The most recent issue of This is Fly includes a debate about DIY bonefishing in the Bahamas. There are some interesting voices… Aaron Adams from the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Oliver White from Nervous Waters, Vince Stegura from Skinny Water Culture, Scott Heywood from Angling Destinations and, well… me.
It’s worth reading. (page 101)
I’ve done some DIY, I’ve done some indie guides and I’ve done lodges. They each have something to offer. They each have up-sides and down-sides. The debate is worth having.
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I love the DIY stuff, and think that the argument that it takes money out of the pocket’s of locals is wrong. I’ve done DIY in Bahamas for 12 years, and mixed it up with local guides to reach far away flats. On Andros there are a lot of guides, and I’ll always pay for a good one to fish the west side and Joulters. Most of the other flats I can fish perfectly myself, and do it with big success. When I go to Bahamas I still pay for a room, shop locally, eat in a local place and so on, which is another way to support the local business.
Here are my tips to Bahamians to improve the fishing on the islands…
First of all. Remember that tourists won’t keep coming if you keep littering both the flats and your towns.
Second tip. Let tourists pay a small fee to get a license, that way they can be supportive of the fishery, and the economy.
I love the Islands and would love to take part in protecting them, but I would love to see more locals do the same 😉 ….
Well said Peter.
A fishing license is surely a good idea.
I have done quite a bit of DIY fishing there myself(Abaco)
And don’t really see the problem.
Of course the guides are interested in making as much money as possible, and in the Bahamas everyone with a skiff or something similar is a “guide”.
Saying that DIY anglers is not contributing to the economy is BS. They don’t contribute to a pricy lodge or some guide. But very much so to local stores, rental homes, rental cars, not to mention bars and liquor stores..
If one chose to use a lodge and a guide the money spent would stay at that lodge, and go straight into the pocket of the owner/guide. Not being spread around the local community.
Banning DIY would not have a positive effect on the local economy, since DIYers will go elsewhere. But it could perhaps put a couple of extra bucks in the pocket of foreign owned lodges.
And as Peter mentioned, it is not the traveling angler that is putting stress on the environment. It is Bahamians themselves. The littering is INSANE.
Once saw a sign saying: Keep Abaco Clean&Pristine, and some dick had thrown a big black trash bag right next to it.
Tight DIY Lines!
I am a lodge owner and i do an assisted Diy program , i take the fishermen to the flats that are only access by boat , That idea of the Bahamas goverment banning Diy is alot of BS that is spreading by the big agents and corperate lodge owners trying to discourage the average anglers. why pay in excess of $5000 for a bonefish trip when you can get the same thing for under $2000 , no agent 25% mark up no outrageous guide fee(500) a day and the local motel, car rental, gas station , bar , restaurant and gift shops all have a piece of the pie. So keep on coming DIY anglers the bahamas is waiting.
DIY is awesome. Done it myself several times and it is THE way to catch bonefish. I say that as a guide. So, I’m all for it. I’ll even give my clients tips on where to DIY. No worries.
…on the other hand a more thought-out response is here: http://flatswalker.com/2013/08/07/the-fly-fishing-diy-debate/
I once caught an 8lb bonefish on a chunk of squid fishing off the pompano beach pier.I thought it was like a 20 pound snapper the way it fought, will never forget it.
i m boring about this debate
for me things are clear
guides and lodge owners want money
charging 400 and 6000 for a week few people can pay that
even i can pay i don t want because real fishing is diy
bad fishermen needs guides because they do all the job(finding places spotting fish choosing fly….)
if bahamian government don t want diy fishermen we have plenty of places to go
don t forget Bahamas is a tax haven
Saying that anglers aren’t doing their part unless they hire a guide is like saying I’m not doing my part to contribute to the economy unless I buy the most expensive car I can. Sometimes it’s as simple as personal economics. Sometimes it’s about personal preference. Either way, guides, lodges, etc should get over it.