Apr 16

Just for some perspective

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

A special fish. My first DIY fish. Not big, but my own.

The proposed fines for fishing without a license in the Bahamas of $5,000 (not to mention the possible 3 month jail time) is, to put it bluntly, nucking futs.

Here’s some perspective:

For Florida – According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission website which by the way is very detailed and confusing….. fishing without a license is a level one violation and is a non criminal infraction. The fine is $50 plus the cost of a license; the saltwater license is $17.00 however non resident is $47.00. – A la Google


The California DFG has hundreds of regulation pertaining to sport fishing (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).  To to keep it simple, we focused on violations and the associated fines, which affect bass anglers. To start, fishing without a valid license will cost an offender $100 ($25 if that person can provide proof of a license in court).  Catching and keeping an undersized fish will cost $100 and an additional $20 for every fish under the size limit the game warden finds in your possession.  Having caught and kept more than a limit of a specific species will run an offender $100 (this fine various by species).  For example, a white sturgeon violation is $500 and another $20 for each fish over the limit.  Fishing with two poles, without the $13 validation stamp will net a $100 fine. – http://aaronlesieur.com/bass-fishing-articles/the-department-of-fish-and-game-know-the-law/


And… let’s talk about a three month prison term for fishing without a license. It doesn’t sound like a great place.

I’m sickened by all of this.

There are many kinds of fishing that won’t be impacted at all, of course. Taking a party boat out to fish a reef, or trolling for Wahoo, those are fine. If you want to fish a lodge and do nothing else, you are fine, just have to pay a bit more. Lodges might see some drop-off, but not much. Deep sea folks shouldn’t seem much of a dip. The independent guides should be worried and the sectors of the economy that cater to the DIY and family trip anglers should be furious.

I have to say, one of the most striking things for me, and more striking than the $5,000 fine, is that these regulations would prevent local Bahamians from walking out their front doors to fish. It makes the whole thing elitist to a striking degree. How many simple Bahamians have $100 to throw at a license. There was a recent story about how a shocking number of middle class Americans could not find a way to pay for a $400 emergency. In the Bahamas, where the minimum wage is $4.00/hour, that situation has to be worse.

These regulations would take a national resource, a birthright for Bahamians, and would restrict it to well-to-do tourists.

The only way the average Bahamian is going to be OK with this is if they have no idea it is coming, and I have to think they don’t.

Apr 16

Fish the Bahamas, Go to Jail

It pains me to have to write this, to keep having to write these posts about what everyone should know are just horrible, horrible ideas.

There is a new draft of the regulations out, this time put out by the Ministry of Fisheries and since they have pretty much had a monopoly on the worst ideas, you can imagine where this is going.

This does not ban DIY, so if that’s all you care about, you are in the clear… kind of. However, if you mis-calculate and end up committing an “offense,” well, the fine is up to $5,000 with the added possibility of three months in Bahamian jail. Doesn’t that feel welcoming?



You can still rent a boat to go fish, as long as you are the only one on it. A boat with two people required a guide, or, $5,000 and 3 months in jail.


Native Bahamians are required to buy a license to fish the waters right in front of their own homes.

Everything is catch and release with a limit of one in possession, which, of course, is not catch and release. (UPDATE – I think I got this one wrong. Similarly to how Florida struggled with the definition, this just means you can be holding one for a photo, so the fish is in your possession, but you don’t keep it.)

To make matters worse, the proposed regs enshrine the place of power of the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association, run by Prescott, who should be disqualified from being 100 feet from anything involving fly fishing based on how poorly he’s handled this whole thing.

I’m hearing stories of independent guides really hurting as anglers just go other places. This isn’t going to help. This is the dumbest bunch of regulations in one place, at one time, in the modern history of the Bahamas.

I cannot imagine that the average Bahamian has any idea of the power play going on here, or how their lives and businesses would be impacted by this. The place I visited on Abaco earlier this year would be pretty much shut down and that family would lose at least 50% of the income they get from tourists, if not more. I bet they haven’t been consulted here. They would be blind-sided.

You can’t promote your industry by threatening your primary customers with three months in jail. Who does that?

I’m not sure who you can write or complain to at this point. I’d urge you to maybe give a call to your Bahamian friends, the places you stay, the business you frequent, and tell them that something evil this way comes and the hurt is only just beginning.

This would be a disaster.

stakeholders and Interested parties

Please see the attached draft regulations for the
Fly Fishing industry.
I am directed to forward the attached draft for your
views and/or comments (if any).
I am to request any response on or before 19 May, 2016
Angela Albury
Michael T Braynen
Department of Marine Resources
P O Box N 3028
Nassau, Bahamas
To help ensure that I get your email messages, copy to michaelbraynen@yahoo.com

Jan 16

Playing the Odds and a Bit of Trust


I’ve talked to a few people and here is what I’m going to say is the current state of affairs.

The bill will not come up for a vote in February. It isn’t ready. No one has seen it. The most recent comments from Gray are pure politics in the worst sense of that word, which is saying something.

There is no reason to hold off on planning your trip.

When and if ANYTHING happens, there won’t be some short little window of notice. Folks in the know don’t think anything is likely to happen, or at least nothing that really impacts the DIY angler more than maybe buying a license.

So… while Gray’s comments are irresponsible, he is a politician and that seems to be mostly what they do.

See you in the Bahamas.

Jan 16

Is this thing coming for a vote? Part 2

Yesterday the Tribune published a story saying the flats regulation bill would hit the Cabinet in February.

This caught us all by surprise, since no one had heard a peep about the final draft getting released, much less it coming up for a vote. I made some inquiries and two distinct possibilities are emerging.

  1. Good ole’ Minister Gray has been super sneaky and the bill is getting ready for a February vote.
  2. Good ole’ Minister Gray is playing politics and wants to have something positive to talk about despite the fact nothing is actually happening.

Now, the worrywart in me fears #1, but the cynic in me sees #2 as the more likely of the two possibilities.

#2 seems more possible when you talk to folks out there (people who really shhould know) and they have not heard boo about this thing moving forward.

Another very non-scientific observation from a reader out in the Bahamas right now. He’s been going about this time for several years and this year he’s seen only one other angler, which is very different from years past. It is his belief that the talk about banning DIY has caused folks seen on the flats in years past to head elsewhere. It is just one data point, but it does tend to agree with what this side of the debate has been arguing for a long time, mainly that you can’t threaten and bully your visitors and expect them to still visit.

The unfortunate bit about Gray’s comments are that they come just as many anglers are looking at their 2016 to make plans. Gray throws doubt on all of that and it is a very simple thing right now for someone just to put a different destination into Kayak. Playing politics with the livelihood of the very people he is supposed to be representing is damn near criminal. He’s either an idiot or an asshole… maybe a little of column A and a little of column B.

I’ll have my own (wading) boots on the ground in another month and I will be asking a lot of questions when I get there. More answers will be forthcoming.

Jan 16

Bahamas Regulations Coming to a Vote??

Just saw this…

Um... damn.

Um… damn.

This does not sound great. First, it does not sound great because the news comes from the mouth of Minister Gray, an individual who has shown nothing but hostility toward DIY anglers/tourists.

Second, it does not sound great because no one I know has seen a revised draft. Given the absolutely craptastic first and second drafts of this thing, hearing there is a third does nothing to make me feel at ease.

I’m working the channels to learn what I can about the proposal and how real this news is. I’ll keep you posted.