An April, 2019 trip to San Salvador Island - Bahamas

This was planned as a fishing trip but ended up being a week of casting practice and sight seeing.  Here's the story.

We're always looking for new spots to fish that have some of the characteristics of other places where we've previously been successful.  San Sal Island looked like it could be one of those.  A couple of internet sites suggest that good DIY fishing is available here in a number of places.  What we discovered was that idea is really not the case.

This island is surrounded by a large reef that appears to extend from a quarter mile to two miles from the coastline.  The island's shore here has some beautiful beaches and plenty of wonderful structure on the reef itself.  What it doesn't have are many fish.  Amazing.  I couldn't believe the dearth of much of any kind of life along the shoreline.  While we were there, despite the fact that theirs is a subsistence economy, there were no local people even attempting to fish from the shore.

The restaurants have a difficult time getting anything from the sea to feed their clients.  Basically the only time they're able to acquire fish for food is when a spear fishing party brings some wahoo back from an expedition to the edge of the reef and is willing to part with some.  It's crazy that way.

The one area that likely holds decent fly fishing on this island is called Pigeon Creek.  It's a large, typically Bahamian waterway open to the sea with a good flow, nice flats, and extensive weed beds that offer bonefish and similar species a place to spawn and mature in relative safety.  DIY fishing access to this creek is extremely limited.  The few points where it can be waded from access off the Queen's Highway do have some casting next to the shoreside mangroves, but the bottom is soft and mucky, and winds can be contrary.  Without the use of a boat, kayak, or paddle board the better parts of this creek are simply inaccessible.

Having rented a car for our stay, we made many trips around the perimeter of the island and fished everywhere it appeared there might be life.  But despite making a few thousand casts, we came away with only a handful of bonefish, a few small snappers. and a lost couple of flies to some things really large that we never saw.


We booked our five night stay at the Riding Rock Resort, a well known primarily dive operation located next to the marina which the same folks also own.  Michelle Williams, the proprietor, is a wonderful lady, and her staff are equally nice.  One of the buildings on the resort is still being renovated following a disastrous hurricane a couple of years back, but our room was just fine.  Good ocean views from the top floor and furnished simply but well. Unusual to have a nice flat screen TV too.  Wi-Fi was decent at the main lodge.

The food was home style and attractive.  Michelle went out of her way to cadge some wahoo from the marina, and we enjoyed it with some terrific salads.  Staff did everything possible to give us what we wanted at every meal.  Nothing but compliments to them.

While it's highly unlikely we'd ever return to this island because of the limited fishing options, it's an interesting place to visit.  Renting a car for the stay is a necessity.  There's no bus or taxi service, and the beaches and worthwhile sites to see are quite separated despite the island only being roughly five by twelve miles in size.  Here's our regular clunky video of the trip: