If you’re looking for the perfect combo of relaxed island living and record-sized fish, the Bimini fishing scene will blow your mind. This westernmost district of the Bahamas has long been an inspiration to countless famous people throughout its history.
Ponce de León thought that the “Fountain of Youth” was here and Ernest Hemingway loved fishing around these islands. It was the writer’s good word that put Bimini on the map. Nowadays, this is one of the top fishing destinations in the Caribbean. And if you’re wondering what you can catch, when, and where you should go, we’ve got you covered!
Best Fish to Catch in Bimini
One of the many great things about Bimini is its fishing versatility. Its reputation stems from the impressive number of species that call these waters home.
Fly fishing, reef fishing, big game fishing – it’s all in the cards in Bimini. What makes this island special is its proximity to the Gulf Stream. This is where bait fish congregate in huge numbers, and predators follow. The result – some of the best fishing you’ll ever experience! Here are the top catches you can look forward to.
Bonefish and Permit
If you’ve never been to the Bahamas, the top-tier flats fishing it offers may come as a surprise. The truth is, Bonefishing is one of the reasons Bimini is so popular, especially among fly anglers. The Bonefish population here is excellent and the bite is on whenever you visit. Add to that the prestigious Permit, and you’ve got yourself a party.
Bonefish, also known as “Ghosts,” are the most sought-after species on the flats. What makes them so desirable is the fact they’re hard to spot and even harder to catch. They’re also easily spooked and impossibly fast, and all of these characteristics make for a fish every angler wants. The shallow sandy flats of Bimini are perfect for a “Ghost” hunt. In these gin-clear waters, there’s plenty of fish to give you a run for your money.
While you’re already on the flats, why not go after Permit? These hard-fighting, smart fish are sometimes overlooked in favor of Bonefish, but their size alone is enough to tickle your fancy. You can find Permit weighing over 20 pounds in the deeper areas of the flats and around rocky shorelines. Use live crab for bait and strong gear to avoid breakage. Permit are clever and love to hide around rocks and underwater structures.
While you can keep both Bonefish and Permit, it’s highly recommended to release them after a couple of quick photos. That way, you’re preserving the fish population while still having a blast.
Big game fishing in Bimini is the main reason anglers from Florida travel over 50 miles across the open ocean. Nothing can eclipse the abundance of Billfish, especially if you go fishing in late spring and summer. This is the time when Sailfish, Marlin, and Swordfish are all out there, ready to pounce at your setup with abandon.
A lot of record-breaking fish were caught in these waters, and Blue Marlin is the most coveted catch of them all. During the warmest months of the year, there’s plenty of Marlin to target, and these bad boys are formidable opponents. White Marlin are smaller and usually weigh up to 150 pounds. Their Blue cousins can reach the 300 lb mark and keep growing.
Trolling in the deep waters of the Gulf Stream is the safest way to find Marlin, and multiple hookups are possible during the high season. Sailfish are another popular catch, with aerial displays and strength that will thrill and challenge you.
Whether you’re looking to land a trophy or you just want to make the most out of your fishing trip, Marlin fishing will treat you well. Come prepared for long battles with monster fish and see what the ocean will send your way.
Tuna fishing in Bimini is a way of life for the locals and an unmissable opportunity for visiting anglers. These fish are delicious and they can get quite big, so hooking into one means fast and furious action. Blackfin, Yellowfin, and Bluefin Tuna are on the menu, although what you catch will depend on the time of year.
Bluefin Tuna used to be alpha and omega in the Bahamas, but in previous decades, there have been fewer and fewer of them around. In the meantime, Yellowfin Tuna have taken their place and are now the number one fish in everyone’s books. The best time to go after your own Yellowfin is from March–July.
Blackfin Tuna are smaller, usually weighing around 50 pounds, but they’re the most common catches and a good place to start if you’ve never fished for Tuna before. These fellas have a lot of fight in them, and getting them onto the boat will be a challenge worth rising up to.
While there are many different setups to attract Tuna, the first thing to keep in mind is to always follow the birds. When bait fish come closer to the surface of the water, birds will be the first to spot them, and Tuna will follow. This is your sign to quietly bring the boat around, start chumming, and sooner or later you’ll have a football-shaped beauty on your line.
Just be careful, a Tuna feeding frenzy attracts Sharks, so we recommend fishing as efficiently as possible so that you don’t have to fight with a Shark for your catch.
The most productive fishing in the Bahamas is in the summer unless giant Wahoo is your main focus. These silvery, torpedo-shaped species don’t seem to like the company of other fish, because their high season is the opposite of everyone else’s. Wahoo start showing up in November and leave in March, just as all the other predators arrive.
The bite is so good during the colder months that there are several tournaments dedicated exclusively to Wahoo fishing. Even if you’re not a competitive angler, you could easily find yourself in a tug-of-war with a 50-pounder. And they won’t make it easy, so be ready to fight for every inch of your line. The optimal depth to look for Wahoo in is 150–200 feet, though sometimes you’ll need to go into deeper waters.
The good side of winter fishing in Bimini is the fact that there are fewer boats on the water, so you have more space (and fish!) to yourself. The downside is that the ocean can be very unpredictable, so crossing from Florida to Bimini can be tricky. You need a reliable captain that understands the movement of the currents and good weather to pass safely. But once you get here, it’s Wahoo bonanza time!
Snappers and Groupers
Maybe you don’t feel like venturing into the open ocean, but you’d still like to enjoy a productive day of fishing. The best species to target on this occasion are Snapper and Grouper – the reefs surrounding Bimini are brimming with these fish. Whether you’re in the mood for Yellowtail Snapper, or you’d prefer to go bottom fishing for Grouper and Mutton Snapper, a day on the reefs is a good choice.
Both Grouper and Snapper are active all year, but the high season is from April–September. Yellowtail Snapper are the most common catch and a good starting point because they’re surface feeders who aren’t too picky. You can either completely focus on Yellowtail or use them as live bait to attract bigger prizes when bottom fishing.
There’s an array of Groupers swimming in these waters, with Black, Gag, Goliath, and Nassau Grouper dominating the scene. In similar depths, you’ll also find large Mutton Snapper and bigger Yellowtail than the ones close to the surface.
Finally, if you find yourself in waters that are deeper than 500 feet, give deep dropping a try. Here, there’s real potential for massive Grouper catches, and you could also reel in Horse-eye Jack and Amberjack, which is a nice bonus.
How to Go Fishing in Bimini
If there’s one thing you can say about Bimini’s fishing opportunities, it’s that there’s something out there for everyone. Whether you’re coming here from Miami or from any other part of the world, you’re going to enjoy all the beauty and abundance the islands have to offer. You probably won’t have enough time to try out all the ways to fish, so here are the most popular ones you shouldn’t miss out on.
Fishing Aboard a Charter
The best thing to do when you’re going fishing in Bimini is to do it with an experienced local. Nothing can replace the expertise of someone who dedicates all their time to finding the best fish around.
There’s no shortage of fishing guides on the islands, the only question is – what would you like to target? There are captains who specialize in fishing the reefs, flats, bluewater, spearfishing excursions, and everything in between, so it all depends on your preferences.
Along with their knowledge of the waters, charter guides provide the necessary gear, the boat ride, and licenses. They’ll probably have fun stories to share, so when you’re not reeling in fish, you’ll learn new things. You don’t have to be a seasoned angler to enjoy fishing in Bimini, all you need is a good guide.
We already know how good flats fishing in the Bahamas can be, and if you’re a fly fisherman, you’re in for a treat. Species that live in these flats are the ultimate prize when targeted on the fly, so the excitement is on! Bonefish are a challenge to find and fool, so prior fly fishing experience is preferable when going after these fish.
Go out on a boat to cover more ground and test the deeper sections for the Permit bite. If you don’t have a boat, wade fishing is an option, because the water on some parts of the flats is only a few feet deep. This gives you the chance to get “up close and personal” with your prey. Standard 8–10 wt rods are the norm – use lighter rods for Bonefish, and heavier ones for Permit.
Spearfishing in Bimini
Last but not least, spearfishing is very popular throughout the Bahamas. The islands are surrounded by beautiful reefs teeming with life and avid spearos enjoy it to the fullest.
A lot of charters offer spearfishing excursions, and even if you’ve never caught fish with a spear, this is the perfect opportunity to try. And it’s not only fish that you can catch but Lobster too (when in season), which will result in a delicious dinner. Some of the best reefs to explore are Victory Reef, Bimini Barge, Atlantis Road, and the Sapona.
Bimini Fishing Spots
Bimini has three islands – South, East, and North Bimini. On them and around them, there are more fishing spots than we could count. There are more than a few that deserve your attention, especially if you’re coming here for the first time. Here are our top five Bimini fishing spots for your consideration.
- The Cays: Cat, Holm, Ocean, and Gun Cays are tiny scattered islands, which offer premier fishing for a variety of species, primarily Snapper, Mackerel, bottom fish, and Wahoo. The best thing – the Gulf Stream is right there!
- Great Isaac Cay: We singled out this cay because of its unique appeal. The island is abandoned, with only a working lighthouse to keep the boats away from the surrounding steep reefs. Those same reefs are also home to Grouper, Amberjack, and other bottom dwellers.
- Alice Town: This is one of two bigger towns in Bimini, and a great starting point if you’re up for some reef fishing. Bailey Town is where most people stay, but you’ll find plenty of Snapper and Grouper in the waters surrounding Alice Town.
- The Pocket: If you don’t mind traveling to get to some of the top big game fishing spots, then hire a charter to go and explore The Pocket. Close to the Tongue of the Ocean, these grounds are where Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin come out to play.
- Northern Sound: This is easily one of the best places on the Bimini islands to go flats fishing. In these crystal clear waters, speedy five-pound Bonefish and sizeable Permit are all there for the taking.
Bimini Fishing Regulations
When you go fishing in Bimini, the first thing you need to decide is whether you’ll be fishing solo or with a guide. Anglers who fish on their own need to buy an appropriate license. On charter trips, you don’t have to worry about that, because the necessary licenses are usually included in the price of the trip.
If you’re going spearfishing, do your research before you start. The Bahamas have very strict rules concerning what and where you can spearfish. Get informed ahead of time, so that you can have a great time without violating any regulations.
Bimini – Your Gateway to Bahamian Fishing Escapades
Even though they’re actually quite close, the Bahamas seem very remote, but one trip to Bimini will show you otherwise. Fifty miles isn’t that long of a journey to take to get to this unique island country and its world-renowned fisheries. The fishing potential in Bimini is endless, and once you get a taste of it, you’ll always come back for more…Just like Hemingway did.
Have you ever been to Bimini? What are your fishing experiences? Is there a story you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section below.