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The Backstage Pass

The Quickest and Easiest to Reach Saltwater Fly Fishing Destinations

May 15, 24

Let's face it: You pay for traveling to remote or faraway destinations in a valuable currency other than money -- your time. These places are special for good reason, but the tradeoff is they frequently come with multiple flights, lengthy layovers, and/or overnight stays. For that reason, we wanted to provide our clients with a simple and easy resource for minimizing flights and time spent dozing in the back of a transfer van, and more time on the water or enjoying the lodge. 

The following list of lodges are those that can be accessed by a single commercial flight from major airports, with a transfer time of approximately an hour or less. With that said, there are still tons of destinations that you can still have boots on the ground by mid-day with a quick connector flight or a couple hours in a transfer van!

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Abaco Lodge

You'll likely spend more time boarding than you do up in the air if you're making the short flight from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamian island of Abaco. There are also direct flights out of other major airports throughout the week on commercial airlines that can have you in Abaco in short time. Once you arrive in Marsh Harbour, the drive time to the lodge comes in at a whopping ten to fifteen minutes.

Abaco Lodge overlooks the world-famous Marls -- 250 square miles of prime bonefish habitat. The expansive Marls network of shallow flats and mangrove estuaries offers some of the best bonefishing in the Bahamas. Large permit are caught throughout the season with the occasional tarpon around, though bonefish are the main attraction. In addition to great fishing, Abaco Lodge was rebuilt after the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, offering accommodations and amenities that are a class above what are traditionally offered at other lodges in across the island chain.

Belize River Lodge

Travel to Belize is typically easy no matter where you are headed: You can head over to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker via a scenic ten minute domestic flight or hour-long ferry ride. Further to the south, Hopkins and Placencia are reached via plane in twenty-five to thirty minutes, and a domestic flight can have you on the ground in Punta Gorda in roughly forty minutes.

With that said, Belize River Lodge is only a thirty minute car and boat ride from the Belize City airport. In addition, without the need to schedule an additional domestic flight, you can realistically arrive or depart when it suits you. International flights to Belize City’s Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) go through Miami, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Newark, Chicago, and Charlotte.

The lodge was established in 1960 and is one of the most historic in all of the Caribbean and Central America. As a fishery, it is a diverse program allowing anglers to target tarpon, snook, permit, bonefish, and more all within close proximity to the lodge. In addition to being one of the best tarpon fisheries in Belize, nearby cays and flats offer anglers great opportunities to find tailing fish. If you are looking for diversity and ease of travel, Belize River Lodge should be near the top of your list. 

+ The Ultimate Guide to Belize Fly Fishing

H20 Bonefishing & Pelican Resort

As far as reaching an international saltwater fly fishing destination, Grand Bahama is about as easy as it gets. Grand Bahama is the westernmost island in the Bahamas, and its capital of Freeport is a whopping thirty to forty minute flight from Miami. Additional flights are available from West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, and several other U.S. cities. Once you land, the Pelican Resort is a short cab ride from the airport!

The area is well-known for its great bonefishing, with some opportunities for permit and tarpon, especially during the warmer months. This is also a great operation for quick getaways, bringing along non-anglers or the whole family, or for those that prefer an all-inclusive resort setting. There are plenty of eco-tours available for non-anglers, golf, shopping, and tons of restaurants and bars to enjoy within walking distance of the resort. 

East End Lodge

Also located on Grand Bahama, East End Lodge is one of the most popular programs in Yellow Dog's Bahamas lineup. They offer anglers top-tier guides, a premier location, and amenities that are a touch above. Upon arrival in Freeport, anglers take a comfortable forty-five minute ride from the western side of Grand Bahama to the lodge's namesake, the east end. 

East End was intentionally built next to the five bights that cut through the horn of the island. The result is a series of channels, flats, and mangrove habitats that allow guides to fish the optimal tides throughout the day, in addition to finding cover during heavy wind. This is also a destination for anglers who want to target larger bonefish in the 5 to 10 pound range and large permit due to East End's proximity to deep water on the north side. 

For the angler looking for both a short or week-long stay at a high-end, easy-to-reach, fishing-focused lodge, East End is a great option.

+ Waypoints Podcast: Rob Neher - Fly Fishing the Flats of Grand Bahama

Dogwood Lodge

Located on the edge of the Biloxi marsh, Dogwood Lodge offers anglers access to one of America's most reliable and productive saltwater fisheries. The surrounding Louisiana marsh is home to the best redfish fishery anywhere, in addition to black drum, sheepshead, and jacks. The Biloxi Marsh is comprised of 210,000 acres of coastal wetland and prime redfish habitat, and within minutes from the lodge, you are completely immersed in the sights and sounds of the remote bayou.

Reaching Dogwood is a breeze, and you can leave the passport at home. Fly into New Orleans Airport and either rent a car or opt for a transport one hour to the Hopedale Marina. This is a superb option for anglers looking to combine a few days in the historic and beloved city of New Orleans as well, or perhaps escape for a few days without the hassle of international travel!

Fin Chasers

Many of the lodges in the Yucatan are fairly quick and easy to reach, but none more than Fin Chasers. After arrival at Cancun Airport, guests will arrive at their boutique hotel after a comfortable forty-five minute drive. With flights arriving throughout the day in Cancun, you can realistically arrive and depart at any time with relative ease. 

The fishing in the area is quite diverse, with juvenile tarpon, permit, snook, bonefish, and jacks all common. The warmer months are known for excellent permit fishing and migratory tarpon, although resident tarpon fishing remains strong year-round. 

In addition to being a great all-around saltwater fly fishing operation, Fin Chasers is a great option for non-anglers such as a spouse or a family who want to enjoy the wonderful Mexico beaches and surrounding waters or nearby attractions such as the Mayan ruins.

Additional Lodges

The following destinations just barely miss the mark as the quickest and easiest to reach saltwater fly fishing lodges, either requiring an additional short flight or a longer transfer once on the ground. 

Northern and Southern Belize

One of the most popular destinations for anglers and travelers, Belize is quick and easy to navigate. As mentioned, a ten minute flight from Belize City to the surrounding areas can have anglers fishing with renowned El Pescador Lodge on Ambergris Caye or Sea Dreams on Caye Caulker. Turneffe Atoll is 1.5 to 2 hour ferry ride from Belize City, and the payoff is exclusivity and remote fishing. Further south, Hopkins, Placencia, and Punta Gorda are a 30-45 minute hopper flight away, and is widely regarded as the best shallow-water permit fishing in the Western Hemisphere. 

+ Waypoints Podcast: Fly Fishing Belize Part I and Part II

Ascension Bay and Campeche

Reaching Ascension Bay used to require anglers to fly into Cancun before taking an approximately four hour trek south to Punta Allen. In 2024, the Tulum International Airport cut that journey in half, meaning anglers can realistically land in Tulum in the morning and be at their lodge mid-day. This is a game changer for many of our traveling clients and means you can reach one of Mexico's premier fisheries with few logistical hurdles. 

For those interested in experiencing what is considered one of the world's premier juvenile tarpon fisheries, Campeche is about a two hour drive from the Merida airport. This is a super unique and historically significant portion of the Yucatan, with amazing non-angling opportunities throughout the beautiful city of Campeche. 

Southern Louisana and Texas

In addition to Dogwood Lodge, Sportmans Lodge is a two hour drive from the New Orleans Airport in the southernmost portion of Louisana. In addition to excellent sight fishing for big reds, there are also excellent offshore opportunities for tuna, wahoo, cobia, albies, and more. If you want one of the most remote, productive fishing experiences in all of the continental United States, this is the place to be. 

To the west, another fishery chocked full of happy redfish can be found along the coast of San Antonio Bay. Bay Flats Lodge is only a 1.5 hour drive from Corpus Christi Airport via a rental car, and offers a dynamic but rewarding fishery more akin to bonefishing in the Bahamas than the bayou of Louisiana. The area has virtually no guide-pressure, and anglers will sight fish to reds in shallow waters with smaller flies and longer leaders than those traditionally used in Louisana. For those who enjoy a more technical style of saltwater fly fishing, Bay Flats Lodge is an excellent domestic option. 

To learn more about these quick and easy to reach saltwater fly fishing destinations, Contact the team at Yellow Dog! 

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