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The Backstage Pass

A Brief Guide to Fly Fishing for Bonefish in The Bahamas

May 03, 23

The Bahamas are synonymous with bonefish and rank among the top bonefishing destinations in the world. The archipelago consists of more than 700 islands each with its own flats offering the perfect habitat for patrolling bonefish in search of their next meal.

The sheer size of the Bahamas fishery can be overwhelming and the opportunities for bonefish virtually endless. Combine the superb fisheries with the convenience for travel and logistics, and you have a destination that is truly world-class.

Why Go Bonefishing in the Bahamas?

Maybe the best reason why a Bahamas bonefishing trip should be on every saltwater angler’s list is that there is something for everyone. There may not be a better destination for someone just starting to get into saltwater fishing, especially for bonefish, than the countless flats in the Bahamas.

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With plentiful numbers of bonefish, anglers can take shots at fish all day long. Furthermore, the bonefish in the Bahamas are notoriously easier to catch than in other locations. If you’re looking to get your feet wet in the wide world of saltwater fly fishing, then the Bahamas should be your first stop. But with all that said, experienced saltwater fly fishers will love the Bahamas just as much, if not more, than the beginners; there is no lack of challenging scenarios for seasoned veterans to chase big bonefish and test their skills. In fact, some of the biggest bonefish on record have been caught out of these waters.

Not only is the fishing world-class, but the guides live up to the reputation of the fishery. Bahamas guides are friendly, down to earth, and their caliber matches any of the best guides in the world. The superb level of Bahamas guides is an aspect that definitely stands out when speaking about operations and lodges within the world of saltwater fly fishing.

Lastly, fly fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas is unmatched when it comes to convenience and value. With easy access from any major airport in the United States, the Bahamas offers the convenience of a weekend getaway or a week-long expedition.

Fly Fishing For Bonefish in Abaco

The Abaco islands are located in the northern Bahamas and provide some of the best bonefish flats in the world. The Abaco islands are more than 120 miles long and cover more than 650 square miles of fishable waters.

The Marls

The Marls is a huge expanse of flats located on the West side of Abaco. This enormous area is littered with mangroves, creeks, and hard white sand-bottomed flats that create the perfect environment for bonefish. Anglers could spend their entire trip just fly fishing this one huge area where the next big bonefish could be right around the corner.

Cherokee Sound

A short distance south of Marsh Harbor is the superb bone fishery of Cherokee Sound. When speaking of fly fishing for bonefish, this may not be the first destination of choice, but don’t be fooled; Cherokee Sounds holds large numbers of bones, and some large ones at that.

Although bonefishing throughout the Bahamas is spectacular, Abaco boasts some of the best, especially if talking about big bonefish. If you haven’t experienced The Marls or Cherokee Sound, you need to see the locations at least once.

Fly Fishing For Bonefish on Acklins Island

Acklins Island is one of the least-visited and most productive fisheries in the Bahamas. Out of the way of the crowds found further north, Acklins is an anglers paradise. Explore the pristine flats in search of the “grey ghost.” The shallow waters around Acklins Island offer more wadeable flats than what one could feasibly fish in a vacation. There’s a reason Acklins is famous for its bonefish, and every serious saltwater angler needs to experience this fantastic place at least once. If you’re looking for a trip Bahamas bonefishing trip, Yellow Dog can make it happen.

We work with only one outfitter on Acklins Island, but Chester’s Bonefish Lodge is among the best. Stay with an intimate lodge where miles of wadeable flats are right at your doorstep. The bonefishing in this part of the Bahamas differs from the rest due to the island’s seclusion. As the least frequented island in the Bahamas by anglers, flats are unpressured, and seeing crowds is a rarity.

Fly Fishing For Bonefish on Andros 

Andros Island is the largest of the Bahamas islands and has miles of spectacular flats to fish for bonefish. The waters surrounding Andros are dotted with mangrove stands, patches of turtle grass, and countless cays and inlets that provide the perfect habitat for bonefish. There are a handful of superb fisheries that hold lots of bonefish and large ones as well.

Joulter Cays

The Joulter Cays is located just above the northern part of the main island. This expanse of flats is famous for its collection of small cays, and endless white sand flats ideal for wading. This is one of the finest locations on earth for stalking tailing bonefish. There is a good reason the flats of Joulter Caye are considered some of the most beautiful and productive found anywhere in the world of saltwater fly fishing.

West Side

The West Side of Andros is one of the most productive and untarnished bonefisheries around. This part of Andros is mostly uninhabited and has a reputation for big bonefish. Estuaries, creeks, cays, and inlets provide a great habitat for wary fish.

Yellow Dog works with 15 different lodges and operations on Andros Island. Some popular choices for anglers that are fishing-focused include:

Fly Fishing For Bonefish on Crooked Island

Crooked Island is one of the remotest and least visited islands in the Bahamas. For this reason, the fishery is still unpressured, and anglers will be happy to find very few others on the flats. 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.

The vast white flats surrounding the island make the ideal location to find bonefish. The average bonefish in these waters runs two to four pounds, and anglers will find themselves casting at larger fish on a regular basis. Anglers looking for unpressured waters in a beautiful destination need to seriously consider Crooked Island.

We work with Crooked Island Lodge, which provides great accommodations in a world-class fishery. Between the intimate atmosphere of the lodge, the high economic value, top-notch guides, and not to mention the great permit and tarpon fishing on top of the bonefishing, Crooked Island Lodge offers the full package.

Fly Fishing For Bonefish on Grand Bahama

Grand Bahama is the second-largest island in the Bahamas and is home to some impressively large bonefish. The fishery is phenomenal with its mangroves and vast white sand flats, and the anglers will be thrilled that most boat rides to the flats are surprisingly short.

The bonefish in this part of the Bahamas are notoriously larger than the rest of the islands. And in terms of accessibility, Grand Bahama may be the best. The island is located the closest out of all Bahamian islands to the United States and can be easily accessed by any major U.S. airport. There are options for everyone with a handful of different lodges and operations.

Fly Fishing For Bonefish on Long Island

Long Island is located in the southern part of the Bahamas and harbors some of the country's most beautiful scenery and fisheries. The habitat is great for bonefish with pristine flats dotted with mangrove trees. Long Island has some great places for DIY bonefishing, and options in lodging range from intimate to luxury. Every serious bonefish fly fisher should check out Long Island’s numerous cays.

Maybe the most famous of these cays is Deadman’s, where the angling pressure’s low and the expanse of flats are something out of bonefisher’s dream.

Deadman’s Caye stands out from other fisheries in the Bahamas due to the area’s diversity. Anglers can fish the flats in search of the wary fish, and if the ocean flats aren’t productive, landlocked inland flats offer a great alternative. Schools of bonefish are seen on the flats but looking for larger ones in the six to ten-pound category is the primary reason to visit and fish this area. Yellow Dog works with two different lodges on Long Island, and anyone serious about bonefishing will certainly want to check out these options.

Fly fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas is an experience every angler should experience once in their lives.

For more information on Bahamas lodges, trips, how-to articles, and more, visit our Bahamas Fly Fishing page.

Get prepped for your next trip by shopping our extensive Bahamas Equipment List.

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