Fishing in the Caribbean

The Caribbean offers many great options for fishermen -- from deep sea fishing to bonefishing to fresh water rivers and lakes

Photo credit: © Oscar Rohena

Caribbean Fishing

The crystal-clear, sparkling waters that surround the Caribbean islands draws onlookers of every kind. Some visitors are simply satisfied to view the startlingly blue waters from the sandy shores, while others are drawn out onto the sea.

The Caribbean is home to some of the world's most popular fishing destinations, and visitors who choose to spend some island time at sea reeling in that big catch leave with experiences that are completely unforgettable.

Like most everything about these islands, there are many differences between them. Below, you can find some information on some of the most popular aspects of Caribbean fishing; from the simple pleasures of bonefishing to all-inclusive fishing resorts. Read through it all if you would like, or else use the links below to jump to whichever section you would like.


The Fish

The waters that surround the Caribbean islands are home to several types of fishing because of the vast differences in the underwater landscapes of the region. Some fish favor the shallow island edges; others are the bright fish of the coral reefs that have grown over centuries along the edges of some volcanic islands. There are also the large sport fish of the deeper waters that sportsmen travel from around the world to capture. From shallow shores to gorgeous reefs to deep water, there are plenty of fish in every region and plenty of people willing to try their hand at hooking one.

Bonefishing in the Caribbean

Saba Diving

The shallow water fish of the region are said to be the pound-for-pound best fighters of all fish. These are called bonefish, and their species include tarpon, permit, pompano, wahoo, and the famous barracuda. Bonefish can be caught from the beach or from a small boat in many of the shallow waters of the Caribbean. When it comes to bonefishing, the Bahamas is generally regarded as the top destination. However, there are a number of places in the Caribbean where bonefishing is a way of life.

Best Bonefishing in the Caribbean
DestinationCaribya! Fishing Information
Abaco, the Bahamas Abaco Fishing Guide
Andros, the Bahamas Andros Fishing Guide
Anegada, BVI Anegada Fishing Guide
Culebra, Puerto Rico Culebra Fishing Guide
Eleuthera, the Bahamas Eleuthera Fishing Guide
Grand Bahama, the Bahamas Grand Bahamas Fishing Guide
Little Cayman, the Cayman Islands Little Cayman Fishing Guide
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Providenciales Fishing Guide
St. Croix, USVI St. Croix Fishing Guide
Vieques, Puerto Rico Vieques Fishing Guide

Live bait such as conch or squid is the best bet for reef fishermen looking to catch some very interesting fish. The most common fish in these areas are the grouper, mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, and jack crevalle.

Sportfishing in the Caribbean

Saba Diving

Deep sea and game fishermen will enjoy the plentiful populations of billfish, marlin, wahoo, kingfish, swordfish, yellowfin tuna, and sailfish found in the Caribbean. There are many varieties of these deep water fish just off the shores where the sea floor drops down, so fishing can take place as close to a quarter of a mile from the islands.

Best Sportsfishing in the Caribbean
DestinationCaribya! Fishing Information
Fajardo, Puerto Rico Fajardo Fishing Guide
Hamilton, Bermuda Hamilton Fishing Guide
Isla Mujeres, Mexico Isla Mujeres Fishing Guide
Marigot, Saint Martin Marigot Fishing Guide
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico Mayaguez Fishing Guide
Oranjestad, Aruba Oranjestad Fishing Guide
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Punta Cana Fishing Guide
Soufrière, St. Lucia Soufrière Fishing Guide
St. Thomas, USVI St. Thomas Fishing Guide
Tortola, BVI Tortola Fishing Guide

Please keep in mind that large fish like sailfish and tuna may migrate throughout the year, so you will want to plan accordingly based on your destination.

Lionfishing in the Caribbean

Another option for fishermen that also want to help the local environment is to specifically fish for lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean, and are taking a toll on the region's coral reefs. While lionfish can now be found throughout the Caribbean, a few governments have begun implementing campaigns to eradicate the species. In many cases, governments encourages all to catch as many lionfish as they can. So, if you are looking for something a little different, you may find this hunt worthwhile.

Best Lionfishing in the Caribbean
DestinationCaribya! Fishing Information
Castries, St. Lucia Castries Fishing Guide
Cozumel, Mexico Cozumel Fishing Guide
Grand Anse, Grenada
Grand Bahama, the Bahamas Grand Bahamas Fishing Guide
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Grand Turk Fishing Guide
Negril, Jamaica Negril Fishing Guide
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Punta Cana Fishing Guide

The Boats

Saba Diving

When going out fishing, you'll especially need to keep in mind the cost of a boat charter that will take you out for the day. Deep-sea charters begin at about $400(USD) for a half day of fishing, and a full day may run you up to $1,000(USD). Offshore charters are slightly more affordable, ranging from $325(USD) to $650(USD) for a half day. A full day of bone and reef fishing can run between $300(USD) and $600(USD) generally, though a half-day is just $200(USD) to $400(USD). Meanwhile, a bonefishing guide will cost approximately $250(USD) per half day, per two people. These guides will help the unfamiliar find the fish they want to catch and can be helpful.

The Time

It can be best to consider the time of year you visit first and foremost, if you're planning a fishing voyage on your trip. Certain areas of the Caribbean offer better catches during the first half of the year, while others offer good fishing year-round. It's best to look into the areas you plan to travel to and make sure the time you're making your trip is the best time for fishing. Typically the best time for fishing, if there is one throughout the Caribbean, is between January and June.

The Area

Saba Diving

If you are planning to fish during your Caribbean vacation, you may want to determine which country will best suit your angling desires. There are plenty of choices, but what follows are a few of the most popular ones. Puerto Rico is known as the fishing capital of the Caribbean, but it's far from the only hot spot. The Virgin Islands also have a reputation as good deep-fishing grounds and play host to the many local tournaments. They have also been home to several world records, including eight for blue marlin. Bonefishing is also popular in the Virgin Islands, beautiful waters. If you're looking for a certain type of fish or fishing, the Dominican Republic and Bahamas may cater to your specific fishing needs, and Barbados is a good place for both deep sea and coastal fishing. These and the many other Caribbean islands have plenty of fish to offer; the choice is yours.

There are many wonderful sights that can only be seen from aboard a boat in the Caribbean; one of the best is the sun rising from the horizon as you make your way out to your new favorite fishing spot in the Caribbean Sea. Whether you have a goal of reeling in a trophy winning marlin, or just want to have some fun, you can't go wrong with a day spent fishing during your island vacation.

Caribya! Fishing Guides
the Bahamas
the BVI
the Cayman Islands
the Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Sint Maarten
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
St. Martin
the Turks and Caicos
the USVI
the Yucatan Peninsula

Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.