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Where to Fish in The Bahamas

Catch giant blue marlin in the morning, stalk bonefish in the afternoon

by M. Timothy O'KeefeWalker's Cay

This northernmost island is synonymous with big game fishing. It's a prime gathering area for marlin, wahoo and tuna in late winter and spring. The marina facilities are as good as any in this island nation, partly due to the many Floridians who keep their sportfishermen here and fly over on weekends. Good bonefishing flats adjoin the island. ESPN's Walker Cay Chronicles is based on the fishing around here.   Bif fish baitTreasure & Green

In the Abacos chain, Treasure Cay has come into real prominence in recent years as another top-notch billfishing center. Bonefishing can be good but it's better at nearby Green Turtle Cay, where the fish are larger.  Bimini

Just 50 miles from Florida and situated where the Gulf Stream meets the Bahamas Banks, Bimini is the revered big-game fishing capital of the Bahamas . It's held both the blue marlin record (over 1,000 pounds) and the bonefish record (16 pounds). Bonefish and blue marlin have no real season but are taken anytime while white marlin run strongest from Jan. to May. Wahoo and giant tuna are most plentiful in winter months, with dolphin peaking in spring.

Fishing is popular here, from tip to tip. At West End, the Old Bahama Bay marina offers charters for offshore, bonefishing and reef fishing. Port Lucaya closer to the center of the island also has excellent charter facilities. At the tip of Grand Bahama 's East End is the Deep Water Cay Club, one of the best bonefish lodges anywhere. Located on its own island, the Club offers miles of winding channels and flats for bonefish and barracuda.

In May, bonefish stack up like cordwood in some sections apparently as part of the breeding ritual. Trips for truly mammoth permit between 30 to 50 pounds can be undertaken in calm weather. SailfishC

Another world famous billfishing area, the Chub Cay Club owes its productivity to the "Pocket" or Northwest Channel that funnels deep into the shallow Bahamas Bank. Blue marlin are plentiful but it's their smaller cousin, the white marlin, that really makes reels sing in spring. The numbers of dolphin can be incredible, enough reason to pack a couple of light spinning rods for the schoolies that surround a boat once a single fish is hooked.

 Boats headquartered here also have several other deep water regions to choose throughout the Berry Islands, of which Chub is a part. Bonefishing often gets short shrift because of the concentration on offshore species, but the fish can be found patiently waiting close by. Another unique feature here is the chance for small tarpon, unusual for the Bahamas .

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The largest of the Bahamas islands, has superb bonefishing near the northern end. The well-stocked Tongue of the Ocean on the eastern shore is little fished despite the potential for marlin and other top game species. Most of the charter operations are at Nicholls' Town on the northern end.   Preparing the BaitNew Providence/Nassau

The playground of the Bahamas is the ideal location for a non-fishing spouse. Good charter facilities, though, that seek out sails in the fall, Wahoo in the winter and marlin year-round. Bonefishing and reef fishing is below par compared to many other locations.

Another prime bonefish and permit location. Bonefish average 3 to 5 pounds and occasionally even trophies over 10 are hooked. Best weather conditions are from late April to November. During the same period, permit in the 5- to 20-pound category prowl the deeper flats.  

Migratory species including billfish favor the submerged ridge that juts from the ocean floor to within a hundred feet of the surface. This ridge runs from the north end of Cat Island to the southern tip of Eleuthera. Eleuthera enjoys a second 17-mile long ridge formation extending from its northern tip, where depths drop sharply from 14 to 403 fathoms. Bonefishing and reef fishing on Eleuthera are also quite good.

Adapted with permission from Guide To Caribbean Vacations. For more  information on Fishing in the Bahamas, check out Fish & Dive the Caribbean by M. Timothy O'Keefe and Larry Larsen in our Special Websales bookstore for special savings!


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