Looking forward to seeing this.
Reports coming out of the Bahamas have been mostly good when it comes to getting your fishing license. You show up on a Monday morning, you’ll likely get your license with a minimum of fuss. Saturday or Sunday, when the office is closed, are another matter. I have read some reports about self-important administrators making anglers wait, but there are more reports of things just running smoothly. That’s good news.
Guides and lodges have been able to pre-purchase your license, if you are fishing with them. That helps your Saturday/Sunday arrivals.
Still, there are problems. Recently heard a report out if Inagua that Ezzard Cartwright (one of two guides on that island) was telling people it was illegal to wade fish. That’s not true, of course, but he stood by the claim, basically saying DIY was illegal.
DIY is NOT illegal. There is no location in the Bahamas where you cannot DIY, so long as you don’t take a motorized craft to that spot with more than one angler (this part is a little fuzzy, but, that’s what I believe to be true at this point).
I’m conflicted. I love the Bahamas, but the government of the Bahamas doesn’t love me back and some of its people are downright hostile to how I want to vacation and spend my time and money. So… what am I to do?
The new law has been rolled out and it has been a bit bumpy from what I’ve heard. Have not heard about people being denied, just that some folks who are supposed to issue the licenses don’t seem to have a firm grip on what is going on and you may have to wait a full day or two to actually get the license. I have not heard about enforcement issues yet, but then, I don’t hear everything so I wouldn’t rule it out.
What I do know is the trip I took last February is a trip I can’t take in 2017. I rented a boat and a friend and I fished together, without a guide, for the last three days of the trip. That would be illegal to do now. This fact bums me out.
I’d still be able to go around on foot, or use a kayak or canoe to get around, but that boat is no longer an option. I’d still be able to go and use a guide, either through a lodge or on my own, which does change the price dynamics a bit, but, you still get the Bahamas that way, but I won’t spend a dime on those who fought against us.
There are plenty of operations who have fought the good fight, on behalf of all anglers and for the Bahamian people, and they stand to lose if we just all stay away. Folks like Abaco Lodge, Bairs Lodge, Delphi, East End Lodge, Swain’s Cay and Black Fly, just to name a very few, all fought hard for us and I don’t want them to be hurt for doing what was right.
If you want to go to the Bahamas, there are two places to check out:
- Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures – They aren’t booking the anti lodges. They’ve been in the game for a long time. They know Prescott, have known him for years, and they were very involved in the fight. If they have a destination in the Bahamas, you can feel better knowing they are on the right side of this thing.
- Abaco Fly Fishing Guide’s Association – If you want to know if a guide or lodge is pro-angler, ask if they support the AFFGA or the BFFIA. If they support the former, you are golden. If they support the later, well… I won’t fish with them, I know that much.
It isn’t good in the Bahamas right now. I was just reading one lodge owner saying his business was off 70%. People are hurting.
So, don’t stay away if you are going on a lodge trip. But please, spend your dollars wisely.
I have no doubt Skink would disapprove.
In fact, a foreign sand scheme was in a recent Carl Hiaasen book.
I would say “I can’t imagine a country in the Caribbean that would sell out like that.” but then… the Bahamas recently considered taking Chinese money to pimp their fishery and there was the one time a politician tried to sell off a graveyard in San Pedro… so, ya know… the intersection of soulless-greed and soul-destroying economic opportunity is nothing new and not exactly something confined to the island nations.
I would like to consider how Skink might respond.
I’m just going to leave this here for y’all to peruse at your leisure. Here are a few of the stories about the new regulations in the Bahamas, set to go into effect on Jan. 9, despite the whole nation being woefully unprepared for the mechanism the law lays out.
Just an aside… the Bahamian government websites (like this) where people would actually go to see what the regulations are do not, in fact, have any of that information up yet… and it is supposed to all start on Monday.
Well… how about that? Deep Water Cay is up for sale. I have no idea how much something like that would cost. $20M? $100M? I have no idea.
This is a pretty historic place… the place that started bonefishing in the Bahamas. The list of dignitaries who have fished out of DWC is long… Chouinard, Brokaw, me… I mean…. wow.
Have to wonder if the pending legislation is partly to blame for this place getting put on the market. Guys bring their own boats out there and now they might not be able to go fishing on their own (although I have a feeling these guys can afford the guide fees).
We’ll see what happens.
For the love of all that is holy and good… I want this to end. But, the forces of darkness (or, in this case, the force of darkness, singular) never seem to sleep.
There is a new draft (that link should take you there) of the regulations as a result of back-door dealing from he-who-must-not-be-named.
Here are the take-aways, as far as I can see them.
- Oh Bahamians… look out. This idea that the Shell Man from Andros now has to pay $40 to fish the waters his father and his father’s father fished for free… that idea is back and it comes with the possibility of a $2,000 fine AND/OR 6 weeks in jail. Really, I think the average Bahamian has zero clue this is coming.
- BIIIIIIG Middle finger to second home owners and ex-pats. You can’t fish out of a boat with more than one person without a guide. So… if you’ve lived in the Bahamas for 30 years, you can’t take your wife out fishing. All those guys who spend the money to build or buy a house out there and pay the huge fees involved with getting a boat out there… all that is wasted money if this passes. I have to think the economic impact of second home owners and ex-pats is just nowhere on the radar of the segment of the government that is pushing this stuff.
- Enshrined, but not named. The BFFIA is pretty well installed as the decider of most things in this, all without being named. This sets H-W-M-N-B-N as the king-maker, without it being clearly stated that is what is going on. Of course, not like he’s not a vindictive, grudge-carrying, score-settling asshole of the highest magnitude, right? I mean… what could go wrong?
I, along with just about everyone else, thought this stuff was put to bed. It isn’t. At this point I’m not sure where it goes now or what the next steps are. I understood this was in the cabinet, and maybe it is. It isn’t law yet, I know that. But exactly where it is in process… man, I’ve lost the thread.
An interesting aside is that Minister Gray seems to be pushing a massive investment by the Chinese in Andros, all at the same time he’s pushing taking away the rights of the average Bahamian to fish their own waters for free. People are really not a fan of this latest Minister Gray ploy.
Just to be a little bit of a conspiracy freak here… who is building a fuel station in Andros? Could it be our old pal Prescott? Think he knew about this secret deal being in the works with the Chinese and his patron, Minister Gray? Doesn’t seem so far fetched, does it? The guardian of the bonefish, strips out a bunch of mangroves to put in a fueling station in Andros to service the soon-to-arrive Chinese fleets? I hope not.
It looks like Matthew was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. Still lots of destruction to go around.
Looking for news about the Bahamas in the US press is kind of useless, but you can go to Bahamian sites to see what the impact of the storm was like.
The news from many of the lodges is good. Abaco Lodge, Bair’s, East End Lodge all report very minor damage. Andros was particularly hard hit and I don’t know how many of the outfits made out.
Could have been worse. Florida was largely spared as well. I heard a little jog to the East may have prevented a 5X multiplier to the damage seen there.
So, bad… but not as bad as it could have been. So, at least there is that.
I was just thinking today, out here in the SF Bay Area, that the weather seldom tries to kill you here. Sure, we have earthquakes, but those are sudden and unannounced and it isn’t the weather. Our weather is pretty benign.
Watching Hurricane Matthew proceed to deliberately try to destroy whole countries, and I’m thinking it might just be fine to be so far from bonefish.
Matthew looks as if it might rage through the Bahamas, hit Florida, right around Miami, rake up the East Coast of Florida and then pop out into the Atlantic and then… HEAD SOUTH, back to the Bahamas again to run over Grand Bahama and Abaco not once, not twice, but maybe three times.
We don’t have killer weather here.
In the high country we have dry lightning which starts fires which burn areas larger than some countries and there is certainly damage caused and lives are sometimes lost, but very few, and the forests don’t extend into the major cities. The risks are small, overall.
The Bahamas are flat. The highest point is only 206 feet tall, a hill, really, on Cat Island. There’s nothing much to slow down Matthew, nothing to disrupt his winds. They just have to stay there and take it and watch their livelihoods be washed or blown away.
My thoughts are with all those in the Bahamas and in Florida as Matthew tries his darnedest to destroy places we love.
Matthew is shaping up to be a pretty bad storm. It is about to slam into Haiti (oh good, like everything was going well there to begin with) and will hit Cuba pretty hard, although it looks like it will largely miss the Garden of the Queen, instead hitting the east end of the island.
After hitting Haiti and Cuba the storm should head into the Southern Bahamas and the path that is being predicted could see it really hit most of the Bahamas, although it is predicted to weaken somewhat after it starts to impact the Bahamas. Inagua, Crooked, Acklins, Mayaguana and Turks and Caicos look to get particularly hard hit, but the storm could also bring winds of over 100 mph to Andros, Long Island, Exuma, Eluthera, Nassau, Abaco and Grand Bahama. Basically, there aren’t many folks in the Bahamas that will not be impacted by this storm.