Not only does the Bahamas have some of the best blue water and reef and flats fishing in proximity to the United States, but it also has an incredible world underneath the surface of the water we seldom see.
Diving and snorkeling is exceptional all throughout the Islands. Spearfishing is excellent, allowing more bountiful limits of reef fish and pelagics than what we are accustomed to in the US. The diversity of the pelagic, reef fish, lobster and conch that is available in my home island of the Bahamas is hard to imagine, along with their tremendous numbers.
The numbers of big grouper lurking in their holes seem to be desolate in some areas and over capacity in others. The groupers can be gags, blacks, reds, tiger, the protected Nassau, and Goliaths.
Snappers abound in any reef for spearing, as well as for fishermen. The snappers grow quite large in the Bahamas. They do so because of a lack of fishing and diving pressure, unlike what we see here in Islamorada. Big muttons and huge yellowtails exist in large numbers at nearly every rocky reef. The muttons, dog, cubera, mangrove, and hog snappers grow to some impressive sizes and are available year-round for both fishing and spearfishing.
The reefs in many areas team with fish, and cruising an hour away from the island towns reveals the bounty of the Bahamas. Some areas are better than others for the first-time crosser or vacationer, but most first-timers should be very successful on a do-it-yourself spearing adventure in 20-50’ of water over a rocky reef.
Note, that as of recent, the Bahamas does not allow the harvesting of conch by non-Bahamians. Not to worry, any island town has a good number of live Bahamian conch for sale, or ready-made as fried conch, conch fritters, Bahamian conch salad, and a large array of other culinary delights.
The other note is that of spearfishing. The Bahamas does not allow spearguns. They allow pole spears, Hawaiian slings, trident spears, or a combination there-of. The use of pole spears is way more challenging than a speargun, as you need to be close to your target, versus a speargun that can be fired at a greater distance to your quarry.
Summer in the Bahamas is an oasis compared to South Florida and the Keys due to the number of tourists and locals that take advantage of the Keys and South Florida beaches. You may find larger crowds in some of the Bahamas in the summer compared to winter, but nothing minutely compared to the bustle of South Florida and the Keys.
So, if you are trying to get away to the tropics this summer and do some diving, snorkeling, spearfishing and fishing, combined with a family vacation, you cannot beat the Bahamas for its seclusion and relatively unpopulated beaches and reefs, as well as for having much of the ocean with little boat traffic to contend with.
You want to go catch lobster and not have the craze of the Keys? Then hop on your boat, or on our charter, and go to the Bahamas for some excellent lobstering in clear Bahamian waters- -without the danger of a bazillion boaters in search of lobster during the July and August season in South Florida or the Keys.
Try it once and you will see why I charter our summer trips to the Bahamas for spearing, lobstering, and a bit of fishing…all while having the opportunity to “see it like a native”.
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