A short distance from southern Florida, the Bahamas have always been a popular getaway for fishermen, but it took Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament director Joe Hector to put the island chain on the map for kayak anglers. Each winter, for four years, Hector and his team organized the Battle of the Bahamas offshore kayak fishing tournament. The two-day event featured epic offshore fishing, luxury accommodations and huge parties. Hector laughs, “Now I think, how the hell did I pull off that tournament?”
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The idea started when the owner of Nautical Ventures and a representative from the Bahamas approached me about running a tournament. Bahamas Tourism were looking for something different and we had success with the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament. The idea was to take our model and move it across the Caribbean.
Extreme Kayak Fishing Launches in the Bahamas
The tournament was a logistical nightmare, but totally worth it. We had to load the kayaks on a boat in Miami and travel two hours to the Bahamas. After clearing customs, we would load the kayaks on a truck and bounce down dirt roads for another hour to the Flamingo Bay Resort.
Once there, everything was covered. The first night, anglers arrived in time for an introduction dinner. Afterwards, some people went fishing, launching out of the back of the resort and fun fishing on the flats.
We could launch from the beach and target wahoo, marlin and dolphin with amazing bottom fishing.
The next day was the first day of competition. Anglers launched from the beach to target wahoo, marlin and dolphin with amazing bottom fishing. After the day one weigh-in, everyone prepared for day two. The resort fed the competitors and provided all the Sands beer they could drink.
After the second day of fishing, we threw a huge awards party, someone would win $10,000 and everyone celebrated the success.
Tallying the Tournament Catch
The first year, we caught two marlin, which got people’s attention. The third year was the best, we had a bunch of big dolphin and seven wahoo in addition to some incredible mutton snapper. Over 100 anglers competed. In addition to the competitors, fans came to watch and have fun. People were overflowing into neighboring resorts.
“Now I think, how the hell did I pull off that tournament?”
We hosted the tournament for four years. The run ended when we couldn’t agree on a contract to continue. In a way I miss it, but then I think, I never want to do that again!
Kayak Fishing in the Bahamas
Live bait or vertical jigging. For live bait, a 5000-class spinning reel with 30-pound braid and 30-pound fluorocarbon leader to a stinger rig. Vertical jigging and bottom fishing is best with a 30-pound conventional outfit and 50-pound braided line.
Where to Stay in Bahamas
Flamingo Bay Resort is an all-inclusive destination with food and drinks included.
Other Bahamian Attractions
Kayak fishing tournaments aren’t the only extreme activity in the Bahamas. For a look at the fish underwater, take a snorkelling tour. Bahamas is famous for great diving.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
Offshore pelagics or inshore flats, fish within paddle range of the resort. | Feature photo: Paul Lebowitz