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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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