Your Bahamas: Overview
The Islands of The Bahamas are regarded as one of the premier destinations in the world for sport fishing.
The 2,000 islands and cays, scattered like jewels throughout some 4,000 square km of clear tropical sea at the top of the Caribbean, offer extensive flats fishing with bonefish, tarpon, barracuda and permit four of the main target species; indeed the island of Andros is considered to be the ‘bonefishing capital of the world’!
Or, if you prefer to follow in the footsteps of Hemingway, the deep sea fishing, fuelled by the Gulf Stream and the open ocean to the west, offers species such as blue and white marlin, mahi-mahi (dorado), sailfish, wahoo, tarpon and tuna. Little wonder that Bimini , with its prime location right in the middle of the Gulf Stream is regarded as the ‘big game fishing capital of the world’.
In addition to the ‘headline’ flats and big game fishing there is also extensive reef fishing and, given that The Bahamas are one of the top holiday destinations in the world, with the sixteen main destinations offering a myriad of holiday possibilities for anglers and non-anglers alike, your fishing can easily be combined with a partner or family as part of a wider experience.
Now, discover ‘Your Bahamas’ and plan to catch the fish of your dreams…
Situated at the top of the Caribbean in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba and Hispaniola, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, south east of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys, the Islands of the Bahamas stretch for some 1,200 km through clear, tropical waters.
The 2,000 islands and cays are formed mostly of flat coral, yet despite the shared topography the character of each island is as individual as the 350,000 people who live there and each offers a unique experience.
Wherever you go you'll enjoy a welcome that's as warm as the climate with the starting point for most visitors the 16 main destinations, which serve as 'jumping off points' for the 2,000 islands and cays!
Nassau / Paradise Island
Nassau, capital city of The Bahamas, lying on New Providence Island, the neighbour of Paradise Island, is both captivatingly old and new. This island pair maintains a distinct blend of international 21st century glamour, old-world charm and tropical ease, giving holidaymakers the freedom to do everything - or simply relax and do nothing at all.
Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama Island is a rare mix, allowing visitors to combine a cosmopolitan holiday at a world-class resort with the charm of historic fishing villages and undiscovered ecological treasures. Diving on Grand Bahama Island offers one of the world's largest underwater cave systems and there are three national parks, endless beaches, emerald-green water and enchanting marine life. Ultra-modern conveniences and ‘Out Island’ warmth; it's all on Grand Bahama Island.
120 islands make up a ‘necklace of gems’ that form The Abacos , which to this day are an uninhabited paradise of islets, cays and beaches. The Abacos are a sailing playground par excellence and there's Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco, the bustling capital of the chain, and Treasure Cay, both packing a funky assortment of family-run hotels, villas, superb restaurants and lively nightspots. The delightful New England-style Hope Town, overlooked by a magnificent candy-striped lighthouse, and Green Turtle Cay with its stunning scenery are the most popular destinations to visit and stay.
The Berry Islands
With a land mass of about 31 square km, the Berry Islands are a cluster of 30 tropical islands and almost 100 cays lying 56km north of Nassau. Home to a population of approximately 700, the wonderfully secluded, unspoilt beaches are a paradise for wildlife such as terns, pelicans and noddies, as well as occasional visiting yachtsmen, stopping over between Florida and Nassau.
Just 80km east of Miami, North and South Bimini are the two biggest islands in the Bimini group which stretches for 45km across the Gulf Stream. A former home of Hemingway, Bimini is the big game fishing capital of The Bahamas, with its deep-water side facing west, where the sea is rich in fish such as wahoo, marlin and sailfish.
Covering a vast 6,000 square km, just 48km west of Nassau and 281km southeast of Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Andros is the largest and yet least explored island in The Bahamas chain. Andros is home to the oldest dive resort in the world, the second-largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and crystal-clear waters which maintain a year-round temperature of 27C (80F). Most importantly for anglers it is considered to be ‘the bonefishing capital of the world’.
Eleuthera and Harbour Island
First settled in 1648, Eleuthera is perhaps the best known of the Out Islands and one of the main agricultural centres of The Bahamas. Eleuthera is shaped like a praying mantis, and this strip of an island is just under 8km wide and 177km long, with hills of rich red soil at its centre that are ideal for producing pineapples, tomatoes and a variety of vegetables. Harbour Island was the first capital of The Bahamas in colonial times and is the most visited of the Out Islands.
The location of not one but two James Bond movies – Thunderball and Never Say Never Again – the Exumas are made up of 365 islands and cays strung out like jewelled stepping stones across more than 193km of shimmering emerald ocean. The bright white sand of the deserted beaches contrasts strikingly with the deep aquamarine and jade hues of the water, making the chain one of the prettiest in The Bahamas.
With miles of idyllic deserted beaches - especially the 12km pink sand beach - cerulean waters, word-class diving, snorkelling and fishing, beautiful rolling hills and rocky cliffs, Cat Island is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of The Bahamas. And, as one of the least inhabited, it's location 152km southeast of Nassau makes it the perfect destination for people looking for total, blissful seclusion.
San Salvador & Rum Cay
On the eastern-most fringe of The Islands of The Bahamas, facing out into to the Atlantic Ocean lies the 19km long, 8km wide island of San Salvador. Home to miles of pristine and secluded beaches, an emerald sea of sparkling clarity, a wealth of challenging reef and wreck dive sites and a local population of around 1,000. San Salvador is the ultimate escape for divers, fishermen, yachtsmen and anyone who yearns to relax in a serene atmosphere.
Only 128km long and 6km wide, Long Island is one of the most scenic hideaways in The Islands of the Bahamas, and famous the world over for its world-class scuba diving and bonefishing. Long Island is also famous for having the deepest blue hole in the world - Dean's Blue Hole, located in a bay west of Clarence Town - with an underwater entrance at 202m (663ft).
Acklins /Crooked Island
Acklins is a lesser-known island that's just 238 square km and 6km across at its widest point. The island hugs the Bight of Acklins, a small but famous lagoon, the population is scarce, with just over 400 residents and there are breathtaking beaches, unusual rock formations and scenic plant and animal life, which make it a nature lover's dream.
Quiet and remote Crooked Island is a natural, pristine setting featuring miles of beautiful, untouched white sand beaches. Birds frequent the cliffs and reefs, the limestone caves are magical, coral gardens and reefs are waiting to be explored by divers and the tidal flats and deep creeks are an angler’s dream come true.
Located 96km north of Inagua, Mayaguana is the least developed and most isolated island within The Bahamas' family of islands and is an ideal getaway for travellers seeking footprint-free beaches, undisturbed reef diving and a tackle box of peaceful sport fishing!
With Great Inaguas resident population of around 1,000 Bahamians and over 80,000 West Indian flamingos, and Little Inagua's only settlers amounting to donkeys, goats and rare birds, this pair of islands is (together the third-largest island in The Bahamas and referred to as Inagua) an eco-tourists dream. The bird life is spectacular, there are feral donkeys and endangered freshwater turtles and, accompanied by experienced guides, travellers can explore Inagua's limestone caves and enjoy fabulous beaches and snorkelling.
Ragged Island is part of a long string of islands that stretch from the southern tip of Long Island, almost all the way to Cuba. This attractive little island is easily explored on foot as it only covers about 24 square km and is inhabited by around 80 people who mainly live in Duncan Town, the island’s only village.
There are unspoilt beaches and peaceful cays and the crystal clear water is full of fish including bonefish, sharks, permit, lady fish and the concentration of bonefish on the flats will amaze even the best-travelled angler!
Travelling to The Bahamas
There are approximately 26 airports throughout The Bahamas, most of them international, including the two main gateaways on Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island (Freeport)
British Airways flies from London to Nassau airport (Sir Lynden Pindling International - NAS) five times a week: The direct flight takes nine hours, but if you want to combine your trip with a stay in the USA or fly into a different Bahamian island, you can head for American cities such as Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and New York where the main airlines connecting the USA and Nassau also fly directly to the Out Islands.
The main airlines connecting the USA and The Bahamas are:
American Airlines/American Eagle
The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718, gained independence in 1973, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with an appointed Governor-General representing Queen Elizabeth II.
The language is English and there is no requirement for a visa for EU passport holders although visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival and proof of return travel. The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$), which is on par with the US dollar and the time difference is GMT -5.
For further travel information visit The Bahamas website
The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout The Islands of The Bahamas give the islands a warm climate which hardly varies all year round.
Between September and May the temperature averages 21-24C (70-75F), with the more northerly islands around 5 degrees cooler than the southern islands. The rest of the year is a little warmer, with higher humidity in the summer months and temperatures between 27 and 29C (80-85F).
Night-time temperatures are generally 5-7 degrees cooler and sea surface temperatures vary between 23C (74F) in February and 29C (84F) in August.
For up-to-date Bahamas weather forecasts visit The Bahamas live weather site
The Islands of The Bahamas benefits not only from a diverse range of islands to explore but also a variety of accommodation to suit any occasion from budget to chic island resorts and international brand hotels right through to smaller and more intimate value-for-money guest houses. Although it should be noted that some small hotels on some remote islands are closed during the low season from August through to October or November).
Angling lodges are covered in more detail in our angling section but for an overview of all of the accommodation available click HERE
Food and Drink
A full range of international cuisine is available via the top restaurants throughout the Islands of The Bahamas with fast food chains in Nassau/Paradise Island and on Grand Bahama Island.
Traditional Bahamian cuisine is centred round seafood with grouper, snapper, mahi mahi, lobster and conch (a very tasty mollusc, served in salads, fritters and chowders) all popular. Side dishes include peas’n’rice, potato salad and fried plantain with desserts including delights such as coconut pie and guava duff.
Drinks often feature rum with the Bahama Mama one of the most famous cocktails and there are excellent local beers including Kalik, Sands and High Rock.
Get yourself in The Bahamas mood and mix yourself a great Bahama Mama before you go out and experience the real thing!
40ml dark rum
40ml Nassau Royal Liqueur (or other flavoured liqueur)
30ml coconut rum
60ml orange juice
60ml pineapple juice
A dash of grenadine
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake, then pour over cracked ice in your chosen glass! Decorate with a cherry and serve!
They say you don’t need an excuse to party in The Bahamas but at Junkanoo everyone parties!
The origins of the traditional Christmas / New Year Bahamas Junkanoo is open to speculation, with the most popular belief being that it developed from the days of slavery when many enslaved were given three days off at Christmas, which they celebrated by singing and dancing in colourful masks and travelling from house to house, often on stilts.
Junkanoo nearly vanished after slavery was abolished but the revival of the festival in The Bahamas now provides entertainment for many thousands and is one of the liveliest, most colourful and entertaining street carnivals in the world.
The liveliest and largest of the sensational Bahamas Junkanoo party parades is in Nassau, but you can also experience the carnival atmosphere on Grand Bahama Island, Eleuthera/Harbour Island, Bimini, The Exumas and The Abacos.
Although Junkanoo traditionally takes place over Christmas and New Year due to its popularity, Junkanoo Summer Festival has been introduced throughout June and July. Blending art, culture and music, local and national entertainers join the Junkanoo groups to parade through the streets.
In addition you can now also experience The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, which has events scheduled from May 7th-9th, 2015. The carnival will showcase Junkanoo, Rake -n- Scrape, Arts and Crafts, Bahamian Cuisine, Visual Art, Music, Dance and more.