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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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  #16  
Old 03-26-2009, 08:53 PM
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Neal,

I got it.

I got it.

I got it.


Thanks guys for the help.
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2009, 06:35 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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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.
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  #18  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:33 AM
cc charlie cc charlie is offline
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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
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:54 AM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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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.
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  #20  
Old 04-05-2009, 10:23 AM
cc charlie cc charlie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmbrowncom
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.
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  #21  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:38 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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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.
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  #22  
Old 04-06-2009, 12:46 AM
mugsy mugsy is offline
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nmb,

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?

Tim
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2009, 08:18 AM
Swalt Swalt is offline
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This has become a very interesting thread to me. I am learning from it.

nmbrowncom
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.

Last edited by Swalt; 04-07-2009 at 08:04 AM.
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  #24  
Old 04-06-2009, 12:33 PM
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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.
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  #25  
Old 04-06-2009, 05:13 PM
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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?
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  #26  
Old 04-07-2009, 08:21 AM
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nmb,
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.
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  #27  
Old 04-07-2009, 04:05 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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jt,
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.
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  #28  
Old 04-07-2009, 07:44 PM
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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.
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  #29  
Old 04-08-2009, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmbrowncom
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.
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  #30  
Old 04-08-2009, 12:51 PM
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Your response

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.
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