School of bonefish A school of bonefish in the Turks and Caicos.
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Turks and Caicos Turks and Caicos Bonefishing

Bonefish catch and release fishing
A bonefish caught in the Caicos Islands.

The Caicos Islands , which is the larger of the two island groups that make up the Turks and Caicos, has extensive marine flats and wetlands adjacent to the Caicos Banks which are exceptional for bonefishing and flats fishing.

The Turks Islands, which includes Grand Turk and Salt Cay, do have some flats and shallows, yet their extent is far less than those in the Caicos Islands.

For the serious angler using the services of a guide and vessel, South Caicos is likely the best island, yet North Caicos and Providenciales are also excellent. For a DIY angler that will be wading, North Caicos and Middle Caicos will be the best choice.


For fly rod weights, 7 to 9 weight is recommended for bonefish, and 10 to 11 for the larger tarpon and barracuda.

It’s often quite windy in the Turks and Caicos, so having a light spinning rod with heavier tackle such as a jig head with an artificial lure or a casting jig will often work well for hooking a bonefish in all areas other than the few spots that are regularly hit by anglers.

It’s typically most common to encounter bonefish in 1-2 feet of depth, and often water clarity allows for the fish to be clearly seen. Water temperature is annually warm in the Turks and Caicos, especially in the flats. Most will not find waders or cold weather gear necessary. The bottom in some locations can be a little rough, so waterproof footwear is advised.

It’s important to have sufficient sun protection. Long sleeves, sunscreen, a hat, and polarized sunglasses are highly recommended. Polarized sunglasses will make it much easier to see into the water as they reduce surface reflections.

A dry bag or Pelican style box is great for phones and other items that need to remain dry. On most days, expect spray on the boat from the wind chop.


Visitors fishing in the Turks and Caicos must have a valid fishing license. Daily or monthly licenses may be purchased at many marinas on Providenciales, and from the Fisheries Department.

Equipment Sales

There’s a limited number of shops that stock fishing equipment. Walkin Marine on Providenciales is the primary source. They do not carry fly rods, or much in the way of flyfishing equipment.

Equipment Rental

Fly rods can be rented from some of the bonefishing guides.

The Fish

When flats fishing in the Turks and Caicos, bonefish, barracuda, and permit are common, and tarpon and snook are not common, yet are possible catches.


Aerial view of bonefish school in Bottle Creek
A large school of bonefish in Bottle Creek near North Caicos.

Bonefish are of course the bread and butter of flats fishing in the Turks and Caicos, and they can be found throughout the Caicos Islands. Typically they will be found in schools, with numbers of 6-20 in the further reaches of the tidal creeks, to larger schools of 50-100 in some of the sounds such as Bottle Creek or near South Caicos. It’s not unknown to see some truly impressive schools of hundreds at locations such as Ship Channel, which is a shallow channel and navigation route in the center of the Caicos Banks.

Bonefish size in the Turks and Caicos varies, with 1-5 pound fish being common, and the large end of the range being up to about 11 pounds. Heavier fish exist, yet there’s not a realistic expectation of a catch.


Permit is a regular catch in the Caicos Islands, especially where there’s a bit of a channel in flats, or between small cays. It’s not as common as bonefish, yet can be found with regularity in their favoured locations and environments.

Schools of permit, which occasionally can be large, can be seen in the right channel settings, or in spots such as the deeper sections of Bottle Creek on North Caicos.


Shallows in the Turks and Caicos
At many areas in the Caicos Banks there are extensive shallows, where depth is less than a foot for quite a distance.

Barracuda is found in more locations and environments in the Turks and Caicos than any other gamefish, including small landlocked ponds quite a distance from the coast. Some truly impressive examples can be found in the remote channels between the small cays, where they practice ambush feeding on the smaller fish that thrive on the interchange between the flats and bays.

Barracuda perhaps doesn’t have the recognition that the other flats gamefish have, yet they can put up a significant fight and the larger examples common in the islands will be a challenge to land on a light setup. They are often quite responsive to surface casting. In the transitions between the flats and channels, where the larger barracudas can be found, bar jacks, blue runners, and horse-eye jacks are also a likely catch. In the shallower areas, barracudas tend to often be the size of bonefish, and typically in the 16-22” range.


Tarpon is present in the Turks and Caicos, yet is far less common than bonefish. It’s a bit of an unusual situation with tarpon in the islands, as juveniles and smaller examples are somewhat common in atypical locations such as inland ponds that have a limited or no tidal connection, or inside the actual feature of the Boiling Hole on South Caicos.

Large tarpon also may be seen or caught, yet are not regular sights. Often, a single mid-sized or larger fish will be in a washout or channel that offers a bit more depth than the surrounding flats, and they may also be seen in washouts in shallow seagrass shoals on the bays off the northern sides of the Caicos Islands.


Snook is also occasionally caught in the Turks and Caicos, yet is quite uncommon. The Turks and Caicos has some skilled and experienced fishing guides, yet if any is able to reliably get an angler on snook, they excel at keeping their locations secret! In the substantiated cases of snook being landed, they tend to be caught in shallow seagrass beds or shoals in sheltered bays.

Protected Areas

Aerial view of tidal creeks in the Turks and Caicos
Tidal creeks and flats in the Caicos Islands. These small channels shelter large numbers of bonefish.

The Turks and Caicos has many protected areas where fishing is prohibited. Such areas include nature reserves, national parks, and nature sanctuaries.

The reality of the bonefishing situation in the Turks and Caicos is that many or most of the professional guides operate their charters regularly in either the Ramsar Nature Reserve, the Little Ambergris Cay Nature Reserve, or the East Bay Islands National Park, wherein fishing is not allowed.

Catch and release flats fishing likely does limited harm to the environment, and the local Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) has explored changes in the laws to allow for it, yet with no result as of yet, and nor foreseeable decision.

Enforcement of the law is an interesting situation in the Turks and Caicos, with apparent selective enforcement. A DIY angler bonefishing via wading or paddleboard at Providenciales is more likely to encounter difficulties than a professional guide fishing in the Ramsar Nature Reserve.

Bonefishing Guides

Turks and Caicos bonefishing
Captain Levardo with a bonefish caught on a fly rod.

There are around a dozen established bonefishing charter companies in the Turks and Caicos, with two thirds based on Providenciales, and the remainder distributed across North Caicos and South Caicos. Most guides operate flats boats such as Herons, Hewes, or Sea Chaser in the 15-21’ range. A guide on South Caicos also operates airboats, due to the very shallow depths to the north of the island.

Charters departing from Providenciales will typically travel east to North Caicos, Middle Caicos, or maybe as far as East Caicos on a full day trip. Wind is often 15-20kts out of the east, which can result in a bit of a bumpy ride. On the way back the ride is often smoother.

There are a few airboats that are used on charters from South Caicos, which in that area are superior to conventional flats skiff due to the very shallow depths between South Caicos and the nearby Hog Cay and East Caicos. In Stake Bank and Southern Bush Bay, which are very shallow banks to the north of South Caicos, depths are often around 6” for extensive distances, and conventional flats vessels with outboard engines will have difficulties. The tidal creeks and sounds off North Caicos and to a lesser extent Middle Caicos are slightly deeper, which allows for skiffs and flats boats.

Charter rates are high compared to many other countries, yet are largely due to fuel costs, transit distances, and the general high costs of living in the Turks and Caicos.

DIY Bonefishing

Bonefish in clear water
A school of bonefish off a beach on Providenciales.

As may be expected, the less-visited and less-accessible flats generally have the best fishing, and such locations tend to be only accessible via boat, with 30-60 minute transit times from the populated islands. However, excellent DIY bonefish definitely is possible.

Be aware that any vessel used for fishing must be registered for fishing. This includes kayaks and paddleboards. Enforcement of this is more likely on and around Providenciales than at the other islands in the country.


For DIY bonefishing, North Caicos and Middle Caicos excel. Providenciales does have accessible locations, yet they tend to be hit more, so fish are quite skittish.

North Caicos and Middle Caicos

The two large central islands of North Caicos and Middle Caicos are connected by a road causeway, so they essentially function as one island. Many flats and tidal creeks across both islands are accessible via road.

There are protected areas on North Caicos and Middle Caicos, yet they will not typically impact DIY fishing. Exceptions are the Dick Hill Creek and Bellefield Landing Pond Nature Reserve, which is adjacent to the north of the Bellefield Landing ferry dock, and a small section of the East Bay Islands National Park, which is adjacent to the Greenwich Creek inlet into Bottle Creek, found at the eastern end of Horsestable Beach. Essentially all other flats and shallows easily accessible from the road are not protected.


Bonefishing near South Caicos
Fishing the flats near South Caicos.

Providenciales is home to the majority of the population in the Turks and Caicos, and likewise welcomes the vast majority of overnight visitors. There’s also a number of protected areas to consider, and consequently the legal fishing spots tend to be visited more often than those on other islands.

The sounds and flats accessible via Venetian Road and Cooper Jack Bay Road, which includes Juba Sound, Flamingo Lake, Turtle Lake, and Cheshire Hall Creek, tend to be the best spots for DIY fishing. Other spots where bonefish can be found are sheltered and shallow sections of beach, which are typically the eastern-most edges of the beaches on the south coast.

Be aware that fishing is prohibited in the Chalk Sound National Park and the Frenchman's Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve.

South Caicos

South Caicos does have many flats locations accessible by land. Such locations include Stake Bank, the southern edge of which can be accessed from a road near the northern end of the South Caicos Airport. However, to do justice to the fishing opportunities near the island, it’s best to use a charter or perhaps a kayak in the case of proficient paddlers.

From Jerry Camp, which is an informal boat and kayak launching spot on the northern peninsula of the island, a kayak or paddleboard can access the channels and sounds near Plandon Cay, Middle Creek Cay, and McCartney Cay.