Fishing in the Bahamas

When it comes to tropical fishing destinations it is hard to beat the Bahamas Islands. Tourists from all over the world flock to the Bahamas Islands each winter for the warm weather and plentiful fish. There are many opportunities to fish on each island that make up the Bahamas.

Located between South East Florida and Northern Cuba the Bahamas are home to over 700 islands which each have its own unique fishing opportunities from deep sea fishing to reef fishing to shore fishing along the islands. Visitors to the Bahamas do not need a fishing license if they are fishing from a boat owned or rented to you by a Bahamian citizen, however make certain of the local regulations before dropping a line in the water for yourself.

The Bahamas are home to Yellow and Black Fin Tuna, Grouper, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, and Red snapper along with many other kinds of fish along with crabs, conch, crawfish, manta rays, and turtles.

Yellow Tuna and Black Fin Tuna can be fished off shore from the Bahamas Islands from February until September. Local hot spots include the area around the “Tongue of the Ocean” off South Andros. The Tongue of the Ocean is a deep underwater oceanic trench about 20 miles (32km) wide by 150 miles (240km) long and varying from 3,600 to 6,600 feet 1,100 to 2000m) deep that separates the islands of New Providence from Andros. Tuna can weigh as much as 800 pounds although catches of 100 to 300 lbs are more common. Tuna is caught by trolling at a depth of only 20 to 30 feet using artificial squid lures or live herring fish. Tuna are known for their exciting, yet exhausting fights for both the fish and fisherman.

tuna fishing in the bahamas
Tuna are an exciting fish to catch. They will fight for hours and attract fishermen and fisherwomen from around the world to the Bahamas.

The Bahamas are home to many different kinds of grouper. People fishing in South Andros will catch Black Grouper, Strawberry Grouper, Tiger Grouper, and named after the capital of the Bahamas the Nassau Grouper. Grouper grow to about 3’ long and can weigh 200lbs. They feed by inhaling their prey rather than biting them and can be caught with bait weighing 2 lbs or with diving plugs either by jigging or trolling. It is illegal in the Bahamas to possess a grouper weighing less than 3 pounds.

Mahi-Mahi are beautifully coloured with bright yellow sides and blue dorsal fins. They are found in tropical waters all over the world. Mahi-Mahi feed near the surface often around floating debris or weed patches. They eat crabs, shrimp, squid, mackerel, and other forage fish. Mahi-mahi spawn up to three times a year laying upwards of 1 million eggs so this fish is plentiful and can reach sizes of up to 40 pounds although fishermen tell tales of fish weighing up to 65 pounds in the Bahamas and are best fished in this region from March to July.

mahi mahi in the bahamas
Mahi-mahi have amazing bright yellow and blue colours. The are plentiful in the Bahamas and can reach weights of over 40 pounds.

Wahoo are a long barracuda-like fish that also inhabits the tropical waters around the Bahamas. Wahoo (known as Ono in Hawaii and Peto in Central America) have magnificent silver and bright blue colourings. They also have razor sharp teeth and can swim at speeds very close to 60mph (100kph) making them one of the fastest fish in the ocean. Wahoo can grow to 8’ long and weigh up to 180 pounds. Wahoo are usually caught be trolling in the Bahamas often only a few minutes from shore. They are most often caught from November to March, but can be caught year-round.

fishing wahoo in the bahamas
Wahoo inhabit the waters around the Bahamas. This fish can reach swimming speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour (100km/h).

Red Snapper are another brightly coloured fish that are caught on the edge of the “Tongue of The Ocean”. They typically stay near the bottom in waters from 30 to 200’ deep. Red Snapper are usually about 15” to 24” long but can grow to nearly 36”. Red Snapper fish can grow quite large, but the heaviest reported catch was just less than 50 pounds. Red Snapper prefer to stay near the bottom on reefs, rock, and man-made reefs such as shipwrecks and sunken oil platforms. Red Snapper tend to nibble at bait so a finesse approach to fishing is required. Lures with multiple hooks are a benefit and baits such as squid, medium sized fish and even large artificial jigs are used.

The Bahamas are a great place to take your next vacation. The people are friendly, and temperatures average 25°C (76 °F) through out the year. Tropical rain storms are common during the summer months. Tourism is a major employer in the economy and there are many resorts available to fit any budget. Fishing charters are available throughout the islands for short cruises of only a couple hours to full day excursions.

Nassau is the hub of travel with many major cruise ships arriving daily. Once the ships are in port, shuttles will take you out to your resort hotel where fishing charters with guides experienced in the area of the islands where you are staying can be booked. Well known writer Ernest Hemingway made frequent trips to the Bahamas for the tuna fishing and each year thousands of other people visit the Bahamas for some of the best deep sea fishing in the world.

Copyright 2019 Mike Wilson