The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in the Bahamas: Tips and Hotspots

The Bahamas is an angler's paradise that beckons with its unrivalled charm for saltwater fishing. The offshore waters in this archipelago are a haven for pelagic species, while the coastal flats boast saltwater fly fishing opportunities. 

With a legacy that includes iconic figures like Ernest Hemingway and many world records, the Bahamas stands as the ultimate destination for anglers from around the world.

In collaboration with Adam Russell, our Exuma agent and fishing expert, we bring insider knowledge to guide you on a fishing odyssey— explore the diverse species that grace these azure waters, uncover prime locations, unravel effective techniques, and identify ideal seasons for your angling pursuits. 

Buy a home near your favourite fishing spots and relish the experience of fishing on a whim any day you want.

Whether you're a seasoned deep-sea fishing enthusiast or a novice casting from a pier, this guide will help you enjoy the unparalleled fishing experiences the Bahamian islands offer across its 700 islands.

Types of Fishing

The Bahamas stands as a unique fishing haven where enthusiasts can indulge in a diverse range of fishing experiences close to each other. From the adrenaline-pumping deep-sea adventures to the artistry of fly fishing on sandy flats and the excitement of reef fishing, the Bahamas waters cater to every angler's preference.  

Let's explore the distinct types of fishing opportunities that you can enjoy when you move to The Bahamas or make it your second home

Deep Sea Fishing

Picture yourself on your boat or a fishing charter at sea, grappling with the ocean's formidable residents like tuna and marlin. Deep sea fishing is a thrilling pursuit that combines angler skills with strategic prowess since these fish put up a mighty battle as you reel them in.

Conveniently positioned in the path of most pelagic fish migrations, the Bahamas ensures deep-sea anglers stay engaged year-round, “with waters plunging an incredible 6000 feet deep just two miles offshore,” Adam explains.

We're talking about the ultimate challenge— it’s where the giants like the colossal 1119-pound Blue Marlin and 971-pound Bluefin Tuna were caught. Thrilling, isn't it?

Best Catch For Every Season:  Wahoo takes the spotlight in winter, while mahi-mahi graces the Bahamian waters in spring. Summer becomes a real treat with the arrival of Yellowfin, Blackfin, and Skipjack Tuna. From spring to summer, the billfish population thrives, featuring Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, and Swordfish.

Irresistible Baits:  Fresh, whole, and sizable fish as bait instead of artificial alternatives. Blue Marlin and sea herrings are enticed by, mackerel, and skipjack. 

Fly Fishing

The Bahamian flats are a fly fishing enthusiast's dream. The shallow waters stretching for miles along the shores and among the mangroves of various islands provide the perfect setting for fly fishing. The technique uses lightweight lures resembling local forage to entice elusive species like bonefish in these shallow flats.

You can catch premium-quality bonefish here, with some giants tipping the scales at over 10 pounds— a record 16-pound Bonefish was reeled in Bimini in 1971. Famed as ghosts due to their reflective colour and speed, these silver-hued fish are pretty challenging to spot. They are easily spooked and dash away, reaching 40 miles per hour. 

Anglers flock to The Bahamas for year-round bonefishing. So, whether wading through the water or experiencing bonefishing on a skiff, you can target the elusive ghosts. Remember to get a permit for flat fishing. Only Bahamian-owned boats are allowed on flats.

According to Adam, “Andros, Exuma, and Acklins are some of the best places to fly fish.”

Prime Season for Trophy Catches:  Anglers can target record-setting bonefish from late autumn to early summer, particularly from October to May. The abundance of mutton snapper and barracuda adds to the excitement, while elusive tarpon, permit, and triggerfish grace many Bahamian shores.

Irresistible Baits:  Anglers should opt for crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, and shrimps to entice the permit.

Reef Fishing

The shallow reefs surrounding the Bahamian islands are part of the world's most populous and extensive coral reef systems. They form a biodiverse underwater ecosystem home to countless marine species. 

“You can enjoy fishing in the depths ranging from 20 to 120 feet of water on patch reefs and rocky bars,” says Adam. The vibrant ecosystems of coral reefs offer a haven for tropical species in its three-layered structure— shallow, mid-depth, and deep.

So gather your family and friends, get on a boat, and savour the taste of freshly caught seafood straight from the bountiful Bahamian reefs.

Peak Season:  The spring and summer seasons bring warm offshore waters and premium-quality grouper and snapper. During this period, you can also expect to catch barracuda, mutton snapper, and some triggerfish in action.

Irresistible Baits:  For reef fish, use cut baits such as squid, pilchards, and ballyhoo. Mainly, if you're fishing for grouper, use pinfish— groupers find it hard to resist.

Spear Fishing

Whether you're a seasoned spearo or a beginner, the archipelago's clear waters offer an exhilarating underwater adventure. Explore the stunning reefs to chase after snappers, groupers, lobsters, and more amid vibrant reefs and corals for an outstanding sea-to-table dinner. 

While spearfishing promises an adrenaline rush, it comes with strict guidelines to ensure the preservation of marine life and a memorable spearfishing experience. The use of spearguns is illegal in The Bahamas. Also, be mindful of the designated no-go zones, which include:

Optimal Dive Season:  The optimal spearfishing season falls during spring and early summer, when you can encounter species like snapper, grouper, hogfish, lobster, and crab among the reefs.

Bait-Free:  Rely on a pole spear or a Hawaiian sling to showcase your skills and ensure a rewarding spearfishing experience in the crystal-clear waters of The Bahamas.

Best Fishing Spots in the Bahamas

There's no shortage of best spots for fishing in The Bahamas, many of which are where world-class fishing tournaments are held. The tournaments beckon anglers from around the world to showcase their skills. 

From small community-based tournaments to prestigious events like the Bahamas Billfish Championship, Hawk's Nest Fishing Tournament, Bimini Wahoo Mayhem, and even the qualifying tournaments for the exclusive Offshore World Championship Series take place in these waters. 

Let's explore some of the best fishing hotspots in The Bahamas and how Adam ranks them for different fishing types. 


Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐

Spearfishing: ⭐⭐

Nassau is a haven that extends its allure to anglers of all stripes. Amidst the city's cultural vibrancy and historical richness, Nassau is no less than a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. 

Explore the Southern flats of New Providence during low tide, where bonefish, barracuda, tarpon, and permit await your skilful cast. Yamacraw Beach offers a DIY dry-ground fishing experience, ideal for solo anglers targeting snapper, grouper, and barracuda. 

For deep-sea excursions, head north to the Tongue of the Ocean (TOTO), a trench home to mahi-mahi, tuna, and marlin. Beyond the Bridge Ridge, vibrant reefs pave the way to waters thousands of feet deep, promising plenty of fishing action.  

The northern end of TOTO, known as The Pocket, features a sudden ocean floor drop to 6,000 feet, creating an optimal environment for mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna, and billfish. 


Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐

Spear Fishing: ⭐⭐

The world's bonefishing capital, Andros Island, has expansive flats suitable for fly fishing whether you like to wade through the waters or enjoy fishing on a skiff. You can hunt for many coveted species like bonefish, permit and tarpon.

Northern Andros gives you access to the famed western flats, oceanside flats, and the Joulter Cays, offering excellent wading opportunities and isolated fishing experiences. South Andros is less populated, but many bonefish inhabit its waters in the 2-4 pound range. These flats are ideal for wade fishing.

Between North and South Andros, Mangrove Cay estuaries are famous for many types of fish and fishing techniques. Still, you will need local guides to access them and have a fruitful experience. 

The Western Andros is often overlooked and hard to get to but presents consistent visibility, with hard-bottomed oceanside flats ideal for sight fishing. Conversely, Eastern Andros is suitable for catching larger bonefish and permits. 

Nearby, the world's third-longest fringing barrier reef, the Andros Barrier Reef, hosts abundant saltwater species, ranging from pelagics to reef-dwellers, only a mile or two from the flats along the shore.

The reef drops nearly eight feet on the island side and about 6,000 feet in the Tongue of the Ocean between the Andros and New Providence Island. 


Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐

Spear Fishing: ⭐⭐

Just 50 miles east of Miami, Bimini is where Ernest Hemmingway spent most of his time fishing on this tiny island. One of Bimini's most popular fishing hotspots is the Northern Sound, famous for its sizable catches of bonefish and permit. 

Among the three islands of Bimini, many scattered cays are teeming with snapper, mackerel, bottom fish, wahoo, and the majestic billfish, particularly bluefin tuna. The fish pass near Bimini island while going back to the Gulf Stream

Explore spots like Victory Reef, Sapona, Bimini Barge, and Atlantis Road for spearfishing. At the same time, you can also get some decent reef fishing action. 

Long Island

Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Spear Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Extending 80 miles in length and up to four miles in width, the slender paradise of Long Island graces the eastern edge of the Bahama Banks. It's a stone's throw away from fishing hotspots at Crooked Island, San Salvador, Samana Cay, Diana Bank, and Rum Cay— renowned havens for Marlin,  majestic mahi mahuli, and spirited Wahoos. Billfishing enthusiasts are drawn to the challenge of these azure waters.

Long Island's untouched bonefish flats, unburdened by fishing pressure, provide a serene sanctuary for anglers seeking an authentic and tranquil experience. 

The expansive Flying Fish Marina in the Clarence Town harbour is the central hub for offshore fishing. Similarly, you can snag a tuna or marlin a few miles from the dock at Simms Bar, which boasts a bounty of wahoo during the season and surprises anglers with marlin when conditions align. 

Off the shore, engage in the year-round bottom and deep-drop fishing, savouring the Bahamian delights of grouper, queen snapper, and wreckfish.



Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐

Spear Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

The Abaco Islands adorn the outer edge of the Bahamas Banks, boasting the Great Abaco, numerous cays, and an expansive reef system caressing the sea of Abaco. 

Among the notable locales, Treasure Cay, Elbow Cay, and Marsh Harbour brim with excitement, offering different fishing experiences nearby.

Embark on a quest for Blue and White Marlin, wahoo, dorado, and Yellowfin Tuna in deep waters with land still in sight. Venture closer to the reef to encounter the reef regulars, grouper or snapper. 

In the mood for some bonefish? Head to the shores, where flats extend along the island's length on either side. Marls, Cherokee Sound, Sandy Point, Eastern Cays, Snake Cay, and more--- choose any spot, and you'll find them teeming with abundant catch. 

Abaco is popular among anglers, yet the vastness of these flats ensures that you will find secluded pools with abundant fish. It's best to get a local guide if you wish to explore remote spots or pursue some challenging fish.


Deep Fishing: ⭐⭐

Fly Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Reef Fishing: ⭐⭐

Spear Fishing: ⭐⭐⭐

Exuma is where you can enjoy a relaxing luxury fishing vacation at one of the private island retreats. 

South of George Town, you will find miles of white sand flats on the windward side of the island, best for wade fishing on your own. Rent a car to access areas north of George Town and take along a local fisherman guide for catching plenty of fish and having a fun experience. 

On the east side, rent a boat for exceptional on-your-own-wading experiences— you can also catch groupers and snappers here.

Guides will steer you to the fishing hotspots and help you navigate the tides, particularly when you cross under the bridge to Little Exuma. The Exumas are good for mahi mahi, wahoo, and year-round reef fishing for jacks, snapper, mackerel, and more.

Between Exuma and Cat Island, the Exuma Sound is a deep-sea haven boasting prized catches like Blue and White Marlin, sailfish, and tuna.  

Tips for Fishing in The Bahamas by Expert Anglers

Adam, our fishing expert, has shared his expert insights to help you enjoy the best fishing experience ever in The Bahamas. 

Hire a Guide:  Hiring a local guide is similar to having your own aquatic GPS. They can lead you to the exact spots where fish are hiding. They know which seasons are best for the fish you're targeting and are experts at navigating the tides. They are also well-versed in the nuances of Bahamian regulations. 

Match the Hatch:  Choose baits that mirror the natural prey of your target fish, increasing the likelihood of a bite. So, decide your target fish and then select the right bait accordingly. For example, use metal or plastic jigs resembling pinfish to reel in groupers. 

Avoid Slow Fishing Season:  August to October is generally a slow fishing season since most fish are migratory so you’re to miss out on big catches in the off-season.

Right Gear:  Align your tackle to your target— opt for heavy-duty rods, strong fishing reels and lines, and wide gap hooks when targeting a big game. For the nimble bonefish, use light tackle. Ensure your tackle box has a variety of hooks, swivels, sinkers and lures. 

Use Fresh Bait:  Choose the freshest bait possible for reef and deep-sea fishing. Fresh baits have a greater scent trail to lure foraging fish. 

Handle the bait Well:  Beware of the chemicals in repellents, moisturisers, and sunscreens that can spoil your bait. Fish have extraordinary smell sensitivity, and the waft of chemicals won't make your baits attractive to them. 

Care For Yourself:  Bask in the sun responsibly, as the heat can intensify in the Bahamas. Wear sunscreen, cover up well, keep hats handy, and remember to stay hydrated. 

Finally, Adam advises the anglers heading to The Bahamas to embrace KISS— Keep It Simple, Simon. Stick to the basics: use simple tactics, uncomplicated gear, and minimal fuss for an enjoyable and successful angling experience.

Regulations and Permits for Fishing in The Bahamas

Fishing in The Bahamas is as integral as breathing, drawing enthusiasts from around the world. However, with these huge crowds comes the responsibility to safeguard the oceans and marine life. 

To preserve ocean health and ensure fair play, strict regulations govern fishing practices in this island country. Understanding these guidelines, which vary based on fishing styles, targeted species, size, and vessel ownership, is crucial to enjoying the sport and preserving this aquatic paradise.

Sports Fishing Permit: You need a fishing permit ONLY if using a non-Bahamian-owned vessel. This means:

  • You don't require a sport fishing permit if you're fishing from the shore or a dock. 

  • You don't need a sport fishing permit if you're renting a Bahamian-owned boat for fishing.

Sports Fishing Catch Limits: You can bag all the silver ghosts but exercise moderation. The catch limits are quite clear, as stated below:

  • Six conchs (legal size)

  • Sixty pounds or up to 20 demersal fish (snappers and groupers, whichever is lesser)

  • Ten lobsters (in season)

  • 18 pelagic fish (dolphin, wahoo, kingfish or tuna)


  • Non-Bahamians (even if you've been living here for months) need to observe the sports fishing catch limits, whether using a Bahamian-owned boat or a foreign vessel. 

  • If you're a permanent resident, sport fishing catch limits do not apply. However, like Bahamian citizens, your catch should remain under 250 pounds. 

Protected Species:  The Bahamas protects its fish well. Sharks are protected to maintain the ocean's balance, so release them instantly if you catch them accidentally. Similarly, marine mammals, corals, and turtles are protected. 

Closed Seasons:  Refrain from catching, processing, selling, or buying marine animals during their respective closed seasons: Grouper (1st December to 28th February), stone crab (1st June to 15th October), and crawfish (1st April to 31st July). 

We hope this expert fishing guide will help you on your captivating fishing journey in the Bahamas, exploring diverse styles, tips, and hidden fishing spots. From Andros' tranquil flats to the blue depths of the Atlantic, the Bahamas boasts a rich marine tapestry. 

Enhance your experience with ERA Dupuch Real Estate Agency, where your angler's dreams can become reality. Whether you're seeking a seaside haven or island retreat, our expert agents will ensure your ideal property becomes home. 

Secure a vacation home or become a permanent resident and let the unrestrained fishing expedition begin. Contact us today and cast into your perfect home in the Bahamas.

Posted by Helen Dupuch on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.