The Bahamas will always be synonymous with bonefish. In fact, The Bahamas could possibly be the greatest bonefish fishery found on earth, the crystalline Caribbean waters providing the perfect habitat. However, maybe not what it’s famous for, the Bahamas are home to some terrific permit and tarpon fishing as well.
Even though bonefish can be found throughout most of the Bahamas, tarpon and permit require a little more effort to find but you can be rewarded with some astounding fishing.
Andros’ West Side
Both tarpon and permit can be found on Andros’ west side. Lodges such as Red Bay Sunset Lodge are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the permit and tarpon in the area. This new lodge was built in 2018 by legendary Charlie “Crazy Charlie” Smith’s son, Benry Smith. Benry has been in the fly fishing industry since he could walk and tie flies for his father. Red Bay’s is specialized in trophy bonefish, resident tarpon, and occasionally large ocean permit. Resident tarpon cling to the blue holes and creeks loving the freshwater. Larger migratory fish move through the area in the late spring and summer months. These tarpon are aggressive since they rarely see flies.
Mangrove Cay Club is another great lodging option offering anglers opportunities to target both permit and tarpon. Its prime location allows for anglers to fish the north, middle and south bights of this huge island, where guides can position you on optimal tides throughout each fishing day. You can also explore both coasts of the island and cover a phenomenal amount of fishing area, making this one of the most diverse areas in the Bahamas.
Swain’s Cay Lodge is ideally located to cater to anglers, non-anglers, families, and couples. Located on one of the nicest white sand beaches on Andros, this fantastic destination offers some different lodging options, including ocean-view suites, garden view twin rooms, and a three-bedroom apartment for larger groups and families. A home flat spans the water just beyond the lodge, where anglers can fish independently after a full day of guided fishing and on arrival or departure days. Swain’s is the ideal option for those looking for great fishing combined with amenities that non-anglers desire in a Caribbean beach vacation.
If you want to target permit and tarpon on a different part of the Bahamas then Crooked Island is just the place. Currently, Yellow Dog works with one lodge appropriately named Crooked Island Lodge. Crooked Island is one of the least visited and most productive fisheries in the Bahamas, about as far from Florida as one can get and still be in Bahamian waters. The location of the island is important when you consider that weather patterns in this southern area are usually more consistent and warmer than other Bahamian islands, especially throughout the winter months. Guides here are always eager to get on the water and be chasing tarpon and permit on any given day.
When to go
Any of the above lodges will be the perfect fit for anglers wanting to target permit and tarpon. But keep in mind that certain parts of the year can be more productive than others. Generally speaking, the best time of the year to be fishing for permit and tarpon will the warmer months of May through October.
Even though the Bahamas are known for its exceptional bonefishing, in certain areas, during certain times of the year, anglers can delight in fishing for both permit and tarpon.
For more information on Bahamas lodges, trips, how-to articles, and more visit our Bahamas Fly Fishing page.