When Is the Best Time to Fish in the Caribbean?

Whether you’re an expert angler or just testing the waters, the Caribbean is home to some of the world’s best fishing. With opportunities to catch everything from small bonefish to massive marlin and tuna, it’s no surprise that Caribbean islands like the Bahamas consistently rank among the world’s best fishing destinations.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of what to expect when fishing these sparkling blue waters, and how to plan a trip to get out and start reeling ‘em in! 

Deep Sea Fishing vs. Inshore Fishing

Whether you prefer sticking closer to the shore or venturing out to sea, both fishing experiences are excellent in the Caribbean islands. Your inshore options in the Caribbean will still primarily be saltwater, with both sandy beaches and rockier coastlines to choose from. If you want to explore deeper waters, there is no shortage of opportunities to join fishing charters. 

The main difference, of course, is what you’re looking to catch, and what type of fishing you prefer. If you’re okay catching smaller fish (that will be delicious to eat, no doubt), you can have an excellent experience with inshore fishing. Some of the best destinations to visit if you’re interested in reef fishing, fly fishing, or bonefishing are in the Bahamas: Andros, the Abacos, and New Providence are a few great spots. If you’re interested in something a little different, you can try Jamaica or Barbados for dry fishing opportunities in various flats, estuaries, and mangroves. 

Deep sea fishing, especially sport fishing, is what the Caribbean is best known for. Off the shores of Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Barbados you’ll be able to put your angling skills to the test and catch massive trophy fish! In most cases, these types of fish are active in the few hours before sunrise, or in the twilight hours before sunset. 

What Can You Catch in the Caribbean? 

What you can catch varies from one destination to another, and depends primarily on whether you choose to stick to the shores or venture out to deeper waters. Here are a few things you can aim to catch with either experience. 

Inshore Caribbean Fish

Most of what you can catch closer to the coastline are the smaller fish that prefer reefs, shallow waters, and sand flats. One of the most popular fish is bonefish, which tend to stick in sand flats and can grow up to 14 pounds. Other common catches include tarpon, snapper, and permit. Some of the bigger prizes that you can catch while inshore fishing in the Caribbean are juvenile barracuda and grouper, both of which can grow fairly large and tend to prefer reefs and rocky areas. 

Deep Sea Caribbean Fish

With plenty of patience and the right sea fishing bait, the deeper waters around Caribbean islands are home to some of the largest and most exciting trophy fish an angler can dream to catch. Sailfish, swordfish, marlin, mahi mahi, wahoo, and massive yellowfin tuna are all native to these waters. 

While many of these fish can be theoretically caught off the Atlantic coast of Florida in places like Cocoa Beach or Stuart, they tend to prefer the warmer waters in the Caribbean and can be easier to track down for extended periods during the year. So rather than scrambling to vacation in Florida during very specific windows, why not take a more relaxed island getaway and improve your chances? 

When Is the Best Time to Fish in the Caribbean? 

While the best season for each fish varies slightly, spring and early summer tend to be highly productive times to head out to the islands for fishing. This March through June timeframe also avoids hurricane season, which can put a wrench in any fishing trip. This prime time of year tends to be fairly warm, with high temperatures in the upper 80s and sometimes in the 90s, so be sure to pack accordingly and plan some time to cool off during the hottest times of day! 

Luckily, the best times of day for fishing are not the hottest times of day. The early hours of the morning around sunrise and twilight hours around sunset tend to be when fish are most actively hunting, making them easiest to catch. You’ll be able to head out first thing in the morning and complete your fishing in time to make it back to your resort to relax by the pool or snooze in the shade when the midday heat strikes. 

Easiest Ways to Travel for Fishing

By far, the easiest way to travel to the Caribbean with the goal of fishing is by staying at one of many all-inclusive resorts. These experiences allow you to handle all of your logistics centrally, and help you ensure that your meals, lodging, activities, and (most importantly!) your fishing charter are all ready for you when you arrive. If you prefer inshore fishing, equipment is readily available at most all-inclusive resorts, making it easy to pack your swimsuit, your fishing hat, and other essentials without having to worry about the tackle box.

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