July 20, 2024

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Puerto Plata Fishing Guide: A Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

The very mention of fishing in Puerto Plata makes you think of the tug of the reel and a thrilling catch under the tropical sun. This Caribbean paradise on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic is more than just a popular vacation spot. Puerto Plata is an angler’s dream come true – it’s as simple as that.

Here, it’s all about contrasts. There are golden sandy beaches set against the green mountain range of the Cordillera Central. The city itself is a perfect mix of colonial ambiance and modern amenities, amazing culture, and an infectious love for life. And then, of course, there’s world-class fishing.

In this guide, we’ll delve deep into the intricacies of fishing in Puerto Plata. From the must-try species to the prime spots, techniques, and the optimal seasons to cast your line. Keep reading, you won’t want to miss a thing!

Top Puerto Plata Fish Species

The Puerto Plato region is known as “the Bride of the Atlantic,” and delivers around 25,000 Billfish hookups annually. From the swift-swimming Sailfish to the mighty Marlin, Puerto Plata is home to some pretty big game fish. Plus, species like Mahi Mahi and Tuna also make their presence known here.

The question isn’t whether you’ll have an unforgettable fishing experience, but rather, which trophy you’ll find at the end of your line. Here’s the crème de la crème:


Three anglers sitting on the edge of an offshore fishing charter in Puerto Plata holding a Sailfish across their laps on a sunny day, with the deep blue waters of the ocean visible behind them
Photo courtesy of Tease Me Sportfishing

Sailfish need no introduction. These gorgeous Billfish are known for their majestic leaps and rapid swims. When hooked, Sailfish make sure to show you their sheer athleticism and their long, slender bodies shimmering under the Caribbean sun.

On average, Sailfish in Puerto Plata range between 60 to 100 pounds. Most locals prefer tried and true techniques to land one, such as trolling with ballyhoo. However, a lot of anglers go for artificial lures, especially those that mimic smaller fish. The key here is to find the right spot. Sailfish often patrol underwater structures or areas with a noticeable change in water temperature.

Here’s one more local tip: If you spot one, there’s a good chance that others aren’t too far behind. Sailfish don’t travel in schools but in pairs or small groups. Tight lines!

Striped Marlin

Six anglers crouching behind a Striped Marlin laid out on a dock in Puerto Plata after a successful fishing trip on a cloudy day, with a portion of the boat visible behind them
Photo courtesy of Doña Nina Fishing Tours – 41’ Silverton

Striped Marlin are a testament to fishing in Puerto Plata. These majestic fish are celebrated for their endurance and strength. In terms of size, the fish here generally weigh between 150 and 400 pounds, though larger Striped Marlin aren’t at all uncommon.

Trolling is, once again, a popular method for catching Striped Marlin. Live mackerel or flying fish serve as effective bait. However, lures that imitate squid can also be a hit given that this is a Striped Marlin’s favorite snack. Anglers often head to the drop-offs and underwater ledges around Puerto Plata to find these predators.

If you’re after a Striped Marlin, patience is key. These fish are known for their extended runs and multiple jumps when hooked. Make sure to pack some top-notch gear and a dash of persistence!

White Marlin

A man in a baseball cap and a bald companion holding a large White Marlin aboard a fishing charter in Puerto Plata on a cloudy day, as they look away from the camera with the water behind them
Photo courtesy of High Z’s Fishing Tour

White Marlin might be slightly smaller than their Striped brothers, but they’re no less formidable. With their fine-tuned agility and speed, Whites are a joy for anglers seeking true combat. Often described as “ghostly” due to their pale, almost iridescent color, they can be a tricky catch.

Most White Marlin caught near Puerto Plata weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. Their relatively lighter weight compared to other Billfish doesn’t diminish their fighting skills, though. In fact, their agility is often a tougher challenge for anglers. White Marlin can be pretty unpredictable!

Head to the deep blue waters, especially where warm currents meet cooler waters, with light tackle and live bait like small tuna or ballyhoo. White Marlin are also fans of squid, so lures mimicking them can be effective.

Blue Marlin

A view of the back of a fishing charter in Puero Plata back at the dock after a successful trip, with a man raising his arms in celebration next to a hanging Blue Marlin on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Doña Nina Fishing Tours – 41’ Silverton

In the Billfish family, Blue Marlin stand out as the undisputed kings. A typical catch in Puerto Plata’s waters can weigh from 200 to 400 pounds, though giants exceeding 800 pounds aren’t out of the realm of possibility! With such sizes and fighting spirits, Blues are a dream catch for many.

Trolling with large bait fish, such as mackerel or bonito, is a time-tested method in the Caribbean. However, large artificial lures, especially with a splashy or erratic action, can also entice that Blue Marlin bite. Focus on the deep offshore canyons and ledges where bait fish congregate.

Mahi Mahi

A view from the flybridge of a boat towards the deck of another boat where two anglers are standing and holding their catch of at least 6 small Mahi Mahis aloft
Photo courtesy of Titi Julia Fishing Trip

Fishing in Puerto Plata isn’t limited to just Billfish. Mahi Mahi – also known as Dolphin Fish – are a delight, both for their tasty meat and gorgeous looks. They definitely stand out against the deep blue waters, with greenish-blue hues and strong bodies.

Adult Mahi Mahi typically range from 15 to 30 pounds, though larger catches are common. They’re known to grow quickly, and their aggressive feeding habits make them an exciting catch. Plus, Mahis are incredibly curious. Often, when one is hooked, others from the school tend to follow, allowing for multiple catches. This pack behavior makes them a favorite for anglers looking for non-stop action.

Trolling with ballyhoo or squid can produce good results, while casting with brightly colored lures can also be effective, especially if you spot Mahi Mahi near seaweed patches or floating debris.


A man in a blue shirt standing on the deck of a fishing charter next to the shore in Puerto Plata, holding a Tuna by his waist after a successful trip
Photo courtesy of Mahi Mahi Fishing Tours – Diana

Tuna, especially Yellowfin, are true powerhouses of the sea. They teach anglers what strength and endurance really mean. Tuna are top predators thanks to their high-speed pursuits and torpedo-shaped bodies, and their meat needs no introduction.

A common size for Yellowfin Tuna in the area is around 40 to 60 pounds, but locals have come across giants exceeding 200 pounds. The sheer might of a hooked Yellowfin, especially a larger one, can test the limits of even the most experienced angler.

Chunking with small bait fish or live bait trolling tends to work well in Puerto Plana. Yellowfin have good eyesight, which means that they’re often drawn to shiny, fast-moving lures. The deeper offshore waters, especially near underwater mounts or where different currents converge, are prime Tuna territories in Puerto Plata.

Bonus: Swordfish and Wahoo

A middle-aged man in a baseball cap and sunglasses sitting on the edge of a fishing charter in Puerto Plata on a sunny day, with the waters of a bay and a shoreline visible behind him
Photo courtesy of Fishing Pro Charter – Sobre Las Olas 42ft

Venturing into the deeper waters of Puerto Plata may bring you face-to-face with Swordfish. These nocturnal hunters, averaging between 100 and 300 pounds, are recognizable by their broad, flat bodies and elongated bills that resemble a sword.

Swordfish are deep sea dwellers, often patrolling depths exceeding 1,000 feet. They hunt at night, so locals head out deep dropping as the sun goes down, using specialized gear and luminescent baits or lures that mimic squid.

Finally, you can target the “Cheetahs of The Sea” – Wahoo. They’re known for their speedy runs, often catching unsuspecting anglers off-guard. Most Wahoo in Puerto Plata range between 20 to 60 pounds, so get ready for a thrilling fight when speed trolling offshore.

How to Go Fishing in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata’s reputation as a premier fishing destination isn’t just borne out of its abundance of species. From the depths of the deep blue sea to the tranquility of the shore, every type of angler can find their niche in this Caribbean paradise. Let’s discuss the most popular types of fishing in Puerto Plata:

Puerto Plata Shore Fishing

A view from behind of a lone angler on a beach in the Dominican Republic at sunset, with a city visible across the waters in the distance

The shores of Puerto Plata provide a serene contrast to deep-sea battles. Yet the promise of thrills remains. Shore fishing here is both a relaxing pastime and an inviting challenge.

The city’s beaches, especially in regions like Sosua Beach, are good hunting grounds for species like Snook, Bonefish, and the occasional Tarpon. The early morning and late afternoon (when the waters are cooler) are perfect times to cast your line and test your patience.

One of the joys of shore fishing in Puerto Plata is the minimum gear requirement. With a sturdy rod and the right bait, you’re set for hours of angling fun. Yet, for all its simplicity, shore fishing is also about understanding the tides, knowing fish patterns, and mastering the art of the cast. That’s what fishing is all about, right?

Puerto Plata Deep Sea Fishing

A view from behind of an angler struggling to reel in a Marlin that's visible in the distance leaping out of the water on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Tease Me Sportfishing

Deep sea fishing in Puerto Plata is not for the faint-hearted. It’s where legends are born. The thrill begins where the coastline fades, taking you into the heart of the ocean. You’ll be fishing the Atlantic, which means opportunities to land Billfish become a reality.

The allure of the deep sea also lies in its unpredictability. Every drop of the line is a game of chance, with species like Wahoo and Swordfish adding to the thrill. Fish Aggregating Devices – or FADs for short – are secret weapons in Puerto Plata’s deep sea fishing arsenal. Strategically placed offshore, they draw in Blue Marlin, Swordfish, and Tuna, among others.

Puerto Plata Charter Fishing

A group of anglers sitting under cover on a fishing charter in Puerto Plata on a sunny day, with the one on the left holding a cigar and the one on the right holding a bottle of alcohol
Photo courtesy of Mahi Mahi Fishing Tours – Diana

Charter fishing is the gateway to this Caribbean angling paradise. For both novices and seasoned anglers alike, booking a Puerto Plana charter is the best way to explore the region’s fishing potential. With experienced captains at the helm – along with the support of a trusty crew – these trips are all about adventure and bountiful catches.

Half day trips serve as the perfect introduction to Puerto Plata. They’re ideal for families, novices, and those pressed for time. For those with a desire for deeper adventures, full day trips are the best. No matter how many hours you end up spending on the water, the crew will usually provide you with all the necessary equipment, knowledge, and guidance.

Puerto Plata Fishing Techniques

The waters of Puerto Plata have nurtured a myriad of fishing techniques. Trolling, particularly for Marlin and Sailfish, is a popular method. Here, lures or live bait are dragged behind a moving boat, mimicking the movement of prey and attracting the attention of various predators.

Bottom fishing and deep dropping, targeting species that dwell near the ocean floor, are two other widely practiced methods in Puerto Plata. Anglers take weighted baits to the right depth, targeting species like Snappers and Groupers. Then, there’s also jigging – a good method to tempt Amberjack and Tuna by moving your bait up and down the water column. .

Finally, there’s fly fishing, a graceful technique often reserved for the flats and shallower waters. But you can also try it offshore for some topwater feeders. Just beware, this requires more than just skill – we’re talking serious strength.

Where to Go Fishing in Puerto Plata

An aerial view of a marina in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at sunset on a cloudy day, with the ocean on the left of the image and a mountain visible in the distance amid luscious greenery

Now that you know how to catch practically everything on the Puerto Plata fishing menu, let’s talk about the most productive spots to find them. Here are some of the must-visit fishing locations in and around the area:

  • Ocean World Marina. Located near Cofresi Beach, just a few miles from the city center, this is the launch point for most fishing charters. The marina is also the perfect location to check out the day’s catches, mingle with fellow anglers, and absorb the local fishing culture.
  • Sosua Beach. A combination of golden sands and clear waters, this beach offers excellent shore fishing opportunities for Snook, Bonefish, and even Tarpon. It’s also a popular spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. Sosua Beach is approximately 15 miles east of Puerto Plata, just a quick drive away.
  • Amber Cove. Just 5 miles west of Puerto Plata lies a haven for those looking to fish in less crowded waters. The area provides opportunities for both shore and boat fishing for Jacks, Groupers, and the occasional Mahi Mahi.
  • Playa Costambar. Closer to the city, Playa Costambar is another beach spot favored by locals and tourists alike. It’s an ideal place to cast a line during the early morning or late afternoon for a variety of inshore species.
  • Playa Dorada. Literally translating to “Golden Beach,” Playa Dorada is more than just a scenic spot. Here, you can target anything from Barracuda to smaller bait fish right from the beach.
  • Offshore FADs. Further out from Puerto Plata’s coastline, these Fish Aggregating Devices are designed to attract pelagic species, such as Blue Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo, and Swordfish. The distance from the coastline can vary, but typically they might be anywhere from 20 to 70 miles offshore.

Puerto Plata Fishing Seasons

A view from a hilltop towards a fortress and a bay in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on a cloudy day with boats visible next to a dock in the distance and a mountain visible behind them

Puerto Plata’s tropical climate allows for year-round fishing. However, like many fishing destinations, certain times of the year stand out for specific species and experiences.

The early months of the year, from January to April, are prime for targeting Billfish. Sailfish, in particular, make a grand appearance during this time. Striped and White Marlin start to show up towards the end of this period, leading into the early summer.

As summer unfolds, from May to August, Blue Marlin step into the spotlight, patrolling the offshore FADs. Plus, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Wahoo also become more prevalent.

The latter part of the year, from September to December, brings a more relaxed pace but with its own set of delights. The waters are still rich with Billfish, especially Swordfish. The tourist crowds start to thin, so many anglers find this period ideal for peaceful fishing trips.

Puerto Plata Fishing Rules and Regulations

An infographic featuring the flag of the Dominican Republic followed by text that says "Puerto Plata Fishing Regulations What You Need to Know" along with the FishingBooker logo against a blue background

While the region is quite welcoming to anglers, there are certain guidelines to follow. The good news is, though, you don’t need a fishing license. This ease of access is part of the allure, but it’s important to note that this freedom comes with responsibility.

Billfish, the crowning jewels of Puerto Plata’s waters, are under strict catch and release regulations. Whether it’s Sailfish, Marlin, or any other member of the Billfish family, once caught, they must be safely and promptly released back into the water. There are also specific spearfishing regulations, which you should consult on with your guide.

Fishing in Puerto Plata: Billfish Magic and Caribbean Charms

A view towards the ocean from a clifftop in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on a clear day, with a white pavilion and railing visible in the foreground, as if set up to be a wedding venue

Fishing in Puerto Plata is more than just an angling excursion – it’s a journey into the very heart of the Caribbean. Here, amid the “Bride of the Atlantic” under the tropical sun, you can truly grow as an angler. So, when will you dive into your next fishing story in Puerto Plata? The fish are waiting!

Have you ever been fishing in Puerto Plata? What fish species is your favorite to target? Let’s talk in the comments down below!

The post Puerto Plata Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Puerto Plata Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/puerto-plata-fishing/
Published Date: Tue, 07 Nov 2023 13:00:28 +0000

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