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Videos: Bonefishing in Abaco

October 13th, 2010

Bonefishing in Abaco is a favorable pastime for locals and visitors alike. So much so, that several bonefish guides from the islands of Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence have initiated a proposal to start a Bahamian Flyfishing Federation (BFF) to promote the conservation of bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations as well as the habitats on which they depend.

The Bahamas, Abaco in particular, is the best fly-fishing destination in the world. If you haven’t tried it, this angling experience is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding. Many claim that once you start, you’ll never stop.

As part of his father’s special 60th birthday celebration, “Hook Shots” host Joe Cermele took his dad on a bonefishing trip in the Bahamas.

What else could commemorate such a milestone birthday better than tuna, dolphin, bonefish and lots of island rum? Their videos on Field & Stream show what a great time that had.

Mike Mazur from Fly Fishing in Saltwaters also enjoyed the outstanding bonefishing here.

Jack Pittard, master bonefisherman, also enjoyed catching the big bonefish in Abaco.

(More big bonefishing videos from Abaco.)

For those of you in the area, the Abaco Bonefish Roundup is being held October 17th-23rd. Anglers will have the opportunity to catch and tag bonefish alongside Bonefish and Tarpon Trust scientist, who are conducting a first of its kind tagging program on Abaco. The goal is to have guides and anglers catch, measure, weigh and tag hundreds of bonefish.

As these fish are re-caught in the future, guides and anglers can enter the size and location changes into a database so we will begin to learn more about the bonefish. There will also be dozens of fish implanted with sonic tags so scientists can better understand bonefish movement in relation to their spawning habits. For more information, visit affga.com.

And, if you’re new to bonefishing or need a great guide, Serenity Point’s neighbours at the Black Fly Bone Fish Club and The Delphi Club are top notch.

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Growth and Prosperity in Abaco

September 15th, 2010

Abaco’s growth and prosperity continue to climb in yet another noteworthy series of development milestones.

Airlift acquisition targets Out Islands
Bahamas Tribune
US-based AvStar Aviation is hoping to open up airlift to Abaco from West Palm Beach by year-end, in a bid to expand the operations of recently-acquired Twin Air Calypso, which has serviced the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale for more than 50 years … the new service—frequently travelled by West Palm and Abaco residents—could deliver 100 individuals to Abaco four days per week through scheduled service.

Abaco to get community hospital
The Freeport News
The Ministry of Health is placing greater focus on the medical needs of family island patients and plans to construct two new state-of-the-art community hospitals on Abaco and Exuma. The community hospital on Abaco will make it much easier for residents to gain access to medical care and in many cases, avoid having to travel to New Providence.

Maxwell’s Grocery re-opens in Marsh Harbour
Bahama Islands Info
When the popular Maxwell’s Grocery burned down on the night of July 21st 2008 many wondered if this was the end. But on August 13th a brand-new, sparkling, and spacious Maxwell’s re-opened in Marsh Harbour to rave reviews.

38% Crown Land revenue increase
Bahamas Tribune
“The Parcel Information Management System (PIMS) is fully being implemented and will contribute to the efficient functioning of the local land markets in support of private sector development, including facilitation of foreign investment, thereby contributing directly to the objectives of the bank’s strategy for the Bahamas,” the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said. “Geographic profiles of Andros, Inagua and Abaco represent a good point of departure for land use and natural resources management.”

Travel Off the Cuff – Expect the Unexpected on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island
The Province
Like fly-fishing southern Alberta’s Bow River, flats fishing off Great Abaco, the Bahamas’ third-largest island, is also world class, says avid Calgary fly fisherman Dave Byler … Excellent fishing is just one reason the retired Suncor Energy vice-president and wife Carol decided to invest in emerging Schooner Bay Harbour Village in southern Great Abaco.

Contract signed for architectural design of Marsh Harbour Airport Terminal
Nassau Guardian
Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant signed a $600,000 contract with the Architects Incorporated Company for the architectural design of the Marsh Harbour Airport terminal building and fire/crash facility. The current 3,315 square foot building will be replaced with a new 24,000 square foot single-storey terminal and fire crash facility immediately west of the existing terminal.

Walker’s Cay dream gets green light as Bahamas Investment Authority approves plans
Bahamas Island Info
A multi-million dollar bid to revive the once-famed Walker’s Cay fishing and diving resort, which would create “a minimum” of 200 jobs for Bahamians, has been approved by the Bahamas Investment Authority.

Furniture Plus announces the opening of its beautiful third home in Abaco
Bahama Islands Info
The walls are freshly painted. The furniture boutiques are all in place. Shiny rows of appliances stand at attention. And the doors to the newest Furniture Plus location at Maxwell’s Plaza in Marsh Harbour are open … With all newly-hired Abaconians manning the richly appointed 20,000 square foot showroom and shoppers excitedly streaming in, there is no sign of an economic downturn anywhere to be seen.

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Ask a Local: Patti Gonsalves

April 15th, 2010

Ask a Local is a series in our blog that looks at life in Abaco. Today’s local is Patti Gonsalves who writes Today in Abaco.

patti-gonsalvesPatti Gonsalves is another perfect local to provide insight into our “Out Island” as she and her husband, Mark, have lived in Abaco for 10 years and are permanent residents of the Bahamas.

The couple owns and operates Cruise Abaco and Watercolours Cottages on Lubbers Quarters, an outer Cay off of Marsh Harbour. They volunteer with Friends of The Environment and help to preserve Abaco’s protected reef parks. Patti also owns Sea Gems Jewelry, which specializes in sterling and fine silver with reclaimed Abaco beach glass. “I sell to many local shops here — treasure hunting on beaches is my passion,” says Patti.

Patti and Mark were drawn to Abaco because of “the people and the lifestyle. The simplicity of living here is wonderful and crime is virtually non-existent.”

One of the Patti’s favorite local attractions is the Sea Of Abaco, which she explains as “a totally unique protected body of water that allows for boating almost any given day, surrounded by islands for exploring everywhere. Our reefs here are some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean as they are so alive and vibrant.”

sea of abaco sunset 3

And for guests coming in for a very brief time, Patti recommends a “daysail and a trip to one of our gorgeous reefs for snokeling. I also would suggest, if they are game, that a day offshore fishing or inland bonefishing would be fun.”

In general, Patti feels that “Abaco is the place for anyone looking for great boating, sailing, fishing, diving and snorkeling.”

Abaco Dec 2009 LOBSTER BABY 010

“There are great resorts and restaurants to visit throughout Abaco. There are no cruise ships and there is no gambling, which is why they call this “The Family Islands.” Nightlife is available if you want it, but it’s not the focus,” remarks Patti.

As for events happening on the island, the best way to know what’s going on is to ask. “People are so friendly here and are more than happy to help you find the adventure you desire.”

Patti Gonsalves can be found at:
Today in Abaco
Cruise Abaco

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Fishing in Abaco

December 16th, 2009

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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Get Hooked – Bonefishing in the Abacos

November 25th, 2009

bonefishing in abaco

Picture yourself wading in the warm waters of the Bahamas, your fly-fishing rod in hand. The wind eases, calming the ripples on the surface allowing you to catch sight of a shadow beneath the water. You cast into the gin clear water and your perfectly presented fly catches the eye of the fish you’ve been stalking. It turns its head and makes a beeline for your fly. This is it. The rush. The excitement. This is bonefishing in the Abacos.

The pristine setting provides the ultimate backdrop for flyfishing dreams. Seemingly untouched, the flats surrounding the Abacos and Schooner Bay are unlike anything else in the world. It’s no wonder those interested in bonefishing flock here – it simply doesn’t get any better. And Serenity Point is at the heart of the action.

Bonefishing is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, angling experiences in the world. Many claim that once you start, you’ll never stop. The water in this area is so clear and the coloration of the skittish bonefish matches the mix of the rippled surface and sandy bottom so well that catching one of these elusive creatures is one of the most precious jewels in your flyfishing crown.

For the most part, anglers choose to use flyfishing gear to catch bonefish, and the technique of wading in the shallows or using a push pole boat mean that human impact on the environment is minimal. Plus the catch and release nature of bonefishing ensures that this is a sport fishery that will stay in the Abacos for generations to come.

Serenity Point is ideally located near the hot spots of Bahamian bonefishing. Let’s take a look:

Schooner Bay: With inlets, flats, and islands dotting the entire bay, this area is home to bonefish by the hundreds. Don’t be surprised when you see the water come alive when the fish start feeding, throwing their tails in the air. Serenity Point sits right on Schooner Bay – you can walk out your door and find great bonefishing action.

The Marls: Only a short boat trip from Serenity Point, the Marls have reached mythic status in bonefishing circles. With its pristine waters flowing around mangroves, cays and shallows, it is a haven for bonefish (as well as permit, tarpon and barracuda) and professional guides with push pole boats will ensure you’ll find fish any time of the year.

Green Turtle Cay: This beautiful islet is surrounded by expanses of shallow flats, perfect for wading to find bonefish. You’ll need a good set of eyes to find the fish, assuming you aren’t distracted by the stunning views that surround you. A boat is needed to get to Green Turtle Cay – well worth the trip!

Cross Harbour: A system of flats near the legendary “Hole-in-the-Wall” that produces big fish and great angling opportunities. Its location is a just around the corner from Sandy Point, about 20 miles south of Serenity Point. Along with bonefish, generously sized permit also call this area home.

Moore’s Island: A quick boat ride across Schooner Bay and into the ocean you come across this idyllic spot where huge bonefish swarm the cays and shallows. This is a place of storybooks. Put your line in the water and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime – and to think you are only a half an hour away from your home at Serenity Point.

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