Best Fishing in Exuma
Fishing in Exumas
Exuma is an angler’s paradise. There is really not a bad time of year to fish although what is at peak season varies month to month.
Fishing Chart for Exuma
Deep Sea Fishing
The deep sea fishing is great. I celebrate my "50th birthday" each year with a boys trip; we have tried different times in the year but our favourite is January when the Wahoo are running or April/May and into early June with the Mahi-Mahi are plentiful and the inshore Snapper are also great. There are some great guides that you can find in our directory here.
Bonefishing is good all year long. It is best to hire a guide as finding the Bonefish is not easy and the Exuma fishing guides are incredibly skilled. A half day of bonefishing costs about $350 USD for two people plus tip. The guide will provide either fly or spin reels. While early morning on calm days is best, the guides can almost always get you in to the mangroves and find a quiet spot. Bonefish is strictly catch and release. Here is a blog and a great video with more info on the challenging Bonefish.
The spiny lobster season (also called ‘bugs’ locally) runs from August to March subject to certain restrictions. Local guides can take you out with snorkel gear and an Hawaiian Sling. (It is illegal to use scuba gear or a spear gun....only free diving is allowed.) It takes a little work to get used to it but there is something very satisfying about catching your own lobster for dinner. You can see our blog on how to BBQ and Exuma lobster here.
While the Bonefishing and Deep Sea Fishing are particularly legendary in Exuma, we find the reef fishing particularly fun. We have not yet found a month that is bad, but the snapper are particularly good in April through May and also also great on the BBQ. If you go as a family, this is what type of fishing we would recommend. Often a shark is attracted by the activity so you need to reel fast or lose your dinner to the better fisherman! We often combine reef fishing with either a trip to see the sandbars of Sandy Cay or a little deep sea fishing.
You need a license To fish from a boat in Exuma or to go with a Bahamian who has a licensed boat. Here is a list of guides, we would recommmend Outisland Explorers or Drex Rolle. (Drex is also one of the best Bonefish guides on the island and can also take you deep sea fishing.)
The best spot for fishing is the Little Bridge to Little Exuma on a rising tide. We use Squid as bait (you can get this frozen at Exuma markets or Brown’s Marine). There is a range of fish from Jack, Blue Runner, Snapper, Grouper to Barracuda and Grouper that can be caught here. For a reel challenger try fishing with a hand spool like many of the locals. I would strongly suggest wearing gloves when 'hand fishing' because when you catch something it takes some strength to bring it in.
Don’t eat the Barracuda as it can make you sick.
Some of our local friends claim that the way you tell is that you clean the Barracuda and if the flies come then it is good to eat and of the flies stay away then the barracuda is poisonous. I think it is safer and tastier to stick to Snapper and Grouper!
You can buy fishing rods, lures and other accessories at Brown’s marine (Southeast of Georgetown and also at either hardware stores in town).
If you strike out, Ron at Prime Island Meats usually has some fresh or frozen fish and lobster. If you are lucky you can also often buy fresh fish from the fisherman at the bridge to Little Exuma at the end of the day about 5pm. You get to know their trailer so you know the days that they are out fishing and people show up to buy fresh from the returning boat. Doesn't get fresher than that!
Here are the local fishing regulations. It is important to note that it is illegal to fish anywhere on the Exuma Land and Sea park. It is also illegal to catch any kind of shark.