JohnP

Bahamas Bonefish

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A place I have not fished yet, but my inlaws - who do not fish, went down to the Stella Maris Bonefish Club before they added the "Bonefish Club" part to it :-) Once they did that my wife ruled it out for the family, but I will say my inlaws who just wanted to chill on the beach really enjoyed themselves. Supposedly the fishing is good as well, worth some time on Google perhaps...

 

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Exuma (2 times) and Long Island (1 time) for me.

The DIY flats are more easy to find on Exuma, you need to rent a car to have access at the different flats too.

We go back to Exuma end february, if you need for infos....?

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If you want seclusion and mix with the locals, Landrail Point on Crooked Island offers reasonable small cottages, great guides, DIY small tarpon, bottom fishing and wonderful people. Downside is one restaurant, no bars, limited access to DIY flats. The restaurant is family style eating with real interesting conversations.

Acklins Island has a good B and B, good DIY flats, limited pressure, local bars with local people, almost no tourism.

Both Acklins and Crooked have only two flights there a week and require an overnight stay in Nassau to make the connection.

Eleuthera has a variety of settlements, lots of vacationers, many accessible DIY flats with steady pressure on them. A lot of variation in lodging and eating including "take away" 

Long Island is similar to Eleuthera with a few more bonefish lodges and less accessible flats.

Somewhere in the Bahamas there's something for most everyone.

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I spent a week around Christmas last year (and heading back on Dec 21st this year) with my wife and 12 and 14 year old kids in Long Island Bahamas (~150 miles southeast of Nassau).  The island is 70 miles long and is reported to have 5,000 residents.  I think I may have seen 20 of them during my week there (I think we saw more sheep than people), and I saw one other family (naturally, they lived 15 minutes from us at home in PA - never met them before, haven't seen them since).  Rented a house on the beach (east side of island) and my 12 year old son and I were able to kayak to several spots and catch bonefish unguided all week.  Fishing was awesome for someone who spends a lot of time not catching much of anything at the Jersey shore - bonefish, grouper and barracuda.  Wife and daughter loved it - spending most of the time on the beach.  We explored the southern end of the island and the two "blue holes" - one of which (Dean's Blue Hole) is the deepest on the planet (~650 feet deep and you can walk 50 yards from the beach to get to the drop-off). 

 

I have always thought of Christmas as a time to be with family and hope for snow, but after 48 years of PA Christmas's, I'm heading back in a few weeks to spend Christmas in the Bahamas again. 

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Also worth noting that lodging wasn't bad, car rental was reasonable, but flights were expensive (and extra $1,000 to get 4 of us from Nassau to and from Long Island).  And a case of local weak beer was $75. 

Cobbs bonefish.jpg

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Long Island sounds like a good fit.  I've been there a few times.  If you go, I'd rent a car and place on a beach,  and if staying in the central part of the island definitely plan on dinning at Chez Pierre.  Best food I've had in the Bahamas.   

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Seascape Inn - Mangrove Cay ( the middle chunk of Andros Island)  Very friendly and unpretentious.  Great breakfast, okay dinner, lots of booze if you want it - we did not -Very little nightlife, very few restaurants - gorgeous water DIY-able and access to guides if you want them - my wife loved it but was a bit surprised at how ungroomed the basically deserted beaches were - gorgeous water.

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On 12/6/2018 at 10:51 AM, bigredgolf said:

Apparently you can also stay at Chez Pierre, too right?

Yes, but you'd need to rent a separate cottage if you had kids with you.  The cottages there are very basic and the beach there doesn't offer much in terms of bonefishing.  Wouldn't be my first choice for a place to stay on LI, but the food is worth a visit for sure.  His pizza is awesome too, so if the kids get sick of local food, call and order a pizza for pick up.  Just make sure your rental car has a decent suspension.  It's a rough road in!  

 

I'll get back there someday, but I'm going to hit xuma again this February for another shot at those airport flats fish.  Good options on that island too as others have noted.  Heck, lots of good choices all over the Bahamas.  

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Are the flats on Great Exuma DIY or do you still need a permit, whether wading or in a boat without a guide, to fish them? 

I'm not up to date on the regulations there but I do know there was some negative discussion from regular annual fishermen fishing Great Exuma who learned they needed a guide to fish there, whether on the flats themselves from shore or in a private boat. At that time, I think it had a lot to do with the decrease of vacationing bonefishers returning to the island as well as those who purchased condos/timeshares right on the water who, no longer, were allowed to fish w/o a guide/permit. Are these regulations still in effect? 

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16 hours ago, skagittarius said:

Yes, but you'd need to rent a separate cottage if you had kids with you.  The cottages there are very basic and the beach there doesn't offer much in terms of bonefishing.  Wouldn't be my first choice for a place to stay on LI, but the food is worth a visit for sure.  His pizza is awesome too, so if the kids get sick of local food, call and order a pizza for pick up.  Just make sure your rental car has a decent suspension.  It's a rough road in!  

 

I'll get back there someday, but I'm going to hit xuma again this February for another shot at those airport flats fish.  Good options on that island too as others have noted.  Heck, lots of good choices all over the Bahamas.  

"Airport flats fish".....yes, those flats show tons of small bonefish, note: small. Looked like hundreds coming over the flats on the tide, along with lemon sharks just waiting for me to hook up and try to grab the bonefish from my hand as I was trying to safely unhook it. One shark actually jumped at my hand to get the fish! Lucky me, he missed both the fish and my hand. When I released the bonefish, the shark followed it and ate it. It was like, if you were lucky enough to catch a small bonefish on the airport flats, you felt like you were feeding the sharks, catch & release or not, and the guide will frown on you keeping your bonefish (why would I?) while he, alone, would take it home to eat. Same story, G. Exuma barracuda. Guides will def. take a barracuda home to eat but will advise you to release it, (or ask you if you would like to give it to him:).  I wouldn't target Great Exuma just to fish the "Airport flats", which are overfished, anyway, just my opinion. However, I would definitely recommend anyone from the Rolle family on any of the Exumas as they are concerned guides who want you to catch fish and are friendly and considerate. 

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