In the summer months, temperatures in The Bahamas can reach upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in winter, temperatures continue to stay warm. This year-long good weather, combined with a wide variety of activities, makes The Bahamas a holiday paradise. Among the many activities its visitors can enjoy are surfing, sight-seeing, and, of course, fishing.
The History of Fishing in The Bahamas
Fishing in The Bahamas predates its time as a tourist hot spot. Natives have been fishing in the area for thousands of years. The Caribs and the Arawaks fished out of sheer necessity. Much of their food came from the fish they caught using primitive tools carved from bones.
Today, those who live in The Bahamas continue to fish for their food. Bahamian authorities classify fishing for survival as “subsistence” fishing. Fishing done by tourists, meanwhile, is classified as “recreational” fishing. There is also “commercial” fishing, although it doesn’t actually contribute as much to the economy of some Bahamian islands as recreational fishing.
Fishing Licenses in The Bahamas
In recent years, Bahamian fishing regulations have drawn some criticism. The Bahamas introduced a number of new laws governing fishing years ago. This included a series of fishing licenses. A daily license for a non-resident costs $15. A weekly license costs $20 and a monthly license costs $30. This was arguably an attempt to make non-residents pay for an annual fishing license, which was set at $60.
These license fees were met with backlash and a staggering 40% drop in bookings followed. This resulted in the new rules being suspended in 2018. They were later reintroduced and today apply to flat fishing. However, a permit is not required if you are fishing with a licensed charter. You are also free to fish without a permit if you restrict your activity to the shoreline.
A permit is required for sport fishing from a foreign vessel. You can pay per trip, which will cost about $20. Alternatively, you can pay an annual fee of about $150.
Types of Fish in The Bahamas
Among the most commonly caught fish in The Bahamas are tuna, marlin, and dolphinfish. Many anglers have even reported capturing barracuda from the shore. The barracuda is one of the most unique breeds of fish and has been described as the “tiger of the sea”. Fishing for barracuda is certainly a challenge, but it’s a truly thrilling experience even in failure.
Best Places to Fish
The Bahamas is comprised of 700 islands. That’s a lot of fishing spots! In the section below, we’ll review the best places to cast your line in the country.
If you want to truly test your fishing skills, then head straight to Bimini when you get to The Bahamas. Bimini is a series of islands and it’s the closest point in The Bahamas to the United States. It’s famous among anglers for its big game fish, such as bluefin tuna and wahoo. There’s even a Bimini Big Game Club dedicated to helping tourists catch one of the region’s legendary 50-pound fish.
Big game fish can also be caught off Rum Cay island. Wahoo, marlin, and tuna dwell in large numbers around Rum Cay. The Rum Cay Salt Pond boasts significant quantities of bonefish, one of the most sought-after breeds in The Bahamas.
The only downside of Rum Cay is that there isn’t a whole lot to do outside of fishing. Additional tourist attractions in the area are minimal. This means it’s far from an ideal spot for those hoping to blend a fishing and family vacation together.
If you’re on the hunt for bonefish, then you don’t have to go to Rum Cay to be successful. In fact, there is another island in The Bahamas that has been described as “the bonefish capital of the world”. That island is Andros.
Also known as “the Sleeping Giant”, Andros is the largest island in The Bahamas. Bonefish dwell in large numbers around the island. Their popularity is such that numerous Andros fishing guides make their living by helping tourists catch bonefish exclusively.
There is ample opportunity for deep-sea fishing in Andros. Snapper, mahi-mahi, grouper, and wahoo can all be caught in its waters. But be warned! Andros is also said to be home to the legendary Lusca. A gargantuan half-octopus, half-shark, the Lusca is said to swallow even the largest fishing vessels whole.
The Bahamas is a fishing paradise. With 700 islands, there’s something for fishermen of every level. An experienced sport fishing enthusiast will be in heaven as they test their skills against the big game fish of The Bahamas. Meanwhile, a novice can hone his talents from the shore and still be virtually certain of a few decent catches.