Of all the genres of fishing in the Turks and Caicos, reef and bottom fishing generally has the widest appeal, requires no prior experience, and it’s possible to catching fish after only a few minutes of practice. It’s a great and exciting activity for all ages.
Bottom fishing is typically done with common casting rods, but local fisherman are also known to use simple hand spools as well.
Reef and bottom fishing can be done from shore at a few locations on Providenciales, yet fishing by boat will typically offer a much better experience.
Reef and bottom fishing is typically the pursuit of many types of good eating fish, including yellowtail snapper, red snapper, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, Nassau grouper, bar jacks and horse-eye jacks, barracuda, and cero.
You’ll never know what you’ll pull up. Occasionally, you may get a bite from something unusual, such as a lionfish, scorpionfish, sand diver, or even a shark! As is the common practice when bonefishing and deep sea sport fishing, any catch that not intended to be eaten or used for bait is tossed back.
A great compliment to a day on the water is to have your catch expertly prepared by one of the local restaurants. Many establishments are happy to do so.
Charters typically head to the barrier reef that rings the Caicos Islands, and trawl or drop lines either inside or outside the barrier reef. Another common practice is to cruise out in the Caicos Banks, and stop at the one of the many isolated coral heads that dot the shallow expanse.
All visitors and many residents in the Turks and Caicos must obtain a fishing license to legally fish. Daily, monthly, and annual fishing licenses are available, and may be purchased at the National Environmental Centre (Providenciales) on Providenciales, and at many of the marinas on the island.
In most cases, charter companies will arrange and purchase all necessary fishing licenses for their guests. The Turks and Caicos has fishing seasons for Nassau grouper, conch, and lobster. The Nassau grouper season is typically open from March to November. It’s illegal to be in possession of Nassau grouper outside of the season, as well as have undersized fish.
If you attempt to DIY fish on your own, it’s your responsibility to be aware of and follow local regulations, including not fishing in a nature reserve or national park.
Providenciales has a great number of fishing charter companies to choose from, with a correspondingly large number and type of vessels.
When selecting a charter business and vessel, consider what you’d like to do, and what your party is. Small centre console powerboats are the top choice with local fishing enthusiasts as they’re nimble, fast, and don’t require much depth. However, families and larger groups will appreciate the comfort of ample shade and bathrooms. Some of the larger vessels offer air conditioned cabins as well.
Drinks and snacks are typically provided on boat excursions, and often include soft drinks, water, beer, and rum punch.
The journey out to the best spots can be just as exciting as the fishing. The Turks and Caicos offers so many incredible coastal areas, with amazing ocean hues ranging from blues to vibrant turquoise. If you’re lucky enough to be out on an abnormally calm day, it’s possible to get a crystal clear view of the reefs and marine life below from the boat – a truly unforgettable sight.
It’s often possible to combine a few activities on a charter, including some snorkelling, visits to some of our secluded and spectacular uninhabited cays, diving for conch and lobster, and a beach BBQ. The iconic JoJo the Dolphin may also make an appearance!
A decent selection of fishing equipment and bait is available across several small stores on Providenciales. In most cases, all equipment and bait is provided by the fishing charter, so guests won’t have to worry about collecting equipment or bait.
Walkin Marine near Downtown on Providenciales is the primary source of fishing rods and tackle. Scooter Bob's at Turtle Cove Marina offers tackle and bait, and the office at Heaving Down Rock Marina (Walkin Marina) stocks frozen squid bait, drinks and some supplies.