Fishing Near the Bahamas

The Bahamas is home to plenty of fishing opportunities for all anglers

Photo credit: © Andi Berger | Dreamstime.com
 

When visiting a nation made up of more than 700 islands, one can expect to see plenty of ocean. The Bahamas offers visitors ample opportunities to fish and plenty of ways to get out to sea. From reef and bonefish to deep sea varieties, there's something for any type of fisherman here.

Three major varieties of fishing are found throughout the Bahamas, enough for any kind of angler. Those who are thinking of fly or spin casting may want to consider bonefishing, while those with plenty of patience can take on the reefs. Those looking for the biggest fish in the sea can try the deep sea for their catch.

Bonefishing

Maps

Fly fishermen particularly enjoy bonefishing. However, these fish can he hard to find and do require a bit of patience. Known as the "grey ghost," bonefish are often elusive and can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour once hooked. If you do manage to hook a bonefish, you may find yourself hooked on the sport.

Bonefishing is growing as a local favorite and takes place in the flats. Guides may pole a flat-bottomed boat for the fishermen, or the anglers themselves may wade in knee-deep water to catch these fish, which weigh no more than 15 pounds. Bonefish are often found in schools of 100 and more, so when one swims by there are usually more to follow.

A word to the wise: The name "bonefish" is particularly descriptive of these smaller fish. Though you may be tempted to eat your catch, they don't make an enjoyable meal, as they do have plenty of bones.

Reef Fishing

Reef fishing is not the most popular type of fishing among vacationers, but anglers with a bit of patience and a love of challenges may wish to try their hand out on the reefs.

While reefs are filled with fish, catching one require a bit of skill. Bait is sunk with weights, so it's particularly suited to coarse anglers. Remember that reefs are usually quite large.

Deep Sea

Travel a little further offshore in the Bahamas and you'll find everything from tuna to sharks. Deep sea fishermen can enjoy hooking plenty of fish. A deep drop-off from the reefs surrounding the cays makes it easy to reach the deep sea. Fishing boats can trawl for marlin, sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi, or mackerel, and deep sea fishermen should remember to use heavy gauge lines.

Those who enjoy a bit of competition can also take part in tournaments scheduled year round. The Annual Bahamas White Marlin Open is one such tournament, located just off Treasure Cay. Bimini has been host to the Annual Native Fishing Tournament for more than half a century.

The Bahamas hold numerous fishing records, and attract anglers from around the world who hope to one day hold one such record. Records are constantly being challenged on the island of Bimini, which is known as the "Big Game Capital of the World," and even has a Fishing Hall of Fame.

 

Rules of the Sea

The Bahamas is home to plenty of fishing, but fishermen must follow a few rules to catch fish legally. These limits and requirements are designed to help maintain certain numbers of fish. Fishermen need permits, which can be obtained from Customs at the ports of entry. Anglers are limited to six rods at a time and may only use hook and line. There are also limits on what can be caught.

  • Year-round limits on lobster and crawfish are six tails per person. The season is closed from April 1 through July 31. Egg-bearing female crawfish are also protected. Minimum size lengths are 6-inch tail length or 3 and 3/8-inch carapace length.

  • Conch may not be harvested without a well-formed lip. Possession of such conch is also prohibited. There is a bag limit of 10 per person at any time.

  • Wahoo, kingfish, and dolphin are limited to six fish per person in any combination.

  • Ships are limited to 20 pounds of scalefish, 10 conch, and six crawfish per person for export.

  • The season is closed for stone crabs between June 1 and October 15, and the minimum size for a harvestable claw is 4 inches. Females may not be harvested.

  • Eating turtle in the Bahamas is legal, but importing turtle is illegal.

  • The Hawaiian sling is the only legal device for spearfishing. Using scuba gear or an air compressor to harvest fish, conch, crawfish, and other marine animals is illegal.

  • Spearfishing is prohibited within a mile of the coast of New Providence, a mile off the south coast of Freeport, and 200 yards off of any of the Out Islands. Removing any animal or spearfish from national sea parks is prohibited.

  • From December 16 to February 16 it is prohibited to take, land, process, or sell fresh Nassau Grouper to help promote the commercial fishery of Nassau Grouper.

When to Fish

Certain times of year are better for catching certain kinds of fish. In some cases, just a few months out of the year offer fishing opportunities. Typically May, June, and July are the best months to fish in the Bahamas. However, fish like the wahoo are far more prevalent from November through March. Similarly, other fish, like barracuda and snapper, are easy to find year round.

Out Island Explorers Fishing

If you are considering deep sea fishing on your vacation, you may be pleased to learn there are 31 different charter fishing operators that can take you to the best fishing spots.

If you're ready to organize a fishing trip, you might want to contact Ocean Fox Cotton Bay. A small operation that is keen on offering the most personalized service available, you'll find it easy to customize your adventure whether you're interested in diving or fishing. They are located within Waterford, in central the Bahamas.

Another option is Bonefish Bradley. Nearly every trip is successful with Bonefish Bradley, where they specialize in tarpon, permit, mahi mahi, barracuda, yellow fin tuna and of course, bonefish. They guarantee catches in the double digits on the West side of Andros, but they fish at the northern end as well. They can be reached at (242) 357-2242.

Still another option is Exotic Adventure. With 19 years of sailing and fishing experience, Captain A.J. comes from a long line of native Bahamians. They're located in Port Lucaya, in western the Bahamas.

The table directly below provides quick access to a few details regarding fishing charters operating in this area.

Fishing Charters In the Bahamas
Name Type Phone Location Island
3 Queens Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 457-2629 3.0 mi. Northwest of Central Nassau New Providence
Acklins Bonefishing Fishing Charter Service (954) 682-0648 14.8 mi. East of Central Colonel Hill Acklins Island
Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina Offshore Charters Fishing Charter Service (800) 867-4764 2.3 mi. South-Southwest of Central North Bimini North Bimini
Bimini Undersea Fishing Fishing Charter Service (786) 280-6861 0.6 mi. South of Central North Bimini North Bimini
Bonafide Bonefishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 338-2025 Stella Maris, Central the Bahamas Long Island
Bonefish Bradley Fishing Charter Service (242) 357-2242 0.5 mi. West of Central Andros Town North Andros Island
Born Free Charter Service Fishing Charter Service (954) 526-2363 Downtown Nassau New Providence
Born Free Fishing Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 698-1770 1.7 mi. East of Central downtown Nassau New Providence
Bow Leg Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 342-5080 Central the Bahamas Cat Island
Captain Mark Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 365-8506 4.2 mi. South-Southeast of Central Treasure Cay Great Abaco
Captain Z Fishing Charters Fishing Charter Service -- Gregory Town, Western part of the Bahamas Eleuthera
Cat Tails Fishing Charter Service (242) 342-7050 Central the Bahamas Cat Island
Chubasco Charters Fishing Charter Service 324-3474 839.6 mi. Northwest of Central Puerto Rico New Providence
Chubasco Fishing Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 324-3474 0.5 mi. East-Northeast of Central Marsh Harbour Great Abaco
Down Deep Fishing Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 366-3143 4.3 mi. South West of Central Hopetown Lubbers Quarters Cay
Eleuthera Tours Fishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 225-4408 Central the Bahamas Eleuthera
Exotic Adventure Fishing Charter Service (242) 374-2278 2.1 mi. East of Central Freeport Grand Bahama Island
Fish Rowe Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 357-0870 Central the Bahamas Great Exuma
Hunter Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 557-3229 1.6 mi. East of Central downtown Nassau New Providence
Justin Sands Bonefishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 367-3526 Marsh Harbour, Northwestern part of the Bahamas Great Abaco
Lil B Fishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 351-6917 1.4 mi. Southeast of Central Freeport Grand Bahama Island
Local Boy Deep Sea Fishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 366-0528 0.2 mi. North-Northwest of Central Hopetown Elbow Cay
Lucky Strike Fishing Charter Service (242) 366-0101 1.5 mi. East-Northeast of Central Marsh Harbour Great Abaco
North Riding Point Club Fishing Charter Service (864) 248-6113 0.0 mi. Southeast of Central Freetown Grand Bahama Island
Ocean Fox Cotton Bay Fishing Charter Service (281) 201-6198 Waterford, Central the Bahamas Eleuthera
Out Island Explorers Fishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 524-8246 George Town, Central the Bahamas Great Exuma
Reel Dreams Fishing Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 376-1458 1.4 mi. East of Central downtown Nassau New Providence
Staniel Cay Adventures Fishing Fishing Charter Service (242) 524-8156 Central the Bahamas Staniel Cay
The Blackfly Lodge Fishing Fishing Charter Service (904) 540-3184 2.8 mi. North-Northeast of Central Crossing Rocks Great Abaco
Top Cats Fishing Service Fishing Charter Service (242) 342-7087 Central the Bahamas Cat Island
Yellowtail Charters Fishing Charter Service (242) 393-1456 Nassau, Western part of the Bahamas New Providence

You'll find 19 different fishing guides listed below.

Fishing Guides In the Bahamas
Name Type Phone Location Island
Abaco Lodge Fishing Guide Service (242) 577-1747 4.8 mi. West of Central Marsh Harbour Great Abaco
Acklins Bonefish Club Fishing Guide Service (406) 223-5318 17.0 mi. East of Central Colonel Hill Acklins Island
Alvin Greene Fishing Guide Fishing Guide Service (242) 471-4205 32.9 mi. South of Central Andros Town Mangrove Cay
Andros Island Bonefish Club Fishing Guide Service (242) 368-5167 13.4 mi. North of Central Moxey Town Central Andros
Bair's Fishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 471-9727 2.6 mi. South of Central Deep Creek Settlement South Andros Island
Big Charlie & Fatiha's Fishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 368-4297 1.5 mi. Southeast of Central Andros Town Central Andros
Bonefish Paradise Fishing Guided Services Fishing Guide Service (242) 472-2505 Deadman's Cay, Central the Bahamas Long Island
Chester's Highway Inn Bonefish Lodge Fishing Guide Service (242) 357-4179 18.7 mi. East of Central Colonel Hill Acklins Island
Crooked & Acklins Trophy Lodge Fishing Fishing Guide Service 1 418 409 5564 4.0 mi. East-Southeast of Central Colonel Hill Crooked Island
Deneki South Andros Fishing Fishing Guide Service (800) 344-3628 1.2 mi. South-Southeast of Central Congo Town South Andros Island
Fishbone Tours Fishing Guide Service (242) 332-6524 6.2 mi. South-Southeast of Central North Palmentton Point Eleuthera
Grand Bahama Bonefishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 441-1692 McLean's Town, Western part of the Bahamas Grand Bahama Island
Grey's Point Bonefishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 344-3210 6.8 mi. Northeast of Central the vicinity of Acklins Island Acklins Island
Mangrove Cay Bonefishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 369-0731 9.8 mi. Northwest of Central Congo Town Central Andros
Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge Fishing Guide Service (242) 357-2106 9.5 mi. South of Central Deep Creek Settlement South Andros Island
Philip Rolle's North Andros Fly Fishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 329-2661 10.2 mi. Northwest of Central Andros Town North Andros Island
Salina Point Bonefishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 323-5570 1.6 mi. Northeast of Central Salina Point Settlement Acklins Island
Small Hope Bay Lodge Fishing Fishing Guide Service (800) 223-6961 2.2 mi. Northwest of Central Andros Town Central Andros
Two Boys Inn Fishing Fishing Guide Service (242) 368-4067 13.1 mi. North of Central Moxey Town Central Andros

The Bahamas has more than 50 fishing records under its belt, making it one of the best places in the world to head out on the water and drop in a line. With so many fish to catch, there are plenty of experienced anglers to help even the most novice fisherman make a catch.

 

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