Trip Report Cat Island, Bahamas

MDK

Active Member
Back from my winter DIY fishing trip. This year I went to Cat Island in the Bahamas. The trip was OK but I wasn't sure I'd do a post but since we had a dialog concerning DIY fishing in the Bahamas, I thought I'd better respond.
There has been concern about fishing license and DIY fishing. I talked to about 12 fisherman and none had a license. Three tried to buy one but were unable to. The local authorities on Cat Island had heard about the need for a license but weren't as yet prepared to issue one. I think this will eventually change and sometime in the future you will need one. Cat Island is one of the outer islands and regs will take longer to get there. Cat Island is also mostly a wade fishing location and a DIY fisherman does not need a guide for this. It gets more complicated if you are fishing from a boat.
Fishing was tough, mostly due to the weather. In 15 days, I had about 5 real bad weather days, 5 so-so and, 5 good. It was also real windy. I had 3 or 4 days of near gale force winds. I tried to fish anyway but it was futile.
You really need the sun to spot bonefish and I had more days that were cloudy than not. Cat Island is mostly creek fishing which have flats but they are not smooth, lots of mounds and holes, good place to break a leg. Further up in the creeks are mangrove flats which you can sink up to your knees while wading. I found it kind of tough on my aging body.
The trick for fishing these creeks is to encounter the fish as they are coming in and going out. I never quite figured it out. I had more luck on the incoming tide than outgoing. I fished 5 creek systems. I caught fish in two of them. I had two real good fishing days, a few OK, and several poor. One creek in particular I figured out and that saved the trip.
The sand flies (noseeums) loved me. I stayed in Orange Creek and there were three restaurants there, none of which were open. I had to drive about 15 miles to buy a meal. A car is essential. I got the two week special for $50/day. Gas was $6.05/gal.DSCN0605_1.JPG DSCN0608_1.JPG DSCN0613_1.JPG DSCN0615_1.JPG DSCN0631_1.JPG DSCN0636_1.JPG DSCN0640_1.JPG DSCN0649_1.JPG DSCN0652_1.JPG DSCN0605_1.JPG DSCN0608_1.JPG DSCN0613_1.JPG DSCN0615_1.JPG DSCN0631_1.JPG DSCN0636_1.JPG DSCN0640_1.JPG DSCN0649_1.JPG DSCN0652_1.JPG
 

Mems

Active Member
Aloha, nice report. That last fish is a gaffsail pompano, best eating fish in the ocean. It is cool you got to DIY. I have found that bones behave the same all around the world. When I fished the bahamas what amazed me were the muds of thousands of fish feeding and circling. It was pretty easy to catch one then. I liked stalking pairs on the edge of the mangroves or flats. That was more like hunting. At low tide they would creek up, school up in deep holes. That was like fishing in a barrel. We used larger eyes and longer leader and jigged the fly through the school. That is when we got the largest bones, 8lbs and up on our trip there. Now I know the right depth and temperature and love fishing a channel on an incoming tide. You can just stand in one place and catch dozens and dozens of hungry bones. That is when it is magic. It is cool to explore and find those spots on your own. Mems.
 

Joepa

Joe from PA
Thanks for the report. Weather this time of the year in the Bahamas has always been an issue for me too. I've come to expect at least half the the trip will involve less than ideal weather conditions. That's why it's great to have a car, and to stay on an island that has different terrain so you can at least get out of the wind on bad wind days and fish spots from all 4 cardinal points. I've had some of my best fishing on windy days targeting fish schooled up in the leeward side of a point, or blind casting on cloudy days to fish holding at low tide in creek channels and drop-offs as Mems described. It's not the classic stalk an cast bone fishing experience that we go there to do, but it can be a lot of fun too.
 

HungryNookie

Active Member
Great trip report. I spent some time at Cat a few years back. Special place and great people. Stalked bones through the channels near Pigeon Caye. Wind never drops below 20 mph.
 

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