I went with a few of my buddies on an 8 day Blue Marlin fishing excursion to Cat Island at the end of June/first of July. My friend has a 60ft sportfisher he keeps in Florida most of the time so we do a few Bahamas trips each year. We flew into Nassau (which I hate by the way) and had his Captain meet us at the Marina where we quickly loaded up with provisions and set under way for the 120 Mile run to Cat.
Until this point I had never been to the eastern Bahamas, most of our trips had been around West End and Bimini. The trip to Cat was amazing in its own right as the passage through Highbourne Cay is nothing short of breathtaking (even for the Bahamas where almost everything is). Upon arrival we noticed that the water temperature was a little bit warmer than we were hoping for and the Marina was all but empty. As a matter of fact we were the only private sportfishing boat in the marina, never a good sign for fishing.
The Marina is very easily navigable with enough water for a much larger vessel and the fuel docks are in a convenient location (not to mention a great place to see dozens of nurse sharks waiting for a meal). Once you get off of the boat and hop on one of the many bicycles that are scattered around for public use, you can ride around the premises and begin to appreciate the true remoteness of this place. While Cat Island has about 1500 residents, they do not reside anywhere near the marina, rather in Old Bight which is 10 miles or so or Arthur’s Town which is at least 30 miles or so.
Hawks Nest has a small runway and several, I will call them bungalows for lack of a better description, available for rent. I stayed on the boat but my friend rented one of them for the week. The rooms were not flush with amenities rather pretty basic with AC and a refrigerator, which fits well with the laid back vibe of the island. There is no place on site to purchase any sort of provisions, so unless you want to rent a car to go to the northern end of the island, you will need to be pretty well supplied upon arrival.
The Clubhouse/Restaurant/Bungalows are about a 4/5 minute bike ride from the Marina. There is a pool at the Clubhouse which looked pretty well kept although I never used it. We cooked on the boat a good amount, ate at the restaurant 3 times and all but once we were the only diners. The food was really delicious authentic Caribbean style home cooking. Because of the lack of diners, you must place your dinner orders several hours in advance which was no big deal as we were able to reach them via VHF radio while fishing. The Conch chowder was the best I have had, and I have eaten it at numerous other places. We also brought them some snapper we caught for dinner one night which they did a mediocre job with; I was expecting something a little more original/ethnic than just plainly fried. I will say that their homemade tartar sauce is extraordinary, I do not usually care for tartar sauce whatsoever. The service is very friendly.
Due to the lack of visitors the club/bar works on the honor system which was pretty cool. They have a nice big screen TV with satellite so you can keep up to date on current events if you choose. The bar prices are roughly the same as anywhere on the outlying islands, which needless to say are ridiculously high. If you plan on doing much drinking, be sure to bring plenty of your own or have deep pockets, of course we loaded up on beer and Anejo in Nassau plus the boat already contains a pretty well stocked liquor cabinet.
The beaches rival anything you have ever seen in a commercial. Beautiful white sand and more private than anything you could ever imagine. They have built several shade huts along the beach with lounge chairs in them. Whichever hut you pick there is a distinct possibility that you will not see another person all day. The beach is on the leeward side of the island so the water is very calm. The shoreline can be a touch rocky in several places so you kind of have to pick the best place to enter the water. We did a lot of snorkeling in the afternoons and with the whole place surrounded by reefs, you can spend hours swimming around checking out all sorts of tropical fish. We did not have any spears with us but there were plenty of grouper under the rocks if you enjoy spearfishing. We were of course on the hunt for lobster and conch and for reasons beyond my explanation we did not see any at all.
The bathhouse at the marina was decent at best. The water had a somewhat strange odor that I attributed to the fact that it probably rarely gets used. After the second day I just showered on the boat. There is a fish cleaning station as well. The Marina itself was very clean and I am guessing there are around 30 slips. They can accommodate large boats also, after the 3rd day there a 115 footer pulled into the slip next to us and stayed for several days.
Unfortunately we were about 2 weeks late for the best Blue Marlin fishing as the water had gotten up to about 86 degrees. We were able to go 4 for 7 on the blues which were all in the 150-200 lb range and released a single white. We jumped off one I would guestimate at about 350lbs. What struck me as odd was the lack of meatfish. We only caught one Dolphin during the entire trip. The run to the fishing grounds is any lazy fisherman’s dream. The water drops to over 1000 ft barely more than a stones throw from the entrance to the marina, no reason to leave at the crack of dawn. Tartar bank which is a very impressive sea mount is only 8 miles or so if I remember correctly. Conception Island, which is a small uninhabited island, is only 25 miles or so south of the marina and provided our best Marlin action. Columbus Point is on the east side of the island and was not a very long ride either, we were told that was the best place, but it did not produce well for us. The bottom fishing on the other hand was exceptional. It seemed that we were able to catch as many snapper as we wanted to at pretty much any ledge we decided to try.
Riding along the East Side of the island towards Devil’s and Columbus points is breathtaking. There are beautiful homes along the cliff and beach lined coast. It appeared there would be plenty of suitable places for safe harbor and some great snorkeling.
Well I apologize for the length of the report, but I tend to be a little bit on the verbose side. I will be returning to Hawks Nest for a week or so in February for the annual Wahoo tournament and I am greatly looking forward to the trip!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA and Evoline ltd so you can book your Hawk's Nest Resort and Marina reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hawk`s Nest Resort And Marina Hotel Cat Island
- Hawks Nest Hotel And Marina
- Hawk's Nest Resort And Marina Cat Island, Bahamas