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Photo by Pam Wall
Photo by Pam Wall

Fishing in the Bahamas

I do not like to kill beautiful fish! But do I ever love to eat fish. While cruising in the Bahamas it is almost a sin not to have a fresh fish, or conch salad, or conch fritters, on your boat’s dinner table! When checking into Bahamas Customs and Immigration remember to get your fishing license. You’ll definitely need this permit to be legal. Now get your fishing gear ready because you are in for a great treat.

Whenever we cross the Gulf Stream to make our landfall in the Bahamas we always tow a fishing line over the side in hopes of catching a mahi mahi before we get to the Bahama Bank. Trolling a long line with a yellow feather, or a silver twirling spoon, always seems to attract our dinner!  Honestly, we installed a refrigeration system mainly for chocolate ice cream, but secondly to be able to catch a nice size mahi mahi, tuna, or wahoo and know that we can keep the fillets for several great meals in our little fridge. I never ever like to kill fish, especially the lovely colored silver and gold, blue and electric green of the mighty mahi mahi, but I have to admit I begin to salivate the minute I see those fillets hit the frying pan. I love to eat fresh fish!

Once on the banks, believe it or not, we continued to tow the fishing line as we sailed. Amazing as it may seem, we caught a huge mouthed large grouper trolling on the banks while sailing in 12 feet of water. We can only think that Mr. Grouper was down under a ledge or rock, saw our spinning silver spoon skipping along the surface, swam up to get his lunch and gave us a real surprise catch! That has only happened once in all the time we have sailed in the Bahamas. Remember, groupers live deep below the surface, under rocks and ledges, and never come to the surface. This 10-pound grouper was difficult to reel in but well worth the effort. We continued to tow a fishing line across the banks for many trips afterwards  but never caught another grouper! Miracles sometimes, and rarely, do happen!!

Snorkeling with our Hawaiian Sling has brought many a delicious meal to our table. The Hawaiian sling is a stainless steel spear launched from a tube of wood with rubber slingshot type of mechanism, The sling operates much like a bow and arrow does on land, but energy is stored in rubber tubing rather than a wooden or fiberglass bow. Our afternoons always seem to be spent swimming in the clear water and looking for dinner! Peeking under the ledges, diving down on the coral, even chasing a crayfish from an old tire fallen to the sea bed, has its rewards that fill the tummy! Don’t forget the spear gun is illegal in the Bahamas!

Quite honestly, after a sailing season in the Bahamas I can never enjoy the flavor or taste of a fish bought from a store, eaten in a good restaurant, or purchased at a local outdoor market. There is just nothing as delicious as fresh fish, caught from the sea, and flipped immediately into the frying pan!

And, let’s not forget the wonderful sweet taste of the conch! What a treat; what a job to find; what a slimy, gooey mess to clean, and what a laborious effort to grind or hammer or slice!! But, the end result is something so special I can hardly describe it. There truly is nothing more delicious than freshly caught conch salad, conch fritters, or cracked conch. I am drooling just writing about it!

I always take plenty of limes and lemons, lots of bread crumbs and onions, good oil for deep frying conch fritters. The delight of eating from the sea in the Bahamas is one of the great pleasures of cruising these very lovely and special islands.

So, if you see me floating by scanning the sea floor for my next meal, follow me back to my boat for dinner. Bring some of your catch as well.  Remember dinner is being purchased from Mother Ocean and she is the best provider we can have!

Read more about how to catch a fish, on my blogs at www.pamwall.com and I’ll see you in the Bahamas!!!

Find all the rules and regulations at: www.go-abacos.com/news/conian/new12-00/fishing_laws_abaco.html Be sure you are familiar with the Bahamian regulations before tossing a line.

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