Moore’s Island, Abaco, Bahamas
Located approximately 28 miles from Abaco, Moore’s Island offers an angler the chance to catch world-class bonefish along with numerous shots at big permit.
It’s not particularly easy to get there but has an adequate runway for smaller airplanes. My fishing buddy and I flew to Moore’s on Inter Island Charters, captained by Sean Nixon. He flies his five passenger Piper to Moore’s on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, once in the morning and again in the afternoon.
With a population of 1,000, Moore’s Island consists of two small fishing villages, Hard Bargain and The Bight. Seven miles long and 3.5 miles wide the complete tour of the island by car takes twenty minutes.
The fishing is concentrated on the flats south of Moore’s Island and can be reached either by staying on Moore’s or making the 45 minute run across open water from either the boat launch near Crossing Rocks or from Spring Point. Most of the fishing pressure comes from clients who are guided either from the lodges or independent guides making the boat crossing from Abaco. We decided to stay on the island and eventually found Moore’s Island Bonefishing Camp owned and operated by Tom Heild. Tom can be reached at 242-366-6078.
The accommodations at the Bonefish Camp are spartan but are fine for anglers willing to pass up a few amenities in exchange for quality fishing. By staying on the island you gain three advantages over staying on Abaco. First, your fishing days are longer, second there are no long boat runs at the beginning and end of each day and third, regardless of the whether you are sure to get out every day.
There are a couple of small restaurants serving Bahamian fare and a few small grocery stores with the basics. Fruit is available after the mail boat arrives and you can always find a beer at the end of the day.
When fishing the northern islands of the Bahamas, the weather in November is always a crap shoot and this trip was no different. We had a mixed bag with some clear weather on day one immediately followed by a cold front. The next few days were challenging as the wind kicked up to 25 mph and the clouds and rain were present most of the time.
On the first day we saw at least ten permit and had a few decent shots. We were not targeting them, so hooking up would have been a bonus. But I certainly saw more permit then I have in most other places in the Bahamas. After the first day we always had a permit rod rigged up and ready to go. My understanding is they concentrate more in the area during April – June.
We were surprised at the wariness of the bonefish. This was not shooting fish in a barrel. I don’t know why since it seems so remote, but there you go. When the wind permitted we went to eighteen foot leaders with small lightly weighted flies and that increased our hook ups. When the wind came up to 25 – 30 miles an hour, the fish were less leader shy but it’s a heck of a lot harder putting the fly in the zone.
We both caught fish every day and saw lots of fish between 8 – 12 pounds. The largest we landed was in the seven pound range with the average fish between 4 – 5 pounds. On the last day I hooked a large fish that came within ten feet of the boat during the fight so we saw it clearly. Call it 10-12 pounds. But that fight ended badly for me and great for the bonefish. I hardly cried at all.
Tom Heild’s son, Collin was our guide for four days. He grew up on Moore’s and knows every inch of the bonefish territory, I can recommend him. We fished out of a Carolina skiff with a plywood front for a casting platform. You won’t see that boat on the cover of a fly fishing magazine, but it worked and fits in with the general ambience of the area.
As for DIY there are a few places to go, but not many. One is the bay north of the cemetery and it is actually quite good. The bottom is firm with a nice sand bottom for visibility. There is a boat dock in The Bight and there are bonefish in the deep hole. The turtle grass flats just north of The Bight boat dock holds large fish but you would need to get out there with a kayak and some of the bottom is quite soft for wading. Another spot is south of The Bight cemetery and consists of a long rocky shore but with productive water along the entire stretch. In general though to get to the traditional fishing grounds south of Moore’s Island a boat is required.
There were plenty of quality areas to wade once transported to the fishing grounds and it seemed like we always caught fish when walking.
For the adventurous angler Moore’s Island Bonefish Camp is worth a try.