Bahamian DIY update - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:28 PM
josko josko is offline
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Bahamian DIY update

It seems the guides' federation's been quietly lobbying and is close to getting a visitors wading licence law passed in the Bahamas. The ~$100 fishing licence will be obtainable at ports of entry and entitle one to wade fish while in the Bahamas.
I have to say they've gone about this much more maturely then their aborted 'no DIY' attempt a few years back.
It isn't clear to me how long the licence would be valid for, whether a season or 90 days like the boat licence, but it will likely be something to contend with on your next visit. I'd certainly pay $100 for an annual Bahamian wade-fishing licence.

I'm finding some serious hardship amongst the guides as tourist traffic has all but collapsed, and it's expected to see a resugrence of anti-DIY feelings. I think the guides federation is doing a good job coming up with a level-headed solution, or at least with a toned-down variant of their previous no DIY stance.

Last edited by josko; 12-14-2008 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:45 PM
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Josko, is this for all the islands? I wouldn't mind buying a license for 20 bucks or less for a day or so, but this seems a bit extreme. i only get to fish there once a year for a few days at best.

thanks for the update on this. please keep us posted.
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:59 AM
josko josko is offline
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If it becomes Bahamian law it will, of course apply to all the islands; however, it is only a proposal at this time.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:26 PM
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I love it! This seems much too rational to happen. You would never have to worry about conjecture and incorrect statements from anyone. Any confrontation, just show your license and problem solved.

If this is to work I think a lot of the responsibility falls on us. A license would give us the legal right to fish but not the right to abuse. Giving a wide berth to those who make a living on this fishery will continue to be important.

Hopefully the $100 fee will be cost inhibitive to those that don't take the sport or the etiquette seriously.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:33 AM
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I also like it, all things considered.

However I agree that some will feel it's a license to act like an idiot not just to local guides but to other visiting anglers.

It's kinda steep for a side-fling when on a cruise with family etc. but reasonable for serious adventurers.

If it's effective as "hassleproofing" on the entire Bahamian Archipelago then it's a small price to pay. Perhaps if the $100 goes to the Bahamian government they will be motivated to be involved in what currently seems to be a might-makes-right power structure run by the guides association which is quite unattractive to all but ambivalent fat cat visitors who the guides cater to.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:27 AM
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I don't suppose there's a way to see the preliminary proposal? Perhaps I'm assuming too much, maybe Bahamian laws of this nature don't come with public hearings and documentation.

It will of course be interesting to learn who's eligible for the license, and who would be granted the authority to check other people's papers. I assume the license is waived if one fishes with the strong and handsome local guides? I would consider this similar to if the taxi drivers imposed a similar license for renting cars or even walking along roads, it's lame, selfish and an indication that the commercial services offered do not meet the market demands. But in perspective, the Bahamas fisheries are so good, this is a small price to pay, at least before it turns into a slippery slope of future "enhancements" and revisions.

Thanks for the insider info, and please keep us posted.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:35 AM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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my understanding is that they are still debating on whether the license will be good for either 2 or 3 consecutive days and what restrictions on where you can fish. . either way it sounds like a fair deal, although i can't imagine that it will have much of any impact on local guide hostility.

i am in the minority on this one, but i do feel that one should either be required to have a guide, particularly if there is a group, or that fees should be steep and restrictive. i see too many visitors carrying on like idiots. hopefully restrictions on access and/or steep fees or mandatory guiding will give pause to visitors carrying on badly or keep many such visitors out altogether.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:50 AM
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I don't understand why the demographics of DIY anglers in the Bahamas has taken such a turn for the worse, but it's plain to me that the people I'm seeing now are much more inconsiderate, rude, obnoxious and, well, pigs compared to those who fished in the islands pre-911.
Does anybody understand why the average bonefisher in the Bahamas is so much more obnoxious now than a few years ago?
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:56 AM
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That's why I love Acklins. Not only do you not see any rude, inconsiderate city folks thinking they own the place on their annual week on the flats, you generally don't see anyone period. Just waves of bonefish in as pure a setting as one might envision them in.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:27 AM
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A nominal license fee to fish DIY in the Bahamas is probably a good idea. That way no one can hassle you for fishing w/out a guide. There are not many places left where you don't need a license to fish--we've been spoiled in the Bahamas. $100 is a small price to pay for a weeks angling--lets hope it not $100/day!

As for all these crazy, disrespectful DIY anglers, I have not seen it. Of course I am only DIY fishing on Acklins and Eleuthera.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:41 PM
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A fishing license might be a reasonable step for the Bahamas, especially if the motive and money are for resource management (I would be skeptical that much money would make it to conservation). A wading fee with the motive to limit DYI and force fishermen to hire guides is totally misguided. Pun intended. All the DYI folks I know are doing so because they prefer the experience. Steep fees also won't weed out the jerks. Jerks aren't defined by economic class. In fact, in my experience the worst of the bunch are those who have megabucks and think they own the world and can use, misuse, abuse, comand and demand what they want, when they want because everything and everybody was put on earth for their personal pleasure.

Think about it this way: would it be reasonable for each U.S. state to implement a wading fee for nonresidents(alien or U.S. resident) or outright require nonresidents to hire a guide to fish in the respective state? I sure don't think so - not for freshwater or saltwater. Is it reasonable for each state to charge higher license rates for nonresidents with the fees going to resource management? Absolutely! But not at rates that discourage visitors.

I too have exclusively fished Eleuthera and predominantly Acklins and I have yet to encounter the problems discussed - either from visiting fishermen or from local guides. The guides I know on Acklins recognize the value we bring to other businesses on the island. We have also provide them business and we stay away from the areas they focus on with their customers. We have been going to Acklins since 2005, and I spent 40 days there this year, and everyone I have met has been openly friendly and seem pleased to see us on each of our visits. It is a key reason we love the place - the people are wonderful.

I can't say the same for Nassau. If a license is imposed I sure hope it can be purchased on the internet or at Acklins. The thought of having to spend any extra time in Nassau to purchase a license is depressing.
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Old 12-20-2008, 06:54 AM
kalik kalik is offline
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This is a very confusing issue to me, but I have only been on two islands in the Bahamas, Andros and New Providence, so my experience in this area is very limited and New Providence time has only been to pick up a charter or a quick stint for work one time.

I have fished the northern part of Andros for almost 15 years and I have only seen other non-guided fisherman one or two times. Maybe it is the time of year, maybe it is the locations I fish; I really do not know. I do know that if I were running across other DIY fisherman in great numbers, I would stop going to those locations very quickly. Andros seems to have a reputation as an island that is not very accessible to the DIY angler and the logistics of simply moving from point A to point B can be somewhat daunting. I do fish with guides every now and then, but I cannot afford to do it with great frequency and I really enjoy just getting out on the water by myself and working a flat.

I try to stay under the radar and keep things simple. I like to talk to the locals and just about everybody I talk to loves to fish. Like all fishermen, they all have stories and I am more than willing to crack open a few Kaliks and talk fishing. We can talk about tides, moon phase, weather, water temperature, seasons, bait, flies, hand lines versus the fly rod or what an idiot I am for not keeping any fish. I consider everything a learning experience and I will frequently ask for advice or ask somebody to pick a fly out of my fly box I will then give them the fly.

If I am in a store, I buy something. If I am in a bar, I drink something. If I am at a food stand, I will just about always eat something. I am never in a rush and I love to take the time to learn something new. I like to catch fish, but some of my most memorable days are the days when I struggle and I cannot connect.

Josko, you mention rude and obnoxious behavior and I really hope I do not run into any of that and I certainly hope that sort of behavior is limited. I do not want to face any backlash because of the poor behavior of others. My fear is that it is not limited and I know it is not limited solely to DIY fisherman in the Bahamas. I run into all sorts of boorish behavior on almost a daily basis here in the States and I am sure some of those folks even go on vacation; ever been to Disney.

My overall feeling is this, if the Bahamians feel this is a good thing, then I am all for it and I will gladly pay it. I hope it is not $100 and I hope I do not have to pay the fee every time I am on the island, but I will pay it and I will not complain about it. I also hope this is not simply a fee to discourage DIY wading anglers. If so, they might set the fee at a fairly prohibitive amount and that would certainly work to discourage me from spending as much time on the island. Given the issues surrounding the recently enacted and recently changed possession limits, I am sure this will be a fluid issue for some time.

Another long post, I must have been graded on word count at an early age.
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