Just a quick lesson in ecotourism industry history for all who would acknowledge the lies and the deception taking place in the Bahamas today.
Rod and real fishing not fly fishing was the traditional method of catching bone fish which pound for pound is a mighty game fish. The world’s record fish have been held by Bimini guides using 10 pound test monofilament line. Their favourite baits were live shrimp, “soldier crabs” conch or hermit sea crabs.
Bone Fishing Tournaments flourished and individual anglers flocked to Bimini to experience a day or half day bone fishing for the ghost fish that schooled the grassy flats of western Great Bahama Bank. To a far lesser degree a few anglers at West End, Grand Bahama also earned a living as fish guides.
Charter boat captains plied the banks around north and south Bimini and the creeks and sounds teeming with Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Barracuda, and Jack. Bimini Bahamas boasted the title as the Big Game Fishing Capital of the World. A quick check with the Hall of Fame of Tallahassee Florida or Ministry of Tourisn in Bimini can give you a quick perspective in the famous fishermen of Bimini. Although a song by Phil Stubbs touted Israel Rolle or Bonefish Folly born in Andros, who learned his skills in Alice Town Bimini he was just one of many pros. The world record holder of Bimini, who makes his own skiff and still goes out occasionally is 80 year old Ancil Saunders who caught a 16 lb 10 oz behemoth in his tradition cast rod and reel.
Just a few anglers operate today including “sharp eye” Fred Rolle, Tommy Suel, Ebby David a Casique Award Winner and Ben Rolle. Bimini can boast of having 20 fishermen at a time with their own skiffs fishing famous personalities from around the world who found Bimini by boat and private planes including the World’s first commercial airline Chalks. Just to name a few would do a disservice but notably was Bone Fish Sam, Bonefish Willy both chuch pastors now deceased who made it their full life career. Jackson Ellis son of Sammy deceased also transitioned to fly rod and won a national tournament out of Bimini. Bone Fish Ray, Cordy Rolle, Charlie Weech, Bone Fish Rudy, Clarence Ellis, Son Saunders, Vernon Eddon, Edward Stuart, Cy Smith, Leo Levarity, and Renald Rolle all made a good living as ambassadors of good will who drew people to the Bahamas.
Our nation is rewriting its verson of history often forgetting or in ignorance refusing to tell the truth. It was several hundred dollars a day to be guided on the flats of Bimini. Conch was in abundance along wirh turtles and sea birds. The mangroves provided a forest off shore. Martin Luther King and Sammy Davis Jr. Many luminaries and moguls made Bimini a place to get away long before Andros or Exuma had a fishing tourist industry.
By Jeffery R. Davis