We made our 1st trip to the Andros Island Bonefish Club in 1999. Earlier that year I had spent some time with Lefty Kreh and I had asked him where I should take my clients for the "best bonefishing in the world?". Without hesitation, Lefty replied..."Call Rupert".
Jim Teeny and I were hosting a trip there just a few months after that and we were greeted by the owner and founder, Rupert Leadon. Just as I got out of the taxi, Rupert was there with a firm handshake, and he said..."Welcome Home!". Little did I know, he was right. I have since made 16 trips to the lodge, hosting hundreds of clients and showing them the best bonefishing on planet earth. Mad River Outfitters will be making it's 25th hosted trip to the lodge this February. It has been an honor and Rupert and his family are to blame. This next trip will be different though....
|Captain Rupert Leadon- 1946-2012|
We lost Captain Rupert on June 26th of this year. He died suddenly, a victim of his 2nd heart attack. I actually read the news on Facebook the morning after, his son and head guide Shawn posted "A legend is gone". I was shocked, and deeply saddened. Rupert will be missed by many. A true Icon in the world of saltwater fly fishing! He used to throw a party every time that we arrived for our annual February trip. He made me and our groups feel special.
I had the pleasure of fishing with Rupert a time or two. He had mostly retired from guiding by the time we started running trips but I was lucky on a few occasions. I know that I felt honored to be fishing with a true saltwater fishing legend. I remember one day it was just he and I.....the day I hooked the largest bonefish of my life, that Rupert claimed would have gone 14lbs. I didn't land the fish, and he always reminded me of that when I saw him....with a smile.
Truer words couldn't have been posted on Facebook by Shawn...."A legend is gone". Lefty wrote a great Eulogy that was printed in Fly Fishing Saltwater Magazine. He and Rupert were great friends and Lefty did him justice.
I will be back at the lodge in February....our bi-annual trip is February 16th- 23rd this year.....and it won't be the same. But his legend lives on.....
|Captain Shawn Leadon|
Captain Shawn Leadon will be running the show and we know that "Everything's Gonna Be Allright". Shawn and I have been fishing together and friends now, for a long time. He is a great man and as good a bonefish guide as you will ever find. I have been assured, and can assure my clients, that they are in good hands. Mad River Outfitters will continue to run two trips a year and also confidently book folks outside of those trips as well. Nothing has changed......we just have a new "Captain".....and we believe in him!!!
|Brian Flechsig and Shawn Leadon- circa 2001?|
For those that don't know, the Andros Island Bonefish Club is truly the finest bonefshing destination on the planet. Yes, the accommodations are nice, the food is good, the service is excellent.....but what really does it is the LOCATION. It cannot be beat and there is no place like it on planet earth.
"A hidden treasure for all who seek bonefish"- Lefty Kreh
The club is located in Cargill Creek on Andros, just a few minutes boat ride from the opening of the North Bight. You can head right out of the lodge and be back into the Bights, North, Middle and South within minutes. There is truly more flats and shoreline here than any place in the world. You can head left out of the lodge and find flats that go on for miles and miles...good wading water. The other great thing is that although a 40 minute ride or so, the lodge provides easy access to the famed "West Side" of Andros, also known as the "Land of Giants". There is no other lodge that can offer what Andros Island Bonefish Club offers.
The other part of the equation, that often gets overlooked, is the guides. Shawn and his crew are simply some of the finest, most educated saltwater fishing guides that you will ever find. Most of them family, and have been guiding for the lodge for many years. Shawn, Nick, Chris, David, Brian, Rambo...they are all excellent bonefish guides and excellent captains. As anybody who fishes the salt knows, you are only as good as your guide and these guys are the best!
As you can tell...I really can't say enough good about the Andros Island Bonefish Club. They have all become like family to me...and I know that they feel that way also. The relationship has become a cornerstone of Mad River Outfitters Travel and that isn't going to change. The place has become "home" for me and I am always looking forward to my next trip. Just like Rupert always said...."Welcome Home".
Mad River Outfitters
Full service booking agent and outfitter for the Andros Island Bonefish Club
813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214