Grand Bahama Island has long been a popular choice for fly fisherman and non-angling vacationers alike. With direct flights arriving daily from several US cities, getting there is very easy. Unlike some of the other “easy to get to” destinations in The Bahamas, there is very good flats fishing and plenty of things for non-angling companions and families to do. The very productive flats on the north side of the island have justifiably earned the reputation of being home to some of the largest bonefish found in The Bahamas. Many visitors to Grand Bahama Island aren’t aware of the expansive mangrove and sand flats that are just a short trip away from the hustle and bustle of Freeport’s popular Port Lucaya tourist hub.
H2O Bonefishing, our partners on Grand Bahama Island, combine a world class bonefishing experience with a stay at a popular adventure resort located in the heart of Port Lucaya. Traditionally it has been difficult to find a larger resort with a well managed and comprehensive fishing program. This is our pick for the traveling angler that is looking for an enjoyable Bahamas fly fishing trip.
The guides working for H2O Bonefishing are all employees of the outfitter. Unlike many large vacation resorts in the Bahamas that just book an independent guide and call it a fishing package, H2O oversees the entire fishing operation, ensuring a quality fly fishing experience. From day one of your bonefishing trip, you will be with in direct contact with the outfitter and his fly fishing staff, perhaps even sharing dinner at one of the area’s many fine restaurants after a day on the flats. Read our Bahamas fly fishing trip reviews to learn more about this trip to the Grand Bahama Island.
Although the fishing at Grand Bahama Island can be productive nearly year round, it is worth considering the season when planning your trip. Spring is certainly the most popular time for anglers to travel to The Bahamas, and Grand Bahama is no exception. Anglers traveling from late February through June can usually expect to catch more bonefish than at other times, but each season has it’s own characteristics that shouldn’t be ignored.
The off-shore and tarpon fishing picks up in April and stays good right through the summer making early summer a very good time to visit and perfect for families with school aged children on summer break. Since the waters around Grand Bahama Island warm slower than destinations further south in The Bahamas, the fishing remains productive later into the summer. Warming water doesn’t usually present as much of a problem as the cloud cover and thunderstorms that hamper the fishing in late July through September. If you can watch the weather and schedule a last minute trip you may be rewarded with a rare late summer bonefishing trip. This is made easier by the direct flights to Freeport and the reduced demand for rooms and guides in late summer.
Fall brings in another great opportunity for anglers to catch a big bonefish as these trophy fish return to the flats after the warmer water temps of August and September. Mid October through December is a great bet for trophies. Pelican Bay is a great place to spend the holidays. The local residents and businesses really get into the Christmas spirit and guests can experience a unique holiday combined with really good bonefishing.
January through mid-February can be good but anglers should be aware that this is the time of year most susceptible to occasional cold fronts which can adversely affect the fishing.
Most guests fly into Freeport through one of the several US cities offering direct service. American Airlines, Bahamas Air, Continental, Delta and US Airways all have direct non-stop service from the US. We recommend booking the air portion of your trip with our air desk but you are free to make your own flight arrangements if you prefer. Once you arrive in Freeport you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel.
Orvis Travel photography credits
Arrive at the Freeport, Grand Bahama Island airport. Since the lodge is close by you can arrive on any flight but we recommend arriving in the afternoon or early evening if possible. An Orvis Travel representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel and assist you with checking in. Shortly after your arrival our outfitter will speak with you about the plans for the next few days. If you arrive early enough in the day we can help you set up an afternoon off-shore fly fishing trip. If you prefer you can just relax by one of the resort’s pools with a refreshing cocktail or enjoy dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.
The day starts early with a traditional breakfast served buffet style. After breakfast anglers are introduced to their guides at 8:00 AM. Once you have had a chance to discuss your day with the guide and check your gear, you will take a short ride to one of the numerous boat ramps on Grand Bahama Island where your boat will be launched. Productive fishing can be reached within a few minutes or your guide may decide to run a little longer due to the day’s prevailing weather conditions. After a long day on the water, all guests will plan on getting back to the hotel by 5:30 PM at the latest.
Once you get back to the resort you will have an opportunity to relax with a Kalik (The Beer of The Bahamas), glass of wine or a cocktail before dinner. The resort’s pool bar has a good selection of wine, beer and cocktails as well as a complete lunch and dinner menu. If you have a specific drink of choice, you may want to bring a bottle with you.
Since dinner is not included in your package you are free to explore and enjoy dinner at one of the numerous restaurants within a short walk of the hotel. If you don’t want to leave the hotel you can eat dinner at the pool bar and have the charges added to your room tab.
You will be transferred to the Freeport airport in time to catch your flight home. It may also be possible to visit another lodge after your stay at Pelican Bay. Orvis Travel has a wide variety of options available in The Bahamas and we will be happy to make a recommendation and handle the arrangements.
Bonefish are the primary focus for most anglers on Grand Bahama Island. Although large schools (50-100 fish) are not uncommon here, many fly anglers prefer fishing over singles and smaller schools that often hold larger fish, averaging 4-6 pounds. These smaller groups of larger fish, and really big singles, are the main attraction on these flats. Fish in the 8-10 pound range are encountered almost daily. In fact, Grand Bahama is one of the few destinations where your guide won’t be surprised if you land a fish in the double digits. Fish over 14 pounds have been landed by anglers fishing with H2O Bonefishing guides.
The unique geography of the area allows these well trained guides to find fish throughout the day by switching locations as the tide fluctuates. Although much of the fishing is done from a Maverick Mirage flats skiff, if your guide spots a group of tailing fish in skinny water don’t be surprised if he suggests getting out of the boat to stalk the fish on foot. In addition to big bonefish, H2O bonefishing guides are well trained and eager to pursue other species including permit, tarpon, barracuda and sharks. Although the permit aren’t as plentiful as they are in other places in the Caribbean, there are enough to make the hunt worthwhile and the large average size is a plus. Oftentimes, permit are spotted and caught while looking for bonefish. Tarpon fishing is best in late spring and through the summer when the larger migratory fish pass through on their migratory route.
As an added bonus for those anglers that are interested, the staff at H2O Bonefishing has mastered off-shore fishing with a fly rod. Although more weather dependant than flats fishing, late spring through summer brings plenty of opportunities to go into the deep in search of yellowfin tuna, dorado and other species. Although success is not guaranteed, this is probably the best off-shore fly fishing program in the Caribbean. Since the off-shore fishing is generally more productive late in the day, we suggest spending the afternoon of your arrival on an off-shore charter. You can also combine a full day of bonefishing with a late afternoon off-shore trip, providing the lucky angler the unique opportunity to cast to bonefish, permit, tarpon and a tuna all in the same day. Because of high demand, interested anglers are encouraged to schedule off-shore fishing when they book their Bahamas fly fishing trip.
The Port Lucaya area of Grand Bahama Island is ideally situated to take advantage of a large variety of activities. The hotel’s full service concierge desk is available to help you arrange just about any activity that you would expect to find in a popular Caribbean resort. Most of these activities require less then 24 hours notice, so your best bet is to keep your schedule open and enjoy your vacation one day at a time. Whether you are into shopping and restaurants or parasailing and SCUBA diving, Grand Bahama Island has it all.
Some of the activities include:
Guests will stay at the Pelican Bay Lucaya Hotel and Suites. This is a medium sized resort hotel with a variety of accommodations. Orvis packages include accommodations in one of the resort’s Luxury Suites overlooking the colorful Port Lucaya waterfront where small sailboats and luxury yachts ply the water. The hotel has 3 swimming pools, hot tub, pool bar and restaurant. There is a full service concierge desk that can easily help you select and arrange numerous non-angling activities. If you prefer, you can explore the popular shopping district that is just a short walk from the hotel. Port Lucaya is known for its nightlife, but Pelican Bay is off the beaten path just enough to eliminate any noise issues. Although Freeport is a popular spring break destination, the hotel screens potential guests to ensure a relaxing and peaceful environment year round.
Each luxury suite features rich mahogany woodwork and well-appointed custom décor, as well as:
Because of the unique nature of Port Lucaya and Pelican Bay Hotel, dinners are not included in the package. Although this can be arranged, most visitors soon realize that the large selection of restaurants within walking distance makes it a lot more fun to select a different spot every night. We encourage guests to experience the local Bahamian restaurants without feeling limited to just one. A continental breakfast, served at the hotel, is included your package. Breakfast typically consists of fruits, pastries, juices and coffee. When fishing with your guide you can expect a hearty boxed lunch consisting of a nice sandwich, chips, fruit, cookies and a soft drink.
Premium Orvis flats fishing rates through 2013 (USD)
|High Season (2013)||Double||Single||Couples*|
|7 nights/6 days||$4024||$6249||$6375|
|6 nights/5 days||$3460||$5375||$5483|
|5 nights/4 days||$2900||$4445||$4535|
|4 nights/3 days||$2175||$3545||$3617|
|3 nights/2 days||$1485||$2640||$2694|
Rates are per person, double occupancy, except where noted.
High Season is January through June & October through December.
Low Season rate applies to any booking that begins July 1 through September 30.
Orvis Travel packages include a luxury suite and airport transfers.
27' Boston Whaler - session for up to 4 anglers - $1250
*Charter prices are in addition to the package rates. A session usually begins in the late afternoon and lasts into the evening. Perfect for arrival day or combining with a full day of flats fishing.
Lodging in a luxury suite with a choice of 1 king bed or 1 full and 1 single bed, satellite TV, local phone calls, swimming pools, hot tub, breakfast, lunches for anglers on guided days, guided fly fishing (2 anglers per guide and boat), 1 group airport transfer per booking, local hotel and resort taxes.
Airfare to Freeport, extra transfers, guide tips, airport departure taxes, fishing equipment, non-angling activities, wireless internet, mini bar, long distance phone and alcoholic beverages. Dinners are not included in these packages. There is a wide variety of fine local restaurants both at the hotel and within a very short walk.
When you book with Orvis Travel you pay the same price as when you book direct. If your booking qualifies for any additional discounts or offers, they will be extended to you when you book. Additionally, when you book with Orvis Travel you will save on equipment purchases and have the confidence knowing that you booked your vacation with a reputable company that will stand behind you if you have any problems. Please contact us for more details.