Bahamian no-DIY thing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bahamian no-DIY thing


josko
10-24-2006, 09:52 AM
Although it looks like the no DIY legislation in the Bahamas did not make it through this time around, I just came across this website: http://www.bahamasconservation.org which looked fine enough until I looked at the list of directors - now it seems to me like the new front for the no-DIY push. Has anybody else had dealings with this organization?

mdbones
10-24-2006, 10:48 AM
Not sure if it equates to a threat to DIY Bonefishing but I do agree that it is heavily populated by those with financial/self interests in keeping anglers in lodges.

Prescott Smith, Andros (owner), Joel Moxey, Mangrove Cay Andros (owner), Justin Sands- Abaco Island (indendent), Andy Smith-Andros Island (owner), JJ Allen Dames- Exuma (independent), David Pinder- Grand Bahama (independent), Percy Darville- Berry Islands (independent), Prescott Smith- Andros, Kendall Williamson- Acklins & Crooked Island, Patrick Roberts- Abaco (Owner).

While some of the threats listed I agree with the first one seems odd, especially when conservation is the stated purpuse of the group (unless conservation mean's conservation of income).

Vacation homes are being developed into fishing lodges in South Andros, Exuma and Abaco.
Foreign guides without proper permits resulting in revenue loss/threats for local flyfishing industry and potential over fishing
Lodges developed by non-Bahamians further prohibits Bahamians from developing the industry

distant angler
10-25-2006, 08:30 PM
what of the idea of a DIY bonefish association that had a couple of thousand members to help remind those in charge how its members add to the economy
of the islands and elsewhere,do the math,money talks.
keep dues cheap($10-20),some services of limited value,as most associations are,but a voice that could raise the eyebrows of the guys (island economy) folks that potentially could suffer if SPECIAL interests had their way.
i'll direct the effort if two thousand of you send me $15 bucks each(kidding)!
any takers.....i'm not a lodge owner or a guide just DIYer like MOST.

juro
10-28-2006, 07:04 AM
Exclusivity has kept flyfishing small for centuries. It's only since the masses have participated that it has grown into a large industry. In restricting casual DIY fishing I believe this commercial interest group (alias conservation group) is only limiting their own potential.

The Bahamian Archipelago is a vast and largely unpopulated region. By controlling general access to waters in a way that goes even beyond the flats that all guides could possibly cover a major source of growth for this trade is eliminated and people will go elsewhere.

Clients of moderate incomes don't get to spending thousands of dollars on a whim. They try bonefishing casually when they get a chance and as they become more affluent, more addicted and less prone to explore on their own they evolve into regular paying customers.

Removing this ability to casually fall in love with the sport is like saying it's illegal to flirt, date and fall in love with someone of your choice- we must immediately proceed to full engagement with authorized lovers only. Just not practical, and for me it will drive me away from the Bahamas entirely if this regulation is put into place.

I will seek a more genuine / less selfish venue, it's a big world out there. For me flyfishing is about enchanment with the pure essence of what this earth has to offer and sometimes that means walking alone on a flat with no name in the middle of nowhere on a barely populated island with no guide services. Am I supposed to not fish there too? Most of the Bahamas is practically deserted.

My main point is that most people who hire guides are doing so because they already intriuged with the previous casual experiences they have had with bonefish. A few casts while on a family vacation for instance - is that illegal?

Taking that away means less people who will go through all that to get there when there are many more accomodating fisheries around the world. They are only limiting their own clientele by prohibiting the casual DIY that leads up to hiring of guides.

.02

Guernseybass
10-28-2006, 11:29 AM
also what about those that live and work there ( but not in flyfishing) ?

imagine living there, coming home from work and NOT being able to throw a few casts in the evening :mad:

( and yes i was hoping to work there oneday - big finance industry in the bahamas :cool: )

mark

juro
10-28-2006, 06:35 PM
mark,

I'll split the apartment with you. They must need a computer nerd too to track all that finance activity.

The benefits to locals are not just in access, but livelihood. The lodges do not spread the wealth to all of the people on the island but put all the dollars into a few hands - the owners and guides.

When we visited stores and bars they told us we were the first to stop in although visitors have been driven by in lodge vehicles for many years.

One of the most pleasant aspects of DIY is the down to earth interaction with the beautiful people of the Bahamas and the "make your own sunshine" approach to life.

mugsy
10-29-2006, 02:25 AM
Just the groups I've been with or will be with (tickets bought/$$down on accommodations) in the last couple years:

29 bodies total to Acklins and/or Eleuthera and over 300 nights stay. Multiply that out for airline tickets, accommodations, car rentals, boat rentals, food, booze, taxis, trinkets, gasoline, etc. and it aint chump change! That's almost $12,000 in airline tickets for Bahama's air; and at $100/day total expenses per person, that's over $30,000 for daily expenses, for a total of over $40,000 - which is probably quite low given our lifestyle in Eluethera!!! Destinations were chosen for DIY opportunities, and few, if any would have gone if DIY wasn't allowed.

If DYI is outlawed, I think it would be totally appropriate that all of the lodges and guides that push it through be very publicly, personally recognized so they can be properly rewarded for the consequences of their efforts.

Personally, I don't think it will happen and if it does, it won't be in place very long -the consequences are just too obvious.

Eddie
10-29-2006, 07:35 PM
Prescott Smith, Andros (owner), Joel Moxey, Mangrove Cay Andros (owner), Justin Sands- Abaco Island (indendent), Andy Smith-Andros Island (owner), JJ Allen Dames- Exuma (independent), David Pinder- Grand Bahama (independent), Percy Darville- Berry Islands (independent), Prescott Smith- Andros, Kendall Williamson- Acklins & Crooked Island, Patrick Roberts- Abaco (Owner).


The way to put this to rest is to NEVER book with any of these guys. Tell your friends and spread the word. The notion that DIY anglers pose any kind of threat to those guides and lodges makes it clear that they are lazy and incompetent. They are a proud people (no doubt) and many of them are fine fishermen. But really....afraid a bunch of gringos driving around in a rental cars...what kind of guide takes his clients to the local glory hole? A guide that doesn't know any better or a guide that is too lazy and cheap to motor to a less pressured spot.

And how many people actually DIY? Sure you might see a few pounding the same flats, but I suspect that it is a small amount of people. The Bahamas are huge. Most cannot be accessed by road. These guides are so greedy, that the thought of a couple of people not paying THEM to fish on THIER flats drives them nuts. They could care less that inn keepers and resturants and other local bussineses are making money.

Illegal guides? Anyone here know anyone that has fished with an illegal guide? There must be a ton of them:rolleyes:

I have to disagree with Juro's thought that a significant number of people start out by DYI and eventually go to a lodge. I know a few that have gone the other way (lodges, guides, then DYI) but I can't think of anyone who went DIY first. I'm sure that someone out there went that route. But not many. I could totally see people go DIY and guided on the same trip. I suspect that some people are inclined to go DIY and some guided. Juro, you may dream of a guided trip, and your funds might not allow it right now, but I know you well enough that you are as likely to hire a bone fish guide as you are to hire a steelhead guide or a striper guide. Maybe X-mas island or the Keys...or the Dean..but not the Bahamas, Chahtam or the Kowlitz.
That's part of the problem here: The Bahamas guides think that they are somehow the equal to the Keys guides ("they make $450 a day...so should I"). But they don't have the expenses or work ethic to justify the $450.

I know that I will regret this rant:lildevl:

Bob Bergquist
10-29-2006, 10:31 PM
The only illegal guiding I have heard about has been from Andros guides, and mostly by Florida boats reef fishing. One was a "mothership" operation working on the west side of S Andros that the guides were proud to say they boarded one night and ran them off by threatening them. Never sure about all the tall tails I hear over there but that was their story.

mugsy
10-30-2006, 12:36 AM
I think it depends on the person and the purpose of the trip as to whether a DIY or lodge arrangement is chosen. Some people may never do a DIY because they don't have the time, ability or desire to make it work on their own. Their focus is to have the most opportunities to catch fish that they can get. A good, reputable guide will provide that. A DIY trip simply won't produce the opportunities a good guided trip will unless you (or someone you are with, eh Bob?) has put in a lot of time figuring out the water and the fish. To enjoy DIY you have to enjoy the experience as much as the opportunities at fish. Some DIY folk will always do DIY's, but like me, may well mix in some guided days to shorten the learning curve and up the catch rate; or go on an occasional lodge trip so the wife or others on the trip can enjoy the ammenities. Frequently, the occasional lodge trip is chosen in an area the person is familiar with from past DIY. Obviously, the reverse can be true. Hopefully, as I get older, finances will allow for more lodge opportunites if I so desire; but quite honestly, while finances may effect frequency of trips, I don't think finances are as key to our choices as are our personalities.

In short, if DIY is outlawed the lodge/guided trip customers will continue to use lodges/guides, but the DIY folks will not switch to a guided trip and their infusion of cash to the Bahamas economy will be lost, as will their occasional use of lodges and guides.

josko
10-30-2006, 01:53 PM
Whoa, guys, easy!
Whether we like their stance on DIY or not, this group is doing some great things for conservation in the Bahamas. A big problem on Andros is 'Cloroxing' reefs; these guys are on the frontline, dealing with this daily. Also, flats gilnets are not an issue anymore - we can thank the guides federation for that one.
There's a lot of proactive work involving blue holes - cleanup, access, etc. that we can thank the Bahamas Conservation group.
Bahamas has probably the best bonefish guides anywhere - it didn't happen by accident.

As to foreign guides, I'd be amazed if anyone HASN'T seen them, at least if we define 'illegal' by the admittedly strict Bahamian laws on non-Bahamian nationals generating income in the islands.

I think boycotting a group that's doing a lot of good because we don't like their stand on DIY fishing is going a bit too far.

mugsy
10-30-2006, 05:11 PM
Outfitters and guides are frequently on the leading edge of conservation, both in knowledge and efforts. They are also generally the most consciencious users of the resource and I truly respect them for that. Unfortunately, trying to limit DIY will detract from those efforts. If their purpose for limiting DYI is to protect the resource and limit negative impacts, then I believe they need to start from a more objective position - identify what impacts, caused by whom, doing what, where, and when and how frequently. They also need to pull together all of the interests involved (travel industry, marinas, fisherpersons, housing, restaurants, tourist industry, government agencies, NGO's, etc) to help quantify the problems, and identify possible solutions. To identify ending DYI as the solution without going through this process simply destroys their credibility.

juro
10-30-2006, 07:53 PM
Mugsy makes a good point -

What does DIY have to do with harming the resoucres?

What do guides associations have to do with conservation?

Bob Bergquist
10-30-2006, 08:40 PM
A great example of efforts such as these having unintended consequences is the situation in BC. A bunch of guides and outfitters asked the Government to limit the number of nonresident anglers by requiring them to use guides and pay a per day surcharge of $20 in the name of "conserving" the fishery. Well the government acted and the town of Fernie is hurting all summer, the guides have about 30% of the days they had two years ago and what did it do for conservation? Nothing. All the outfitters are eating their red herring while they cry in their Molson.

mdbones
10-30-2006, 09:43 PM
Wow - this thread clearly got the juices of many flowing - All on the assumption that this is a group fro pushing an anti- DIY movement. Clearly thats not stated anywhere in the website. Is DIY a threat - I think that its pretty clear that it is, especially for anglers that have developed the skill to catch fish on thier own.

Not many have spent more timre chasing Bones in the Bahamas than I have over the last 6 years and clearly my early years were spent exclusively with guides. As I became more familar with the sport and haibits of Bonefish I have moved away from Bonefishing with a guide. I prefer the solitude of walking a flat from sun up to sundown, and the satisafaction of catching Bonefish on my own. After spending 30 plus days a year on the same island I am confident that I can cover less water but catch just as many fish as I can with a guide (although my day might run an extra 4 - 5 hours longer). So I would be put in the class of angler that started with guides but might fish 30 percent of the time with one now.

I do think the issue of foreign guides is an issue on Andros - Motherships and the group of four keys guides that tend to stake out the North end of the island during the off season clearly infringes on the guides that operate in Andros. Honestly, I think that this is an issue that should be addressed. Either way we can scream all we want - Its a foreign country and they will do what they percieve to be in the best of interest of their constituients (as they should).

Either way its a moot issue with me - a recent move to the NJ/Pa area will limit my days in the Bahmas to 7 or less - I sure hope the Pulaski guides do not try to limit the DIY Salmon and Steelhead fishemerman - then I would be real trouble!

Mike

Although it looks like the no DIY legislation in the Bahamas did not make it through this time around, I just came across this website: http://www.bahamasconservation.org which looked fine enough until I looked at the list of directors - now it seems to me like the new front for the no-DIY push. Has anybody else had dealings with this organization?

juro
10-30-2006, 10:45 PM
Is DIY a threat - I think that its pretty clear that it is, especially for anglers that have developed the skill to catch fish on thier own.

Interesting points, however do you mean DIY is a threat to conservation?

As an aside I think you might be the opposite of the typical angler's evolutionary model, meaning you had the money to use guides first then went later on your own. Most guys I know, including myself, putzed around on their own when they were young and broke or raising kids and will eventually drop the big bucks for the full lodge experience having become addicted to the sport. Frankly I am still quite far off from being able to spend that kind of money on fishing, with three college student's finances to worry about.

I am now at the point where I will mix in a guide trip or two or three during the week but can not do it every day on my budget. Is that not helpful? Am I supposed to stay in the hotel room the other days?

If anything I think DIY has a much lower impact on the species, as skilled and knowledgeable as these legendary Bahamian guides are. These guys are the superstars of the flats and can put you into more fish in a good day than some DIY guys can find in a week. But if you ain't got the fever you will just chase stripers all season and tie flies in winter.

It's simple - the more people can dabble in it and catch the fever the larger the market for lodges and guides becomes. The key to growth in the industry as a whole is recruitment, not increased exclusivity. That is the single biggest turn-off about the flyfishing industry and has been the reason it's a boutique sport and not as mainstream as it could be. Excusivity is what has made flyfishing a small market.

People in other countries often get the impression that Americans have pockets full of money to spare. On a business trip to a small carribean country we had a government official address the group by asking for $100,000 contribution to become honorary citizens of this tiny country. All the office-type 9 to fivers in the crowd were stunned, perhaps no one but the executives in the huge crowd could fathom such a sum. How many readers (of tens of thousands here) could afford to do such a thing? A very small percentage I would say.

If it comes down to DIY being illegal I will probably just use my frequent flyer miles to go chase tarpon in their accessible habitats in affordable destinations all over the tropical earth.

I simply won't visit any country that makes it illegal to fish on one's own even as we support all of the (other) businesses we touch during our stay, including guides to the extent affordable.

josko
10-31-2006, 06:13 AM
Interesting points, however do you mean DIY is a threat to conservation?

I simply won't visit any country that makes it illegal to fish on one's own even as we support all of the (other) businesses we touch during our stay, including guides to the extent affordable.


Whoa. Would that include countries like Canada and EU that also restrict nonresident angling?

juro
10-31-2006, 07:30 AM
Didn't know there were bonefish in CA and EU ;)

Yes, I think if both CA and EU enacted a national no-DIY policy I would avoid them. However neither have.

I'm not sure I see the parallel between a Bahamas wide no-DIY law where broad expanses of deserted islands would be restricted when compared to select fisheries like salmon angling on the storied pools of the Spey when the surrounding streams and ponds are available to public fishing.

You can even bring your kids with some worms and catch panfish without a guide.

mdbones
10-31-2006, 08:42 AM
Juro,

Do I believe that DIY is a threat to conservation? - absolutley not. Since Bonefishing is mainly a catch and release sport and a large majority of the anglers are first or second timers, a five fish day is probably considered a great day. I am sure that catch mortality (or "it's da law of da jungle mon" as Captain perry would say) is significantly less than when that same angler would go with a guide. I really do not see how DIY Bonefishing could harm the Bahamian enviroment.

I also do not see where this website indicates any threat - other than a inferred threat to DIY fishing in the Bahamas. I think that we are making large leaps, and plenty of assumptions if we are to belive that it's the intended purpose of this group to deny DIY anglers the chance to access Bahamian waters. I may have missed a page - but I just do not see it listed on the pages. As mentioned before I do see a couple of threats listed that are real and have the ability to impact the paying lodge customer that would normally book on Andros (Keys guides, Motherships). Clearly someone who is paying a foreign guide 500 a day, or 6k a week to float the west side of Andros is just the type of person that normally would fish out of a lodge. I see other threats listed that are clearly site specific and self centered toward a very specific group with very specific interests. (non-Bahmaian ownership, and the note on South Andros).

I can see the point around the evolutionary model you mention - but I think that the vast majority of Anglers who go to exclusively Bonefish do start with guides. Not all, and certainly not those represented on this board (I think the term Hardcore DIY'ers would be appropriate). My perception has always been that the Lodge angler and the DIY'er are an entirely different breed. I think that for the majority of the DIY'ers once they take the lumps and non productive days at the start and they become efficent, a lodge offers vary little other than an extra layer of cost. On a side note - for the most part I clearly lump myself as a DIY'er who was initially forced into the lodge system. Once I discovered my own locations, and the ability to read a flat, I really had no use for the Lodges and guides. I am not sure if there are others out there like me - but I am one of the ones who subtracts cash from the Lodges pockets (but not the Family Islands as a whole pockets).

That does not mean that your model is not be a valid one - get as many people involved as possible, and eventually some of those will migrate to lodges. While this is a solid long term Bonefishing Business Plan for the economy of the Family Islands - The lodge owners are worried about NOW - they see that business is down by 25%, and then they see guys like me wading on a flat and all they can see is 400.00 walking away from them.

I do think that eventually we all end up with guides again as our bones age and the joy of covering 8 to 10 miles on foot a day, and eating power bars for breakfast and lunch begins to wane (I pray I can hold out another 30 years - the day I hit 70 I swear I will start using guides again). Whatever the model - I belive that there is plenty of room for both - and the economy of the Family Islands is improved by having as many people visit as possible.

Mike

petevicar
10-31-2006, 11:09 AM
Maybe I have missed something but on the website mentioned I can find no trace of a proposed ban on DIY fishing. There is an objection to foreign guides which is understandable. But the organisation seems to be very much interested in conservation of natural resources and not keeping the fishing just in their own hands and pockets.

Pete

Bob Bergquist
10-31-2006, 01:38 PM
Pete,

Very rarely are things as they "seem" in the Bahamas.

juro
10-31-2006, 02:25 PM
I have experienced verbal aggression from guides in Exuma first hand for doing DIY on multiple occasions and have been told by those close to the guiding business that there is a sense of unsecurity about it among the guides associations.

I will never go back to Exuma.

titleguy
10-31-2006, 02:45 PM
There was certainly plenty of talk about "banning" or at least regulating DIY when I was on Eleuthera in February. The Guide I fished with for two mornings was most adamant about some folks ( not Vince) who booked "packages" for DIYs. That being said, he was smart enough to know that banning DIY there would in the long run hurt his business. He also knew that plenty of people like me would hire him for a day or two and do the rest on their own. His flats were inaccessible without a boat, and there are not a lot of rental opportunities on the island. Banning DIY would also hurt the island as a whole. Trying to require guides will ultimately fail as well the infrastructure already existing won't support that and the capital required by any of the existing guides versus the cost to the other island businesses just does not compute. I saw a few other fisherman there, but not many. Part of the attraction for that trip was the DIY part. i had the cash on hand to go to a lodge for the same period of time, but chose the DIY thing for the adventure. And it was an adventure I hope to repeat.

Realistically, for those of you who have fished there, how many flats get "overfished"- One.:Eyecrazy:

Swalt
10-31-2006, 03:40 PM
I think you may be wrong to assume that just because the elimination of DIY fishing is not listed as one of the goals on their website that it is not something they may be pushing.

The first time I heard about this legislation was January of 2005 when I asked one of the gentlemen listed above about DIY fishing on a trip I was planning.
This the reply I got from him in an e-mail pretaining to DIY fishing.

"Any of the below scenarios can work but presently, The Bahamas
Government is introducing new Legislation to eliminate unguided fishing to conserve the bonefish flats, but not presently enacted."

When I questioned him about this and told him I thought that would be unwise I got this reply.

"Thanks for your quick reply. In reference to the legislation it's still in
it's early stages. I do think there needs to be more control to protect the fishing
Industry in The Bahamas and not only bone fishing. It's the only way we could
preserve what's left of fishing in the Bahamas for generations to come."

I have also talked to another lodge owner/guide on a different Island and was told by him that it was going to happen. It may not happen but I do beleive there is pretty strong contingent of guides and lodge owners that want to see it happen.

I think conservation is needed in the Bahamas and I have been to one out Island that could not stand a lot of fishing pressure. Even on Islands like Acklins and Crooked the bonefishing is not as prolific as it once was in some areas. Maybe the stories about 100+ fish days are just stories but I have been told of them by more than one person. I think this legislation could help if done right and looked at on an Island to Island basis

juro
10-31-2006, 04:06 PM
Even on Islands like Acklins and Crooked the bonefishing is not as prolific as it once was in some areas. Maybe the stories about 100+ fish days are just stories but I have been told of them by more than one person. I think this legislation could help if done right and looked at on an Island to Island basis

I agree with a lot of what you said, however as an Acklins addict there is no way in hell that DIY has had any measurable effect on bonefish populations on Acklins.

Swalt
10-31-2006, 04:29 PM
Juro,

I agree with you that the DIY on Acklins has little effect on the bonefishing there. I also beleive also that the fishing there is not as good as it once was. Maybe there aren't as many fish or they are just smarter and see more fishermen. The guides have their favorite spots and hit them again and again on a rotating basis. If legislation was up to me I would limit the number of lodges and guided fishing on any one Island. Especially on the smaller Out Islands. I don't think DIY, at this time, needs to be limited in most places but I can see some places where it would need to be if the islands, with limited flats, started getting more pressure.

I have friend in South Africa that guided in the Seychelles for a few years and is now running his own outfitting company in SA. He does live abaord tirps to Cosmoledo and Farquar a couple times a year. He spent time with me last year in Charleston SC fishing for redfish. Anyway we talked about the Seychelles a good bit. He said that, on the islands there, the fishing is limited to so many guided fishermen a week. Companies get the rights to guide in these waters. I don't remember the numbers but it varried from island to island. Most of these are Islands where there is no DIY fishing anyway. The only access is by a flats type boat from a near by island or a live aboard. I think something like this should be looked into in the Bahamas also.

mdbones
10-31-2006, 04:32 PM
I think you may be wrong to assume that just because the elimination of DIY fishing is not listed as one of the goals on their website that it is not something they may be pushing.

As stated before - there are a whole lot of assumptions going on here. That might be case, and of course it could happen, and there is a possibility that they are saying one thing but mean another, and that might be setting this up as a front, and they might be planning an all out ban - but the reality is none of thats stated on the website.

The reality is that even "IF" they have set this up as a nefarious plan to limit DIY access (which I find hard to belive)- they do not care about the opinions of a group of hardcore DIYer's (myself included). The way they (they being the guides and owners) would see it is that they would lock up the resource and there would still be plenty of business channeled into the lodges. If you did not return it would not impact them since DIYers would not have patronized the business anyway.

We can huff and puff all we want but the reality is this one is out of foreigners control.

Mike

juro
10-31-2006, 04:44 PM
We can huff and puff all we want but the reality is this one is out of foreigners control.

Mike

How could that be when 100% of their patrons are foreigners? In the end the customer controls the fate of any business.

I won't huff or puff or blow any houses down but I will vote with dollars and having built this house of tens of thousands of anglers from around the globe (for no personal gain I might add) a message spread far and wide helps make it all worthwhile.

mdbones
10-31-2006, 04:58 PM
How could that be when 100% of their patrons are foreigners? In the end the customer controls the fate of any business.

I won't huff or puff or blow any houses down but I will vote with dollars and having built this house of tens of thousands of anglers from around the globe (for no personal gain I might add) a message spread far and wide helps make it all worthwhile.

Its easy its because the vast, yes the vast majority of the Bonefishing crowd still use independent guides and Lodges. That means the even though 100% of the visitors are foreign most are happy with the current system. Its only the DIYers who would be angry and vote with their pocket books and go elsewhere. We are in the minority and despite the makeup of this board - which heavily favors the DIYer we are not the ones that drive the majority of the dollars within this industry (especially since one trip to KC, NRPC, DWC could finance three trips of DIYing!

juro
11-01-2006, 08:43 PM
Again you make good points. I remain hopeful.

A sad day it would be indeed.