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(All About) Fishing In the Abacos
For information on permits, limits and licenses, please click here.
The beautiful azure-blue waters which surround the Abacos attract thousands of tourists each year. Some come to enjoy the sun, sand and the beaches. Others come to sail the waters and find undiscovered beaches, and others come to fish. Abaco is known to have some of the best fishing in the Bahamas, on par with Bimini.
Fishing is one of the most popular sports in the United States, therefore many of the fisherman who fish the waters off Abaco come from the United States.
Some of these fisherman sail their personal boats or yachts over from the Atlantic seaboard of the United States and either dock their boat in one of the many marinas located in Marsh Harbour, Walkers Cay, Hope Town, Man-O-War Cay, Green Turtle Cay or Treasure Cay. Some anchor their boats in the harbours of Hope Town, Marsh Harbour, Green Turtle Cay or Man-O-War Cay. More adventurous boaters just sail the waters off Abaco and anchor. Other fisherman come to Abaco by air and then charter or rent a boat from the many companies located in Abaco.
Ask any visiting fisherman who frequents Abaco where his favorite fishing spot is and chances are the angler will reply, "I have a secret spot." These secret spots supposedly allow these anglers who fish the tournaments in Abaco to catch the "big one", and the secret spot is never divulged to anyone.
There are many professional fishing guides in Abaco and on the cays and some fisherman hire them to find that special spot for catching a particular kind of fish. For instance, Nettie's Different of Abaco Resort, located in Casurina Point, has a bonefishing camp and a few guides to take people bonefishing. Other bonefishing guides are located in the north, central and south parts of Abaco. The Abaco Bonefishing Champion, Maitland Lowe, better known as "Bonefish Dundee", operates out of the Abaco Inn on White Sound in Elbow Cay, the home of Hope Town.
What kind of fish lure the diehard fishermen and women to Abaco? Well, Abaco has all kinds of fish to satisfy every angler's taste. There are several excellent spots for bone fishing which is a spot unto itself.
From the months of December through February there are groupers to be caught, and this is also a good season for Wahoo, although this fish can be caught any time of the year.
All types of grunts and snappers abound in our waters. Tuna, dolphin and mutton snapper are popular fish. The latter is caught in the spring and is a most delicious fish to eat as it is a very sweet fish.
- January: wahoo, kingfish and grouper
- February: wahoo and kingfish
- March: wahoo, kingfish, dolphin, tuna and blue marlin
- April: dolphin, white and blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and bonefish
- May: dolphin, white and blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, bonefish
- June: dolphin, white and blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and bonefish
- July: dolphin white and blue marlin, tuna and bonefish
- August: bonefish, tuna and blue marlin
- September: bonefish and tuna
- October: wahoo, kingfish and bonefish
- November: wahoo and kingfish
- December: wahoo, kingfish and grouper
For information on permits, limits and licenses, please click here.
But, as is true in Bimini, the sport fisherman out for billfish is very happy fishing in Abaco. The blue marlin, which is part of our Coat Of Arms and is on our hundred dollar bill, is prized by many fisherman.
Each year there are at least six tournament for billfish. The Bahamas Billfish Championship Tournament held each year in four places throughout the Bahamas has two legs of the tournament held in Abaco. The second leg of the tournament is held at Treasure Cay and will be held this year from April 26th to May 1st at Treasure Cay Marina. It was at this leg in 1997 that the largest billfish ever caught in Abaco and the second largest ever caught in the Bahamas was caught. It weighed a wopping 1,030 pounds and naturally was the winner of the tournament.
The third leg of the Bahamas Billfish tournament will be held this year from May 28th to June 5th at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour, in Marsh Harbour.
What makes the Bahamas Billfish tournament different from some of the other tournaments is that in 1974 it started a tag-and-release program which has provided valuable information on the migration of billfish and is the direction many would like to see tournaments take.
Perhaps the most infamous and the richest of the billfish tournaments is the Bertram-Hatteras Invitational Shoot-Out that was held for fifteen years at Walkers Cay and then in 1996 moved to Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour. It is an invitation-only tournament and seventy boats compete (thirty-five Hatteras and thirty-five Bertram yachts) for the prestigious award. The date for this year Shoot out is May 5th through 10th.
After the Bertram-Hatteras many boats travel to Treasure Cay for the annual Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament which will be held May 10th to15th this year. This is the fifteenth year of this tournament.
From May 12th to16th is the Annual Green Turtle Club Fishing Tournament. This will be the seventeenth year for this tournament.
The next tournament is not called a tournament, but a billfish ball. It is the Penny Turtle Invitational Billfish Ball which takes place at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour. This will be the eleventh year of this tournament and host Penny Turtle makes sure her tournament is not only a fishing tournament but a ball as well. The dates this year are the 20th May to the 23rd May.
From the 28th May to June 5th is the third leg of the Bahamas Billfish Tournament which is held at Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour. Another thing which makes this tournament special is the presence of a marine biologist who does the official recording as well as keeps track of the tags and releases. He does this for every leg of the tournament.
Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour will be having an additional billfish tournament this year for the first time. The Abaco Billfish Challenge will be held August 16th22nd. This will become an annual event.
In addition, this past January for the first time The First Annual Bahamas Wahoo Championships came to Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour. This was held from the 7th10th January and although the first few days the weather was not good eleven boats participated in this event which had always been held in Bimini for 20 years. The boat called Concrete Machine won the Abaco leg with 440 pounds of fish or 440 points. Organizers were pleased and now Abaco will be one of the legs of this tournament each year.
Also Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour will be hosting the Boat Harbour All Fish Tournament from July 36th this year. Again this is a new tournament and it says what it means all kinds of fish.
Fishing tournaments in the Abacos bring many anglers and many of them come every year to fish the tournaments. These tournaments boost the local economies somewhat because the angler and his crew will spend money here.
Fishing is an important part of our tourism industry in Abaco and hopefully it will continue to be a vital part of our tourism in the Abacos.
However the sentence which best sums up what fishing in Abaco is all about is what the Bertram-Hatteras Invitational Shoot-Out said in their welcome letter last year, and that was: "Good Fishing, Good Friends and Good Fun". That is what fishing in Abaco is all about.