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The Bahia Honda Sporting Club is the only full-service fishing lodge business operating in the Keys, hosting up to eight guests at a time. The focus is on fly-fishing for tarpon during the annual migration through the Keys. Although the tarpon are in town much longer, Bahia chooses to focus only on the prime time and is open for business for a short season, May 1st - June 30th.
Bahia primarily accommodates groups, friends fishing together, or husband/wife teams, but they do welcome pairs and solo anglers as well.
You fly commercially into Key West or privately into Marathon. A staff member will pick you up on arrival for a twenty-five minute drive to the lodge. Bahia is located in the lower part of the Keys, about 20 miles north of Key West. This is important because it is an area much less congested than other parts of the Keys - protected by strict state and county conservation efforts.
The lodge is a large and beautiful Mediterranean style villa amid a 16-acre estate, bordered by a wildlife refuge. It is a relaxing, tranquil setting in which you do not hear noisy neighbors or see cars driving by. The lodge is simply spectacular, on the open water bay, and has a great deal of privacy. The interior is fantastic - five well-decorated bedrooms (one secluded atop the house accessible only by elevator), four bathrooms, large living area with flat panel tv, computer and dsl, small exercise room, etc.
The staff resides in adjacent cottages, and consists of a manager/ hostess, chef, four guides, and part-time massage therapist.
The chef is outstanding. Chef Rossario, an Italian, treats you to a unique and creative cuisine, making good use of the fresh local seafood not easily found outside the Keys. He works and prepares all meals according to your preferences - both the schedule and the menu. Also, the lodge has beer, an assortment of liquor, and house wines available to guests at no extra charge.
The boats are conveniently docked right out front, so throughout your stay there won’t be a need to drive anywhere. Bahia provides fly tackle and flies or you are welcome to bring your own. The guides are all experienced, relatively young, excellent professional fishermen, and very friendly. The guides are all good friends with each other and collaborate regularly with conditions and information ensuring the best experience for all the anglers.
You will exclusively flats-fish in shallow water conditions, focusing on tarpon during the prime time of their migration through the Keys. Occasionally, the guides can't resist chasing some permit and bonefish on the side.
Anglers sight-fish in clear, shallow water over both darker turtle grass bottoms and light sandy flats. During the day you will move around, fishing different spots among intertwined flats ranging from the bright sandy flats of the Atlantic to the colorful and secluded backcountry waters of the Gulf. With the two oceans in such close proximity to each other in this area, we take advantage of two different tide cycles and the optimum opportunities of each.
The average size tarpon is an honest 70 lbs., up to 120 lbs. Some locales produce baby tarpon, between 20 and 40 lbs. You may also periodically fish for permit, depending on the tides and productivity.
Afternoons in the area are usually exciting. The fish often become active and school up in a certain area, rolling and breaking the surface. With the backdrop of a beautiful sunset these schools are something of a spectacle.
Because Bahia will only have eight anglers at a time, it operates on a flexible agenda based on input from the guests. You can either fish all day and have lunch on the boats, or fish a split day and return to the lodge for a lunch break - which is what most guests prefer. The typical day begins according to the tides, but often with full breakfast about 8 AM, departing for the fishing thereafter, returning to the lodge for lunch and a break between 2-5. Then back on the water from 5 PM until dark at 9 PM.
Regardless of the schedule, all anglers end up back at the dock by spotlight, shower up for cocktails, and Chef Rossario's gourmet feast overlooking the water. Guests usually retire to the courtyard for drinks and cigars by the fire under the stars. It's a different schedule than most destinations, but there is a lot of sunlight hours at time of year, and the lodge prefers to base it on the best fishing.
The prices are relatively in line with the costs of piecing a local Keys tarpon trip together oneself, booking guides, hotel rooms, two restaurants a day and a sack lunch, rental cars, etc.
Guests are welcome to arrive after 2 pm on arrival day and depart after breakfast their final morning. Special arrangements are possible, but Bahia sets the check in / out according to most commercial flight itineraries.
The lodge resulted from a demand for those anglers who love tarpon fishing and wanted to access this fishery in first-class fashion and were hassled with the logistics of piecing a trip together themselves.
Destination - Florida Keys Gallery