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Fishing

Special thanks to Panoply Charters for the photographs used in this article.

Fishing in the Turks and Caicos Islands is considered to be some of the best in the world. We have the third largest barrier reef in the world (leading to great reef fishing). The extensive Caicos Banks results in excellent flats fishing (bone fishing) and is quick and easy to get to from the Caicos Islands. Finally, the ocean-wall is found just a few miles off the coasts of our islands, resulting in quick and plentiful big-game fishing (deep-sea fishing).

A 46 foot Bertram Sport Fisherman boat used by Panoply Fishing Charters.

Anyone can fish and our local companies cater to both pros and amateurs. Depending on your group size, you may have the entire boat to yourself.

Type of Fishing

There are three main types of fishing, each with different equipment, locations and types of fish.

Deep-sea Fishing (Blue Water Fishing, Sportfishing, Gamefishing)

Common Species: Tuna, Wahoo, Marlin, Mahi-Mahi (Dolphinfish, Dorado)

Deep-sea Fishing is about catching the big game fish, such as sailfish, tuna and marlin. There’s a short 20 minute ride to the deep-sea, where there’s catch-and-release tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, and mahi-mahi.

Bonefishing (Flats fishing)

Common Species: Bonefish, Barracuda

Local companies offer both guided fishing trips and some offer self-drive rental boats and equipment (commonly a Rigid-Hull-Inflatible-Boat, or RHIB). Unless you’re a pro, take the guided option.

Bonefishing is a common type of gamefishing as these are the strongest and fastest moving salt-water marine animals. Quite simply, they put up a good fight when you try to catch them.

Bonefish are members of the Albulidae family, although there are several other species of fish found in the flats. They commonly weight up to around 20lbs (10kg)

Bonefish are generally not considered to be ‘good-eating’ fishing, although they are consumed.

Reef Fishing (Bottom Fishing)

Common Species: Grouper, Snapper

Reef fishing is the easiest and one of the most common types of fishing in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Lobster and Conch Fishing

Much of the conch stocks in the Turks and Caicos Islands have been depleted. A few years ago, it was possible to simply swim-out in the Bight Beach and Long Bay Beach areas and see live conch. Now, it’s rare. Lobster and conch fishing is primarily done by commercial businesses.

Fishing Licence

You must be in possession of a valid fishing licences before attempting to fish (not necessarily actually catching anything). These are usually arranged by your fishing charter and the price is commonly included in their package cost. If you're fishing on your own, you can obtain a licence from the Department for Environmental and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) on Providenciales.

Some restaurants, such as a few of the local restaurants in the Blue Hills area, allow you to swim out and collect your conch. Whereas we haven’t heard of any prosecutions, this is technically illegal (unless the fisher holds a fishing licence).

Fishing Licence Fees

Day$10
Month$30
Year$60

National Parks

It is a criminal offence to fish or collect conch, lobsters or shells in a National Park. Large parts of the coasts of Providenciales are National Parks. If you are fishing on your own, we highly recommend you refer to our Provienciales National Parks. Persons (especially foreigners) caught fishing in a National Park will face significant fines and incarceration.

Imported Fish

Imported fish has a rather high duty rate of around 40%. Many of the truly local restaurants, such as Daniel's Cafe on Middle Caicos, pride themselves in their use of freshly caught seafood.

However, despite the high duty rate, local fish can be more expensive than imported fish. Some restaurants thus serve imported fish instead of the (possibly) more expensive freshly caught local fish.

Fish Species and Seasons

Species

Wahoo, Mahi Mahi/Dolphin/Dorado, Black Fin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Tapon, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Oceanic Sharks, Reef Sharks, Cero Mackerel, Horse-eye Jacks, Grouper, Snapper, Triggerfish, Barracuda, Bone Fish, Crevelle Jacks, Permit, Pompano, Stingray

Fishing Tackle and Bait Shops