Fishing in the Bahamas.

Pro953

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I have a chance to take a two week trip to Eleuthera island this summer in July. I have only fished on the west coast of the US so this will be my first time in the islands/Bahamas.

It will be a trip with my larger family (20 ppl +\-) so some other folks may be interested in fishing as well.

I was considering chartering a boat for one day to do some bottom fishing, snapper, grouper etc… and seeing if I can find a charter to take me spearfishing as that is something I have never done.

Anyone here fish the Bahamas before? I do not fly fish so the flats/bonefish is not super appealing. It’s not lobster season so that is out.

I am sure some other sites for “fish” focused could cover this but I only really follow RS so figured I would give it a shot.

Thanks,
Phil


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Pocoloco

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I grew up in the FL keys and Miami. We have run over to Bahamas via boat to fish and chartered a small plane for two spring break trips to Harbor Island which is a short boat ferry trip from where you are going. You are in for a treat though that time of year will be warm. Because of that spearfishing is what I recommend. I love hunting and spearfishing is hunting under water. They do not allow spearguns in the Bahamas. I recommend using a Hawaii sling, this will require practice and you need to get close to make a clean kill shot. I would target Hogfish. They are easy to identify and the best tasting fish on earth. Wear a camo swim shirt and cap, protects from sun burn and swim down slowly Hogfish are curious and if you stop they will turn and give you an easy broadside shot. After shooting them immediately grab them with both gloved hands and head straight for boat while they are still stunned. This is the dangerous part, because no guns allowed sharks learn that you will likely feed them with injured fish and they are aggressive and dangerous. Swim with a friend as a team, you shoot he protects, never swim alone, I broke this rule once and was almost eaten by a 9’ bull shark. Sharks respect numbers and a lone diver is at huge risk. Our neighbors son was killed spearfishing in Bahamas and our close friend employee was killed collecting tropical fish by himself for his business in the keys.

Take a ferry over to Harbor island, rent a golf cart, no cars allowed on island. Take cart left out of dock follow road along shore till it turns to right, park cart at turn and walk the miles long flat, you will thank me. We bonefish that flat and it is the most beautiful place in the bahamas. Water is crystal clear and the colors into the edges are incredible.

After that take cart to pink sands hotel, walk beach and eat at their outdoor restaurant over looking beach. Harbor island and the water surrounding it and pink sands beach are heaven on earth. The yachts and private jets stacked up there in winter attest to that. You will love it, but be prepared for hot humid weather, stay in the water, drop fishing will be hot so spearfishing and walking the flat for bonefish is where I would focus.

Have fun and feel free to circle back if you need gps coordinates on the flat or other questions

Dan
 

Pocoloco

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Som pics of the flat on Harbor Island, Valentines Marina good casual food, and Pink Sands Beach. Heaven, have fun! Dan
 

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Pro953

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Thank you so much Dan,

I am just starting to dig into things as I will see everyone over Christmas so wanted to get the ball rolling on plans. Excited for the trip and the chance to see some new country/water. I might be bugging you again. Have a great night.

Best,
Phil


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HuntHarder

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"Local boy" boat out of Abaco took us out a few years back. We trolled and caught mahi, black fin tuna, wahoo, mackeral and a few other less species. Great boat if you are near Abaco island.
 

tdot

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The bahamas are excellent for spearfishing. Careful, it's an addictive sport. It can be very similar to hunting, much more then pole fishinh. I missed 2 weeks in the Bahama's this year due to a change in the Covid travel restrictions. Hopefully my trip to Dominca in January doesn't suffer a similar fate. As stated above, no speargun's in the Bahamas, only polespears or Hawaiian Slings. I prefer poles, but that's just me. Don't be afraid to hunt Lionfish, they just have to be handled carefully. But it's easily done, I've killed many and never an issue. They are delicious, easily one of my top 3 fish to eat.

Are you considering scuba or freediving? I freedive, so not sure of the regulations regarding scuba, but it's something worth checking into, some places don't allow scuba spearfishing.
 
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Pro953

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The bahamas are excellent for spearfishing. Careful, it's an addictive sport. It can be very similar to hunting, much more then pole fishinh. I missed 2 weeks in the Bahama's this year due to a change in the Covid travel restrictions. Hopefully my trip to Dominca in January doesn't suffer a similar fate. As stated above, no speargun's in the Bahamas, only polespears or Hawaiian Slings. I prefer poles, but that's just me. Don't be afraid to hunt Lionfish, they just have to be handled carefully. But it's easily done, I've killed many and never an issue. They are delicious, easily one of my top 3 fish to eat.

Are you considering scuba or freediving? I freedive, so not sure of the regulations regarding scuba, but it's something worth checking into, some places don't allow scuba spearfishing.

Thanks, yeah I see guys spearing up here on the coast in my area so I have been tempted for some time, but I need another hobby like a hole in the head.

I did see that we are looking at poles and slings, as I do not know what I am doing it’s likely best to keep
It simple anyway. I am just looking to free dive. I am
hopeful we can find a boat/guide that will take is around and show us the ropes. Just looking for a fun adventure, and to take a few nephews out and show them something new.


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Pro953

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Wow a Bahamas fishing thread and no mention of Bonefish, top destination in the world for Bones. It is spot and stalk fishing.

Yeah, I know it’s a touted fishery, but honestly I am not big on fly fishing and I am more of a meat hunter. I am sure it’s an amazing experience, it just does not appeal to me very much. I will let folks with a passion for that enjoy the flats.


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KHNC

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Me and my lady will be in Spanish Wells first of August for lobster and beach. My buddy goes every year and i have been wanting to do it for a while now. Her 50th birthday trip for 2022. Really looking forward to it. Not looking forward to having to get the stupid vaccine tho.
 

Dos Perros

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My bonefish guide likes to fish for barracuda. His flats boat is stuffed with cuda fishing gear and he doesn't use fly gear. That might be an option. If meat is your interest then don't overlook diving for conch, that could be fun and tasty too.

There are some 'hidey hole' type places in the Bahamas if that's your thing. You certainly aren't limited to the big name / big lodge type places. Man this thread is making me nostalgic.
 

cedahm

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I've been to Eleuthera about a dozen times since 2003. Would be heading back in June if daughter's wedding wasn't right in there.

I've only bonefished and reef fished and never hired anyone. The island is very narrow and many flats are drivable, or at a minimum, hike-able (a machete is sometimes advised, but there are a lot of roads/paths that dead-end into a beach and if not, lots of places with jungle paths or two tracks leading from the nearest 'road' to the shore)

Take a ferry over to Harbor island, rent a golf cart, ..
While I haven't been up to 'Briland in the last several trips, if I were looking to hire a boat, that's probably where I'd go.

The only guide I know of on Eleuthera proper is Paul Petty. I've met him a time or two but never fished with him. People I've talked to that have say he's great. He is a bonefish/flats guide typically, but surely would be able to accommodate some reef fishing, I'd guess. Google should turn him up.

In any case, it's a beautiful place with wonderful people and with the exception of Harbour island and one Marriott-branded property in Governors Harbour, you won't find anything resembling a 'resort feel'.

Say hey to Elliot at Tippy's :)
 

tdot

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Thanks, yeah I see guys spearing up here on the coast in my area so I have been tempted for some time, but I need another hobby like a hole in the head.

I did see that we are looking at poles and slings, as I do not know what I am doing it’s likely best to keep
It simple anyway. I am just looking to free dive. I am
hopeful we can find a boat/guide that will take is around and show us the ropes. Just looking for a fun adventure, and to take a few nephews out and show them something new.


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Have you ever taken any freedive courses?

If not, there are a few online intro courses that can get you started. You may be able to find one locally to you. Once you've had that initial intro, then there are some pretty easy exercises you can do that will really help you for your trip. Driving with a 3min breathhold is significantly more fun and rewarding then a 60second breath hold. It really doesn't take much to get there and it'll pay massive dividends on you trip.

Let me know if you're interested and I can post up some courses/apps that are helpful.
 

Pocoloco

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Wow a Bahamas fishing thread and no mention of Bonefish, top destination in the world for Bones. It is spot and stalk fishing.
100%. We bonefish the flat mentioned above, incredible, bonefish everywhere. No guide required just walk the flat which is my favorite way to fish with a rod, bar hooking up a blue marlin, but spearfishing that is my favorite fishing and the only one that was “cost effective”. Prior to all the current regs we would come back with the largest Yetis Full. Even with fuel to get over to Bimini our cost per pound was low.
 

Pocoloco

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Yeah, I know it’s a touted fishery, but honestly I am not big on fly fishing and I am more of a meat hunter. I am sure it’s an amazing experience, it just does not appeal to me very much. I will let folks with a passion for that enjoy the flats.


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Go hungry, you will have no problem filling the boat. This is what the water should look like in July… flat calm
 

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Pocoloco

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Have you ever taken any freedive courses?

If not, there are a few online intro courses that can get you started. You may be able to find one locally to you. Once you've had that initial intro, then there are some pretty easy exercises you can do that will really help you for your trip. Driving with a 3min breathhold is significantly more fun and rewarding then a 60second breath hold. It really doesn't take much to get there and it'll pay massive dividends on you trip.

Let me know if you're interested and I can post up some courses/apps that are helpful.
Great recommendation, I could only last a short while at 30’ while friends who took deepwater freediving class could just chill down there. They could also freedive to 100’ which is crazy. These guys always filled the boat quickly
 

Phaseolus

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After freediving while spearing almost every day for 3 months I could hit 75’. I told an older guy about how deep we were diving and he bet me a case of beer I couldn’t bring up sand from 75’. Free beer! Poco, it was the late 80’s and we never had any serious issues with sharks, I wonder if there are more sharks these days? Yup, Hogfish are the best.
 

Pocoloco

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After freediving while spearing almost every day for 3 months I could hit 75’. I told an older guy about how deep we were diving and he bet me a case of beer I couldn’t bring up sand from 75’. Free beer! Poco, it was the late 80’s and we never had any serious issues with sharks, I wonder if there are more sharks these days? Yup, Hogfish are the best.
Our retirement dream is to purchase a sailboat and spend winters down there like you did. You were for sure in amazing condition with all that free diving. We used to go out once or twice a week to check our stone crab traps and or spear/lobster and that will keep you fit. I could never dive deep, heart rate would accelerate as it got dark. Our neighbors son was killed by a shark over there and that was in the 80s, but I was just a kid and didn’t go over till I was in my 20s. We mainly hunted 40-50 miles NE bimini and they were bad. One time we went back to back w dive partner and pushed them off with our spears as they came in for us. I sincerely think they learned to associate boat engine turning off w spearfishing and folks often wound fish with a sling or pole spear and the sharks swoop in for dinner. Two of my friends were attacked on trips I didn’t go on. Luckily they were minor foot and leg bite and they had firefighters trained to handle on the boat so they were ok. Both said they never saw the shark that bit them, just a flash. Stateside we used guns and fish didn’t get wounded often, just pull in the line as you surface to boat. With the exception of the 9’ bull that came for me while spearing alone off Miami we never had close calls stateside. I pushed him off with my spear and called it a day as soon as I got back in the boat. Never speared alone again.
 
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