Fishing in the Southern Bahamas
Feb 23, 2018
Three types of fishing dominate in this town
In the Southern Bahamas, Acklins Island is part of a group of three islands that wrap around a massive shallow body of water called the Bight: Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay. These islands are ringed by a 50-mile barrier reef. The Bight forms an area of shallow water which is often no more than 18” deep, even when 5 miles offshore. It creates a fantastic bone fishery with hundreds of square miles of flats and mangrove-lined lagoons. This basin is still one of the most untouched and unspoiled in the Bahamas. It offers three types of prized fishing experiences.
Bonefishing is the most popular activities for travelers to the southern Bahamas. Acklins Island is one of the most popular destinations. The many tidal flats, creeks, channels, and mangroves scattered all across the island offer the challenges and rewards of sight-fishing for bonefish. Julius Chisholm of Chester’s Highway Inn Bonefish Lodge states that around 85% of the bonefishing is wading and stalking fish. The great advantage is that you are not sitting on a boat while watching someone else fish. The peak fishing months are March through November. The weather conditions are better for boating. December through February the weather is more unstable for boating.
Experienced anglers can hook large bonefish up to 15 lbs. on any fishing day. Casting in the evening while the tide is incoming is the best time to snag a permit or the larger fish. Smaller bonefish (3-5 lbs.) are so abundant. Anglers can hook 15 to 20 each day. There are remote flats that have rarely been fished. Some of these are hard to access because they require long walks, but they can be very rewarding. However, novice anglers might need a course in stalking taught by Mr. Chisholm or any tour guide on the island.
Deep Sea Fishing
Aside from bone fishing you can also experience the thrill of offshore fishing in the deeper waters that surround Crooked Island. Acklins and Crooked Island are so closely connected there is a 10-minute water taxi providing daily transport between the two islands. The waters around Crooked Island are rarely fished due to its remote location and the lack of sports fishing boats in the area. Daily catches - which at times can exceed thirty fish - include numerous species and prize-winning wahoo, tarpon, and dolphin (mahi). Fall and winter are excellent times for wahoo, mackerel, and tuna. Spring and winter are excellent times for tuna, marlin, and dolphin.
Reef fishing is available year round in Acklins. The low population density on Acklins and its surrounding islands means the reefs are barely untouched: the fish population is abundant. In about 100 feet of water, reef fish like grouper, snapper, grunts, hogfish, jacks, and mackerel are common. Most fishermen use lightweight tackles, jigs, or bait to cast on reefs. December through February the weather is more unstable on the reefs due to strong winds from the north.