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In previous issues I have mentioned the rampant development that has been taking place on Bimini, the westernmost island of the Bahamas, just across the Gulf Stream from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Bimini is so close to Florida (53 miles) that reckless anglers make the run there in flats boats at times. On a typical weekend day, scores of anglers in bigger boats make the run there and back on a lark.
The presence of day-trippers on Bimini is not what is new out that way, however. Whats new is the development of high-end lodging and package tourism that includes activities such as diving, kayaking, offshore fishing, and, yes, bonefishing. The first highend lodge to offer bonefishing as part of the new wave of package tourism was Bimini Big Game Club (www .biggameclubbimini.com). Now, Bimini Sands Resort and Marina (www.biminisands.com) has entered the fray. As has Resorts World Bimini (www.rwbimini.com), a conglomerate of sorts that operates a fast ferry/casino boat that makes the run daily from Miami to Bimini and back. Resorts World Bimini offers lodging on the island, too, along with various kinds of tours, including a bonefishing tour: Spend the afternoon with Biminis legendary bonefishermen. Starting from $350 for a half day.
The only problem with all this is the limited bonefish resource and the limited number of qualified guides. Even those guides who know what they are doing have (or, at least in the past, had) very poor boats. One of my clearest memories of bonefishing in Bimini is sitting in a rocking chair that had been wired to the deck of an ancient flats boat. The chair actually rocked as my partner and I made our way across the bay. It was a hoot, sure enough, but neither of us caught anything or even had the chance to pull out a fly rod. The order of the day was spin fishing with a piece of shrimp on a hook.
Here is a how a knowledgeable person described the situation in Bimini. He asked that his name not be used: Bimini is a tough situation as there are only two serious guides there, Bonefish Tommy and Eagle-Eye Fred. The other guides are family fishermen and arent really what most serious fly fishermen would consider worth the money. Their boats are not fly-fishing boats as such, and they have no equipment. I think all of the companies out there are sharing the available guides. If that is the case, there isnt too much pressure being put on the fishery. I will say that Bimini is an amazing bonefishery, and it is completely overlooked by most anglers. Add incredible permit fishing to that and you have a great fishing hole that nobody really seems to take seriously. Its a shame that the situation in Bimini is not anything near what it has the potential to be.
Has anyone bonefished around Bimini recently? Is the above a fair description of what is going on there? A spot on our Honor Roll awaits the first subscriber to file an up-to-date and detailed report. Write [email protected].