Putting together a fishing trip to the tropics in search of bonefish can be trip of a lifetime. If you choose to travel to the Islands of the Bahamas, your chances of finding those fish are good. The problem is affording such a junket.
Flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport usually entails hooking up with a connecting flight to reach the outer islands that are famed for this type fishing. You fly into Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Nassau and transfer to an island hopper airline for the final approach. Such a trip can end up setting you back as much as $3,000 to $4,000.
But, with a little bit of planning, it’s possible to get to Grand Bahama Island, stay at an all-inclusive resort, fish without paying a guide and catch bonefish.
Delta Airlines offers direct service to Freeport on the island, where you can hop on the shuttle to the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort at Smith Point, just west of town. The resort is all-inclusive providing rooms, meals and beverages. They also have a car rental service at the front door, where you can book a vehicle for about $50 per day.
Heading west on Grand Bahama Highway – which is the only road heading west, so there’s no chance of getting lost – you have roughly 30 miles of the south shore lined with wadable bonefish flats from Lucayan National Park to McLean’s Town.
Some of these flats are the same ones you’d end up on if you hired a guide. The only difference is you wade onto them from shore, rather than stepping out of his boat.
Planning such a trip for four nights and three days of fishing will set you back around $1800 for the airfare, hotel and car rental.
But, do you really need a guide? Not if you can cast a fly rod or spinning rig 40 feet! These fish move in pods (sometimes so many it looks like a herd) and they are much less wary than the bones in the Florida Keys.
Drop a Gotcha fly in tan color, or a leadlhead jig with a plastic trailer in front of the moving pod. When the fish get over it, hop the bait up off the bottom. You’re likely to feel the slight pressure of one of the fish picking the bait up. Then you will think you are hooked to a freight train when it starts to run!
Be aware when packing for the trip that it's necessary to take all the gear you need with you. There are no fly shops or well stocked tackle emporiums in Freeport.