Again… what being helpful looks like

The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust is an organization I hold in high regard. They are the stewards and watchers on the wall for the species we love and the places they live. They are, as the saying goes, “good people.”

Being that they are good people and they do a lot of work in the Bahamas and have developed many relationships there over the years, I was happy to see their more detailed recommendations for regulations to protect and preserve Bahamian sport-fishing in a sustainable way for the long haul.

In fact, it is so well reasoned and well crafted I am nearly 100% positive that these points of recommendation will be rejected, probably in whole.

Here are the recommendations from BTT. 

The fundamental reason these points will be rejected (or, more likely, just ignored) is that the move to regulate flats fishing has little to nothing to do with conserving the fisheries. Sure, there is a lot of talk about how these regulations are designed to ensure the fishery will be there for future generations, but this appears to mean “it will be here for future generations because we are going to get rid of all the anglers.”

The government has made noise about “consultation,” but they have selected the most radical people to take their advice from and have ignored the input of so many important stakeholders.

The government would do well to listen to this bit of advice from BTT if they want to find a sane way to regulate the industry and preserve the fishery for future generations, as they say they do.

I have no confidence Minister Gray or Prescott Smith will take any of BTT”s suggestions because their true motivations do not appear to align with passing sane regulations.

I’d love to be proven wrong.


Tags: ,


  1. I am a citizen of the Bahamas,and when it come to giving input or voting anything to what go’s on in the National parks of America,Yellow stone National and others am sure I have No say as a Bahamian.

    what so wrong about been told were you are aloud to DIY. and what area’s are for guides and there paying client’s only. if any of you believe in would believe in keeping some flats remote and protecting the from future boat traffic and not have it to become like the Florida keys. when I fish williams island. some days there are one or tree boats there,some days am there alone. and my client’s love it the way it is.whats going to happen 20 to 30 years from now.

    true story. I had a guy at william’s island and he love it. he love it so much he wanted me to drop him there with two kayaks and he would paddle and fish the next four days back to red bays with another friend .what happens to the Hotel owner and the guide.?

    I guided at a Lodge some years ago and fish with a group from BTT and they knew they were being guided by international’s that for respect for some’s else laws.
    this Legislation was for making the guiding a profession and some more changes. it needed some changes.I hope it will get it.

    I was at the meeting in Nassau on the 23rd june. when there was a call from Pat from Orvis via skype. Ovis has done some help in the past with the training of guides in the Bahamas with M.O.T.. great work, well respected.
    but what Pat said,does’t help me as a guide. he never said,he would give me as a guide any guide deals on his Rods and reels or clothes. I buy flies all the time online from the U.S.
    I just both some from a few weeks ago.
    its clear to me that Pat wants the Bahamas Government to focus on training guides only. and move from legitimizing the guiding as a profession.and not limiting DIY because he makes his money from Waders.
    I wrote a letter to BFFIA and told them we should always welcome DIY waders,as I have some Business from them and so do other lodges and designate area for DIY waders and protect area for the future.and make every one happy. times are changing.

    Every Man has his goods and bads, Prescott smith has his good and bads, he most be respected for helping make some changes in regulations in the Bahamas.

    with all love for the sport of fly fishing and visitors to the Bahamas. DIY should be limited to were they can go. and not go any were they want and do what ever they want.

    there is always Cuba or Mexico

  2. bonefishbjorn

    Tommy, if all the visitors to Yellowstone were Bahamian, it might make sense to listen to the concerns of Bahamians on what rules you were going to put into place, especially if the economics of Yellowstone depended on keeping visitors coming. The Japanese drive on the left side of the road, but they sell cars to the US for right sided drivers. In business, you kind of have to listen to your customers, if you want to have customers, no? They don’t say “We are a sovereign country and we can make cars that drive on whatever side of the road we want… now, buy our cars.”

    If you like the business you get from the DIY folks you have to understand that it won’t work for you to set up a box and say “here you go, you can fish in this tiny little area and all the rest is mine.” Do you know how that looks from the angler’s perspective? Can you put yourself in their shoes and look at a guy spending thousands of dollars on a trip only to be put into probably the worst area you can carve out? He won’t go. You lose the family vacationers with the fishing dad. You lose the DIY/Guided folks. You lose way, way more than you are going to get and in that horrible bargain the rest of the Bahamas loses too.

    All of this about “legitimizing the profession” is really odd to me. I don’t think there is anything that can legitimize you more than being out there and doing it and doing it well. You don’t need a paper to tell you you are a guide. A good guide is a known thing. People talk about you, they damn near want to be you. Having a paper changes nothing. You think all the legends of the past weren’t legitimate because they didn’t have a piece of paper? Yeah, neither do I. They were legit, straight up.

    You are a legit guide. You have a site and a ton of youtube videos with happy anglers sticking tarpon on the West Side. You think a piece of paper is going to change that? What if you don’t get the paper because of some political BS? And… are you going to tell me there isn’t going to be some political BS that would keep some guides from getting that paper? Politics is politics and this is political if anything ever was.

    It doesn’t sound like folks driving this process understand the mentality of their customers. I’ll tell you business will go down. There won’t be more guiding days, there will be fewer. If you raise prices to make up for the short-fall there will be fewer still. It is a downward spiral. From some perspective what you are talking about looks good, but from just about every other perspective, people see ruin. They see ruin FOR YOU! So many of these voices are crying out because we see the Bahamas about ready to walk off a cliff, shoot themselves in the foot, walk out into traffic and we want to warn you it will end poorly.

    You try to put DIY anglers in a box and no one is going to believe the box is a legit thing. No one is going to believe the box was set up as a place anglers could really go and catch fish. It’s going to be crowded and the fish are going to be smart and it would probably be small, with soft bottoms… you name it, no one trusts the guides to carve out something that would be worth traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars.

    As for Prescott… I met him once at a show out in California. His cast was like butter, smooth as could be. He had that classic easy going casting style I’ve come to associate with Bahamian guides. He could cast the whole line without looking like he was even trying. Still… this whole thing has destroyed my opinion of him. I don’t trust him, at all. He’s trying to comment on the blog now, but I’m not going to allow it. If he’s your figurehead, the leader of the Bahamian fly fishing industry, you are in for a long road. He’s lost international respect.

    As you say… there is Cuba and Mexico, but if you set up the choices like that the Bahamas lose. Your neighbors lose. You lose.

  3. Tommy, as someone who knows you all I’m going to say is this… what was said above by Bjorne and read it again. I couldn’t have said it any better and it is true. i just hope you see it too because the consequences of all this will hurt you and your fellow androsians way more than you realize. i do not want to see that happen nor does anyone else who has visited your island. These proposals pass and it is a death knell for Andros and the rest of the out islands.

  4. I can only speak for myself, Andros is the larges island in the Bahamas and we have a lot of big flats to give DIY waders,so there is no need to be selfish as a guide putting a repeat visitor in a small 10×10 spot. wade fishing builds self confidence and make my job its important to aloud fisherman to fish on there own.
    Bjorn that peace of paper means alot to me. in this country our government does not see guiding as a job profession and so do the Banks, am a small guy and the Banks only recognize lodges. some of your views are good. your voice and cry I have express to other guides and prescott. I agree that the 3000 dollar fine is to high. there has to be room for improvement. no one want to be a guide .that is most hated.
    what that said. I make my living as a guide. with respect to every DIY wader.

  5. bonefishbjorn

    Tommy, I’m sure there is room for improvement. I’m positive of it. There are some things that seem to have been going on that are clear abuses. Foreign guides and foreign mother ships… I can’t see a reason to justify those. There shouldn’t be a boat guided in the Bahamas by anyone other than a Bahamian and I wouldn’t want a foreign guide anyway. There are lots of sensible things to be done in the name of conservation to preserve the fishery.

    If that piece of paper can get you in with the banks, that sounds like a good thing. If that piece of paper can get you duty free gear for your business, that sounds great. No reason to give a duty pass to some hotel who might be out of business next year and make you guys pay through the nose for a new Yamaha or truck to tow your boat around. That all sounds good.

    I think if you leave that up to the BFFIA, well… how is that going to work when half the Bahamas thinks the leadership is 100% untrustworthy, and I think Prescott has shown himself to be totally unfit for the role. The damage that last election did to the unity of the guides alone will take years to overcome. There’s too much politics… North vs. South, PPL vs. Everyone else. Hard to run an industry like that. Hard to trust folks like that with giving out those pieces of paper.

    I appreciate the time you’ve taken to write in your views and your sincerity in trying to work through the issues. I don’t want you to fail. I don’t want the Bahamas to fail. I love it there. All of this is being done in the name of preserving the Bahamas for future generations and that is exactly what the folks I talk to want to happen, they just see the current path as heading towards destruction. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

  6. Bjorn, I would love to see his remarks here. Please resconsider letting him post here.

    I do not even fly fish, although it has been a dream of mine to get my father to the Bahamas to try his hand at bonefishing. But I have been following this with intensity because I know how the trickle down effect can reap havoc on the economy. We have friends who rent houses, rent cars, own restaurants. I know this will affect them too and it’s so sad.

  7. bonefishbjorn

    Hi Heather. I’ll let other people, even people I don’t agree with, post, but I won’t let them post if they are part of the clique that is running this stuff. I don’t respect them and I don’t trust them and I won’t let this platform be used to spread their deception. Prescott has other avenues, including the press.

  8. In the U.S. proposed legislation typically includes an economic impact study/analysis. Am I correct in assuming that one has not been undertaken during the consultation phase of this legislation? Similarly, fisheries legislation typically includes studies related to conservation impact. Assuming that wasn’t done here either?

    From one of the articles linked above, even Prescott Smith acknowledges the economic impact he’s sees from this legislation is a money grab to his organization when he says, “I feel that the Association should get a considerable portion of it…”

    It’s amazing that they (pro-legislation guides) are now openly admitting they are in favor of restricting where a DIY fisherman can fish. I didn’t think they’d be that brazen. Could you imagine what would happen if we let salty Florida Keys guides dictate where non-guided anglers could fish? There would be 47 people all in a little box on Anne’s Beach in Islamorada. That’s an unprecedented “conservation plan”

    Prescott Smith has a computer with a keyboard and the Internet. This is now the 4th or 5th time I’ve read a statement from him filled with rhetoric and no facts complaining about “misinformation out there.” If he’s tired of all the “misinformation”, he has the ability to type out a thoughtful, factual rebuttal and put it on The Facebooks or submit an editorial to the Tribune.

    Just my humble opinion but you should allow Prescott to respond here.

  9. bonefishbjorn

    See, I would if he would “type out a thoughtful, factual rebuttal,” but I don’t think he’s capable of it and I’m unwilling to let him just talk in circles again. If he does the “thougtful, factual rebuttal,” sure. But you’ve seen the kind of things he writes… I won’t tolerate that.

  10. Understood. It’s your website. My point is that you should give him the initial opportunity to respond. If he’s disrespectful in his responses, then I understand censoring him.

    I certainly would like the opportunity to ask him pointed questions and rip his rhetoric to shreds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *