Published On: June 23rd, 2023Last Updated: June 23rd, 20236.4 min read

Bahamas Big Game Fishing Charter

Recently the Lewis family had an opportunity to head to the Bahamas. Despite living a mere 130 Miles from the beautiful Bahamas, the Lewis family had yet to consider visiting for several years. The Main Attraction fishing charter business, the marina, and everything else keeps them all busy. Additionally, Captain Marty started running a 60′ Viking part-time for a private client.

Recently, their client expressed an interest in going to the Bahamas and trying for a big game such as Marlin, Wahoo, and Yellowfin Tuna. The Lewis’s watched the weather and sprang into action when a near-perfect weather window presented itself for a Bahamas crossing. Within three days, they planned and prepped for a Bimini Bahamas trip.

Getting a 60′ Viking ready to cross is not as easy as you think. First, you need to check everything from top to bottom to ensure you are in tip-top shape. Next, have the fuel truck stop by and top the tanks off. Then they had to get all the tackle ready. Most of what we use in the Bahamas are conventional reels and much heavier tackle than we use in the Florida Keys. We also use different types of lures and teasers in the Bahamas.

Captain Marty and Son/First Mate Alex loaded the baitwells full of live bait. Wife Katie shopped for all the provisions. Not knowing what to expect, she ensured they had enough meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks for at least four days on the boat. Katie was glad they had a full-functioning kitchen on the vessel, making it much more manageable.


The 60′ Viking ready to fish.

Clearing Customs

Katie submitted the vessel’s registration and documentation on the customs website to ensure smooth entry to the Bahamas. By submitting this information along with passenger passport information in advance, she saved them a ton of time with immigration & customs.

On the morning of departure, they left at daybreak and pointed the vessel at Cat Cay. They were advised to go straight to Cat Cay first to clear customs and immigration. They charge a fee to do it there; however, there was no line, and they would be in and out quickly. Cat Cay is approximately 112 miles from Marathon. Since Katie submitted all the customs paperwork online, they were just required to fill out immigration forms on arrival.

Day One

Once they got the all-clear for visiting and fishing, they exited Cat Cay and began to head toward Bimini. At this point they only had about a half day left so the guys decided to troll for Blue Marlin on the way. They started trolling in 600′. It gets deep very quickly over there and not long after they were trolling in 2500′ feet of water.

They had two sets of teasers out, and Penn 50 Internationals rigged up with Ballyhoo and Islander lures. They had been trolling for about an hour when all the excitement began. A Blue Marlin popped up on the left teaser! Aaron started to pull the teaser away from the Marlin and drop back a bait. Within 60 seconds, the Marlin went for the bait and seemed to be on but quickly pulled the hook.

As Aaron was bringing in that line, the Marlin popped back up on the right teaser and ate the bait. The owner of the vessel quickly strapped the rod to the fighting chair and began to fight the beast. The blue Marlin went crazy, jumping about 300 yards away. Captain Marty backed down on the fish to gain line, but the blue Marlin was quite large, and it would take some time before it would be boatside.

Large billfish take hours sometimes, so patience is a virtue. After a long intense battle, the beautiful blue Marlin was boatside, and all onboard could get a photo with the fish. They released the fish and everyone cheered in disbelief of what just happened. They estimated the blue Marlin to be approximately 450-500 pounds; a catch of a lifetime!

First Mate Alex Lewis releasing the Blue Marlin they caught.

Day Two

The next day the crew was after a Yellowfin Tuna. Captain Marty had spoken to some friendly fisherman in the marina the night before, suggesting he look west to look for birds.

So that morning, they set out from Bimini and ran approximately 60 miles West until Marty found a good set of birds.

Captain Marty used the same approach he uses all year long for Blackfin Tuna at the Marathon hump. He had loaded the livewells with bait before he left but first he approached the birds trolling with dead baits. The fish under the birds wanted nothing to do with it. Captain Marty stopped the vessel and had Aaron and Alex chum the waters with live baits. After they threw enough freebies, the Tuna showed up!

The next step was to put some live baits on hooks and offer them to the Tuna. They used Penn Fathom conventional reels, with 50-pound braid and 80-pound leader. Once the live bait frenzy started, four tunas hooked up at the same time! But these weren’t Blackfin Tunas; they were Yellowfins, large and in charge. The crew fought the fish as best they could, but with four monster Yellowfins on simultaneously, it was chaotic. They lost each giant fish one by one until only one remained.

They reminded each other that the goal was one big Yellowfin, and they still had one they could now focus on.

It took four anglers to fight the giant Yellowfin Tuna, all taking turns. At the tail end of the fight, Captain Marty was on the rod, and it was a good thing he was. The Tuna ran under the transom and went straight under the boat, nearly tangling the line in the prop, which would have meant a lost fish.

Captain Marty’s years of experience kicked in; he quickly stuck the rod under the water, trying to avoid the line getting into the props. With his quick actions, he was able to save the fish from breaking off. Finally, they got a gaff shot off and had the fish. It took several guys to get the fish into the boat, and once it was, there was a sigh of relief quickly followed by the celebration.

Capt Marty and his son and first mate Alex Lewis take a photo with the Yellowfin.

Day Three

On day three, they began their journey back to Marathon. They stopped to fish a little bit on the way catching a nice-sized African Pompano. Next they stopped at an old sunken cargo ship, the S.S. Saphona; a well-known attraction. The ship ran aground in 1926 during a hurricane and later became a bombing target for training purposes during World War II.

S.S. Sapona Shipwreck

Marty and Alex bring out their recently caught African Pompano for a photo op in front of the S.S. Sapona Shipwreck.

The crew stopped at the shipwreck to explore, and boy, was it a beautiful sight. Overall the trip was jam-packed with adventures, but definitely, one they will never forget. Accomplishing each goal they set made it all that much sweeter. It was definitely a trip to remember for a lifetime.

If you are heading to the Florida Keys to make some memories, call us at (305) 289-0071 or visit our contact page.

Swimming in the wreck of the S.S. Sapona.

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