bahamas bonefishing permits [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: bahamas bonefishing permits

03-22-2009, 08:04 PM
Hello board, there was a thread a few months ago about a proposal to require a fishing license for DIY bonefishing in the Bahamas. I'm headed down in about 2 months and am planning on fishing with a guide for several days, but had a half day when i arrive and wanted to go out for a little bit on my own.

Is there any update on a license requirement? If no, is the current regulations that i don't need a license or a permit?

03-22-2009, 09:28 PM

Not sure about Bonefishing - I know in the Bahamas you are allowed to fish from a dock or beach. However, their are limits and restrictions on fishing if it's being done from a boat. Those tend to be on shellfish, pelagic species, turtles etc.. I would recommend that you just check with a local marine officer once you arrive.

They've just passed a law here in Belize to attempt to force all tourist to take a local guide if they wish to fish. It's pretty steep for punishment. But then again like many things in Belize their just aren't any man power to enforce the law.

Best of luck and enjoy the fishing.

Tight Loops,

Jim "Big D" Harper
Bite Me Belize

03-23-2009, 05:04 AM

cc charlie
03-23-2009, 08:22 AM
Which isle are you headed to? I fish Acklins for a couple of weeks each year. For the last 4 years its been DIY.. I'm usually alone and I've never had a problem on the contrary I've found most folks down there pretty friendly even willing to tell me about spots I might try.

CC Charlie

cc charlie
03-23-2009, 08:22 AM
Which isle are you headed to? I fish Acklins for a couple of weeks each year. For the last 4 years its been DIY.. I'm usually alone and I've never had a problem on the contrary I've found most folks down there pretty friendly even willing to tell me about spots I might try.

CC Charlie

03-23-2009, 09:13 AM
I'm headed to Grand Bahamas. I would only fish from a beach for about half a day. I'm planning on 3 days guided, I just have a half day when I get there and am anxious to get started!!

03-23-2009, 12:04 PM
If it were me I would ask your own guides where you can practice the winter casting arm and catch a few fish from shore before you hire them for three whole days. Get their name(s) and drop them if anyone bothers you.


03-23-2009, 07:40 PM
i fish grand bahama regularly. i'm headed down on saturday. there is a good place on the east end about 45 minutes to 1 hr out of freeport, just before mcClainn's town which the locals recommend and would not be a hassle.

03-23-2009, 08:12 PM
Are you fishing with Perry? I've got him booked for one day. Please be sure to let me know how you make out.

By the way, do you guys use weed guards on your bonefish flies? i'm wondering is i need a few gotchas with them on there.


03-24-2009, 03:54 PM
yes, i'm booked with perry. been fishing with him 5 years now. just tell him to where you can fish diy. no weed guards needed. use perry's flies.

03-24-2009, 03:54 PM
yes, i'm booked with perry. been fishing with him 5 years now. just tell him to where you can fish diy. no weed guards needed. use perry's flies.

03-24-2009, 03:54 PM
yes, i'm booked with perry. been fishing with him 5 years now. just ask him where you can fish diy. no weed guards needed. use perry's flies.

03-24-2009, 03:54 PM
yes, i'm booked with perry. been fishing with him 5 years now. just ask him to where you can fish diy. no weed guards needed. use perry's flies.

03-25-2009, 01:44 PM
Neal you're a master with technology... the extra posts crack me up:lildevl: .

Just got back from DIY on Grand. No license needed, no hassles, very easy trip and lots of fish. Get out of Freeport and head east to avoid any confrontations. I'll post pics shortly. PM me for a great little half day spot. I landed at noon and by 1:30 was hooked up.

03-25-2009, 06:59 PM
i just wanted to make sure that jtwg got the point

03-26-2009, 08:53 PM

I got it.

I got it.

I got it.

:D Thanks guys for the help.

04-04-2009, 06:35 PM
ok, i'll try to post this correctly this time.
just came back from a 6 day trip to grand bahama and there was a lot of talk from the guides about DIY. i was advised that the guides association has a sponsor in the bahamian parliament or one of the ministries and that a bill will be proposed next session to outlaw all DIY for bonefishing for non bahamians. they seem confident of passage because they were successful at getting a law passed outlawing all netting of bonefish throughout the entire country.

so, if you're looking to do DIY, i suggest that you do it soon.

cc charlie
04-05-2009, 09:33 AM
Does anyone have any ideas about who in the Bahamian gov't or tourism fields can be contacted. It would be nice to let them know what we who do the DIY thing feel.

In their mistaken belief that not allowing DIY will help some guides the're gonna shut out those of us who can't afford 3 or 4 thousand dollar weeks. Those that can afford it will still go and those that can't will fish elseware.

CC Charlie

04-05-2009, 09:54 AM
i don't have any idea who to contact.
that said, i completely support the proposed guide requirement and would voice my opinion if i knew who to contact. i could go into story after story of the unintended negative consequences to the environment and people's livelihoods to say nothing of the resulting anti american feelings that most if not all DIY generates.

cc charlie
04-05-2009, 10:23 AM
i don't have any idea who to contact.
that said, i completely support the proposed guide requirement and would voice my opinion if i knew who to contact. i could go into story after story of the unintended negative consequences to the environment and people's livelihoods to say nothing of the resulting anti american feelings that most if not all DIY generates.

Wow! I don't know where you've been fishing down there, but I've made at least 10 trips and never ran into any "anti american" sentiment. Just what is the damage that you say we cause to the environment thats another mystery to me.

CC Charlie.

04-05-2009, 08:38 PM
i could get into a sociological discourse on the "ugly american" proclivity to plop himself down in a foreign country and not only expect every local to be in sinc with american ways while blithely unaware of the havoc we wreak on the local way of life by blindly imposing our values on them. but let me just give some food for thought.

consider that: most of these islands are sparsely populated and everyone knows everyone else. in such an environment people with different trades, businesses and vocations develope a kind of "working" and "professional" relationship or communal system with each other. often certain families are engaged in particular areas of commerce although there is overlap within each family and community relative to individual's commercial endeavors.e.g. some families may be predominantly fishermen while others may be predominantly shopkeepers or transporters or in agriculture, or guides. but in some families or communities a person may be predominantly a fisherman but also works in a local shop or goes from island to island delivering goods some of the time or sometimes works as a guide.
just think of the potential problems that those small communities and families encounter with each other when we show up with money and we want to fish without a guide but are willing to pay local "innkeepers", shops and restaurants. but not guides. the impact on the social structure is predictably horrific- communities, families, and family members are all at once at odds with each other. but everyone is nice to the americans because they all know that the americans bring the money and they ALL want a piece of it. no one wants to do anything that will screw that up for any one else thus incurring the wrath of the rest of the community or family. all the while we believe they are just friendly people who really like us. without realizing it, we turn their lives and social structure upside down. the story is as old as colonialism.

on my fishing trip this past week there was 1 flat that was producing exceptionally well. the local guides have an unwritten understanding that they will take their clients to such a location for no more than a half day. they have a local system where they "share" the fishing area with each other so that everyone gets a chance to fish the many areas without running into other fishermen.
well, a group of american DIY fishermen also discovered this particular flat and decided to set up camp right next to it in order to be on it first thing each morning. you know, the american concept of "i was on it first so i can stay on it." but, that's not the local way. it not only created a lot of anger towards the DIY crowd but it also messed up the local system of sharing. the result was that the local guides had to scramble to find another place to fish which caused some of them to seek flats that other locals were supposed to be on. all the while , the DIY guys were completely ignorant of the havoc they caused to the entire local fishing scene.

the bottom line is that we tend to be oblivious to and have no respect for, local customs and social order. we figure that since we are providing the money they will bend to our ways. they are poor and need money, so they bend-and we think they like us. extrordinarily naive on our part.

04-06-2009, 12:46 AM

You seem to be very informed. However, I would hazard a guess that your information comes primarily from one or more guides who support this change. I have gotten to know a number of Bahamian folks over the last few years, and they wouldn't agree with you at all. If it does go through, I guess us DYI fishermen will just find another location until the Bahamian Gov't realizes how much revenue they are losing and change the laws back. Given the current state of their economy, I will be suprised if they pass such nonsense in the first place.

As important to their economy as the second home industry is, I wonder if they will be willing to risk losing a sizable chunk of this important part of their economy by outlawing fishing without a guide?


04-06-2009, 08:18 AM
This has become a very interesting thread to me. I am learning from it.

I really respect your experience, opinions and input. I haven't fished Andros or Grand Bahama yet, most of my fishing has been on the Out Islands and I have found the circumstances on each the to vary greatly in regards to DIY fishing. One island has lodges that offer a combination of DIY and guided, DIY only lodges with the option to hire a guide and fully guided lodges. One offers exclusively guided since the best flats can only be reached by boat from where the lodges are located. Another island is basically a one guide, 4 fisherman at most, operation where the best spots can only be reached by boat but there are some flats that can be fished DIY. In three trips there I have never seen anyone trying DIY. Unless you count some locals throwing a huge cast net over a school of bones as they moved through a narrow cut. So the logistics involving the local economy would vary depending on the island.

Even Andros has a DIY lodge, Mt. Pleasant. I understand what you are saying but its hard for me to understand how DIY on Andros, with the endless flats I have heard about, would affect the guided fishing so much and disrupt the islanders. I have seen how guides share the flats on other islands but I had never thought that was a problem on Andros.

I do think we need to be very concious and show a high degree of respect for the Bahamains. Is not an easy life for many there and we can affect their livelyhood. As I say that I can think of a couple of Bahamian owned and operated lodges, that I have been to, where the owners and guides seem to be much better off financially than the average islander. The owners of one such lodge were the first to tell me that there was a law on the way that would allow only guided fishing. At the same time I was staying at their lodge doing a combination of guided and DIY fishing. They said there would not be a problem with that even if the law passed. So go figure. Guides and fully guided lodges may not appreciate the DIY fisherman but others there are probably thankful for them and get a good part of thier income from them.

When I choose to do DIY I avoid the islands where I have heard that the guides/lodges have a problem with DIY. Guess that would make them happy and I would like to avoid confrontations.

04-06-2009, 12:33 PM
I read the post of nmbrowncom yesterday and, after some time for reflection, offer a bit of a different perspective.
I have fished some on the Bahamas, often DIY because I just enjoy the hunt more on my own. I have always felt welcomed by the islanders, often to a surprising degree. The islanders with whom I have spoken have been open and generous in sharing information about local fishing opportunities, and have seemed genuinely pleased to have my business. I do not believe that I have ever encroached upon a guiding operations' territory.
The first thing to note is that not all of the Bahamian islands are the same. Grand Bahama is far different from Andros or Acklins or Ragged. For the Bahamian government to ban DIY fishing even on a place like Grand Bahama would be foolish. Many fishermen who go there bring their families, and fish part time and spend time with their families as well. If they cannot fish without a guide, they simply are not going to go there, and the local economy will lose out. What a man on a guided trip is putting into the local economy is surely equaled by what a man bringing his non-fishing wife and children is contributing.
As a second observation, the experience that nmbrowncom speaks about puzzles me in a couple of respects. The "ugly Americans" that he speaks about were patronizing the local economy, albeit not the local guides. I wonder if the lodging establishment, the food purveyors and shopkeepers would prefer that the "ugly Americans" had not come at all. I wonder too if the distress over the situation that nmbrowncom speaks about is truly the distress of the island community, or is it perhaps the distress of the "ugly American" sports who felt that they were paying the big money to the guides and therefore should get the prime water.
So far, it appears to me that there is room for all, and that we fisherman ought to be working together to preserve access to this wonderful sport as much for the wealthy who can afford to and choose to hire guides as for those who do not have that capacity or who find the sport far more enjoyable when done on their own.

04-06-2009, 05:13 PM
I think a far more practical approach would be to do what they do in many regions of Canada- designate certain areas (flats) as open to DIY, and other areas (flats) as open to guided fishing only, with the local guides working out the details as which of them can work which flats on which days. It would make sense for those flats immediately adjacent to pre-existing DIY lodges (?Felton's new place?) to remain open to DIY. A restriction on "camping next to a flat" might be in order based on Neil's post. That way the fat cats and those who have managed to scrimp and save for the trip of a lifetime can do the all-guided luxury lodge thing, while still leaving a reasonably affordable DIY (with maybe a day or two of guided fishing, as expenses allowed) experience for the rest of us, without having the locals at each other's throats after we've come and gone. If they banned ALL DIY across the entire island chain, they'd get nothing but the fat cats (the ugliest and most entitiled Americans of the lot), with the exception of the odd "trip of a lifetime" visit from the rest of us.
Posted "rules of the flats" at the DIY spots would be appropriate, with immediate revocation of license and deportation back to the good ol' USA for offenders.
Sound reasonable?

04-07-2009, 08:21 AM
can we get a trip report? I'm headed down at the end of the month.

on the diy thing, I think there is a way to find some common ground. why not charge a license and then have that money go back in to protecting the resources in the form of a game warden. also, the guides could put together some rules for the flats dependent upon the individual island.

if a bahamian comes to the US, they are free to diy here, they just have to follow the rules.

04-07-2009, 04:05 PM
the fishing was peculiar. as the expression goes, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

i got a 5.5lb,2-7lb an 8,9 and a 10lb(32") bonefish. and that was before lunch on the first day!!!! and that's not bs. that said, nothing approached those numbers nor sizes the rest of the week except that my buddy bob also got a 10lb fish the same morning. if you're fishing at all with perry demeritte, ask him about it.

after that morning we had to really work hard to find the fish. and most were traveling singles or in 2's and 3's. we fished the north side exclusively as the winds were out of the south. we waded almost exclusively for the first 4 days. the winds never were less than 20kts and were as high as 30. it rained like hell on one day. nevertheless, we were quite pleased with our fish production and all the fish were good size with the exception of 2 21/2 pounders. perry tells me that the fish are generally larger this time of the year and that the flat we cought the giants on had been a consistant large fish producer over the past few weeks or month.from the boat, i also had 2 (32&36") barracuda, a 40 lb lemon shark and a 7lb jack. that jack fought like it was a 100lbs. took me a good 20 minutes, maybe longer, to get it to the boat.

the winds should be down by the end of the month although i was told that the winds have been horrific for almost 2 months without any real let up.

as for the DIY/guide discussion, everyone has made really good points in trying to balance out what is fair.
that said, i'm not sure that the fishermen who hire guides are any more wealthy than the the person who takes his whole family on a trip and stays at a nice resort and goes out to eat everynight, but wants a day or 2 of DIY. in fact, i would suspect that that person probably has more disposable income than the guy who goes down with a friend or 2 and fishes with a guide for a few days.
likewise for the person who books at a lodge.

a simple approach which may offer a reasonable compromise would be to sell a license for a number of days of fishing, half of which must be with a guide and the other half at DIY designated locations.just another thought.

04-07-2009, 07:44 PM
great report. i am fishing with perry so i will ask him. would love to catch a jack.

good idea on the compromise. there are many layers to the issue.

04-08-2009, 11:54 AM
a simple approach which may offer a reasonable compromise would be to sell a license for a number of days of fishing, half of which must be with a guide and the other half at DIY designated locations.just another thought.
Well, I for one wouldn't call that within a mile of reasonable.

No more so than the equivalent system being put in place for a variety of other services, for example how about DIY driving being prohibited, only certified taxies may be used, rental cars should be for locals only! The arguments about needing the money, ruining the fabric of Bahamian society etc all applies. What about taking your own pictures? Surely, there are many native photographers who are ready to service your photographic needs, why be the ugly American and steal the livelyhood of these fine professionals by insisting on a DIY approach. And then there's fishing tackle, why should selfish tourists be allowed to bring their own gear, when surely there is a huge business opportunity for the locals to sell and rent the same equiptment, all they need to get going is a tiny piece of legislation, outlawing the competition. Surely, if one can afford to travel to Bahamas and use fishing guides, burning a few hundred dollars extra for local tackle is not too much to ask. Then there's the restaurants, surely these fine establishments suffer trumendously from the blatant bypassing of their offering when tourists shop directly in grocery and liquor stores. Perhaps a reasonable compromise would be to prohibit non-natives from shopping directly, but offering up a coupon system so that for every dollar spent in a bar or restaurant, one gets a shopping allowance of one cent in the regular stores. This will help revitalize the image of the ugly American and strengthen the local businesses and society in general. Oh yes, makes a lot of sense, and if this isn't the very definition of reasonable, what is?

Of course, since the name of the game is to pay someone for services not desired, it can be a bit tricky to decide what to do when staying in an all-inclusive fishing lodge. Then the taxi-drivers, restaurant owners, shop owners, photographers and fishing tackle owners would all suffer, perhaps the only solution to this complex dillemma would be for all Bahamians to line up in a long que at the airport when you land, and then you can pay them $10 each.

I see the guides pushing for this legislation as a self-serving group of whiners, whose primary problem is that they insist on offering services for which there is (too) little market demand. So of course, they'd love to force everyone to use their services, effectively creating a monopoly on a resource they have no special entitlements to. It's not their bonefish and not their bonefish habitat, that belongs to the commonwealth of Bahamas, including all those businesses supporting the DIY crowd and casual fishermen on vacation. It takes a rather ego-centric world view to hold it as a self-evident truth that only their particular group should be allowed to reap the benefits from this resource. Not to mention all the problems that would come with such a proposal, including corruption, lack of innovation and price fixing. Perhaps if the resource was scarce, that there is only so many flats and hoards of fisherman frolicking about, it could make some sense, but surely this is not the case. The island are different, but overall they are certainly not lacking in fishable bonefish flats. Any guide worth his salt will have no problem putting his client on heaps more fish than the average DIY bozo, it's his god damn job. It will take at least 50 days of fishing to get familiar with just one area, understanding how temperatures, tides, wind and seasons impact bonefish movement, it's impossible to match for the average boatless DIY'er. If anything, good numbers of DIY should make a good guide's services more attractive, that's a whole new segment to be tapped by a skilled and market-savy professional with differentiated services. It means actual work and a need for innovation, so I can see why getting state-sanctioned monopoly is their primary preference. Who wouldn't take free money? Someone else will pay, well in this case it's our (DIY'ers) money, the guides had better earn it like everyone else.

A tax for usage I would definitely support, perhaps in terms of fishing license that would feed back into research and sustainability of both bonefish and bonefish habitat, preserving the resource in itself. Forcibly subsidising guides whose services I have no desire for, screw that. And screw it 2X when pretending to be a necessary social services fix for a victimized society ripped apart by "wrong" spending patterns from tourists, it's just plain and simple selfishness from grumpy guides. This is clearly best left to good old fashioned supply and demand to sort out.

04-08-2009, 12:51 PM
Great response Chris.... I was trying to figure out how to comment on this topic but could not have said it better than you did.

You and I both know the countless trips we have made to the islands and how much our tourist dollars have gone into the numerous businesses there.

We know how wonderful the people are and how much they appreciated our business.

I would hate to think I would be angry enough not to go back if I could not DIY fish and how a lot of folks would not benefit from my spending tourist money there instead of somewhere else.

I didn't want to make this all about money.....its not to me but it is to them!
They need to make a living and I understand that but there has to be a sensible approach.

Hope this does not turn out badly but I fear it will and we will all lose.

04-08-2009, 02:15 PM
Hope this does not turn out badly but I fear it will and we will all lose.

"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"

Thats a quote I got from a lodge owner operator in January 2005 when I was asking about doing a combination of guided and DIY. So this is nothing new and I do not think it is imminent. I don't think that legislation ever got very far and that it was something that some guides and lodge owners were trying to get passed to their benefit.

I think that each island has kind of taken care of itself as far as working out a happy or in a few cases not so happy median between guided and DIY fishing. Some are mostly guided fishing, some mostly DIY and some a combination of both.
If you look at Acklins the guided operations seem to do well along with those that cater to DIY.

I too would favor a liscense of some type to support the fishery in the Bahamas.

04-08-2009, 06:24 PM
Excellent response Figen! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Many of my DIY clients get a guide for a day or more anyway, and they usually have more shots at fish in doing so.

I'm om Eleuthera now and having some fun.

Jumped a 100lb tarpon the other day--by accident when casting for jacks and snapper--the first and only tarpon I've seen here in just about 10 years!

That's what I love about the salt--you never know.

04-08-2009, 06:25 PM
whiners? i don't think so. just people trying to make a living who resent what they believe are self entitled foreigners exploiting THEIR national resources-kind of like how some people feel about immigrants in this country..

let's face it, they are interested in tourist dollars period. i suspect that, in their view, the DIY crowd is a bunch of penny pinching foreigners running amock on the flats who are hardly a boon to the tourist or any other economy.

in other words we have absolutely no right to fish there at all except for what they allow. the unwillingness to compromise at all is what tends to lead to the "ugly american" reputation all over the world. (e.g.we're americans and it is our god given right to have whatever we want whenever we want it.)

query, who are the whiners?

04-08-2009, 11:34 PM

I personally haven't encountered any whiners or any other Bahamian complaining about diy fishermen or americans. Just the opposite. The friendliness and acceptance by the locals (Nassau excepted) is one of the primary reasons I love to go there! Has anyone in the Forum actually read anything official, or talked to anyone official about the supposed proposal? Or is all the info based on second hand information? NMB, I am curious as to who your sources are that are giving you the negative feedback on American's and diy'ers. Is the feedback coming from a specific Island or location or from multiple locations? The only islands I have based out of to fish are Eluthera and Acklins, and I haven't gotten any negative feedback, including from the guides I have hired occasionally, and they were quite aware that I predominantly fish without a guide.

I wonder if all the folks who have vacation home rental businesses (Eleuthera has many of these) would support such a proposal? I am curious about the overall support in general by the Bahamian residents, and the businesses other than the guides. Do the lodges support this? Is there any information sources available on line regarding the proposal and the response to the proposal by the public?


04-09-2009, 04:29 AM
i agree with you. the bahamian's are hardly whiners as some have suggested.
i fish on grand bahama and have also fished on long island.

while i recognize that on acklins, and other islands, that people stay in hotels or people's homes and frequent the eateries etc, and thus support some of the local economy, there is also a lot, and maybe more instances of DIYers camping or worse yet, living out of their cars, leaving trash, and generally interfering with the local fishing customs, and thus not only not contributing to the local economy, but in fact being a drain on it. in any event i have never heard anything but negative remarks both from americans and bahamians about DIYers (except from DIYers). additionally, this is a country that is trying to develope high end and multi faceted tourism. the perception of "tourism" on the cheap is not what they are striving for albeit on many of the islands it may be all that they can get.

as for the proposal, it is my understanding that the guide requirement has been brought up before but never really pushed. this past year however the guide association was successful in pushing through a law banning netting of bonefish throughout the country. from what i was told,they now feel that the combination of the bad reputation of DIYers in general, and their own organization and good will born of their recent success of the ban on netting, will be enough to succeed in the ban on DIY.

04-09-2009, 07:03 AM
"there is also a lot, and maybe more instances of DIYers camping or worse yet, living out of their cars, leaving trash, and generally interfering with the local fishing customs, and thus not only not contributing to the local economy, but in fact being a drain on it."

NMBROWNCOM, I strongly disagree with you here. I have never seen someone camping or living out of their car on Eleuthera, Acklins, Crooked, Long Island or Andros. Not that it doesn't happen, but there is no way that more people camp or live in their car while diy fishing than stay at local houses or hotels. And where do they get their car from? Rented from a local. In fact I'm fairly certain that camping is illegal in the Bahamas.
In fact, all Island mentioned, except crooked, have diy fishing operations on them, supported or run by Bahamians.

Furthermore, to say these diy anglers are leaving trash is a strong assumption. Sadly, some of the Bahamians don't seem to mind leaving their own trash around, and much of what you see along the beaches is washed up from faraway places, having drifted in the ocean currents.

And how are DIY fishermen a drain on the local economy? And interfering with local fishing customs?

Many people that try bonefishing diy style get hooked and quickly realize that with a guide their odds are greatly increased and they come back and hire a guide, or go to a lodge on their next trip.

I run DIY trips, and also trips to high end lodges, and I have many clients that go on both, and enjoy both. And both types of trips contribute to the local economy. The only difference between the two is that on the diy trips the guides may not benefit as much, though on many of my diy trips the guys (and gals) will hire a guide also.

On most islands, without a boat you can only scratch the surface of the flats that are available to the guides. Lodges and diy fishing can co-exist easily on most islands.

A non-resident fishing license would be a good idea, and I agree with that. Of course whatever the Bahamians decide to do is what we'll all have to live with.

04-09-2009, 07:06 AM
I posted on this thread once already and was going to leave well enough alone, but the continuing misinformation compels me to respond further. Facts matter and they are being misstated here.

Contrary to what is being asserted, there is not a broad dislike of DIY fisherman on Grand Bahama. I have fished there. I have a number of friends who have fished there over many years (one for a month and a half at a time) and I have asked them about their experiences. Also, I have just called two Bahamian residents, who I have come to know and who are familiar with the local fishing scene, to ask them about their experiences. None of these sources share, or have experienced, the pervasive negative attitudes toward DIY fishermen that nmb speaks of.

Also, contrary to what has been suggested, there is little to no evidence of "ugly American" DIY fisherman "camping or worse yet, living out of their cars, leaving trash, and generally interfering with the local fishing customs". I have visited many, many of the remote spots on Grand Bahama and have not seen what nmb reports. As to leaving trash, there is an unsettling amount of trash left by the Bahamians themselves along their roadside and down their dirt roads. That trash down these dirt roads is not from visitors unless you want to argue that refrigerators, plywood, scrap metal and the like are brought to the island by visitors for the purpose of dumping it there. I have never seen a visitor who appeared to be camping out of his car, and I have never seen evidence of a campsite, no less a campsite where trash has been left about.

In all of my visits to outback Grand Bahama fishing spots, I have seen a flats boat at work on a flat that I was fishing only once. My friends with whom I spoke also say that they almost never see any guided boats attempting to come in to areas where they fish. Grand Bahama is a very big island. There are innumerable places to fish. Undoubtedly, a guided boat will occasionally encounter a wading fisherman on the flats, but I think that nmb is making a far bigger issue of this than is warranted by the facts.

The facts are wrong too regarding the assertion that "the guide association was successful in pushing through a law banning netting of bonefish throughout the country." In 2007 the Bahamian Department of Marine Resources adopted revisions to comprehensively regulate foreign sport fishing boats and sport fishing tournaments. I have a complete copy of that set of regulations and would be happy to post it if I knew how. Those regulations did include a ban on the netting of any fish for sport (without singling out bonefish in particular). These regulations were sent to me by a Grand Bahama resident who discussed the situation with an officer in the Department of Marine Resources.

Contrary to the assertions in the previous post, there is no "law". There is no specific directive against only bonefish netting. The guides association was not the main party behind the new regulations. And there is very little likelihood that a ban on DIY fishing is in the works--in fact the FAQs published by the Department along with the 2007 regulations specifically permit unguided bonefishing.

The previous poster stated unequivocally in an earlier post "i completely support the proposed guide requirement and would voice my opinion if i knew who to contact . . ." From that and his other comments, it sounds to me as if he is encouraging negative attitudes toward DIY fisherman. I think that is a disservice to all of us who want to continue to enjoy this fishery and to continue to build the friendships with the local Bahamians who do truly welcome those of us willing to live among them and get to know them on their own terms. And it is a disservice to local Bahamians for whom he expresses such concern when those Bahamians are the ones who will lose out if their regular customers no longer return if their style of fishing is banned.

04-09-2009, 01:42 PM
I have always been on the side of the DIYers until this last trip to Acklins. Having a group of 6 to 9 people trapsing around on their own definitely impacted the guides from the lodges and the people "paying to fish." Granted, there's plenty of space but the local guides certainly have a system down between them and it's understood and respected.

Also, I saw signs for a couple of new "lodges," (think shack with a sign out front) but I promise you there are no additional trained guides. I know the DIY lodge that Vince represents would love to be a full service lodge if they could-they do have their own boats. It seems like everybody is trying to be a bonefish expert down there these days.

I know there's nothing that stops DIYers from fishing anywhere they like but the locals know which groups hire a guide for a couple of days and which ones don't. You're starting to see a difference in the fishing down there-it's changed over the last 6 years. Now multiply that effect by a zillion when you consider the islands that actually get a lot of visitors-Eleuthera, Exuma, and even Andros.

04-09-2009, 07:12 PM
the bahamian's are hardly whiners as some have suggested.

Just to be clear, since I used that categorization, it was exclusively ment for guides and others complaining that DIYers should not be allowed any fishing except in the company of the aforementioned guides. Of course, while they do not say so outright, their motivation is to make more money for themselves through exclusive fishing rights akin to a monopoly, at the expense of DIY-ers and all businesses supporting DIY-ers. The whining element comes into play when they try to rationalize and justify their political agenda, suddenly it seems as if they are being chased off the only productive flat by hoards of stampeding berserkers, families are broken apart from lack of income to guides, increased littering ensues, ecology goes out of whack and whatnot. It certainly wasn't my intention to peg the whiner label on Bahamians in general, quite the opposite in fact as I find them welcoming and friendly, so let's put away that one for good. And to be fair, I haven't heard this kind of whining from anyone in the Bahamas, it's mainly coming from you nmbrowncom.

Perhaps DIY-ers do crowd a few selective flats easily accessible by foot, but that is certainly not the norm around the islands, and any guide not able to provide his clients a quality experience due to this should frankly look to himself rather than others when pinpointing the root cause of his problems. That would be like a fine-dining restaurant whining that McDonalds is stealing all their customers, while perhaps not entirely wrong it's not as simple as that, especially if they serve the same cheeseburger of which there is infinite supply.

You can make the argument that the guides should have priority on bonefish habitat in their home water over foreigners, and this is a worthwhile discussion to have, although it's an entirely different discussion in areas where there is more than ample room for everyone (rather than DIY-ers competing for the same water, making guided fishing and DIY mutually exclusive). And as pointed out don't forget that there are many local businesses making money on the DIY-ers. Am I exploiting the waters of Bahamas? Well, more so than a client at a high-end lodge in terms of money spent per day on the water, but then again I bet the CEO of Kalik would pick me as his favorite tourist. :chuckle:

04-10-2009, 03:34 AM
i think that leeG's post pretty much says it all. it doesn't take much imagination to figure out that DIYers have made a mark on acklins and all of it is not as positive as they would like themselves and us to believe. in fact there are others on this board who have expressed to me privately that acklins is not what it used to be in large part because of the adverse impact of so many DIYers in such a short period of time.

i seem to remember a thread started by woodtac a while ago, lamenting the impact of the "discovery" of acklins. instead of offering "proof" from so called "friends" on the islands who make money off of our visits, perhaps instead one's own observations as expressed in leeG's post or woodtac's prior thread would provide a more accurate assessment of the impact of unchecked DIY in the bahamas.

the combination of blind self rightousnees with an unwillingness to even minimally compromise in the face of overwhelming evidence will likely lead to adverse consequences in one form or another for the DIY fisherman.

for the record, i love DIY and do more of it than guided fishing. i have wanted to do it in the bahamas but i was always reluctant though because of the bad reputation and ill feeling toward DIYers-at least from most everything i had heard. i was very excited though to give acklins a go at DIY because friends on this forum convinced me that acklins is different than long island or grand bahama. it seems now that that is rapidly becomming no longer the case.

i think i've stirred up enough of a hornet's nest on this. i have not set out to agitate, rather just to point out there is more to the story than our own self interests. so for those i may have rubbed the wrong way, my appologies. that said, i've said enough....too much perhaps.

04-11-2009, 12:51 AM

Based on the horror you have presented, I think it is imperative that Montana outlaw diy by all non-Montanans ASAP. In fact, every state in the U.S. should take immediate action to protect it's resources from the arrogant, trash throwing, economy killing, society destroying Americans - other than the perfectly behaved residents of their own state of course! Only the pure of heart who are willing to hire guides can be trusted it seems.

The truth of the matter? Such behavior is a characteristic of an individual, not a chosen style of fishing, nationality, group, or location. Arrogant pigs will still be arrogant pigs, whether they are alone or with a guide while they are on the water - or whether they are in the Bahamas or on the Big Hole during the salmon fly hatch. What needs to be addressed is the inappropriate behavior and specific problems where they exist. Implementing a license requirement that generates revenue to establish laws and put wardens on the water is the correct direction. Not a law that severely impacts the overall economic well being of the Bahamian nation for the benefit of a few. Don't kid yourself - it will. Diy fishermen will abandon the Bahamas not because diy fishermen are inflexible or blindly self rightous - most diy fishermen I know also hire guides at times. Fishermen who diy do so generally for two reasons. Diy allows those with limited finances the opportunity to do something they otherwise couldn't, or do it multiple times instead of very, very occasionally. More importantly, at least for me, is the diy experience. The fun is in the exploring of new places, learning the area and fish myself, hunting and then spotting the fish myself. Actually catching a bonefish is great fun, but somewhat anticlimatic. It's everything else leading up to the catch that makes bonefishing so addicting. It certainly isn't the total catch count. Given the true motive for most diy fishermen, there is absolutely no reason that they (I) would continue to fish the Bahamas if a guide were required (at least at anywhere near the frequency they do now). In fact, if I were to return to the Bahamas under guide required conditions, it would be primarily to visit the friends I have made.

Having had my say, I am just eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had, the people I have met, and the places I have experienced. And, I feel quite blessed that I haven't encountered any of the horror you describe.


04-11-2009, 08:38 AM
Ok. This is not a new story. Over the years this issue has surfaced. Bottom line, if there is truth to the issue, I would propose a middle ground position of paying for a "Fishing Lic.". The Gov gets its piece of the action, we pay a fee (Like every State in the US) and life goes on. my 8 cents (Inflation)

cc charlie
04-11-2009, 09:38 AM

CC Charlie

04-11-2009, 07:06 PM
This initiative is clearly a monopolization of the sport by lodge owners and guides, nothing more, nothing less. Whatever they decide to do, they will do. We likewise have the freedom to choose where we go. Let the cards will fall where they may.


04-16-2009, 08:05 AM
My last opinion on the subject!

Just so everyone knows, I host DIY trips to Acklins and also represent a lodge that caters to DIY anglers on the north end of Acklins. So I am an interested party here. Nevertheless, what I state below is the truth and based on my observations and time spent on Acklins.

Is fishing on Acklins the same as it was 10 years ago, certainly not. But that can be said of anyplace. The Seychelles are not the same, nor is the Missouri river, or even Cattaraugus creek. Most places have changed, and it depends on your perspective whether it is good or bad. Most residents of Acklins welcome the increased traffic. From an angler's standpoint, most prefer fewer people and less pressure. Either way, Acklins is still a beautiful, remote paradise that offers excellent bonefishing. I was there this Spring from March 14-21, and our group did not see one other DIY angler all week. We did see a guide with his clients on two occasions in a certain location, but it didn't cause any problems.

There are some residents trying to start lodges on Acklins, but the truth is that some of these are not even open for business, and others have closed. Some will never open, and others likely will close. There are only so many people willing to go bonefishing, and there are a lot of islands and lodges to choose from. I believe it will level off and only the most well-run places will survive. The current economy will certainly weed out the weak.

Regarding DIY anglers interfering with guides, the majority of the flats on Acklins are inaccessible without a boat, so DIY'ers generally do not interfere with the guides, especially in the north, where I have spent most of my time. The number of flats that a guide with a boat has access to on Acklins is overwhelming, so DIY anglers having an impact on the guides is really not an issue from my personal experience on the island. I also know six of the guides personally, have fished with all of them, and none of them has ever complained to me about diy anglers. In fact I've had two of the guides offer me suggestions on where to fish on my own. On our last trip, one guest from my group fished with a guide for four of his 6 days, and we never saw him, he didn't see another guide himself, and he saw lots of fish each day.

I am a steelhead guide on the Lake Erie tribs in NY. For the record, I am not lobbying for guide-only fishing up there. It would make my job a lot easier, as I would not have to compete for water with the DIY steelheadanglers, and anyone who wanted to fish the catt would have to hire me or one of my friends. However, I realize that it would be selfish and wrong.

Anyway, we really don't have much of a choice in whatever the Bahamians decide to do, so our "unwillingness to compromise" is really not an issue.

Enjoy the great fishing we still have on this earth!

04-16-2009, 08:32 AM

Very well presented. Well written and to the point.

It is refreshing to get "first hand" knowledge of the issue.

I hope it all works out for the Bahamians and for DIY fishermen from all parts of the globe. (thats for you Chris and Lars!!!)

05-13-2009, 06:12 PM
I just had a follow up from a friend on Grand Bahama regarding the DIY issue. I contacted him a couple of months ago when that issue was active here. This is his information as of today:
"talked to fisheries top person. No they are not even thinking of
guide rules for bone fishing. Said he would get shot if that was
proposed, so its bone fish where ever you like."