Grand Bahama is the Bahamian island which has the most contact with the United States. Its proximity and the frequency of daily travel options make Grand Bahama easily accessible. Interestingly, many Florida based anglers head straight for Bimini and miss the incredibly diverse offering this wonderful island has to offer.
When fishermen think of Grand Bahama and its major cities of Freeport and Lucaya, they tend to think of the island as a shopping megaplex awash in tourists and gamblers. It is true that the Island has incredible duty-free shopping, plush hotels, lush championship golf courses, fine dining and posh casinos. One would think that anglers seeking un-pressured marine habitat would avoid this destination and for the most part, they have!
The avoidance of the masses becomes your gold mine as many miles of fertile coastline have been left to only 25 or so inshore guides. Compare that with the more popular bonefish destinations and you'll quickly get the picture. Countless bays, flats, beaches, creeks, channels and cuts which often see no boats at all await you. Anglers who avoid Grand Bahama do so with the mistaken impression that "downtown" covers the entire island. The truth is that urban areas cover only a very small percentage of this paradise.
Important facts for traveling anglers to know when considering visiting Grand Bahama:
- Grand Bahama Island is only 55 miles east of Palm Beach, FL. and only a short 30 minute flight.
- The Island is 96 miles long and 17 miles wide at the widest point. From Freeport or Lucaya, most attractions are within a 30-minute drive.
- The currency is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent to the U.S. dollar. However, U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
- The weather and attire requirements are basically the same as Florida.
- On Grand Bahama Island, there is plenty of available transportation. Rental cars are easily accessible at the airport near Freeport and you can always find a taxi. Additional options include jitney and tour buses, which seem to be everywhere. Tip: If you are driving, remember that driving on this island is on the left. A taste of Old England!
- To be granted access to Grand Bahama Island, U.S. citizens are required to show proof of citizenship. This consists of a passport or a certified copy of your birth certificate and additional photo identification.
- Medical care is available in a government run hospital and there are also three private medical clinics.
- Tourist centers located at the Harbor, International Bazaar, airport and Port Lucaya Marketplace are there to provide all the information you need.
- There is a departure tax for everyone over 6 years of age leaving the island and it's payable at the airport.
Here is a "short list" of the top flats fishing lodges and clubs on Grand Bahama Island:
Deep Water Cay Club — Lying on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, this venerable lodge has a tradition of excellent service and a prestigious history. Its location amidst productive creeks and channels offers great fishing opportunities in almost all weather conditions. If you go, bonefish will be your target but wily permit as well as barracuda and jacks may cross your path.
North Point Riding Club — This facility offers a close-yet-far quality by being located only 20 minutes east of Freeport. They accomplish this by trailering their superbly outfitted skiffs to new locations every day, many of them remote spots. North Point Riding Club offers deluxe accommodations, superb staff and they keep their fishing "holes" fertile by rotating the flats they fish every day.
Grand Bahama Bonefishing Ltd — An ideal choice for angling families because it is in town. You'll stay at Lucaya Resorts Lighthouse Pointe Hotel. While non-angling family members play tennis, golf or take part in any of the island's many amenities, the world-famous Pinder brothers whisk you away towards distant flats and trophy size bones.
Pelican Bay Bonefishing at Lucaya — This is another excellent in-town place to stay and is within sight of The Lucaya Marketplace. Pelican Bay is a resort community that offers everything an angler could ask for. Pelican Bay was awarded the prestigious Small Treasures of the Bahamas designation by the Ministry of Tourism.
Water Cay Bonefish Club — The economical prices of their lodge and guided fishing trips are hard to match. In addition, this is an authentic Bahamian fishing lodge that gives you the real thing on an island not far off the pristine North Coast. It features a six-room lodge that offers air conditioned rooms and a central dining room with a fabulous menu. The major perk with this destination is that the club lies directly in the midst of prime bonefish flats. You'll be waking up and fishing within minutes in an area that other club members travel an hour to reach!
Reef and Bluewater Fishing
Grand Bahama Island is ideally situated at the juncture of two huge oceanic channels: the Gulf Stream to the west and the Northwest Providence Channel to the south. The juncture meets at the island's southwest corner and produces superb action. These western and southern coastlines have an excellent bottom topography that slopes through reef areas into the deep blue. This structure creates wonderful reef fishing and blue-water habitat for a number of favored species. The common angling misperception of over-fishing again has left a large number of offshore haunts un-pressured and extremely productive. The reefs surrounding this island offer up snapper, grouper, jacks and mackerel. You can quickly get into hot action not far from most southern ports. Often, excellent reef action can be had by using vessels smaller than the usual 50-foot charter boats that frequent the deep blue. Boats plying the high seas off Grand Bahama often encounter blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, bonito, kingfish, barracuda and plenty of dolphin. The good news is that all the methods you have learned, perfected and employed in local waters work quite well on Grand Bahama's reefs and blue-water. The calmer months of spring through late summer coincide with some of the best offshore action, although other times of the year do produce outstanding results. Because Grand Bahama's offshore angling locations lie to the south and west, most of the charter vessels are centralized in the Freeport/Lucaya area.