Fishing in Nassau, Bahamas – A Complete Guide

Jul 28, 2021 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

As the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau is the beating heart of this 700-island archipelago. The city is the perfect place to unwind – you’ll have access to culture and nightlife, with white-sand beaches just a short walk away. And then there’s premier fishing in Nassau, Bahamas – something that every angler should experience at least once in their lifetime.

An aerial view of a residential part of Nassau, Bahamas

The Bahamas are famous for sportfishing, and Nassau is no exception. In the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s no shortage of species to target. That’s why starting in Nassau gives you easy access to some of the most productive fishing grounds you can find.

Top Catches in Nassau

Like the rest of the Bahamas, Nassau is a smorgasbord of angling opportunities. A day on the flats will show you the beauty of stalking spooky Bonefish, while heading into bluewater puts you Billfish, Tuna, and pelagics. You can also enjoy the reef bite, with Snapper and Grouper on the menu.

If you’d like to try a bit of everything (as you should!), here are the top catches to keep an eye out for!

Wahoo – Loved, Abundant, and Delicious

Let’s start with the fish that prefer to visit the Bahamas in the cooler months of the year. Wahoo stop by the islands from November–March – the bite is excellent and the fish are big, not to mention lightning-fast. These speedsters can reach up to 50 miles per hour – having that hit your lure is like a minor earthquake. 

Two young fishermen standing on a fishing boat, holding two big Wahoo

Wahoo are fun, if somewhat challenging to catch, and they won’t give in easily. These fish are fierce fighters, and they can grow up to 100 pounds! Still, smaller catches, usually in the double digits, are more common. The best time to target Wahoo is just before and after sunrise.

The best technique for hooking Wahoo is trolling. Drifting is also a good idea and lets the fish come to you. Wahoo are known for their tasty meat, and after a long day at the sea, a delicious dinner is exactly what you need.

Tuna Fishing – An Adventure You’ll Want to Repeat

During the summer months, Tuna fishing brings the heat to the water! Here, Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna are the most popular and coveted targets. Bluefins are also out there but in significantly smaller numbers, as well as Skipjack and Little Tunny.

A boy and a girl sitting on a boat, holding a Blackfin Tuna

Every type of Tuna has its own seasonality, but they’re all visiting the Bahamas is in June and July. Yellowfins are the biggest Tuna you can catch in Nassau, which puts them at the top of your bucket list. These gorgeous fish can weigh anywhere from 10–400 pounds, and you can fish for them throughout the summer.

Blackfin Tuna are smaller, but there’s more of them. They usually stay in the 30–50 lb range, but they’ll give you a fight like a fish that’s twice that size. 

To find the best bite, hit the water early in the morning and during the hottest time of the day. Tuna fishing in Nassau, Bahamas will be a workout, not to mention a thrilling experience you’ll want to repeat. Remember to follow the birds!

Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish – Take Your Pick!

We can’t talk about the Nassau fishing scene without giving a prominent spot to the Billfish. Seasoned anglers come to the Bahamas to test themselves against Blue Marlin – the ultimate trophy. When Sailfish join the fray, you’ve got a proper Billfish bonanza!

An angler fighting a Marlin from the edge of a charter fishing boat

In the summer, from May–July, the deep waters around the islands are chock-full of White and Blue Marlin. White Marlin usually doesn’t go over the 100 lb mark. It’s a completely different story with their Blue relatives. Their size depends on their gender – males can grow up to 300 pounds, but the females steal the show and can be double or triple that size.

Deep sea fishing in Nassau is all about Marlin during the high season, but Sailfish don’t fall far behind. They come to the Bahamas between April and May and return again in great numbers in the fall. Sailfish can weigh well over 100 pounds, and they’re worthy opponents for the most skilled anglers.

Both Marlin and Sailfish will amaze you with their acrobatic displays and sheer power. The excitement! The adrenaline rush! The sense of reward you get when you finally land that trophy is unlike anything else. But you’ll have to discover it for yourself!

A Bonefishing Haven in the Middle of the Ocean

While big game fishing is the main attraction in the Bahamas, inshore anglers come to Nassau with a different target in mind. The flats around the island are the dominion of wily, hard-to-catch Bonefish, and the perfect destination for fly fishermen. Pop by any time of the year, because the season is always open.

A laughing woman angler in a cap and sunglasses holding a Bonefish

The beauty of trailing Bonefish across the salty flats of Nassau is unprecedented. These species are notoriously easy to spook and tricky to spot. Once you’ve got one on the line, you’re in for a battle of wits. Whether you’re wading or fishing from a boat, you’ll quickly realize that landing a Bonefish requires a steady hand and patience. They’re called “Ghosts” for a reason.

You’ll find the biggest Bonefish in the southern part of Nassau. Some would argue that this is the most prolific Bonefishing spot in the Bahamas. You can target them on the fly or with regular spinning tackle, but since Nassau is considered one of the top fly fishing destinations, why not give it a go?

Snapper, Grouper, and Mahi Mahi – The Extra Tasty Trio

Fishing in Nassau, Bahamas gives you access to a huge variety of fish, and some of them hold a special place in people’s hearts. Mahi Mahi, Snapper, and Grouper are the all-time-favorite catches here, and for good reason. There’s plenty of these species for everyone, they’re fun to catch, and they’re absolutely delicious. You can also go after them any day of the year.

Four women standing on a boat, holding three Mahi Mahi fish with blue water in the background

Mahi Mahi are probably the most commonly caught fish in the Bahamas, along with Yellowtail Snapper. You can hook into Mahi Mahi on the reefs and in offshore waters, where you’ll find larger specimens. Both beginners and pros like having these fish on the line, and for fishing guides, they’re a go-to catch when Tuna and Marlin aren’t being very cooperative. Mahi Mahi are the bread and butter of Bahamian fisheries.

The same could be said for Snapper and Grouper. Novices love going after smaller Yellowtail and Cubera Snapper only a few miles from the shore, and the fishing is always productive. Are you a fan of bottom fishing out on the open ocean? Then you get the chance to face-off against Mutton Snapper, as well as Goliath, Red, and the famed Nassau Grouper. All there for your pleasure and all solid fighters.

Nassau Grouper are the most beloved fish in these parts, though catch and release is recommended whenever possible. These Grouper will gulp down your bait with abandon, and they migrate across the reefs in huge numbers during the winter months. If you do get a Nassau Grouper on your line, treat it with care and put it back where it belongs. After all, there’s plenty of other tasty fish that you can turn into dinner, so you won’t miss out!

Types of Fishing in Nassau, Bahamas

Now you know all about the top catches in Nassau, but what’s the best way to catch them? Well, since you’re out here, why not try a few different things and see what works for you? The truth is that you can use pretty much any technique in the Bahamas and be successful. However, some types of fishing stand out above the others, and here they are.

Fishing from Shore aka Dry-Ground Fishing

Two people standing on a white-sand beach and fishing

One of the perks of fishing in Nassau is that the island of New Providence is surrounded by reefs teeming with life. This natural advantage allows you to cast your line from a beach or a sandbar and catch something good. If you’d like to test the waters, dry-ground fishing is a great place to start.

There’s no shortage of beaches from which you can do some light tackle fishing and get your hands on a nice Snapper or Grouper. All you need is a basic rod and reel, live bait (preferably squid) or lures, as well as a good spot near a reef, and you’re ready to go. Before you head out though, consult the locals about bag limits and fishing seasons, so that you can have a good time while respecting the regulations.

Fly Fishing in Nassau, Bahamas

A smiling fisherman in a cap and sunglasses holding a Bonefish with a fly fishing rod hanging from his shoulders

We already mentioned that fly fishing is a hit in Nassau, with miles of flats, bright turquoise waters, and more fish than you can imagine. Fly fishing enthusiasts love coming here and having a show-down with a five-pound Bonefish smack in the middle of a tropical paradise.

But while Bonefish are the stars of the show, they’re not the only species you can find in the flats. During the summer months, good numbers of Permit and Tarpon migrate through the area, which gives you plenty of time to go after them.

You’ll find them in the open waters, but trophy-sized Tarpon also love hiding in the canals, so you’ll need to anticipate their movements. We don’t have to tell you what a thrill it is to hook a big Tarpon on a fly, the story writes itself.

You don’t need a lot of equipment for a successful day of fishing, just a strong 8 wt rod with a tapered leader for Bonefish. A 10 wt will work best for bigger Permit or Tarpon.

Fishing with a Charter

A charter boat on bright blue waters of Nassau, Bahamas

You can test out Nassau fishing grounds on your own, but you never know how productive you’re going to be. Turn to a local fishing guide for help, and the odds of catching something brag-worthy increase exponentially. Whether it’s fly fishing, spearfishing, or deep sea fishing, in Nassau there’s a charter that can take you to your prey.

To put it poetically, Bahamians are at one with the waters surrounding their islands and they’ve got fishing knowledge that’s been passed down for generations. And no matter how good of an angler you are, you can’t beat local insight. If you’re a newcomer, booking a fishing trip with a professional guide is worth the expense.

All the tackle you need will wait for you on the boat, and your captain will go out of their way to put you on a good bite. It’s easier, more convenient, not to mention that the memorable fishing times are all but guaranteed. 

Top Fishing Spots in Nassau, Bahamas

An aerial view of a charter boat on the waters of Nassau, with a beach in the ditance

On to our next important topic – now that you know what to catch and how to catch it, we have to talk about where you can find all those awesome fish. Most of the top spots are in deep waters miles away from Nassau, but the trip will be worth it for that trophy fish. Here are some of the premier fishing spots in and around Nassau.

  • Southern Flats: There’s no better place on the whole island of New Providence to go Bonefishing than the southern flats. The low tide exposes a huge area of sandy flats where Bonefish, as well as Barracuda, Tarpon, and Permit reign supreme.
  • Yamacraw Beach: Here’s a location for solo anglers who would like to give dry-ground fishing a try. A lot of species come very close to the beach in search of food, including small Snapper, Grouper, and Barracuda. Plenty to do here for everyone!
  • Tongue of the Ocean Trench: This is one of the most productive fishing spots in the Bahamas. From Nassau, head north, and in no time, you’ll find yourself in the kingdom of Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin.
  • The Bridge Ridge: Also in the north, you’ll find a ridge in the ocean with vibrant reefs that attract all kinds of fish. Travel just beyond the Bridge, where the waters are thousands of feet deep and you’ll be at the playground of show-stopping catches.
  • The Pocket: This is where deep sea fishing aficionados gather in search of their next record catch. There’s a sudden drop in the ocean floor here, and the water can be up to 6,000 feet deep. You know what this means – Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, and Billfish are all up for grabs!

Rules & Regulations

Bahamians love and care for their fisheries, and while you’re fishing here, make sure you do the same. Unless you’re a citizen of The Bahamas, you’re going to need an appropriate fishing license. Be careful about restrictions and limits and do your research before you go. Going out with a charter? Relax and enjoy the action, your guide will take care of everything.

Remember that Sharks are important in the Bahamas and targeting them is illegal. Spearos need to be extra careful where they go fishing and what they catch, because there are strictly determined spots and seasons for spearfishing.

Nassau – The Epicenter of First-Class Fishing

An aerial view of a beach in Nassau, Bahamas

Fishing in Nassau, Bahamas is like opening a Christmas present – you don’t know what you’re going to get but you’re very excited about the experience. Your angling skills and age aren’t of importance here, all you need is an adventurous spirit and readiness for an epic tug-of-war. Everything else is just tweaks and details. Happy fishing!

Have you ever fished in Nassau’s waters? What would like your fellow anglers to know? Is there a story you want to tell us? Share your experiences in our comment section.

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