Orvis Guide to Adventure
Fly Fishing in the Bahamas: What Gear to Bring
The Bahamas is an easily accessible destination that has a long history of hosting fly fishing travelers. The laidback lodges and experienced guides make The Bahamas a fly-fishing Nirvana that you’ll want to return to again and again. The endless flats with schools of big bonefish, hard-fighting tarpon and elusive permit will be all yours without another boat in sight.
The casual atmosphere and fairly predictable weather allows you to pack light, if you chose your fly-fishing gear wisely.
Fly-Fishing BagsKeep them compact and waterproof.
A small, waterproof duffle will keep your gear and clothing clean and dry on the flats boat. Skiffs have limited room, so try to keep your baggage to a minimum. Soft bags are easier to fit into tight spaces.
A waterproof waist pack will serve you well as your “fishing vest” while wading. Use it to carry extra flies, leader, sunblock, a camera and water.
Fly-Fishing GearLand the fighters of the flats with strong, light rods and reels with dependable drag.
Bring at least two high-quality fly rods that are specifically designed for saltwater. Four-piece rods will be easier to pack and transport. They can fit into carry-on luggage, which will help you avoid the inconvenience of lost or delayed bags.
Rinse off your gear with fresh water every evening to keep it performing at its best.
Two 9-foot fly rods. 8- and 10-weight are the most versatile and popular. These will handle bonefish, small tarpon, barracuda and jacks. If you anticipate shots at large tarpon, add a 12-weight rod to your arsenal.
High-quality reels with a disc drag in mid or large arbor are recommended. The hard fighting fish you’ll encounter will put your reel to the test and you don’t want to lose fish during your dream trip because of poorly made equipment. Often bonefish will make a run towards you, and you’ll appreciate the rapid line retrieve of a large-arbor fly reel design. It’s a good idea to practice removing and replacing the spool on your reel so you’ll be prepared for any adjustments you may need on the water.
The reels should be loaded with 15-200 yards of 20 lb. backing in the 8-weight, and 30 lb. backing in the 10-weight. Tropical, saltwater weight forward floating fly line is recommended for bonefish and permit and barracuda. For tarpon, weight forward floating and intermediate sinking are used.
Clear, fluorocarbon leader and tippet offer the best stealth and abrasion resistance.
Specific colors and details will vary depending on the area that you fish, but in general, these fly patterns are proven winners:
Fly-Fishing ClothingCover up, but keep it cool and loose.
Long days on a skiff or wading the flats on the best days mean extended sun without a breeze for relief. The worst days bring wind and rain. In either case, temperatures will remain in the 60’s to 80’s range. Fast drying, loose fitting fishing apparel will keep you comfortable and protected from elements and bugs.
Long sleeves and pants serve two purposes — sun protection and insect protection. I have experienced biting insects while wading in the water that feel like little fleas, so I always wear long pants.
Don’t forget the tops of your feet and your hands. You’ll be standing on the deck barefoot for long periods, so apply sunblock every few hours. I often wear socks – it may not be a fashionable look, but after experiencing blistered feet in the past, I’m willing to look a bit silly. Sun gloves also serve two purposes. They protect your hands from sunburn and your fingers from the friction of the fly line. You’ll be stripping the line in repeatedly which can cause pain and cuts.
Zip-off styles will do double duty as shorts and give you option as the weather changes during on days of fishing.
Bring along two or three fishing shirts. Bonefish are covered with an odiferous slime, which you are sure to get on your shirt. Though this is the sweet smell of success, it may not be popular with your boat mates or dinner companions after a couple of days. If you wear collared shirts, be sure to choose a style with buttons to keep the collar from slapping your face during boat rides out to fishing locations.
Lightweight wide brim fishing hats will help shade your face as well as your scalp. Remember, even if you have a full head of hair, your scalp can get burned. Buffs provide excellent neck and face protection. You’ll be zipping across the flats in a skiff, so remember to use a chin strap for your floppy hat. A baseball cap can be secured by pulling your buff up over the crown.
Choose a lightweight, waterproof, windproof jacket in a light color. Dark, heavy wading jackets that may work on a trout stream will simply be too hot and stuffy in the humid, tropical climate. You’ll find the wind protection useful on runs out to distant flats and back to the lodge.
Eye protection is an essential addition to any fisherman’s gear, regardless of where or how you fish. When hooks are whizzing through the air, there is a real danger of catching one in and around the eye. Not only do sunglasses protect your peepers, they can go a long way in helping you catch more fish. Because saltwater fishing on the flats is a sight casting game, choosing the right lenses is a must. Wear brown or copper colored lens for normal conditions on the flats, and an amber or yellow for cloudy, overcast conditions.
Additional Fly-Fishing AccessoriesLittle extras with big benefits
Don't let another season pass you by without an action-packed and relaxing fly-fishing trip to the Bahamas.
Sign up now to receive special offers and news via email, and save $10 on your next purchase of $50 or more. This offer is valid for new subscribers only and will be sent to your email address shortly.Submit
Trips & Schools
100% customer satisfaction has been our commitment since 1856. It's who we are. If you aren't happy with a product or service, we want to know about it. And we'll make it right.
THAT'S THE ORVIS WAY.
Orvis Commits 5% of pre-tax profits to protecting nature.
“If we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must be willing to act to preserve them.”
– Perk Perkins, Orvis Company Owner & Board Member
Copyright 2020, The Orvis Company Inc. Since 1856.