Do you want to go spearfishing in the beautiful waters of the Bahamas? If so, read on to learn about the best locations, types of fish, and regulations governing spearfishing in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas are a well-known and popular destination for spearfishing. There are over 700 islands and 2,400 cays (keys in the US), crystal clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning scenery – making it an absolute spearfishing heaven for both beginners and avid spearos alike.
I have had some great times spearfishing in the Bahamas and I’m here to tell you about some places I have enjoyed while there.
Bahamas Spearfishing Regulations
The first difference you will find in the Bahamas compared to other parts of the world is that you cannot use a speargun. Only a polespear or Hawaiin Sling can be used. I personally love using a polespear and the Bahamas is a great place to use one. We will talk more about using a polespear and Hawaiin Sling later.
Here are the main regulations you should be aware of:
- No tanks are allowed. You can only freedive.
- You must have a valid fishing license. You can obtain a license online or from local vendors. There’s no special spearfishing license you need, just a regular fishing license. But, it’s important to request permission to use a “spear”…pole spear or Hawaiin Sling.
- There are size and yearly restrictions in place for certain species. For example, Nassau grouper are off-limits between December 1st and February 28th of every year. A Nassau grouper must be at least 3lbs (see below).
- There are bag limits in place for certain species. For example, you are only allowed to take two Nassau grouper per day.
- You may only fish in areas that are designated for fishing.
- As mentioned above no spearguns
If you are planning a spearfishing or fishing trip to the Bahamas, be sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations. It is important to follow them so that we can all enjoy the amazing spearfishing and fishing that the Bahamas has to offer!
Types of Fish
There are many different types of fish that you can spearfish and eat in the Bahamas. My favorites include grouper, red snappers, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and barracuda. These fish are all delicious and nutritious, and they can be found in most areas near the warm coastal waters of the Bahamas. You will mostly find grouper and rockfish near coral reefs and wrecks, while bigger fish like tuna and wahoo can be found out in the open water…assuming you have a boat to take you there.
There are size limits for taking certain types of fish. For example, you cannot take a Nassau grouper that is less than 3lbs. This is also the minimum size requirement for other reef and rockfish, typically also at least 3lbs.
The regulations for fishing in the Bahamas vary depending on which part of the Bahamas you are in. So it is important to check before you go.
What about lobster? I love them and the Bahamas are a great place to get them. People often ask if you can use a pole spear/Hawaiin Sling when going for lobster in the Bahamas. The answer is yes, you can. But I feel a little mixed about using a pole spear. I’ve used one in the past, but now when I go after lobster I use my hands. If you choose to use a pole spear, be careful not to overdo it. You can really damage the meat and be wasteful. A friendly reminder to eat everything you spear. Never waste anything!
A quick word about Lionfish. Lionfish are found throughout the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean. Lionfish are known to be harmful not only to other types of fish but also to commercial fishing, which impacts the local fishing community. When you have the chance take them out…do it! They are also tasty to eat, but they are poisonous, so of course, get direction from a guide before you handle and eat a lionfish. If you would like to learn more about lionfish and how to hunt them click here.
Using a Polespear
As mentioned I absolutely love using a polespear, especially when working the reefs of the Bahamas. When you are going after smaller fish a polespear just can’t be beaten. Compared to a traditional speargun you can reload it so much quicker. I also just like the feeling that it’s just you and a spear…nothing else. If you are new to spearfishing absolutely start with a polespear. You will find that many an experienced spearo will circle back from polespear…speargun…polespear. If you would like to learn more about using a polespear click here. If you are in the market for a new polespear and would like to learn more about my top recommendations click here.
This isn’t me but this guy does a great job explaining how to use a polespear and he’s in the Bahamas.
Best Spearfishing Locations
The best spearfishing locations in the Bahamas are typically around coral reefs and wrecks. You can expect to find Nassau grouper, hogfish, yellowtail snapper, and many other types of fish. The water is typically shallow in these areas, making it easier to spearfish. Again, be sure to check the regulations before you go so that you know what size limit applies to the fish you are targeting.
Basically, all the islands of the Bahamas are a great place to go spearfishing. The islands have many beautiful coves and bays that are perfect for your avid spearo or beginner. As mentioned, Grouper and snapper are abundant offshore. In deeper waters, you will come across big game fish such as tuna and wahoo.
The locals are friendly and they love to share their knowledge of the best fishing and spearfishing spots with visitors. Their knowledge is invaluable. Check out these main islands and you can’t go wrong.
- Andros Island
- Cat Island
- Eleuthera Island
- Grand Bahama Island
- New Providence (Nassau) Island
Let’s drill down on a couple of specific locations where I’ve had a lot of fun and success.
Guana Cay is a small island in the Bahamas. It is a long, narrow island, about 6- 7 miles long. It is in the center of the Abaco Islands and is near Gumelemi Cay. Marsh Harbour is about 8 miles away.
Here are a couple of specific locations that can’t be beaten. Lobster Island area. There’s a rock in the middle of the current. Get yourself out there. There’s a fantastic underwater cliff. I would say the depth goes to about 25′. I roamed the waters in about 10 – 15′. The spearfishing that day was excellent!
A Word of Caution/Tips
Spearfishing in the Bahamas can be dangerous if you are not careful. Sharks are common in these waters, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. It is also important to keep an eye on the weather, as strong currents and storms can make the waters dangerous.
Here are a few tips for beginners (and for the experienced):
- Do not try to dive too deep until you are confident with your skills
- Practice your shooting skills before heading out on the hunt
- Be patient and wait for the right opportunity to strike
- Never spearfish alone
- Swim Slowly and calmly…glide towards your target.
- Always spearfish with a buddy
Some recommended gear suggestions are below. Here’s also a link to my Recommended Gear page where you can find other useful gear when spearfishing.
Here are a few of my top recommendations, I found super useful when spearfishing.
The Bahamas is a great place to spearfish. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hunt or just want to see some amazing marine life, the Bahamas has something for the beginner and advanced spearo. As always stay safe and always spearfish with a buddy. Enjoy!