This is our latest onsite report for the H2O Bonefishing at Pelican Bay and Grand Bahama Island
If you are interested world-class Grand Bahama Island Bonefishing at H2O Bonefishing at Pelican Bay, read on!
Grand Bahama Island is the northern most Island in the Bahamas. Primarily a bone fishery, however, this area offers occasional opportunities for tarpon, permit, plus a host of other species.
For anglers living in the eastern US, there is no reason to go half way around the world when there is incredible fishing in the Bahamas. Actually, many islands within a single day’s flight. There is no need for a charter flight and no need to spend the night anywhere en route.
You can take a direct flight from many cities in the United States to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, then a 40- minute jump over to Freeport. From the airport, it is a short taxi ride to the hotel. Also, there are not any specific transfer days at H2O Bonefishing, so you can arrive on any day of the week and visit for as many days you wish.
My good friend John had decided to join me and visit a few lodges in the Bahamas. We started at the bottom of the Bahamas at Crooked and Acklins Islands and were working our way north. You can read a short blog about that trip here.
As there are no direct flights between Crooked Island and Grand Bahama Island we needed to stop in Nassau and catch a plane there to Grand Bahama Island. We were keen to see how the island was recovering after the effects of Hurricane Dorian.
As you may recall, the devastation and destruction as a result of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas was very real. Abaco Island, including Marsh Harbor and the surrounding communities, were demolished. Additionally, just about the length of Grand Bahama Island was impacted.
The whole island of Grand Bahama experienced major hurricane force winds and severe flooding. The east end and McLeans town were pulverized. Most people lost their homes, the lodges were heavily damaged and the road to Freeport was compromised in several locations. The rebuilding effort is still underway. We are told Deep Water Cay is closed permanently. On a positive note, along with H2O Bonefishing, North Riding Point Club has now reopened.
H2O Bonefishing at Pelican Bay and the Pelican Bay Hotel, where H2O’s guest stay, suffered very little damage. Mostly cosmetic and superficial restoration due to the fact that Pelican Bay is located on the lee side of the island, away from the worst winds. Additionally, the building ground floor was built at a higher than normal elevation.
One pleasant surprise I discovered, was a water wagon to distribute water from a Reverse Osmosis plant that my Rotary district helped fund through an international grant while I served as a Rotary Governor 2014-2015. The plant is an emergency Reverse Osmosis 6000 gallon per day water-making facility in the Lucaya area on Grand Bahama. The Water Relief Facility was built in conjunction with Rotary Clubs from the Bahamas and the United States. Obviously, the plant has been useful from the disruption of infrastructure by Hurricane Dorian.
Naturally, we met H2O Bonefishing proprietors, Greg Vincent and Jason Franklin, at the Bones Bar clubhouse. This is the meeting place for all H2O Bonefishing’s guests on arrival for orientation.
We sat outside at the water’s edge and enjoyed the balmy warm weather and calm breeze. We had a couple of beers then headed over to Sabor’s, which is one of four restaurants on the Pelican Bay property. We enjoyed a very nice seafood dinner before we retired to our rooms for the evening.
Next morning, as usual, breakfast at H2O was very good. Nice variety of proteins, breads, fruit, yogurt and beverages.
By the time we gathered our fishing equipment, the wind had picked up substantially. The weather report did not look very encouraging, high winds and overcast. A major front was on its way; however, the severe weather was forecast to be a couple of days away.
So, we gave it a go. Our guide, Ishmael, launched our skiff in a protected cove. We then proceeded out a sheltered canal to open water. We ran across a bay for a little while then ducked up a couple of creeks to look for fish.
Mangrove forests grow along many coastal zones with temperate to tropical climates, and experience periodic damage caused by tropical winds and storm surges. The mangroves on Grand Bahama were not immune to damage sustained from the powerful storm. Although defoliated, most of mangroves from Hurricane Dorian were stating to rejuvenate. Some areas appeared to survive much better than other places.
The winds and cloud cover were not favorable for bonefishing. Whenever we would see a fish, it would be too late to make the cast.
We talked with our guide Ishmael and decided to go inland and look for tarpon in the canals. Ishmael did find tarpon for us and we made numerous casts, but no hookups. However, the action did keep us busy for a while.
After lunch we decided to call it for the day. On most trips, there is always some level of “figuring stuff out” as you go. In this case, John and I decided since we had only booked two days of fishing to cut our losses and head home. We would reschedule another time in the near future.
The northern side of Grand Bahama Island is virtually uninhabited, and has some of the most expansive flats in the Bahamas. Grand Bahama Island is 96 miles long and 17 miles at the widest point. This is where you will be fishing.
If you have fished the upper Bahamas before, this area is reminiscent of the middle bights of Andros, the east end of Grand Bahama Island, and the marls of Great Abaco Island. If you are new to this sport, this is where you will find some of the best bonefishing left on the planet.
Port Lucaya is one of the few places that has great fishing for the angler and comfort and charm for the non-angler. There are numerous leisure activities the spouse and non-anglers can enjoy in the area’s lively retail and restaurant district, casinos, and of course, the beautiful beaches.
The Port Lucaya Marketplace offers upscale shopping in duty free shops, dining at many fine restaurants and bars, and entertainment. This six-acre waterfront entertainment complex centers on the bandstand at Count Basie Square where local events are frequently held. The legendary jazz pianist built a home in Freeport.
Greg Vincent and Jason Franklin, of H2O Bonefishing will continue as they have for many years, operating a first-class bonefishing operation.
For the H2O Bonefishing main page Click Here.
For additional photographs of H2O Bonefishing Click Here.
Click Here for Rates.