Bahamian Fishing Regulation Update

With the comment period soon ending, regarding the latest Draft legislation, here are the responses penned by The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and The Abaco Fly Fishing Guide’s Association.

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust response letter.

The Abaco Fly Fishing Guide’s Association comment letter.

Everything I can add has already been stated in one or both of the above responses, so no need for me to repeat what both entities have already effectively communicated.

Will these two letters along with the 100’s of others the government received fall on deaf ears?  I guess we are about to find out.


But imagine how you would feel if you were a second home owner with a flats boat and could no longer go fishing with your wife for an afternoon without a Bahamian guide in the boat.

Imagine the chaos and complexity of needing two different licenses and requiring them to be stamped by customs officials.

And putting the BFFIA in charge of the guides and training?

Just not getting a vibe that the government wants me back.  Where is the “Welcome Mat”.

My “fishing gang” were together this week doing some lake fishing for rainbow trout in central British Columbia and naturally the conversation over dinner turned to “where is our next saltwater flats trip going to be?”


Guess which country was not even mentioned in the conversation?  This after more then ten years of annual trips.





Flyfishing for bonefish is my passion. Over the last twenty years I've waded flats throughout the world and honestly can't wait to see the next one. Of the 3-4 months I spend in the tropics each year I divide my fishing time between lodges, independent guides and self-guided.
  1. Peter Reis Reply

    Rod, thank you for keeping us all up to date on the efforts to make some sense of the daft proposal. I am on my way to the Bahamas for 4 days on Friday. As per usual I and both DYI’ing and fishing with a guide. On previous trips I have been like an excited school child going on his first class trip. Needless to say my excitement is somewhat tapered. I guess I am fortunate that the proposal has not been passed yet. I absolutely love the letter from BTT. They make so much sense. Hopefully they will have some impact. Tight lines to you all.

    • Rod Hamilton Reply

      Good luck Peter, let us know how you do……

      • Peter Reis

        Thanks Rod. Will do. Between the full moon this weekend and all the rain in the forecast, I need all the good vibes I can get. Cheers.

  2. Bob T Reply

    If approved as is, when will this become effective?

    • Rod Hamilton Reply

      Hey Bob; Well nobody knows when it would become effective. But let’s say the legislation is passed in the fall…..that sounds about right to me. I have been dealing with the Bahamas for years so I have a certain degree of understanding as to how program implementation goes. My question would not be so much “when is the legislation passed”, but more “when would anglers be able to actually get hold of a license?” In other words, the legislation being passed is one thing, but the actual implementation maybe something else.

  3. Kevin Becker Reply

    If and When these “Regulations” are passed, the “enforcement” of them will surely be a complete Joke. They have many regulations now that are not being enforced.

  4. Andy B Reply

    We are heading to Abaco in November. The specter of this legislation looming over our trip is making us nervous about our fishing prospects. We’re booked with independent guides for a few days and planned to DIO(ourselves) as well. If we hadn’t already paid a non-refundable deposit on lodging, we’d cancel because of this proposed legislation. If it passes, that will be our last trip to the Bahamas, and I will make sure to let the BFFIA, Ministry of Ag and Marine Resources, and the Ministry of Tourism know the reason why.

    • Rod Hamilton Reply

      Hey Andy, thanks for taking the time to comment. Let us all know how it goes for you. As you new season emerges in the fall/winter I will be interested to see what the reaction of the guides is like to the legislation and how easy/hard it is to obtain the appropriate licenses. In this case, you would require two separate licenses. One for the guide days and one for the DIY days…….of course, what makes more sense then that…

  5. Kingfisher Reply

    I’m booking for Acklins April 2017. While I’m pissed at the governmental machinations I’ll try to support my guide friends and the local economy and not get bent out of shape if the draconian measures take place. I’ll probably be forced to take my business elsewhere with a heavy heart. I’m hoping for powerful tourism inter wrest groups in the Bahamas to put an end to these BS regs.
    Eric English

  6. Kevin Becker Reply

    Abaco Guides Assoc. still fighting back…. Here is an article in the Bahamas Tribune.

  7. Dave J Reply

    And a letter to the editor from an angler in Virginia…

  8. Cathy Reply

    We drop over $10 K IN the Bahamas each year including lodge, airfares, car rentals, Nassau hotels, taxis and meals, not to mention generous tips and we will NOT be doing this again if the new legislation passes.

  9. Erik Reply

    Regarding enforcement of the issues, here’s how I see things going down:

    1) they can’t enforce the regulations they have in place now, they won’t be able to do it then. 2) The true intentions of this draft are not for governmental regulation of the resource, but for one man and whoever he says will have “his authority” to play god as they see fit.

    It’s that simple. Call it for what it is. They want the table to be slanted towards them, and to hell with the rest of the people currently in the business who don’t agree with him, or the thousands of Bahamians who benefit from the tourism dollars that Mr. Smith is going to take away from them.

  10. Kevin Becker Reply

    I just sent a short e-mail to Yellow Dog Fly Fishing that still has Stafford Creek Lodge (owned by Prescott Smith) on their website, informing them that I will boycott any travel agency that books lodges in the Bahamas that support these proposed regulations. I won’t use them in the future Period. I suggest others do the same. Send an e-mail to Yellow Dog and let them know how you feel !

  11. Kevin Becker Reply

    Just received the following from Jim Klug of Yellow Dog Fly Fishing….. Apparently there is an old webpage out on the internet…….

    “We do not sell, promote, endorse or book Stafford Creek Lodge or Prescott Smith. If you are finding something different, then you somehow must have found an outdated portal for a version of our website that is at LEAST 10 years old! We have not booked Stafford Creek Lodge in over then years, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that we never will again.

    Also, please Google Yellow Dog’s involvement in opposing these ridiculous regulations and the proposed legislation. I am not being boastful when I tell you that as company, we have been more outspoken and probably done more to oppose this insanity and draw attention to this issue than any other company in fly fishing.

    I can assure you that we are dead-set against what Prescott Smith is proposing, as it would certainly destroy the bonefishing, guide and lodge business all throughout the Bahamas.

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