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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-13-2009 06:12 PM
Bahamas DIY for bonefish

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."
04-16-2009 08:32 AM
Acklins etc


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!!!)
04-16-2009 08:05 AM
Vince 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!
04-11-2009 07:06 PM
juro 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.

04-11-2009 09:38 AM
cc charlie Tim..............AMEN!!!

CC Charlie
04-11-2009 08:38 AM
JusBones 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)
04-11-2009 12:51 AM
mugsy NMB,

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.

04-10-2009 03:34 AM
nmbrowncom 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.
04-09-2009 07:12 PM
Originally Posted by nmbrowncom
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.
04-09-2009 01:42 PM
LeeG 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 07:06 AM
woodtac 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 07:03 AM
Vince "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 04:29 AM
nmbrowncom mugsy,
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.
04-08-2009 11:34 PM
mugsy nmb,

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?

04-08-2009 06:25 PM
nmbrowncom 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?
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