantic ocean. This three story Victorian style lodge offered a massive great room with a dining table, multiple sitting areas and a full self-serve bar. The lodge also has a full wrap around porch with 360 views, an infinity pool, and a private beach right in their backyard. The Delphi club could not have picked a more pristine location for this beautiful lodge.

After settling into our rooms, we met in the great room for cocktail hour accompanied by a few delicious hors devours. As the drinks started flowing, the comradery and shit-talk surely started to amplify. As we sat around at cocktail hour, choosing partners for the first day and looking out at the sunset, I knew we were in for an awesome few days at the Delphi Club. We sat down for dinner around 7:00pm and enjoyed a three course meal prepared by their all-star team in the kitchen! If you are a wine connoisseur, the Delphi Club has an elaborate list to choose from and can even order specific wine and spirits with advance notice. After dinner we all met around the corn hole board for some friendly competition which turned into an every night event. I highly recommend corn hole tournaments if you are looking for an after hours activity while staying at the club!

Now for the good stuff, THE FISHING! Like any saltwater trip, weather plays a huge role and can sometimes make or break a trip. Luckily if you get bad weather, tropical paradise never sucks and the beer is always cold. We were a little concerned after looking through weather reports and seeing rainy, cloudy, and high winds in the forecast. With weather conditions looking the best our first day, the whole crew was eager to take full advantage while the gettin’ was good.

Running North to South, the island spans 120 miles in total. Needless to say there is a ton of water to fish surrounding the entire island. Several members set off to fish the west side, also known as the marls, which provides endless bonefish flats, mangrove cays, and more bonefish than you can count. My fishing partner, Ryan Matthews, and I put in at Sandy Point, the very southern tip of the Island – known for large bonefish and decent opportunities for Permit.

I had heard stories of giant permit and bonefish being caught on the infamous Moore’s island, about 16 miles from Sandy Point but the weather has to be ideal to make the trip. Lucky for us it was in the cards. We made the trek across open water and started poling across our first flat at Moore’s. Within the first 30 minutes we encountered sharks, cuda, triggers, tarpon, and stuck a nice 6lb bonefish. It was probably the most action I’d ever seen in the first 30 minutes of a fishing trip. The STOKE level was high! Then the permit started showing up. I could probably write an entire blog post on this one day but I’ll keep it brief. Throughout the rest of the day we had maybe 8 to 10 encounters with permit and multiple shots at each encounter. There were singles, doubles and groups up to six. Several of these fish were in the 20 plus pounders. We got reactions, chases, refusals but unfortunately no eats. After talking with the guides, permit feeding behind a ray is your best shot at a hookup and unfortunately we did not see anything on rays. It was the most action packed permit day I’ve ever seen, minus the hook ups… but hey that’s permit fishing.

Upon arrival at the lodge we were swarmed with tons of stories from the day, a few first bonefish were caught, a couple large bonefish made it in and one solo angler landed 21 bonefish in total. All in all we had a fantastic first day of fishing and were excited for the days to come. That night at dinner we celebrated a new Delphi tradition where guests take shots for certain achievements they made during the day. There were a few shooters taken that night along with a delicious meal and we capped the night off with another round of corn hole.

Delphi Club’s central location could not be more ideal to fish Great Abaco. While staying at the club we fished the famous Marls on the westside of the island, Sandy Point at the southern tip, and numerous spots on the east side as well.

On day two we switched up fishing partners, loaded up in the guide trucks and took off to our allotted fishing locations. While several boats went to the Marls and Sandy Point, my fishing partner and I put in on the east side of the Island. The zone of shallows flats is much smaller with blue water just a mile or so from land. An area where you won’t find as many large schools of bones but you will see good size fish! That particular morning was calm, with a light breeze from the southeast and sunny skies. Unfortunately, we put in right at high tide which can be tough while fishing the eastside of the island. The flats are deeper with tons of mangroves for the bonefish to hide out. We poled the edge of the mangroves in search of big singles as most fish were deep in the mangroves but did not see much. By late morning a few rain squalls had moved in and we spent most of our time dodging storms and struggling to see fish.

After lunch the clouds started to part and the tide finally started to drop, pushing fish out of the mangroves and back onto the flats. Throughout the afternoon we stuck several nice bonefish both from the boat and a few by foot, but the highlight of the day was when my fishing partner, my pops, hooked a permit! A school of five or six caught us off guard and squeezed right between the bank and the boat. We were in the middle of unhooking a bonefish and needles to say we did not get a shot. A few minutes later the school popped back up, my dad threw a good shot into them and BAM… he was hooked up. We had tons of scattered mangroves around us and unfortunately the permit wrapped my dad around a root and broke him off. Even though it was quite frustrating it’s always a pleasure to even have an encounter with the mysterious permit.

As we woke on day three we were nervous as the wind picked up tremendously and changed directions, coming out of the Northwest. The guides can typically find protected areas on the windier days but a north front can certainly put the fish down with the drop in pressure and colder air temps. We certainly saw it that morning on the flats as the fish were spookier than normal. We switched to longer leaders and lighter tippet and although still tough, the crew managed to put a few fish in the boat. Fishing the east side that day, our guide had mentioned a good permit flat just a few miles south. After lunch we headed south to a massive permit flat hoping to find a few fish coming up and over the reef. Sadly, there were no permit to be found but the reef did supplied a healthy population of trigger fish and they were eager to feed! We were presented with four or five shots and got a reaction from almost every fish. We fed three and landed one! Once you’ve caught your share of bonefish, I highly recommend targeting some of the other species found on the flats. Throughout the week we caught triggers, barracuda, sharks, and hooked a permit.

On the fourth and final day of our trip the wind picked up to 15 to 20 with gusts up to 30 mph. Knowing the fishing would be tough, everyone threw a few extra beers in the cooler. Struggling to cast, to see, and for the guide, poling the boat, most of the anglers called it early that day. There was however an upside to the extreme wind conditions. The wind blew a lot of the water out of the Marls making the tide extremely low. The fish didn’t have too many places to hide and in the afternoon we got into several large schools of fish.

Whether you are an expert angler or just starting your saltwater carrier, the Delphi Club has something for everyone. Their top notch guides are great at reading angler’s needs and knowing where to take them based on experience level. Most importantly they can spot fish and thoroughly guide you on how to present the fly. The Delphi Club is also a great lodge for non-anglers or for those that wish not to fish everyday. The infinity pool, multiple lounge areas and private beach make for a great relaxation day.

Overall the hosted trip was a huge success! Everyone caught fish, had a great time and most importantly got along. It’s always nice to see a group of like minded people from different parts of the country come together with a common goal. Throughout our stay friendships were made and contacts were exchanged. Some even started planning future fishing trips together.

We are definitely headed back to the Delphi Club and I would encourage anyone interested in a luxurious bonefish experience to do the same. The Club is truly one of the best well-run bonefishing lodges I’ve been to and am looking forward to my next trip down.