Travis Sands

Interviewed by Kyle Schaefer |

How many years have you been fishing?

32+

How many years have you been guiding?

17+

Who introduced you to fly fishing?

Travis's father, Harlon Sands, who has been guiding his whole career and still guides on South Andros, Bahamas.

Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?

Travis grew up chasing bonefish in the bonefishing capital of the world, Andros. Bones were his first love. Andros’s waters are incredibly expansive and you truly can’t fish every shoreline in a lifetime.

Upon moving to Abaco and becoming the head guide at Abaco Lodge Travis fell in love with the incredibly diverse fishery and terrain. Travis religiously pursued permit, tarpon and bonefish. Travis logged several grand slams at Abaco Lodge and also pioneered a wonderful permit fishery. His impact on the guiding program in Acabo was profound. He is a curious angler and guide and his talent has solidified him as one of the best in the Bahamas.

After some great years on Abaco, Travis moved to the Berry Islands to pursue some of the biggest bonefish and permit in the Bahamas. Travis is thriving in this challenging and demanding fishery and is an indispensable member of the Soul Fly Lodge team.

What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?

The height of the season for Travis is September. Cool water begins to mix with warm summer water and sets the flats off. Fish are rested after the long summer and Travis finds willing and happy migrating fish on the flats. It’s primetime for permit in the Bahamas, enough said! We are lucky, all season long, to have access to challenging and rewarding fish in the Bahamas.

What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?

Travis is drawn to wild unspoiled places. His bucket list includes Australia and Alaska. Travis loves his trips to the Keys fishing with some incredible guides on one of the grandest stages in our sport.

What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?

Travis loves T&T rods because they have an incredible feel and the attention to detail is perfect. The Sextant is Travis’s go to. For accuracy, power and finesse - there’s nothing better out there.

“It feels like the hands that build these rods had me in mind.”

What's your current go-to fly?

Strong arm merkin is a proven hunter for permit. EP Spawning shrimp imitating the mantis is a go-to for bonefish.

Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?

The Bahamas is a very demanding place to fish. The wind howls, the sun is strong, and the salt fills the air. Protective sun clothing and my Costas keep me protected and sharp on the water.

My favorite thing about guiding is:

Meeting new people, from all walks of life makes guiding an incredibly special career. The bonds made on a skiff endure for many years.

From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?

Fishing takes you to beautiful places where anglers have the privilege to see the water through the guide's eyes. Fishing is therapeutic and a way to access the wonders of the world.

What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? 

Casting is so foundational and everyone on Travis’s boat will leave with a better understanding on how to deliver a fly to some of the most challenging fish on the planet.

Travis gets a lot of enjoyment out of teaching how the ecosystem works on the flats. How all these species interact and behave is the key to being a good flats guide.

What’s your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?

Chicken on a salad. Keep it simple. Plan B is the perfect PB&J.

What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?

Travis gets his content through Instagram and follows some great fishing accounts and friends from all over the world.

When I'm not fishing you'll find me:

When Travis isn’t on the water (which isn’t often) he is spending time with his awesome family.