Grand Bahama Island with H2O Bonefishing

This Bahamas fly fishing trip offers world-class bonefishing in a distinctive atmosphere.

Grand Bahama Island with H2O Bonefishing

Overview

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.

Best Times To Go

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.

Getting There

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

Itinerary

Arrival Day

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.

Fishing Days

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.

Departure Day

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.

Activities

The Fishing

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.

Non-Angling Activities

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:

  • Dolphin experience – swim or wade with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Snorkeling excursions to the nearby coral reefs
  • Shark or dolphin dives
  • Canoeing or kayaking in the mangroves
  • Scenic boat tours
  • Sunbathing and swimming on the beach
  • Horseback riding
  • 2 USGA golf courses within a mile of the resort
  • Eco tours

Lodging

Accommodations

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:

  • In-room espresso/coffee maker
  • Luxurious linens, robes, comforters, and pillows
  • Bay/marina view balcony
  • In-room safe
  • Dual telephone lines
  • High speed wireless internet (additional fee applies)
  • Mini-bar, snack baskets, and refrigerator
  • Twice daily housekeeping services
  • Satellite TV in living room and bedroom
  • Iron and board

Meals

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.

Pricing & Dates

Pricing & Dates for Grand Bahama Island

Premium Orvis flats fishing rates (USD)

  • Rates are per person, double occupancy, except where noted
  • High Season is January through June & October through December
  • Summer Season rate applies to any booking that begins July 1 through September 30
  • Orvis Travel packages include a luxury suite and airport transfers
High Season
2013-2014
3 Nights
2 Days Fishing
4 Nights
3 Days Fishing
5 Nights
4 Days Fishing
6 Nights
5 Days Fishing
7 Nights
6 Days Fishing
Double $1485 $2175 $2900 $3460 $4024
Single $2615 $3520 $4535 $5350 $6224
Couples* $2694 $3617 $4535 $5483 $6375

Summer Season
2013-2014
3 Nights
2 Days Fishing
4 Nights
3 Days Fishing
5 Nights
4 Days Fishing
6 Nights
5 Days Fishing
7 Nights
6 Days Fishing
Double $1175 $1650 $2320 $2600 $3085
Single $1980 $2815 $3675 $4380 $5250
Couples* $2059 $2912 $3790 $4513 $5401

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.

  • Double is per person based on 2 anglers sharing a room and boat
  • Single is per person based on a private room and boat
  • * Couples rate is charged per couple. One angler and one non-angler, sharing a room (angler will have private boat)
  • Triple occupancy rooms are available for an additional $30 per night (over 12 yrs), children stay free with adult
  • There is a $25 per person r/t transfer fee for guests that have not booked a package
  • Custom packages, including extra room nights, are available, please inquire with Orvis Travel
  • An $18 per person ($9 for kids 12 and under), per night surcharge will be added to the room rate for each guest that is not on a package. This also applies to each guest in the room for extra nights booked in addition to one of the packages above.

Off-Shore Charter

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.

Included:

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.

Not included:

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.

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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.

Reviews

Overall: 4.7/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 4.7 / 5 based on 9 reviews

5 stars 5-star:
8
4 stars 4-star:
0
3 stars 3-star:
0
2 stars 2-star:
1
1 star 1-star:
0

8 of 9 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 2/5 stars 2/5

    Sage Gear, Really? - 6/17/2014
    By: from Boston

    Just got back from a trip with H2O. Saw an awful lot of bones, landed just one schoolie in 1.5 days of fishing hard. Disappointing, caught a dozen in Belize the first time out. Used inferior rented gear the first day, complained about it, but the second day, to his credit, Greg Vincent saw to it that I had a new Helios 2/Mirage 4 rig, and I threw it much much better. Our guide was good finding the fish, but it ceased to be fun for my wife and I after the first couple of hours when it became a blame game seminar on everything I did wrong. After the trip, I wrote back and gave feedback, both positive and negative, and never heard back from the owner. Bad form, no?

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    The Planning by Orvis was flawless - 12/28/2012
    By: from Waynesburg, PA

    We booked again because Orvis and H2O provided us with a great vacation. The planning by Orvis was flawless; from the communications prior, to booking through the transfers and our connections at the destination. H2O was a great host and the guides were wonderful. We especially like relaxing outside at the bar enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres after a day on the flats. We also liked the atmosphere at Port Lucaya.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    We will definitely return... - 4/19/2012
    By: from Pittsburg, PA

    Grand Bahamas bonefishing with Orvis Travel, Pelican Bay and H2O Bonefishing is an excellent experience. There are lots of fish, the guides are excellent and Pelican Bay will satisfy your spouse and children. We didn't see any other folks on the water, so the fishery isn't as heavily pressured as some other islands in the Bahamas. The guide service was truly outstanding and very friendly. Paddy ,the transfer driver, delivered exceptionally good service with her great personality and friendliness. Greg did a terrific job touching base and managing around some difficult weather. He communicated in advance and handled all very well. The most enjoyable part of the trip was Bonefishing with Ishmael and my son Ben, while catching a nice 8 lb. plus bone fish. The pre-trip service was excellent. Very good judgment on picking a location and hotel for the entire family to enjoy. Overall, a great spring trip that is only a short flight away!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    H20 Bonefish Classic - 8/15/2011
    By: from Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    If you want a chance to catch big bonefish, the guides at H20 are the people to see. Hats off to Greg Vincent and Jason Alexander for another great trip to GB. The guides are superb and the fishery is amazing. I've made 3 trips with H20 and in the process of planning the next trip to GB. This last trip was in conjunction with Bonefish Tarpon Trust and hosted by Orvis. All the folks at Orvis Travel make sure the trip goes smooth. See you soon.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    H20 - 8/9/2011
    By: from Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    Are you looking to catch big bonefish? H20 on Grand Bahama is the place. Greg Vincent & Jason Alexander and their guides provide a quality fishing environment. Plenty for the non-angler too. My last trip, June 2011, was co-sponsored by Bonefish Tarpon Trust and I had a great time. I've been to GB and fished with H20 3 times and each trip gets better. "Thuderpants"

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Thank you Orvis! - 5/25/2011
    By:

    Everything was great, from the accommodations to the guide. The fishing was excellent and the guide was very knowledgeable. I wouldn't change a thing. Jason from H2O Bonefishing was the ultimate host. Our guide Theo was very pleasant and knew where the fish were. Paddy our transfer driver was quite a character and very timely. I can't imagine having a better experience on my very first bonefishing trip. My wife was so pleased, she wants to come back next year. Port Lucaya is a wonderful place to visit, with great shops and restaurants as well as a nice beach for my wife. The entire experience was fantastic! I learned a lot about bonefishing and greatly improved my skills by day 3, thanks to the guide. Thank you Orvis for putting together a fantastic trip. My Orvis Travel agent Tyler Atkins, made sure everything was perfect.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Fantastic Trip - 5/24/2011
    By:

    Thank you Orvis for putting together a fantastic trip. My Orvis agent, Tyler Atkins, made sure everything was perfect. The accommodations were great. The guide was fantastic and the bonefishing was great! Jason with H2O Bonefishing and our guide “TO” were great. Jason was a great host and spent lots of time with us each evening after the fishing. He gave my wife some casting lessons. I learned a lot on the trip about bonefishing and my casting skills. I got skunked on the first day no fault of the guide who put me into fish but just my inexperience bonefishing. I finally hooked up the second day and caught my first fish wading the sand flats with my wife. What a thrill to have a fish make a 100’ run without changing direction! The third day I caught 5 fish and had 7 hookups. I finally learned how to cast to them and what to look for. I can't imagine having a better experience on my very first Bonefishing trip. My wife was so pleased, she wants to come back next year.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    What an Experience - Great Fishery - 6/7/2009
    By: from Melbourne, Australia

    My wife and I had a go at something completely new for "Troutfishing Saltwater Beginners Flyfishers" - BONEFISHING!!! Greg Vincent from H2O Bonefishing is a great guy who responded very well in accommodating all our requests including to provide us with - as we believe, his best guide Ishmael on all but one day. We've to congratulate him and Jason to the team they've got around them - great guys. He also had a Helios 8wt tip and a Zero Gravity 8wt mid set aside for us to use - great rods for that kind of fishing. Ishmael got us on to the Bonefish on our first day and both of us were able to land one. There was only one mishap - which was my fault, when my wife had her fish in the boat ready for the photo shoot, the camera asked for a change of battery - the spare one was in the hotel room. What a blow! But the three of us know that she's caught one and was holding it and that her fish was the same size as mine if not a bit bigger. The fishing was very tuff even for the so called "pro's", due to the weather conditions - winds up to 25mph, poor visibility for the guides, rain and thunderstorms, which resulted in only three and a half days fishing for us instead of five. But the weather just can't be influenced and one has to take it as it presents itself - that's fishing no matter where you are. It was still a great experience for us and best of all - we both landed our first Bonefish, the fastest and most difficult fish to catch we've ever experienced. Thanks again guys.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Expansive flats, big fish! - 10/20/2007
    By: from Orvis Travel, Sunderland, Vermont
    Staff

    I write this review while sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport on my way back to Vermont from my second fishing trip with Greg and Jason from Pelican Bay Bonefishing. On my first trip I was surprised by the large average size of the fish and the endless flats on the north side of Grand Bahama. Greg took some time on this trip to show me the south side of the island where white sandy beaches strech for miles and are home to large schools of bonefish and the occasional permit. These beaches, although wonderful for wading, are best accessed by flats boats piloted by the experienced guides. The south side is only good when the tides and winds are right, but wow, when it is right, it is right! In only a few hours these guys had me casting to large schools, singles and a couple legitimate shots at permit. Yesterday, my final day, Greg and Jason took me into a remote mangrove creek that opened up onto a small flat. In short time, Jason had hooked a 4 or 5 pound bone. While we were trying to land this fish, a bonefish that I estimate at 12 pounds lazily cruized by seemingly aware that we had our hands full. Amazingly, this is only one of three fish over ten pounds that came into easy casting range during my short trip. As an experienced saltwater angler, I really enjoy fishing Grand Bahama Island's flats with Pelican Bay Bonefishing and recommend it often to Orvis customers. There are no comparibly sized resorts in The Bahamas, that I know of, that have a fishing program this good. The variety of non-angling opportunities brings a lot of couples to Pelican Bay but it is the quality fishing that increasingly brings hard core anglers, whether they have a non angling traveling companion or not. It is worth mentioning, however, that Grand Bahama isn't a great choice for non-guided anglers, because of access issues, vast mangrove mud flats, etc. if you are looking for a complete Bahamas bonefishing experience while staying in a larger resort, the guides of Pelican Bay Bonefishing are my first choice.

Contact the expert at Orvis Travel:
Jeremy Kehrein
Grand Bahama Island
800-547-4322
Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm (ET)
Orvis International Travel

800-547-4322 | 802-362-8790
orvistravel@orvis.com

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