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Thread: First time Bahamas Crossing help

  1. #1
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    Mar 2016
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    Default First time Bahamas Crossing help

    I am looking for a bit of help planning a Bahamas trip for this spring. I have done as much internet research as I can, but am looking for some rec's from people who have done it. My goal is to make this as economical trip as possible (within reason), so any tips on where to stay, eat, get fuel/bait, that could save money or be easier for a first timer, would be helpful.

    Itll be 6 ppl going, so a condo style place with kitchen would be best bet.

    My current plan is pull boat to Stuart area (I have family there to stay with and stash trailer and truck), boat across next morning, spend 1-2 days fishing, 1-2 days leisure on the boat, maybe 1-2 days off boat. I've looked at Blue Marlin Cove in West End, as well as an AIRBNB with a dock in Freeport.

    My questions are-

    West End, Freeport, or Bimini? and why?

    How does the Customs process work? If I stay in an Airbnb, how do I link up with customs? what am I restricted from bringing with me? I would prefer to bring as much food, drinks as possible.

    Any cool places to go by boat? I am considering hiring a captain for a day to go out on my boat to show us around and teach us about the fishing/area. Worth it or no?


    Im fairly confident in my preparation and am not expecting the moon being my first trip, but I figured asking wouldn't hurt.

  2. #2
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    Make sure you have top notch boat insurance that covers theft in the Bahamas.
    DILLIGAF

  3. #3
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    The Bahamas are 700 miles long running north to South. As far as cool places, there are plenty in any direction from your launch but you are going to need to figure which set of islands at least. You will clear customs at the marina you choose if it is offered, but you may need to hit one of the larger islands first. Good luck! Sounds fun and I look forward to seeing the pics from your trip!

  4. #4
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    Clearing customs at West End is very simple and easy. It is a small little building right next to gas pumps. I would not stay at west end because there is not much there other than a marina and resort.

    Freeport or Bimini will have more restaurants and things to do.

    The cruising guide to abaco by Steve Dodge is a great book with all types of information on the Bahamas. I highly recommend getting it

  5. #5
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    Go to the Abacos if you’re taking the time to make the trip. You will spend some damn money. Best advice I got for going is take half the clothes and twice the cash you’re considering.
    \"We say grace and we say maam, if you ain\'t into that, we don\'t give a damn.\" HW Jr.

  6. #6
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    Bahamians love Budweiser & you can use it to tip people. They love it.

  7. #7
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    What boat and what kind of range do you have?

  8. #8
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    They love Budweiser because all they have is Kalik.
    Sorta like everybody in SC thought Coors was the finest beer ever brewed until it actually became available.

  9. #9
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    Make the dates your planning flexible, if the weather goes to shit you can get delayed either direction.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whackumstackum View Post
    Make the dates your planning flexible, if the weather goes to shit you can get delayed either direction.
    This is where I was going with my questions...make sure your reservations are flexible or able to be cancelled.

    I also would not suggest spending a week st any of the places you suggested. Go around the corner to Marsh, Elbow, Harbor, etc....longer trip but easily worth it

  11. #11
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    Blue Marlin cove and Old Bahama Bay are fairly economical. The run to customs in West End is very straight forward. But when you are there, there isn't much to do other than fish and hump (doesn't have to be in that order, but that's the recommended order). They both have a "restaurant", but they aren't lively places. It's fairly quiet, maybe a few other Floridians there. But, the fishing is great. Very easy. I haven't done much fishing out in front of BLM, so I prefer to stay at OBB because I typically run north towards memory rock. Also, OBB feels more like a resort. Again, the places are fairly "dead" at least when I have gone.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice. I’m in a 28fter with 200gal tank, so range isn’t an issue. I was considering west end and Bimini mainly for this first trip because it was easier/closer. If I’m looking to push further, where should we look at staying?
    Last edited by jspittler; 02-09-2022 at 10:56 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jspittler View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. I’m in a 28fter with 200gal tank, so range isn’t an issue. I was considering west end and Bimini mainly for this first trip because it was easier/closer. If I’m looking to push further, where should we look at staying?
    Going to West End is a bit like heading from Charleston to the SW Banks. There is fuel there, but it's usually a couple dollars higher than in the US. That's a fun trip. I love the Abacos and there is more to do and see there, but it's a lot longer of a trip. I've only flown in there, but will likely do a trip there this summer. Fishing between West End and Memory Rock is plenty good enough to have fun. Trolling or bottom fishing. I haven't fished north of that (yet), but I'm sure it gets better and better the further you get away from port. West End is a good "first Bahamas trip". If you want to build confidence before trying something further, it's a good one. There is enough to learn there. Even if you aren't spearfishing, there are plenty of things to look at in 10+ feet of water there. We've seen 30lb black grouper in 20 feet of water, muttons in 10 feet, etc. Tons of life.
    Last edited by jasonw; 02-09-2022 at 01:27 PM.

  14. #14
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    There is a fella who owns a clothing company who, with his wife, have a you tube video program all about boats, fishing and living on the waters around Florida. One of their shows is about travelling to the Bahamas and being prepared for it. Includes things you do and don't do when you first dock.

    The name of the you tube channel is Life by the Bow https://www.youtube.com/c/LifeBytheBow

    Also.....
    Last edited by rp; 02-09-2022 at 05:06 PM.
    It's not enough to simply tolerate the 2nd Amendment as an antiquated inconvenience. Caring for the 2nd Amendment means fighting to restore long lost rights.

  15. #15
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    Push further to the Abacos. Make sure you fly your flags to indicate customs status. Clear customs in Spanish and then push southeast to Hopetown. Plenty of rentals to stay in with dock access. On Sunday, goto great guana cay and hang out at nippers. Get there early, stay late, enjoy the party, but beware of the “nipper juice”. Tahiti beach is a great hangout for a lazy day following the excitement at nippers. There a few food options in hopetown that we utilized for supper, but we would take a boat ride for lunches. Pete’s pub to the south is a good one. Cracker P’s may or may not be opened back up after it changed hands. Take Tilloo Cut out to the deep water and drag some plugs around. We easily found dolphin and wahoo. Do some bottom dropping out there and bring home some yellowtail for the grill. Be prepared for stupid expensive fuel and $30 lunch plates.

  16. #16
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    This popped up and I thought of your trip. Walkers is back on the radar...


  17. #17
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    You might consider working your way across the top. Start (or end) at Walkers, definitely fish there, and then continue east towards Marsh Harbor and Elbow. You can wander around a place like Hope Town for a whole day. I would rather slit my own throat, but the girls might enjoy it.

  18. #18
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    Good stuff!
    Gettin old is for pussies! AND MY NEW TRUE people say like Capt. Tom >>>>>>>>>/
    "Wow, often imitated but never duplicated. No one can do it like the master. My hat is off to you DRDUCK!"

  19. #19
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    Also, if you like wahoo, you might consider high speed trolling once you get to the banks. You’ll need trolling leads and some big, flashy lures. Set speed for 16 to 18 knots and hold the boat in +/- 200’ of water. You’ll have sashimi when you hit the first dock, so be sure to take fresh wasabi.

  20. #20
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    He will catch more than his share of walterboro wahoo in 200' of water... I would suggest a bit deeper.
    you aint did a dawg gon thang until ya STAND UP IN IT!- Theodis Ealey


    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel Yell View Post
    The older I get, the more anal retentive I get.

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