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Zoom in on a tiny speck in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, and you’ll find an island paradise. The largest of the Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is famous for its calm blue waters and spotless beaches. But don’t let the serenity of life on land fool you. Grand Cayman fishing is some of the most exciting in the Caribbean.
Look at a satellite image of the surrounding seas and you’ll see why. A deep gash runs through the middle of the Caribbean Sea – and Grand Cayman sits on the edge of the abyss. The island is actually the top of a vast underwater mountain, one of several that rise steeply up from depths of 20,000 feet. This is the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea, where boiling underwater vents shoot minerals into the sea and marine life flourishes. That means one thing: plenty of fish.
Types of Fish around Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman’s healthy coral reefs, mangrove-lined shores, and deep sea dropoff attract a variety of species all year round. And even though Grand Cayman’s fish rarely reach record sizes, they’re here in spades. Take a look at the most common targets, and you’ll see why anglers come here from all over the world.
Blue Marlin are some of the most sought-after sport fish on the planet. And if you’re lucky, you might catch one here on a half day trip. Blue Marlin fishing off Grand Cayman is famous for offering reel-screaming adventures within a quarter mile of shore.
It’s unusual to find Marlins weighing over 200 pounds near Grand Cayman but don’t let that stop you. Even “small” ones are a challenge to bring to the boat. In fact, this is probably one of the best places to come to earn your Marlin fishing stripes.
As well as Blues, White Marlin occasionally visit Grand Cayman. These are rare but highly prized. Whichever sort of Marlin you find, be prepared to release them. And while you can technically catch them all year round, Marlin are most common from May through July.
If you want to mix sportfishing with fine dining, look no further. Grand Cayman Tuna fishing starts with adrenaline and ends with a plateful of delicious fish. It can also kick off within minutes of leaving the dock!
Several types of Tuna live a short boat ride from Seven Mile Beach. The biggest are Yellowfin Tuna – strong, striking, delicious fish that peak here from March to June. Boisterous Blackfin Tuna are quite common in July and August, and you can find lots of Skipjacks from October through January.
Whichever species you hook, see if you can find a local eatery to cook it up for you. This will showcase one of the highlights of fishing on Grand Cayman – fresh fish, expertly cooked.
As exciting as deep sea fishing is, it’s only part of the Grand Cayman fishing story. These waters hold a thriving and underrated Tarpon fishery. This will keep your hands full before you even think of going offshore.
Tarpon have been around for millions of years and their hard mouths and wary attitude suggest they’ll survive for several more. You can find juveniles in the canals in the north of the island all year round but the best time to catch them is late summer.
The most productive place to go Tarpon fishing on Grand Cayman is around the point of West Bay, in Barker’s National Park. Or, if you just want to admire these prehistoric beasts, go to the Wharf Restaurant north of Georgetown. Every evening, you’ll see hundreds arriving for the iconic Tarpon feed. We don’t recommend bringing your fishing rod to this popular event, though!
The shallow flats of Grand Cayman’s North Sound stretch as far as the eye can see. Darting within them are some of the most rewarding inshore fish you can find. Bonefish are famously hard to hook, but many anglers find the challenge irresistible.
The Bonefish around Grand Cayman are the largest in the Cayman Islands. They average about 3–5 pounds, but reach 8 pounds fairly regularly. Look for them cruising around the flats just after dawn. Although you’ll usually find the biggest ones in winter, these fish are easiest to catch in late summer.
Grand Cayman Reef Fish
The shallow rocky platform that Grand Cayman sits on is covered in thriving coral reefs. That means responsible reef fishing can result in a wide variety of fish.
Mutton and Yellowtail Snapper, various types of Jacks, Grunts, Parrotfish, and occasional Groupers are all common Grand Cayman reef fish. Towards the surface, toothy Barracudas patrol the waves and are always on the lookout for their next meal.
And that’s not all! Fish the pelagic waters and you could land a super-speedy Wahoo or a colorful Mahi Mahi. Stay inshore, and occasional Permits and Snook make the shallows even more enticing. Mangrove and Schoolmaster Snappers swim around the shoreline mangroves, with small Sharks hot on their tails. It’s truly a fishing frenzy!
How to Fish Grand Cayman
For a small island, Grand Cayman has a surprisingly large number of options for anglers. Sportfishing boats and guides leave from multiple ports. The shoreline is accessible for exploring on your own. And some hotels even rent kayaks. We’ll walk through the most popular options so you can build your own Grand Cayman fishing adventure.
Grand Cayman Fishing Charters
The most effective way to enjoy the island’s fishing is by chartering a boat. Grand Cayman fishing charters provide local intel from professional anglers as well as all the gear and bait you need. These trips usually focus on reef or deep sea fishing but a few captains also offer guided trips inshore. Book a trip, and you’ll often get snacks and snorkeling equipment thrown in, too.
Deep Sea Fishing
The deep sea fishing Grand Cayman has on its doorstep is one of the island’s main attractions. Travel just a quarter of a mile from shore and you’ll already be in waters over 2,000 feet deep. Just a little further out, the Cayman Trench plummets below 20,000 feet. This means you can hook game fish within minutes of leaving the dock.
It’s quite unusual to catch trophy fish out of Grand Cayman but that’s not really the point of fishing around here. Instead, this is one of the few places in the world where you can happily bring the whole family deep sea fishing. You’ll never be too far from shore, and even the youngest of your party can hook something to be proud of.
A ring of coral reefs surrounds the island, marking the difference between the shallow inshore waters and the deep offshore dropoff. That means reef fishing around Grand Cayman can actually involve a variety of different fishing styles. As well as traditional bottom fishing for Snappers and Triggerfish, a reef fishing trip can see you casting baits for Barracuda and small Tuna.
With no private beaches on the island, you can find somewhere to cast a line almost anywhere on Grand Cayman. But there’s one important rule to keep in mind. You need to release any fish you catch from shore unless you’re a Cayman citizen. If you don’t, you may need to pay a substantial fine.
One of the most popular places to fish from shore is the canals that lead into the Head of Barkers. Although they aren’t the easiest place to access, they’re full of Tarpon and even hold the occasional Snook. Start fishing before dawn and you could catch a dozen by breakfast time.
Otherwise, explore the flats on the southern coast for Bonefish. Pease Bay is a good place to start. Natural baits like squid and pieces of conch are local favorites.
Fly Fishing on Grand Cayman
The abundant Tarpon and Bonefish, and occasional lucky Permit means there’s a chance of catching an Inshore Grand Slam in the Cayman Islands. But fly fishing on Grand Cayman isn’t really about prestige and trophies. It’s much more about exploring the quiet channels and sounds away from the hubbub of cruise liners and beaches.
Grand Cayman has over 30 miles of wadeable flats along its shores. These hold good fishing all year round but watch out for strong trade winds in the winter. This will make casting difficult for anyone but the most confident saltwater fly fisher.
Grand Cayman Fishing Spots
If you’re feeling spoiled for choice about fishing on Grand Cayman, we don’t blame you. As long as you keep well away from swimmers, there’s hardly a bad place to fish around here. But whether you’re heading off in a boat or are taking matters into your own hands, here are some places you might want to explore:
- North Sound. The beautiful clear waters of Grand Cayman’s vast North Sound are magnets for fish and humans alike. As well as holding Tarpon and Bonefish, this is also the location of popular Stingray City, which many charter operators can take you to during your fishing trip.
- Head of Barkers. The extensive mosquito control canals near West Bay are home to hundreds of juvenile Tarpon. If you don’t mind going off the beaten track, take your time to explore this maze of a fishing ground.
- South Sound. Grand Cayman’s South Sound may be relatively shallow, but that doesn’t stop deep sea fish from paying it a visit. Sizeable Wahoo are surprisingly common here!
- 12-Mile Bank. This deep dropoff to the west of George Town is one of the most reliable places to find big fish on a full day trip out of Grand Cayman. Tuna, Wahoo, and even Marlin hunt bait around the upwelling here. You never know what you might catch.
Grand Cayman Fishing Regulations
You don’t need a license to fish on Grand Cayman, but shore fishing is catch and release only unless you’re a local citizen. If you’re fishing from a boat, you can keep most of your catch but size limits apply to most species, and some fish are catch-and-release only. You can find out more about these regulations and prohibited boat fishing areas here.
Spearfishing is not allowed anywhere on the island unless you are Caymanian and are licensed to spearfish for Lionfish.
Grand Cayman: More than Just a Cruise Stop
Blessed with pristine beaches and world-class restaurants, it’s no wonder that Grand Cayman is a popular place to visit. But there’s more to this island than meets the eye. Its laid-back, calm atmosphere masks the plummeting marine depths just a few hundred feet from shore. After all, it’s the island’s offshore banks – in marine terms, of course – that really make it special.
Have you been fishing on Grand Cayman? How was your experience? Whether you chartered a boat or explored on foot, we’d love to hear from you!
Title: Grand Cayman Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/grand-cayman-fishing/
Published Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2023 12:29:32 +0000