As they say, a bad day of fishing is better than a great day at work! And you know what’s even better? Taking your lures out for a spin in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. If you love sailfish fishing in Florida, why not skip down to The Abaco Islands for a terrific experience, beautiful weather, and a chance to catch (and release) the big one? You’ll also be aiding in The Abaco Islands recovery, so even if you strike out on the water, you go home a winner.
The Abaco Islands are in the northern Bahamas, just 180 miles off the coast of South Florida. They are a slice of paradise just a few hours away by boat. In other words, if you hate sandy white beaches, crystalline waters, views for days, incredible food, and, of course, exceptional fishing, The Abacos are definitely not for you.
The waters just off The Abaco Islands are shallow and warm. We know what you’re thinking: bonefish. But don’t worry: The Bahamas are also home to the Great Bahama Canyon, with depths of up to 13,000 feet. That’s where the big boys swim. In summertime, anglers flock to the area for tournaments, and record catches of sailfish (as well as tuna and marlin) are common. Try Walker’s Cay, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, and (one of our favorites) Green Turtle Cay for some of the area’s best fishing.
Getting to The Abacos by Boat
If you are going from South Florida by boat (and why wouldn’t you – it’s the best way to see the sites?!), you’ll travel through the open ocean. Since conditions can change rapidly, you need to keep a close eye on the weather and plan your trip carefully. Also, you want a strong, stable, and relatively sizable boat to handle the wind and current. If you’re a novice boater, hiring a charter for the trip is advisable.
Once there, you’ll have to go through Customs and Immigration. Remain on the vessel until it has been cleared by Bahamian officials. This is another reason to go with a charter with an experienced captain. This process will be smooth sailing, if you will. When on a private vessel, bring:
- 1 copy of The Bahamas Customs Clearance Form
- 1 copy of The Bahamas Immigration Card per person
- Proof of citizenship (i.e., U.S. Passport)
*When you leave, you will surrender your Immigration Card.
Before You Cast a Line
In The Bahamas, long-line fishing is illegal. Any related gear has to be stowed below deck while you are in Bahamian waters. Additionally, there are stiff fines for catching crawfish, lobster, and other marine life out of season, as well as for taking undersized fish, and fishing in protected waters.
So, know before you go! Brush up on The Bahamas’ angling rules so you don’t run afoul of our friends to the south.
Sailfish fishing in Florida is different from sailfish fishing The Abaco Islands; the waters are different, and the fish behave differently. This will give you a little challenge as you navigate your approach to each location! Variety is the spice of life, after all.
How Sailfish Fishing in Florida Can Help The Abaco Islands
In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian decimated The Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. One of the largest Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes on record, Dorian’s 185 mph sustained winds left more than 70,000 people homeless. The Abaco Islands recovery still continues today.
The Annual Hope Town United Sailfish Tournament in Florida helps raise funds to benefit recovery and restoration efforts on Elbow Cay, one of The Abacos. Specifically, the funds raised by the 1st Annual Sailfish Tournament have gone directly towards rebuilding the Hope Town Primary School and restoring Elbow Cay homes destroyed by Dorian.
Donate now to help Hope Town United reach its $15 million fundraising goal to rebuild Hope Town, and be sure to stay tuned for details about the 2nd Annual Hope Town United Sailfish Tournament.