Muddy Water In The Bahamas

I just finished reading a great article that was published in this month’s American Angler titled Muddy Water In The Bahamas by Miles Nolte.

His  resume is extensive including working as a guide for Swallowtail Fly Fishing in Bozeman,  author of The Alaska Chronicles plus holding down a faculty position at Montana State University.

I thought I should bring the article to everyone’s attention as Miles has been able to take the convulted craziness that has been going on in the Bahamas, capture the essence of the personalities involved, not be swayed by the intrigue and write a story that takes us from the beginning (which started innocently enough)  through to the current state of the proposed legislation.  And he has done it better then anyone else I have read on the subject.

If you want to sit down and read one article that covers the intricacies and back story on the state of the proposed Bahamian flats fishing legislation, pick up the most current issue of American Angler and read Muddy Water in the Bahamas.

With the permission of American Angler I have included a few paragraphs from the article.

“In its recommendations to the Ministry of Marine Resources, the BFFIA called for mandatory guide training programs to be managed and implemented by the association, a notion that effectively gives the BFFIA control over who does and doesn’t get guide licenses, and requires aspiring guides to pay the BFFIA for training.”

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“Contrary to widespread speculation, there was no explicit language in the original draft of the proposed regulations that referred to DIY anglers. However, the BFFIA’s proposal to the ministry suggested zoning specific areas for unguided angling, and that local guides and lodges determine the perimeters of those zones, a clear threat to unguided angling. Additionally, the private-vessels provision, along with the expanded definition of fishing guide and confusion about obtaining fishing permits do seem to limit DIY. These changes created the perception, for some, that The Bahamas is no longer an inviting location for traveling fly anglers or foreigners with second homes within the island nation.”


“Another completely new element requires Bahamian citizens to purchase licenses for recreational fishing. This means that Bahamians, who earn $4/hour on average, would have to pay $100 per season to maintain the privilege of fishing the flats for fun in their spare time.”

Great articles Miles, thanks to American Angler for keeping us up to date.



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. Kevin Becker Reply

    Well, these Bahama Proposals are so all over the map, I will not be surprised at anything that gets passed. I have been following this for over 1 year and heard positive news to dreadful news. I am not optimistic, but hope to be pleasantly surprised. I have absolutely no faith in the accuracy of preliminary reports anymore.

  2. Davin Reply

    Unfortunately, the Bahamas (like other Caribbean nations) have fallen victim to their own… nah, this would take too long to flesh out. Basically, it’s politics, and when that’s what’s happening the end usually isn’t great.

  3. michael Reply

    Having lived in the bahamas for 10 years and knowing the bahamian people, they will ignore any law enforcement and do what they want to do AND get away with it. However any tourist or visiting fly fisher would be held accountable for such actions, it’s very much one rule for locals and one rule for the rest of us.
    Like most other things there, over time they will destroy everything and be left with nothing then wonder why people don’t go there anymore.

  4. Emily Zeiders Reply

    Yikes! Can anyone update the status of proposed BFFIA regulations? I haven’t fished for bones there since 2002. Sounds horrendous. Are they really regulating (restricting) the visiting angler from driving/walking in somewhere and fishing??

    This means I no longer can rent a car, park it, and walk in to fish a flat?? I’ve always liked doing that because if your lodging isn’t situated adjacent to a good flat, you can always drive to one. Is that now over?

    • Rod Hamilton Reply

      Hi Emily, thanks for the contact here. Think the best thing to do would be to search the site or for Bahamian Legislation. I have written tons on the subject and you will find the most up to date information there, including the now “in effect” legislation. Hope that helps

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