03-23-2006, 05:17 PM
Greetings- just registered onto the site after reading some great articles. My reason for posting is this- have a trip planned to Exuma in June- going with the wife, so will not be my normal "fish, drink, sleep" trip. I did some research on guides/DIY and was curious if anybody had any suggestions as to my best options- we are staying up north (think it is close to Steventon) at the resort in Emerald Bay and didn't know if there were some guides in that area that the gurus on this site suggest, or flats around there for some DIY. I have yet to fish Exuma- been to Andros and Deadman's many times- so any help is greatly appreciated.
03-23-2006, 08:23 PM
Welcome to the site!
Its been a few years since I fished Exuma but I always rated the Northern end of Great Exuma over the flats to the South of Georgetown. Two guides, Celey Smith and Abby McKenzie used to operate up there but I have a feeling things might have changed. Both have the knowledge to set you up for a grand slam if the tides are right. For DIY the safest bet to avaoid harrasment is the beach flats of Bahama Sound on Western Side and another area up North the name of which escapes me.
Others who have been recently, please add more....
Exuma is a gorgeous place! It's convenient and there are huge bones there - in fact I got nearly spooled by the biggest bone of my life there (which broke off eventually).
However the guides association can make it a but tenuous for DIY. They have spun each other up quite a bit that DIY is evil and will approach you if they see you in many cases. I am not comfortable with it as a DIY destination because there are certain guidelines you must follow if you don't like to get into a debate with these insistent guides association members.
I agree with Adrian's recommendation but last visit there a guide was illegally building a ramp to launch his boat from BS property and gave us grief. An offer to leave him a rod turned the tide immediately, making me think that bringing a rod as a peace offering might get you some mileage.
But there are ways to skin the cat...
the guides typically avoid places where there is a lot of tourism, require a lot of very expensive gas to reach, and get off the water by 4:30pm. Many of the touristy places are easy to reach, and what is hard to run to by boat can be snuck into by car. Even the most obvious places can be fished in peace after 4:30 in a place that doesn't get dark into late evening.
If you are hiring a guide and it sounds like you are, ask him where you might fill in a few hours before and after and I think he'll steer you right.
Gorgeous place though, I hope your experience is a good one! It's not the island that makes me hesitate to DIY, it's the over-protective lodge business mentality. This makes me bring my dollars to other destinations and I find that most friends feel that way about Exuma because of the selfishness of the guides association.
Again if you are hiring guides the place should be amazing for you.
03-24-2006, 11:20 AM
Thanks for all of the input Adrian & juro. I will heed your advice juro about the animosity towards DIY- and I also will try to track down Celey and Abby's contact info. I like the idea of DIY- for the adventure and also the financial aspect- but I also know that I like to be "on fish" when I am there and since this is new water and a limited stay I don't want to be kicking myself when I get home. I spent a good couple of weeks when I went to the FL Keys just trying to figure out the tides, backcountry, etc. so I don't want to make the same mistake again. Also, since it looks like a guided trip is on the horizon, are there permit and tarpon opportunities up north? I read about the southern end having permit- but didn't know if I should bring the 10 weight too (biggest stick I have). Thanks again guys- already tasting the conch salad and Kalik- JL
03-24-2006, 02:22 PM
The Tarpon we found with Abby run between 65 and 90 lb. I did see a Tarpon roll below the bridge at Peace and Plenty once so I'm guessing they are to be found if you really know where to look - but thats a lot of looking.
I've seen Permit at the very Southern end at Sandy Cay. Definitely a guided trip - you need a boat and its a long way from Georgetown but it is awesome scenery down there.
Up North with Abby we found Tarpon and Permit on the same day. The Tarpon were willing but the Permit tight-lipped.
p.s. Check you PM for contact info.