Monday, March 30, 2009

A Look Back at Abaco Beach Resort....



Jan S. Maizler

Prior to my arrival in December of 2004, Abaco Beach Resort had become something of a legend as the bulwark of the Abacos during that year’s horrendous hurricane season. As chronicled on television, the Resort served as command central, solid fortress, and island sanctuary for both seasoned residents and awestruck reporters alike.

I was drawn to this destination because of its reputation as an excellent full service family resort that offered exotic, outstanding, and unpressured fishing a short distance away. Of equal importance is the fact that Abaco Beach Resort itself is a short distance from the U.S. mainland: my flight from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour took less than an hour.

My transfer from the airport to the Resort likewise was a quick five minutes. Upon my arrival, reservationist Kevie Thomas quickly checked me in and I was shortly tucked away in a bright spacious room that overlooked the Sea of Abaco. In the distance, I could see the green shapes of the barrier out islands. I knew that beyond them, the ocean bottom would fall to great depths, and its sapphire waters would yield up wahoo, dolphinfish, and marlin.

Since I had the entire afternoon free, I devoted myself to exploring Abaco Beach Resort’s many features and amenities. Here’s what I found.

The boat harbour and marina has approximately 200 slips, with a complete offering of electrical, water, and telephone hookups. Vessels of various sizes can easily be accommodated, and this includes large sport fishing boats, as well as yachts. Boat owners are offered an ample fuel dock, jetty/harbour protection, dressing rooms, laundry rooms, and shower facilities.

The Resort has a harbormaster who administers this full service marina. Additional offerings include boat rentals, as well as offshore and bonefish charters. Divers and snorkellers are thoroughly serviced by the Resort’s Watersports Center and the dive shop.

As a traveling angler, you’ll want to be sure that your travel dollars are well spent on food and lodgings. Abaco Beach Resort will exceed your expectations in both areas. The Resort’s Angler’s Restaurant has excellent breakfasts and lunches, and their dinners are gourmet in quality. Their top-notch chef creates such delights as Tuna Tataki, steaks, lamb chops, grouper, duck, lobster, Caesar salads, conch fritters, and Ciabatta bread.

There are bars inside and outside of the restaurant that are perfect for socializing, talking fishing, or preparing for a sumptuous dinner.

When you’re not fishing, you can take advantage of the fitness room, tennis courts, or a brisk, refreshing swim in the Resort’s pools. If you are with children, there’s plenty of beach and sandy playgrounds for them right at the sea’s edge. For the shopping-inclined, Abaco Beach Resort features T-Zers gift shop, as well as their brand-new Wrackers art gallery and boutique. I found that this was an angling destination resort that has something for everyone.

Abaco Beach Resort has 72 fully air-conditioned rooms, four one-bedroom suites, and six two-bedroom cottages with fully equipped kitchens. Each room has satellite TV, coffee makers, hair dryers, and complementary toiletries.

Based on my interviews with the management, the Resort evidently provided the kinds of experiences that left many of their guests desiring a more permanent stay. Towards that end, Abaco Beach resort has plans in the next two years to offer a mix of villas and condo townhouse homes and vacation getaways.


To some anglers, bonefishing is an exciting pursuit. To others, it is a way of life that follows the gray ghost far and wide, with a singular and endless passion. And if these fanatics demonstrate their limitless devotion through endless hours of poling under the tropical sun, their just reward and Holy Grail are the Marls of Abaco!

This “thousand island” area lies within the inside center of the Abaco Crescent. The Marls enjoy the distinction of having one of the densest bonefish populations in the world, and the good news is that this shallow water Shangri-La lies only one half hour from the Abaco Beach Resort.

The Marl’s unique physical characteristics qualify it as Great Abaco’s romper room for bonefish. This is an area that is a huge expanse of individualized patches and cribs of shallow water surrounded by countless keys, ideal for growing little gray ghosts. Indeed, when seen from the air, the area resembles a patchwork maze connected by creeks and openings. This affords not just sectionalized feeding areas for groups of bones, but offers a bit more weather “protection” than the open outside flats on this magic island.

As an “inside” flats nursery, the Marls feature an incredibly rich, soft bottom loaded with crabs, shrimp, clams, and snails- plenty of food for thriving bonefish! Another condition for growing bones is that the general “ultra shallow stability” of the area tends to keep down the number of larger predators-like bigger sharks and barracuda- from entering the area. Your average poling depth might only be 6 inches, hardly the place for a 60-pound shark!

In addition, because the Marls can be confusing to successfully navigate and pole without getting lost or running aground, there is less pressure by do-it-yourself visiting anglers than the open flats of Sandy Point to the south. Abaco Beach Resort is always striving to keep an updated, current list of guides that specialize in fishing the Marls. It’s crucial to have your guide lined up and booked the same time you make reservations for a stay at the Resort. Some bonefish guides are booked for over a year in advance.

I enlisted the services of Captain Danny Sawyer, a Bahamas-certified bonefish guide. The Sawyer name is well known on Abaco from Green Turtle Cay down to Marsh Harbour.

My first day at the Resort wound down, and as the sun set to the west, I dined on conch fritters, lobster, steak, and key lime pie. After this thoroughly satisfying meal, I walked across the spacious lawn back to my room. It was completely dark now and I looked up to a star-studded sky that would have been impossible to see from the bright lights of Miami. There was no breezy movement in the numerous palm trees along the beachwalk. In the conditions of this still December night, I felt optimism about the weather I could hope for with Danny, the Marls, and the bonefish on tomorrow’s trip.

The last remaining detail of the evening was a pre-trip call from Danny to orient me as to the specifics of the trip. Not long after I arrived back at my room, the phone rang, and it was Danny. He said he was pleased that the balmy conditions indicated that an anticipated cold front had not yet arrived on the island. He mentioned that even if the wind starting backing into the south and southwest as the front approached, we could still expect some good bonefish feeding patterns. He felt that the only problem about fronts was the temperature-plunging effects of the cold air mass itself. We agreed that he would pick me up in the morning at the check-in area of the Resort at 7:30 a.m.

I fell asleep that night and dreamt of silver tails, crystal waters, green mangroves, and blue skies. My excited anticipation awakened me numerous times during the night and I glanced through the glass patio doors, hoping for still palm fronds and clear skies. As usual, the night was always too long when waiting for tomorrow’s fishing, yet my alarm clock eventually rang.

An hour later, Danny Sawyer arrived. After we exchanged greetings, he mentioned that although the wind was starting to back into the south, the sky was still clear and the fishing should be good. He said that although we could see tailing fish regardless of the overhead light, we’d need plenty of sun to see cruising bonefish.

He grabbed my tackle and we headed to his trailered skiff outside the Resort’s gates. As I approached his Hell’s Bay Waterman, it was clear that Danny had chosen and set up a boat that was truly capable of floating in a few inches of water-this was an absolute requirement for fishing the ultra shallow mudflats of the Marls.

This was in contrast to the demands of the open, outside, sand-bottomed flats of the Bahamas. Therefore, Captain Ricardo Burrows of Sandy Point, Abaco, does quite well in his 20 foot Action Craft. He poles the oceanic flats, water level permitting. As the tide drops, or depending on his stealth needs, he simply anchors his skiff at the channel edge, and his anglers wade over to tailing fish. In his situation, he actually needs a bigger flats boat with a deeper vee, since he often runs over deeper water for long distances to reach Gorda Cay or More’s Island.

Yet, here, this morning, as we trailered to the nearby boat ramp for the Marls, the only kinds of skiffs that would truly work were the kinds shallow enough to pole “on bubbles.” Danny said that his skiff weighed just over three hundred pounds and featured a relatively flat vee bottom. Because of the light weight of the hull, all Danny needed was a 25HP outboard engine for capable running. Together, the low hull weight, flat bottom, and low engine weight created a flats boat that was thoroughly “Marls-appropriate.”

His tiller handle operation was common in the Bahamas: no console weight and no helm problems. His aft operator weight was compensated by built-in trimtabs, which provided a good hole shot and running trim. Once his skiff was on plane, his shallow water running capacity was vastly improved by an electric jackplate to raise the engine, as well as a tunnel bottom at the stern to feed water to the now-higher engine. Danny said he needed a four-bladed prop to get sufficient “bite” into the tunnel-generated water to avoid cavitation.

These are features any South Florida flats fisherman will appreciate, whether it’s tailing bones in the Keys or tailing reds from Flamingo to Pine Island Sound. However, these are the kinds of skiffs that tend to do their best when traveling “inside” waters from flat to flat. If you’ll be traveling over deep, open, potentially rougher waters, you’re best advised to look for something larger, heavier, and with a deeper vee.

As Danny launched his skiff, the first islands of the Marls were easily visible, and I could see why the short run in these shallows would be perfectly safe.

When Danny geared down fifteen minutes later, and cut his engine, he began poling into the maze-like Marls. I climbed onto the bow and we both went into ‘hunting mode.” Less than two minutes after he began poling, he stopped the skiff, and said “ two o’ clock and fifty feet away… there’s a big area of feeding holes.” I saw it immediately, a sight you don’t often, if ever, see on Keys flats: it looked like a swath of upturned garden soil with snout indentations. Danny said, “pretty dark holes, which means they were here recently. I thought to myself, “ not just a spotter, but a tracker…. talk about hunting!”

Moments later, he said, “ forty feet ahead, about a dozen tails.” My cast was airborne barely two seconds later, and the presentation landed about five feet in front of their apparent direction. It landed with the slightest plop, just enough sound to get their attention without spooking them. One particularly enthusiastic fish got there first, and as it tailed over the bait, its dorsal fin twitched and its body gave a twist. I could see my line tighten up and I struck the fish with moderate force, confident that my Gamakatsu 1/0 Siwash would do its job.

All hell broke loose in this tennis court- sized stretch of water surrounded by mangroves. My line literally ripped the water for fifty yards. Then the fish turned back towards me and I reeled frantically to keep tight to the fish. The seesaw battle went on for 2 more minutes, and we released a feisty 5-pound bonefish to fight another day.

As we released the fish, Danny spotted another fish tailing against the mangroves just outside of a creek opening. It wasn’t long before Danny’s poling put me in casting distance, and in short order, we scored a second release.

The conditions were perfect: bright sunlight and a 15 MPH breeze that created enough wavelets to cushion the impact of my presentations. In the four hours I allotted to fishing that morning, I released 9 fish to 6 pounds, and lost two others. It was never longer than a couple of minutes between spotting tailing or cruising fish.

As we headed back to the ramp, I thought about the various flats fishing destinations I had experienced. I had to conclude that as a full-service upscale resort with such close proximity to huge numbers of bonefish, Abaco Beach Resort stood alone.


Abaco Beach Resort is only a few minutes away from Marsh Harbour Airport. There are daily flights from Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami on American Eagle/American Airlines, and Gulfstream/Continental. Flights and special charters can be arranged with Yellow Air Taxi at 1-888- YELLOW-4.

Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour
Marsh Harbour, Abaco

Tel. (242) 367-2158 OR (242) 367-2736

Fax. (242) 367-4154 OR (242) 367-2819

Reservations. 1-800-468-4799


Monitoring VHF Channel 16

Captain Danny Sawyer
Marsh Harbour, Abaco

Tel. (242) 367-3577

Cell phone. (242) 477-5901



Friday, March 27, 2009

Saved by Seatrout...and a Mojarra!

Friday the 27th was a total blowout! ....southeast winds howling at 20 m.p.h., cloudy skies, passing squalls, and chilly water.
No tarpon, ladyfish, bonefish, or pompano, so friend Don Eichin and I decided to slide up on the grassflats in the hopes of nabbing a seatrout. This was indeed a good decision, but hardly worth any self-congratulations, since the rest of the fishery was in a word, stinko!
We immediately started hooking up trout on singles and doubles on free-lined live shrimp and shrimp tails on a Hook-Up head.
After we released about 20 trout, we grew tired of this and tried for bonefish. In these conditions, we got no bones. But the day was a success, thanks to the springtime appearance of Mr. Spotsides and of course, a mojarra!
Don Eichin-

Friday, March 20, 2009

This Morning with Captain Butch Moser (561-254-2790)- Images by Don Eichin

The odds were against Butch, Don, and I this morning. The last two days had dumped rain water into the canals of western Palm Beach county. The water was now cooler -from 76 degrees to 71 degrees-, dirtier, with a radically altered PH towards the fresh pole.

Though Butch tried to reschedule out of professional courtesy, I had no other dates open because of story commitments. Deep down, I felt that with his skill level in these challenging conditions we'd still be okay.

And indeed we were: today was the first day I finally achieved a Canal Slam of a peacock bass, largemouth bass, and sunshine bass.

This exciting trip will be featured as a story in CyberAngler in the coming months.


Captain Butch Moser- 561-254-2790, 561-732-5996

Don Eichin-

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Healthcare Interventions Abroad...... -- Press Release Distribution 3/19/2009 ===============================================================--- [ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ] ---

Company contact:Stuart Rose, M.D. (413) 584-0381
Public relations contact:Shannon Filippelli(413) 244-5713

When sickness strikes overseas:Emergency room physician and book author launches online health resource for international vacationers, business travelers and outdoor enthusiasts- includes destination reports for over 200 countries, a travel clinic directory, an online version the International Travel Health Guide, and essential products for the global traveler -Northampton, Mass. -

For Dr. Stuart Rose, an emergency room physician and book author, the first edition of his book, The International Travel Health Guide, was born out of sheer frustration. Many of Rose's patients were planning to travel abroad but had no concise source of travel health information to take along with them. Moreover, for travelers visiting less developed countries, the information available was often insufficient and outdated. Now, Rose has expanded his expertise with, a Web site that provides vacationers, business travelers and outdoor enthusiasts with a complete source for all things related to healthy travel. The Web site, which is updated daily, includes:.Destination reports for over 200 countries: each report includes information such as time zone, vaccination requirements, disease risk summaries, outbreak news, malaria maps, embassy contact information, and a list of hospitals and physicians.

Travel clinic directory: an updated list of clinics in the United States, Canada and overseas.The International Travel Health Guide: A favorite resource used by travel health practitioners and now available online at no charge. This twenty-two-chapter health guide is the only travel health resource in the United States updated bi-weekly. The book covers all of the essentials of health-related travel, from pre-travel vaccinations, jet lag and motion sickness to traveling with an existing illness, or while pregnant..Essential links for the global traveler: preparation checklists, insect-bite prevention, U.S. Department of Sate Travel Advisories, CDC links, and much more..International SOS travel insurance: with a 20% discount for those who purchase a policy through

Travel supplies: essential travel products ranging from medical kits, survival tools, packing solutions, insect bite protection, and more.Rose notes that as many as 70% of travelers report an illness or impairment when traveling abroad. "Many of the illnesses associated with traveling out of the county, such as malaria, hepatitis and even travelers' diarrhea, are preventable," says Dr. Rose. "It's important to help reduce some of the risks by doing your homework ahead of time."

To arrange an interview with Dr. Rose, please contact Shannon Filippelli at (413) 244-5713 or For more information, visit # #About Stuart R. Rose, M.D., FACEPStuart R. Rose, M.D., FACEP, is an attending emergency room physician in Western Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is board certified in both internal medicine and emergency medicine. Dr. Rose is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Tufts University and Founder and President of Travel Medicine, Inc. He is a member of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

About PowerPro....




You’ve just finished your most recent tackle box. You’re pleased because you’ve chosen its contents governed by the principle, “ every thing for every situation.” Likewise, your fishing tackle –every rod and reel combo- is fully specialized and chosen for maximum effectiveness for each and every species in any given condition. You’re content because you know that all those rods and reels have their necessary purpose.

Curiously, my survey of many South Florida anglers still indicates that they don’t apply the same strategic thinking to their fishing line, and simply spool up all their rod and reels with monofilament nylon. If one of those anglers is you, you’ll want to know more about the advances in line technology that have occurred in the last five years or so.

Microbraid lines made of Spectra fiber have begun, and will continue to be a permanent part of every angler’s armamentarium. These new “superlines” may replace monofilament in some of your choices, and in some cases, they may not. As an effective angler, you’ll want to know the basis for your most effective choices. I have been experimenting with different microbraids the last few years, and I have been the most satisfied with PowerPro. Let’s find out why.

In comparison with “mono”, PowerPro:
Matches the breaking strength of mono, but in a vastly smaller diameter. This gives greater line capacity on reels with longer casting potential.
Has practically no stretch compared to mono. This will give you much better sensitivity detecting strikes and much more effective hooksets.
Has the ability to sink faster than the same strength mono, because of its much smaller diameter.
Has more limpness and less memory than does mono, resulting in longer casts.
Has better abrasion resistance than a mono of the same breaking strength.

There are five basic angling situations in South Florida where you may find that switching from mono to PowerPro may benefit you, as it certainly did for me.

MANGROVES, BRIDGES, AND OTHER “COVER FISHING”- When you are fishing up against structure for snook, tarpon, or redfish, you’ll find that PowerPro exceeds your old choice of mono in the following ways. You will feel strikes better, and you’ll also sink that hook better because of this line’s no-stretch characteristic. Most importantly, you will be able to pull your fish out of the line-cutting structure with a strength and momentum not possible with mono.

FLATS FISHING- As a flats angler, you know that you must make your presentation to the fish before it sees you and “spooks.” You want to avoid “ close-in “ casts, particularly with wary species like bonefish and permit. In addition, you may need to shoot a cast upwind at a moving fish. Clearly, you want your spinner spooled up with a line that gives you the farthest casting potential. Which would you choose: eight pound mono, or PowerPro of the same breaking strength that has a two pound test diameter?

When you are fishing reefy flats, crunchy flats, or rockpiles, you’ll want to have the highest abrasion resistance to diameter ratio possible: Powerpro is unsurpassed in these flats fishing conditions. Permit and tailing ocean tally are commonly found on the reefy flats of Florida or the Bahamas. Your presentation to these gamesters may be close to some reefy bottom, and once you hook them up, they’ll be sure to give your line an in-depth tour of every rocky cutoff possible .This is when you want your spool filled with PowerPro.

SURF/BEACH FISHING- The ABILITY to cast long distances is absolutely crucial in this angling specialty. You’ll want to be able to reach that special slough or ”break” off the beach that looks like it holds schools of pompano off Jupiter’s beaches. In your South Florida surf and beach experience, you know that gamesters like snook or jacks can be taken at surf’s edge. However, those schools of mackeral, bluefish, and tarpon are often just out of reach…just ask some Sanibel fishermen! Imagine having your surf spinner loaded with thirty pound test that has the diameter of eight pound test: no trouble
flinging your spoon, plug, or sand flea fishfinder rig right into the horizon!

The no-stretch property of PowerPro will keep your striking ability effective, even though there will be more line out (than mono) between you and the fish.

REEF/BOTTOM FISHING- PowerPro will be your perfect choice in drop-fishing a bait or a jig on a reef. Consider the following characteristics.

PowerPro’s small diameter makes the fastest, most effective drops to the bottom a certainty compared to monofilament. This is true even in high- current situations.

This line’s low stretch insures the highest nibble, bite, and strike detection possible: this is crucial when fishing for the often wily mangrove snapper. Ditto for flag yellowtails, but add a two foot trace of ten pound fluorocarbon above your hook for maximum stealth. You’ll feel the hit with a new sensitivity, and one quick upsweep of your rod is all you’ll need for a solid hookup!

PowerPro’s abrasion resistance will keep the odds in your favor as that big gag grouper that you’ve hooked side-slaps the rocks in its battle to escape.

BLUWATER FISHING- I have found that PowerPro finds a permanent home in offshore trolling where long lines are a necessity. Oftentimes, your best results trolling up tunas and hooking them consists of fishing your baits way back. Solid hookups were more of a problem when comparatively stretchy monofilament was used, but the no-stretch qualities of PowerPro again compensates for the long- line hookup challenge

The small diameter of this superline adds two more perks while trolling South Florida’s offshore waters. You’ll appreciate the added line capacity while maintaining breaking strength- more line and less chance of your reel being dumped by that smoker king! You’ll also like the way PowerPro’s low diameter allows your swimming plugs to get deep really fast in your quest for a trophy wahoo.

Remember that all your angling tools have been chosen with the variety and versatility that makes these perfect choices for each angling moment- you’ll want your fishing line to follow these guidelines as well.


Memories of My Little Cayman Grand Slam....

It's been a few years, but my recollections of this triumph under the able guidance of Buck Buchenroth live on.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Thank You, Friday the 13th" Images by Don Eichin

When the dust cleared, my pal Don Eichin and I released 20 large ladyfish, 8 pompano, 1 bluefish, and 1 large mackerel. We did try some flats for bonefish in the morning but the water was still too cold. By midday, we stopped beating our heads against the marl and had an action-filled afternoon jigging certain channels and basins. We got our fish on Spro jigs tipped with shrimp. A fraction of the results are shown above.
Don Eichin-

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Looking Forward to....

The guides I've lined up for the early part of 2009 are at the top of their game and will play a central role in informative storeys and satisfying angling adventures.

Captain Butch Moser- Delray Beach, Florida

Captain Mike Smith- Sanibel Island, Florida

Captain Rick Sawyer- Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Captain Ralph Allen- Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Captain C.A. Richardson- Tampa, Florida

Friday, March 06, 2009

March 6- The Jacks Attack Report...

After two weeks of jigging the South Biscayne Bay area and scoring on small bones, ladyfish, mackeral, bluefish, and then, pompano, I was ready for something else. And this time of year, that generally means tarpon. Although the passage of another whopper cold front on Monday and Tuesday was not tarpon-friendly, the change of species itself made the endeavor worthwhile.

I was underway in the ICW by the time the light blue plume of dawn was coloring the base of the eastern sky. On my way to the first destination, I stopped my skiff around 50 feet from the lume of a bridge fender light and cut my engine. I made a quick probe cast with a 1/2 ounce bucktail into the lit water. I let the lure sink for 4 seconds as my recorder showed a 20-foot depth- and besides, I was sure the water along the mud and gravel bottom was warmer than the surface film.

On the second upward sweep of my plug rod, my rod doubled over into a serious downward arc. I struck the fish twice, then fast-stroked the fish (or tried to) away from the bridge fender. I succeeded getting the fish away after 30 seconds and thought I had a big snook, but then, my rod tip started throbbing up and down. Although I was slightly disappointed, I knew this was going to be a big jack for Biscayne Bay. Five minutes later, I was releasing a terrific 10-pounder.

My next cast produced the same result, so I decided to anchor in such a way that would favor the wind and tidal current keeping my skiff in the best position for target casting. I had strikes and hookups on almost very cast and the action lasted over 4 hours. While I stopped counting the number of jacks released, I noted that most of the jacks went a respectable 4 pounds, with many reaching 7 and 8 pounds, and a few fish, ten pounds.

These hyperboloid experiences are not uncommon for light tacklers, yet fly fishermen sometimes raise their eyebrows at these results. The reason for this is that fly tackle has very limited utility in many instances such as this one. The depth of the water and wind speed would mean dredging a fly after backcasts into a loop-befouling wind- all this in the midst of the bow turned into a spaghetti carpet of stripped-in fly line. I'm glad that I see fly tackle as a tool to use when conditions dictate instead of a fashionable mandate!

And, by the way, I never got to the tarpon area: I simply didn't care to!

Jan Maizler
Jan Maizler's Amazon Blog

March 6- Jack Attack Fishing Report

Report to soon follow...