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Fishing in Abaco

December 16th, 2009 by admin

by Jennifer Hudson

Whatever your fishing preference, whether you enjoy just relaxing and throwing a hand line from the rocks or whether you prefer the excitement of doing battle for hours with a giant marlin offshore, Abaco is sure to provide the experiences you are looking for. Abaco is known to have some of the best fishing in the Bahamas and has a large variety of fish to satisfy every angler’s taste.

Tahiti Beach

A number of seasoned fishermen arrive here in their own personal boats which they have sailed over from the United States’ Atlantic Seaboard. Some dock their boats in marinas while others prefer the experience of anchoring out at sea. Many come by air to pick up their boat, which they leave here all year, or else to charter or rent a boat from the many rental companies on Abaco. Some people like to hire a guide, especially for their first few times out, and there are many professional fishing guides in Marsh Harbour and the cays who are happy to offer their services.

The reefs which surround Abaco are home to many species of fish which include grouper, grunts, porgies, hogfish, hind, jacks, goggle-eyes and many different types of snapper. These reefs are very fragile and require being treated with care. Further out beyond the cays the Atlantic Ocean offers dolphin, Wahoo, tuna (mahi mahi), bonita, mackerel and barracuda. These deeper waters are also home to the huge bill fish which keep the sport fishermen very happy. The Blue Marlin which appears on the Bahamian Coat of Arms and the $100 bill is prized by many. Each year many Billfish Tournaments are held on Abaco, drawing fisherman from far and wide.

According to a seasoned fisherman, bait can be difficult to find and he suggests using a small hook or tiny jigs to catch small fish as bait. Conch makes great bait as it is tasty and durable.

conch with fishing line

Trolling is a popular way of fishing, mostly done by using a rod and reel over the back of the boat while it is moving. This may be done anywhere but trolling for yellow tail and grouper is especially popular inside the reef at Spanish and Powell Cays.

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Spear fishing is a sport enjoyed by many but it must be borne in mind that it is restricted to the use of Hawaiian sling only and is not allowed within 200 yards of the coast of Abaco. For all other fishing, gear is restricted to hook and line and the maximum number of rods that can be used at any one time is six.

There are a few other fishing restrictions of which the visiting fisherman needs to be aware. There is a closed season for both grouper and crawfish during which time they may not be caught. Closed season for Grouper is sometime in December to February, depending on when they are spawning, and the closed season for lobster/crawfish is April 1 to July 31.

The bag limit for lobster is six tails per person at any time and the minimum size limits are three-and-three-eighths-inches carapace length or six-inch tail length. Egg bearing females are protected. For wahoo, dolphin and kingfish, the bag limit is six of any combination per person.

The harvesting and possession of conch without a well-formed lip is prohibited and the bag limit is ten per person at any one time. The taking of any marine animals from the National Sea Parks is prohibited.

Access to the miles and miles of world class bonefishing flats of the Marls and Cherokee Sound makes Abaco a prime location for bonefishing and it has become one of the most popular bonefishing destinations in the world. Professional guides with years of experience who know the flats and tides and have a profound understanding of the bonefish and its behavior can be hired and they will provide a shallow draft ‘flats’ boat and top class fishing gear. After motoring you to the flats they will then silently pole you through the quiet waters. Fishing on the marls is a unique experience as the flats are also a habitat for many types of bird such as the heron and egret. Bonefish is in abundance not only in the Marls but also in Cherokee, Green Turtle Cay and Sandy Point. There are many large bonefish to be caught but all must be released. A great advantage is that there is no closed season for bonefish. Several bonefish lodges spread throughout Abaco provide comfortable accommodation, the most recently opened being the luxury Delphi Club in South Abaco next to Serenity Point with very easy access to the Marls.

Exterior Delphi Club by delphi.bahamas on Picasa http://picasaweb.google.com/delphi.bahamas/TheDelphiClubAbacoBahamas#

Abaco’s excellent climate, which provides good weather for fishing almost all year round, and its pristine, clear waters free of pollution make it an ideal place to enjoy whatever type of fishing takes your fancy.

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