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Nearly all who have left footsteps in the sand on any of the Islands of the Bahamas will quickly confirm that my emotions actually understate the overwhelming attraction this aquatic playground holds. I feel honored to have fished far and wide around our fair planet. I can therefore freely say that few angling destinations offer the sport-fishing enthusiast such a wide variety of exciting options all tucked into one mesmerizing destination. Sure, while well-to-do visitors flock to the Bahamas for their very own reasons, unquestionably all seek the islands’ pampering mixture of sun, sand, and sea.
Most recognize that the Islands of the Bahamas are really much more than a single destination. The vast region stretches over 100,000 square miles in the western Atlantic Ocean and is dissected by abyssal seas, bordered by expansive flats and dotted by uninhabited cays. Each unique shaped formation protruding from its aquamarine surroundings displays its own aura of tranquility, yet all intoxicate visitors with a warm, fuzzy feeling seldom experienced at any other location. To truly appreciate the Bahamas’ colorful heritage, let’s partake in a quick history lesson.
From 900 to 1500 A.D., the islands’ original inhabitants were the Lucayan Indians who thrived off nothing more than abundant natural resources. Christopher Columbus, the first European visitor, made his original landfall on San Salvador (located on the southeastern edge of the islands) in 1492. Gazing across the sparkling clear water, he commented, “baja mar” (pronounced baha ma), the Spanish term for shallow sea – fitting for such an extraordinary angling paradise.
During a visit sometime around 1760, George Washington referred to the Bahamas as the “Isles of Perpetual June.” It’s obvious that he, too, must have fallen victim to the region’s romantic seduction.
With its close proximity to the mainland of Florida and well-traveled shipping lanes, the riches of natural woods and salt deposits caught the attention of explorers and traders – whose descendants still reside throughout the chain. These early settlers carved the charismatic history of the islands and made the Bahamas the cultural wonderland it is today.
All that safety-conscious travelers need to know is that the culmination of islands, cays and jagged rock formations is today recognized as The Free and Sovereign Commonwealth of The Bahamas. With over 270 years of democratic rule, the nation is one of the most politically stable in the world. So much so, the Bahamas doesn’t even have an army – a nice touch in an age of instability.