Named after the abundance of green turtles that inhabited the area, Green Turtle Cay is a 15 minute ferry-boat ride from the eastern shores of Great Abaco’s Treasure Cay. Measuring 3 miles (4.8 km) long and 1/2 mile wide it has a population of about 450. It’s main settlement is the village of New Plymouth. Originally settled in 1783 by the Loyalists from the Carolinas during the Revolutionary War the village is very picturesque with pastel-painted, clapboard covered gingerbread homes reminiscent of a turn-of-the century New England seaside village.
Once on Green Turtle Cay, you don’t have to leave. New Plymouth has a post office, a bank, a customs and immigration office, four grocery stores, several restaurants, bars, and churches and there is a museum featuring the paintings of noted Bahamian painter Alton Lowe.
While cars are allowed on the island, golf carts and bicycles are the usual mode of transport. Both are easily rented for those visiting the island.
A friendly, laid back island, Green Turtle Cay is surrounded by miles of deserted beaches and crystal clear waters. To the east is the Sea of Abaco, with its calm, shallow waters, and incredible sunsets. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean with the world’s second largest barrier reef teaming with tropical fish, less than 100 yards from shore. Here you can fish, dive, take a rental boat to a nearby deserted island, or simply relax.
Green Turtle Cay is the place to come if you are looking for a true island experience, a real getaway from the hustle and bustle.
Where To Stay
Every option is available on Green Turtle Cay from beautiful private residences, moderately priced rentals to full equipped and modern resorts.
Check out some of the options listed below:
Where To Fish
Transportation on Green Turtle Cay is by golf cart, which just seems right for this small community. There is something wondrous about loading your fly rod, lunch and gear into your golf cart and heading to the flat. Golf cart accessible flats include, the Town Flats and Gilliam Bay south of New Plymouth and Coco Bay on the northern end of the Cay.
Looking on Google Earth you will find an untold number of small flats, bays and creek systems throughout the outer cays bordering Abaco. The northerly cays offer an extensive array of fishing locations but are mostly out of reach to the self-guided angler. If you want to see the other cays of Abaco my advice is to rent a boat from Donnie’s on Green Turtle Cay, ask for suggestions and spend the day playing “Columbus” where you can explore some of the most beautiful waters I have ever seen.
If you rent a boat and travel north hitting the various cays, cuts and flats you will find the fish to be “happy” and readily catchable. Traditional flies like tan coloured Gotchas and Rubber Legged Charlies will work fine. Add in a few crab patterns, some tan/white Clousers and you will be fine.
The fish reached on foot around Green Turtle Cay are a different story, they can be tough. But if easy access and a “challenge” is what you are looking for you have come to the right place. The Town Flats and Gilliam Bay see their fair share of anglers. It doesn’t seem to affect the number of fish, but they have seen every fly known to man. When the guides fish the area they tend to pole through deeper water where the fish feel safe. But when wading you’re often fishing in less than 24 inches. The fish can be spooky. So in those situations it’s necessary to change-up your tactics a little.
Lengthen the leader to as much as you can cast, eighteen feet is optimum. If you can’t cast long leaders, then think about using a line with a clear floating “ghost tip”. Taper your leader down to ten pound fluoro (I have used six pound here) and make sure that at least the last four feet is quality fluorocarbon.
For flies, think outside the box. Typical size #4 Charlies and Gotcha’s just won’t do the trick. Fish with smaller flies (all the way to size #10). Use flies tied with material that moves on its own (marabou, rabbit, fine rubber legs) and pay attention to how the fish reacts to a normal bonefish retrieve. Spooky fish don’t like fast jerky retrieves. As hard as it is to do, cast the fly to the approaching fish (far enough away so it doesn’t spook) and let it rest on the bottom. Don’t retrieve the fly, let it sit. If tied correctly the materials will wave in the tide adding the movement. If you need to be a little tighter to the fly then use a very slow hand weave retrieve.
Green Turtle Cay is located approximately 170 nautical miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. There are several major and commuter airlines offering daily service to Treasure Cay airport (airport code TCB). You can fly directly from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and West Palm Beach, Florida. A short taxi ride will take you to the Green Turtle ferry dock, where the ferry will deliver you to your hotel or cottage destination.
The ferry dock is a 10 minute taxi ride ($6 to $8 for two persons) from Treasure Cay International Airport. The Abacos’ inter-island ferry schedule ($7 to $9 per person) coincides with ‘most all regularly scheduled flights into Treasure Cay International Airport.