Getting that license and DIY in the Bahamas

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).



  1. Gov’t office at Harbour Island were helpful yesterday. I had pre-printed forms in US, but they had already a stack of them on the ready. Smooth sailing.

    A local gentleman had the day before told one of my friends that she could not fish a particular flat near town without a guide. And that in a somewhat threatening tone. So, it may be that the rules and regulations are not clear to some Bahamians too.

    “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” That part is a real problem.

  2. Bjorn, I am surprised about the report of Ezzard saying wade fishing was illegal. Ive been visiting Great Inagua for years now, mostly diy with some guiding mixed in (not with ezzard or his guide). We also send anglers to diy fish @ Inagua Outback Lodge, having been sending guests there for years, with no issues. Exzard is well aware that diy fishing is legal, and I can say that he is not harassing anglers there, based on personal experience and based on having sent dozens of anglers there over the years. Hopefully he is not starting something new!
    Seriously, my friend Henry Hugh, owner of Inagua Outback Lodge, would not allow it to happen, and I really doubt that it did.

  3. Well Vince, this was a first-hand account from the person it happened to, so maybe he deals with different people in different ways, but it happened unless the person who told me the story lied. That’s what I can tell you. I hope it isn’t true, but that was the person’s experience as related to me.

  4. Hi Bjorn, the word “motorized” in your blogpost triggered my attention. Does that mean that a 2 person sea kayak (i.e. non-motorized) remains legal? I am puzzled by this specific aspect of the new regulation. Thanks for your thoughts

  5. Ya know… I THINK it might make it OK… but I’m not totally sure.

  6. Left this comment on an older thread before I saw this one. Just spent a week in Abaco doing mostly DIY bone fishing. I did not buy the license. I would have if there was an online method but after talking to the owner of the house we stayed in and our guide for one day, I decided to blow it off. I fished hard for 8 days and did not see anyone who was enforcing it. I’m not suggesting you do what I did, but there does not appear to be much, if any, enforcement going on. The owner of the house and the guide were very much against the license and how it’s being implemented. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it changed in the future.

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