Fishing in the Bahamas
"Go Fishing" is one of the greatest passions of local Bahamians and visitors of the Bahamas alike.
There are many reasons why fishing is so popular. Obviously the beautiful seas, the sunny and warm weather and the abundant fish in the waters are key factors.
Find out more about the various fishing possibilities like bill fishing and bone fishing, which islands have the best fishing spots and how you can enjoy this Bahamian passion in your vacation.
What and how to do fishing in the Bahamas?
The Bahamians practice different types of fishing. The most traditional and original way is called hand line or "bottom" fishing. This is the only native form of recreational fishing. Hand line fishing grew from the simple necessity of catching fish for sustenance. It continues to exist as such, particularly in les populated and remote areas of the Out Islands. It is also the least expensive method of fishing - all you need is a hook, line, sinker and bait. Although hand line fishing can be done from the rocks or off dock, the more serious fisherman will often take to his boat.
The Bahamian usually finds the best spots by experience and learned it from parents and grandparents. The spot is often near a small head of coral or in a rocky channel.
Fortunately for the beginner, there are so many fish in Bahamian waters that even the least proficient fisherman can catch something. However, the best eating fish - grouper, hogfish and mutton snapper - are the most difficult to catch.
In contrast to hand line fishing, spearfishing is one of the introduced forms of recreational fishing. Its rapidly increasing popularity comes from different factors.
First, it is the only type of fishing, that requires entering the water, the world of the prey. Second, since scuba gear is not allowed under Bahamian law to catch fish, the spear fisher needs to be both physically fit and an accomplished swimmer. Spearfishing allows to select the type of prey, limited only to one's ability to dive deep, pursue and shoot straight.
Spearfishing equipment consists of flippers, a mask, a snorkel and a "Hawaiian sling" which is the only legally allowed type of spear. Most spearfishing is done on reefs or around heads of coral, where the fish hide. The spear fisherman has to know where he should be looking, which will often involve a series of dives as he gets down to look under ledges or into holes.
"Trolling" is another form of fishing where a line is towed behind the boat. However, its form varies, depending on location, size of boat, bait and equipment. It can be best described as inshore trolling, deep sea trolling and bill fishing.
Inshore trolling is done in shallow water, either close up against a rocky shoreline at high tide, or in amongst coral heads and reef. It is the most light hearted venture and are often done on the way home from the beach or going out before sun set to catch a few fish. Usually inshore trolling is done with a small, highly maneuverable boat. A captain who knows the area is helpful, too.
As opposed to the inshore variety, deep sea trolling and bill fishing require a larger boat, full fledged deep-sea fishing rods and tackle, and a fighting chair. For deep sea fishing, the fishermen heads out over the reef, where the fish are bigger but also scarcer. Usually, a deep sea fishing trip is characterized by trolling along the outside of a reef, hoping that a large grouper will take the deep line, or a kingfish, mackerel, wahoo or large jack or one of the others. Or you can check for schools of dolphin fish (not the mammal) which is regarded by many people to be the best big game fish to eat.
Bill fishing in the Bahamas involves the pursuit of blue and white marlin, sailfish and swordfish. There are numerous similarities with deep sea fishing, and in fact, both are often carried on simultaneously. The main difference between Bahamas billfish and other deep sea game fish, apart from the obvious fact that one has a "Bill and the other has not, is in the way the fish catch their prey. The usual technique of the billfish involves swimming up alongside their unwitting target and then hitting it sharply with their bill.
Bone fishing is surely one of the most exciting and challenging fishing experience you can have in the Bahamas. Bone fishing comprises two quite distinct elements. First of all, it is necessary to find the fish and, since his likely whereabouts tend to vary enormously, depending on tide, wind direction, water temperature and weather, you will almost certainly need to employ a local guide.
Second, once the bonefish hooked, it will give you the toughest fight of any fish you have ever had on the other end of your line. Bone fishing is usually done in very shallow water, either wading or operating from a flat-bottomed, shallow draft skiff. Once you have cast your line it is a matter of waiting patiently as the fish work back and forth across the bottom, toward your bait. Once the bonefish picks up the bait, the fight between fish and fisherman can begin. The fish is smarter than he looks and in most cases the fisherman looses the fight and the fish can swim away.
Perhaps the most important thing about sport fishing in the Bahamas is that there are plenty of fish in the waters around the islands, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they bite. Try it out..
Where you can find the best places to go fishing?Almost on all islands you will find tour operators and experienced fishing guides which will help you to have a remarkable fishing experience in the Bahamas.
The guides and fishing tour operators run usually half day or full day trips particularly for bone fishing and deep sea fishing. Fishing is a very popular activity for Bahamas vacationers, so it is recommended to book your tour or guide well ahead.
An excellent spot for bone fishing is the Exuma island, which has a number of tour operators, fishing lodges and experienced guides.
The Bimini islands are the big game fishing capital of the Bahamas. Several fishing lodges and fishing tour operators offers deep sea fishing tours in the waters around the islands.
Andros and Abaco offer also excellent spots for bone fishing with experienced guides as well as deep sea excursions.
If you are looking for a fishing lodge, then look at the Andros Island Hotels website for further information and booking possibilities.
Even if you decide to stay on the main islands Grand Bahama and New Providence, you will find a good choice of deep sea fishing tour operators. In Nassau, the fishing tours go to the Tongue of the Ocean, a channel which stretches for 100 miles, with plenty of fish.
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