Blue Water Fishing in the Bahamas

Other than the sailfish, the king of them all is perhaps the blue marlin. Catches of the big blue typically range from 100 to 300 pounds or more. Four and five hundred pounders are not uncommon and stories of the one that got away tell of fish in excess of 1,000 pounds. Fantasy? Perhaps; perhaps not. The Sailfish at left was caught and released by Blake Romine

Tuna is another fine blue-water catch. Every spring the bluefin make their annual run through the Bahamas, and anglers leave the docks in droves to participate in any one of a dozen or more tournaments from Bimini to Walker’s Cay. Catches weigh from 100 to 800, even 900 pounds. There’s also blackfin and yellowfin tuna – smaller, but no less fun to catch.

Other excellent deep-water species include the kingfish or king mackerel. They can be caught through the year, although peak time is during the spring and summer. Dolphin (the fish; not Flipper ) are usually found fairly close in along the shoreline, weigh anywhere from five to 20 pounds, and are excellent to eat. Wahoo weigh 15 to 30 pounds; even 60 pounds is not unusual. They, too, make for good eating and are highly prized by sport fishermen. Wahoo are most often found lurking in the deep water off the edge of a reef. The amberjack is another prized sporting fish found most often during the summer months in the cooler, deep waters just off the edge of the reef and closer in-shore the rest of the year. Amberjack can run 20 to 40 pounds.

Sharks are common throughout the Bahamas, especially the Out Islands, and can be found in both shallow waters and deep. Bull sharks, blues, hammerheads, and tiger sharks abound. The truth is, however, that when one is caught, the fight usually lasts only as long as it takes for the shark’s razor-like teeth to bite through the wire traces that hold him. Even so, you’ll remember the battle for a long time to come.

The wily barracuda is found in large numbers, in shallow or deep waters. They can often be seen swimming close to the surface in the clear waters over reefs and sandy banks. Barracuda range in size from a few pounds to about 15 or 20 pounds and, small though they might be, you’re sure of a good fight if you can get one on your hook.
b Unfortunately, barracuda are often the victims of ciguatera poisoning and are, therefore, risky to eat.

For good eating, you can’t beat grouper. Grouper – black, Nassau and yellowfin – can be found swimming lazily around, close to the bottom on the reefs throughout the Bahamas. Catches ranging from 15 to 25 pounds are the norm, and fish of 30 to 45 pounds are not uncommon. Often, your hotel will be willing to clean and cook grouper for you. There’s nothing quite like a grouper steak, caught in the afternoon and eaten the same evening. The snapper too, may be caught on reefs throughout the islands. Most common are the red and gray variety and, though a fish may weigh only a pound or two, fresh-caught snapper is delicious.

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Getting There:

For visitors arriving by air, the Bahamas are served through Nassau by most US airlines and by international airlines from Canada and Europe, and to a slightly more limited degree through Freeport.

The Out Islands are served mainly by Bahamas Air via connections in Nassau and Freeport.

The Bahamas is also a major destination for the cruise ship industry

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