With its warm waters, beautiful landscapes, and incredible variety, the Caribbean is one of the best deep sea fishing regions in the world. Marlin, swordfish, barracuda, dorado, grouper, snapper, mahi mahi….the list of species that grace the Caribbean goes on and on. Not only is the fishing itself great, with a high number of both easy and challenging catches of all sizes available year-round, but the weather is also (almost always) amazing, the people are fun and friendly, and there’s even a good chance of dolphins or whales swimming by your boat! Read on to find out more about the best deep sea fishing vacation spots in the Caribbean.
What’s the Best Time of Year for Deep Sea Fishing in the Caribbean?
While different species may be more prevalent depending on the time of year you visit, the best overall time to deep sea fish in the Caribbean is in early summer / late spring, in the month of June in particular. That’s when you’ll be most likely to encounter marlin, tarpon, bonefish, and permit, while also being a good month for blue marlin, mahi mahi, wahoo, and swordfish.
If you’re after marlin, sailfish, tuna, or mahi mahi, the Bahamas is a great year-round destination, especially in May-June when you’ll see lots of tournaments. Plus, all the various islands and cays that make up the Bahamas make for a stunning fishing backdrop. The Bahamas also has great shallows fly fishing, especially for bonefish, as well great reef fishing, especially for snapper and grouper.
Located in the north of the Bahamas, Abaco is an especially popular fishing destination thanks to its versatility, as anglers can experience deep-sea, reef, and shallow fishing all in the same day. It’s by some 10,000-foot drops that are especially rich in tuna and marlin, and the shallow bone fishing is considered the best on the world. The nearby reef fishing, meanwhile, has too many species to list, though it may be a challenge to reel them in before they get snapped up by a barracuda, shark, or other bigger fish.
Grand Bahama Island
If you really want to test your skill, head over the Grand Bahama Island, where anglers compete for some of the biggest game fish on earth. Top catches here include barracuda, kingfish, mahi mahi, grouper, snapper, yellowtail and more, especially near Deep Water Cay.
Turks & Caicos
Because Turks and Caicos is located on a marine plateau and its islands are on the edge of this marine shelf, you can find great deep-sea fishing within 10 minutes of leaving the dock. Top catches here include yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, sailfish, shark, wahoo, and mahi mahi. If you want the highest likelihood of encountering as much as variety as possible, head over in May, when all the major deep-sea catches are available.
You’ll find no shortage of fishing charters departing from Providenciales, and it’s an especially good jump off spot if you’re interested in sport fishing. Swordfish, marlin, and other billfish are especially popular here, and the island is even host to one of the top billfishing events in the world – the Caicos Classic. Shallow bonefishing is also very popular.
With the 6000 ft (1830 m) deep Turks Islands Passage just off the cost of Grad Turk, the island is home to some fantastic deep-sea fishing. Here you can find large marlin, mahi mahi, tuna, mackerel, sailfish, and wahoo. Be advised, though, that the fishing charters tend to be on smaller boats compared to what you’d see on Providenciales. And while you can find great reef fishing here as well, be advised that shallow fishing is only available on the Caicos side of Turks and Caicos.
North & Middle Caicos
On that note, North & Middle Caicos are really known for their bone, reef, and bottom fishing, and though deep-sea fishing is possible in this area, it may be difficult to find an operator. That said, this is a great place to take the family out to catch snapper, grouper, jack, and yellowtails, all of which will require much less strength and skill than deep sea fishing. The causeway connecting the two islands is also a great spot for shorefishing.
The Cayman Islands are a great all-around fishing spot. Specialties include offshore, sports, and deep sea fishing, as well as flyfishing. Here you can find tuna, barracuda, blue marlin, mahi mahi, wahoo, and more. The highlight for deep sea anglers is the Cayman Trench, which stretches down 20,000 feet, though you can find depths of 800 feet close to shore.
With the drop off so close to the shore, travellers to Little Cay can be deep sea fishing in no time. Here you can catch tuna, wahoo, and mahi mahi year-round, as well as bonefish, permit, and tarpon. On that note, South Hole Sound is also a renowned bonefishing spot, and Tarpon Lake is an especially fun bet for sports fisherman.
Home to the Brac Jackpot and Cayman Islands’ International Fishing Tournament, Cayman Brac features plenty of big blue marlin, mahi mahi, and tuna.
There are plenty of great fishing charters which depart from Grand Cayman, giving anglers a chance to experience the depths of the Cayman Trench and some truly large catches, though the variety of sea life here ensures that novices and young anglers will also be able to catch plenty of smaller fish as well.
If you’re looking for a great Caribbean fishing destination for winter, then St Lucia may be just right for you. Several of its top species, like sailfish, blue marlin, wahoo, and blackfin tuna are most prominent in winter, though they’re still certainly abundant in spring, which is peak season for king mackerel as well. You’ll also likely see less boats out compared to some the Bahamas or Caymans, which is a plus.
The Dominican is ranked the #2 billfishery in the world, and blue marlin is especially popular in the warm waters around Punta Cana, thanks in part to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Deep sea anglers will also benefit from the Mona Passage, a 65km channel between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. March-June is an especially great time to fish in Punta Cana, with blue and white marlin, sailfish, wahoo, mahi mahi, and barracuda all at peak levels.
Where to Stay While Deep Sea Fishing in the Caribbean
There’s no better way to experience the best deep sea fishing in the Caribbean than with your private chef cooking up your catch in your private Caribbean villa. Contact us today and your reservations agent will be able to arrange the perfect villa for your trip. Once you have your villa, your concierge can arrange deep sea fishing charters, private boat tours, equipment, private staff, villa pre-stocking, and more. After that, it’s just you, the ocean, and the catch of a lifetime.