Fishing in Bimini: 48 Miles From Miami
Bimini’s close proximity to to southeast Florida makes it one of the most popular sport fishing venues in The Bahamas for anglers from the Sunshine State and beyond. Sitting only about 50 miles from Miami, a short crossing by boat or an even shorter flight, opens up a whole new world at this tranquil locale and its surrounding bountiful waters.
Comprising two main islands (North Bimini and South Bimini) and several small, uninhabited cays, Bimini is the westernmost district of the Bahamian archipelago and belongs on any diehard angler’s bucket list. And as today’s high-performance fishing vessels continuously power anglers to new adventures, an increasing number of Floridians are taking advantage of the easy crossing to reap the benefits of the Bahamian bounty. Day trips to Bimini are commonplace, but those who embark on these 18-hour Bahamas and back missions rarely ever leave their boats to do anything other than clear customs.
Fishing is certainly a way of life in Bi – mini and an integral piece of its captivating culture, but there’s so much more to this island paradise. With a number of resorts and accommodations available, an extended stay is comfortable and easy; and getting out between fishing trips to experience everything this exciting setting has to offer is certainly worthwhile.
Bimini appears only as a tiny speck on a map, but contains a fascinating past that dates back several centuries. This rich history brings about enchanting legends of the Lost City of Atlantis and The Fountain of Youth that draw intrigue from all who visit. Bimini is famously known as Ernest Hemingway’s part-time home and inspiration in writing The Old Man and the Sea, as he was drawn there on his iconic boat Pilar by tales of epic offshore angling opportunities. This storied Bahamian getaway also provided an escape for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement, when he accompanied Bimini native, boatbuilder and legendary bonefishing guide Ansil Saunders to some of the most peaceful spots around the island where he supposedly made notes for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
Born and raised in Bimini, Mr. Saunders himself is a true Bahamian icon that has cemented his legacy in Bimini’s history and continues to build on that legacy every day. Saunders, a fifth-generation boatbuilder, built his first skiff when he was only 15 years old. Today, he still builds his famous hand-made bonefishing skiffs one by one with a design has truly stood the test of time. As a guide, Saunders is recognized as one of the best and, in fact, guided angler Jerry Lavenstein to an IGFA all-tackle world record 16-lb., 3-oz. Bimini bonefish that still holds the record today. Anyone in Alice Town, Bimini can walk up to Saunders’ humble green shed where he builds his boats and be greeted with a smile by the man himself, who will point to a picture of the record-setting fish hanging on the wall and happily tell the story in great detail. Remarkably, Saunders still guides or fishes nearly every day aboard his skiff Jewel .
Those who spend any time on North or South Bimini quickly realize that the allure extends far beyond fishing; however, the constant search for trophy game fish is a fundamental part of the Bimini lifestyle for locals and visitors alike. Sport fishing is the cornerstone of this island paradise and fuels year-round tourism. Often referred to as the Game Fishing Capital of the World, Bimini is surrounded by breathtaking blue water full of pelagic predators like marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo, reefs and wrecks that are home to hoards of grouper and snapper, and miles of flats loaded with bonefish and permit.
Whether venturing out on your own or hiring one of the many local captains and guides, Bimini offers ample opportunities to get connected with the fish of a lifetime. In fact, over 50 record-setting catches have been recorded in the waters surrounding these islands.
Tourism is undeniably the lifeblood of the Bahamian economy, and Bimini has benefitted from a substantial increase in tourism recently, resulting in impressive economic growth. It has long been a popular destination among serious anglers, who make the journey to chase trophy fish and enjoy the quiet island lifestyle. While Bimini still bears the same peaceful and laid-back qualities, much has been done to increase its appeal to those looking for more. Most notably, the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini opened its doors on North Bimini in 2016, bringing a massive, cutting-edge hotel to the island. Boasting the largest combined marina in The Bahamas, 305 rooms including 18 suites, nine restaurants, a spa and countless other amenities, this top-tier resort continues to generate a massive boost to Bimini and appeals to anglers, party animals, and everyone in between. Furthermore, the property joined what was already a wildly popular casino.
The addition of this state-of-the-art resort presents new opportunities for Bimini and the host of anglers that visit the islands. Not only is the expansive dockage at a world-class marina extremely appealing, but places like Resorts World Bimini also host a wide variety of highly competitive fishing tournaments throughout the year, such as the inaugural Resorts World Bimini Wahoo Challenge that took place in February.
Bimini’s easy access and year-round sport fishing opportunities have made it a longtime favorite among traveling anglers, but this once undeveloped fishing destination has quickly become a vacation hotspot that warmly welcomes everyone. Tourism has successfully bridged the gap between the quiet Bimini of old that had flown under the radar for far too long and the popular travel destination it has now become. With the same island charm that visitors have always enjoyed and newfound opportunities for an unforgettable vacation, Bimini can’t be overlooked as a setting that caters to anyone longing for nonstop fun.