February 29, 2024

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The Complete Guide To Fishing in Jamaica

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In many ways, Jamaica is a country that punches above its weight. It’s the birthplace of reggae music and has been the happiest country in the Caribbean for a few years now, according to the World Happiness Report. As far as we’re concerned, fishing in Jamaica is yet another thing that makes it a must-visit destination.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that you’re in for some beautiful beaches, warm weather, and diverse marine life. The classic diversity of Caribbean flora and fauna is proudly on display, and that includes fish. So bear with us as we explore everything that makes Jamaica worth your time and attention when exploring places for your next big angling adventure.

What species can I catch fishing in Jamaica?

If you’ve ever been fishing in the Caribbean before, you’ll know exactly what to expect. The main draw here are the big game species that are almost a stone’s throw away from shore. Flats fishers won’t be disappointed either, since there’s plenty of shallow ground teeming with life. So without further ado, let’s review the local favorites.


Photo taken from Parker Fishing

First up, we have some bluewater royalty to talk about. Jamaica’s Marlin come in two varieties, and you’ll have the chance to catch both of them throughout the year. That said, Blue Marlin season peaks in late summer and fall, while the best time for White Marlin is definitely winter. Either way, you’re in for an adrenaline-pumping fight that you won’t forget in a hurry.

The other pair of Billfish present in these parts are Sailfish and Swordfish. They’re not as common as Marlin, but when you actually run into one of these beauties you’re in for a treat. Both of these superstars will make you work for every inch of the line as you reel them in and marvel at their leaps and acrobatics. You can fish for them just a few miles from land, or set out to the open ocean in search of the big boys.


Three anglers taking a photo with the Tuna they caught during a fishing trip in Jamaica with the boat crew in the background.
Photo taken from Island Dog Charters.

Like Billfish, the Tuna here are available in different flavors. The most popular by far is Yellowfin Tuna. For starters, they can grow to amazing sizes! Some can reach 400 pounds, and reeling in a monster that big is every bit as hard as it sounds. Fortunately, most of them will be in the much more manageable 10–100 lb range. You can fight them even on light tackle if you’re skilled enough.

Blackfin Tuna are another important part of Jamaica’s angling scene. They’re most active in the summer when the Yellowfish are taking a breather, so the two complement each other nicely. Closing things out are Skipjack and Albacore Tuna, both present in these waters all year long. Needless to say, you’re looking at one heck of a trolling trip whenever you set sail!

Mahi Mahi

Four anglers on a boat holding up a big Mahi Mahi they recently caught on a fishing trip.
Photo taken from Luminous Lagoon Tours.

No Jamaica fishing article would be complete without one of our favorite pelagic species – Mahi Mahi. These colorful creatures are always a welcome sight, especially when on the other end of your line. One of the things we love about Mahi Mahi fishing in Jamaica is that you don’t need to go far to run into them. This makes them a popular target on shorter family-oriented trips.

One thing you should keep in mind if you’re set on some Mahi action is that the best fishing for them is on the north of the island. This includes places like Montego Bay, which we’ll cover in a later section. And while you can technically find Mahi at any time of the year, their peak season here runs from late February to early June.


A closeup of a Flounder at the bottom of the seafloor.

Taking a break from deep water species, we head to more shallow waters where you’ll find plenty of Flounder. These bottom fish are fun to catch and make a great meal to boot. If that sounds like a good combo, you’ll be happy to know that Jamaica is probably one of the best places for Flounder fishing in the Caribbean.

The best time for catching Flounder in these parts is late summer and fall. Like with the previous species, the best fishing is up north, especially around Falmouth. They’re pretty good at blending in with their surroundings, but thankfully they’re not too smart. So even if you don’t manage to reel one in the first time, chances are it will bite again on your next try.

And More…

An angler in the surf holds a Wahoo he just caught in Ocho Rios, with a small, wooden fishing boat behind him.
Photo taken from Ocho Rios Fishing Fun Adventure.

Another key player in the flats, Bonefish are Jamaica’s best inshore fighters bar none. They’re quick, tough to spot in the sand, and will pose a challenge for even the veteran anglers visiting. So if you’re up for the ultimate test of your abilities, Bonefishing on the fly in the flats is the way to do it. You can target these silvery creatures throughout the year, but the ideal time is somewhere around November and December.

These five species we mention are just scratching the surface. Fishing in Jamaica can also involve going after the likes of Groupers, Snappers, Wahoo, Tarpon, Barracuda, and more. This pretty much guarantees a memorable time on the water no matter your preference or skill level. And that’s precisely what keeps anglers coming back year after year.

How to Go Fishing in Jamaica

Now that you know what’s swimming out there, we should talk about how to go fishing in Jamaica. Depending on what you’re hoping to catch and how much time you have to spare, some options may work better for you than others.

Surf Fishing

Winnifred Beach on a sunny day with a woman walking across the beach.

When it comes to surf fishing, Jamaica is full of beaches where you can cast a line and see what’s out there. The thing to keep in mind with surf fishing in these parts is that it’s not as easy as it once was. Overfishing has resulted in a lot of inshore areas experiencing a noticeable drop in fish numbers. The fish are still there, but you’ll need to look a bit harder before you manage to catch some.

It’s also worth noting that most inshore species are geared toward game fishing and as such will be more of a challenge. While that’s great if you’re a seasoned angler with plenty of notches under your belt, it can be daunting to those just starting out. Hiring a local guide to show you around and teach you some local trips could be invaluable in that kind of situation.

Charter Fishing

An angler sits on a fighting chair while reeling in a fish, with a crew mate next to him.
Photo taken from Aquarius Sport Fishing.

But as cool as fishing from shore can be, a day’s worth of fishing from a boat is really what you want to do in Jamaica. Jamaican captains have an “irie” attitude to every charter they run. Want to spend all day focusing on one fish? Can do. What about switching things up with some swimming or a lunch break? Sure thing!

There are two main ways to go charter fishing in these parts. The first one is a shorter reef fishing trip that’s perfect for a family adventure. The shallower reefs hold Yellowtail Snapper, Rainbow Runner, and Barracuda, while deep dropping in more remote spots can win you Amberjack, deep-water Groupers, and more.

But if you’ve come here with a more ambitious mindset, you’ll definitely want to sign up for a deep sea trip. This is where you’ll put your skills to the test against tons of Blue and White Marlin which hunt offshore, along with the other Billfish we talked about before. With a skilled captain at your side and specialized equipment like electric reels at your disposal, you’ll be set up for success.

Top Fishing Spots in Jamaica

Seeing as this island is surrounded by good fishing, picking a spot to start with can be tricky. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of the best Jamaica fishing locations along with a handy map below.

A map showing the most popular fishing spots in Jamaica against a blue background.
  • Cayman Trench. Most of the fishing in Jamaica happens out in the deep waters of the Cayman Trench. The instant drop-off here means you can be dropping lines into 3,000 feet of water just half a mile from shore. This is sportfishing paradise whichever way you cut it.
  • Montego Bay. The easiest way to access this drop-off is from Montego Bay. This is Jamaica’s charter fishing central, and the ideal place to start if you’re hoping to hop on a charter boat for a trip of a lifetime.
  • Pedro Bank. Running along the whole south coast of Jamaica, Pedro Bank is the biggest bottom fishing area in the country. So if you’re in the market for Groupers and Snappers, you won’t want to miss out!
  • Port Antonio. Maybe the best-kept fishing secret in Jamaica, Port Antonio’s Marlin fishery is something out of this world. Having managed to avoid the sad state of overfishing, it’s one of the best places for reeling in that big Billfish you’ve been dreaming of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to fish in Jamaica?
  • Fishing licenses are covered by the captain on all Jamaica fishing charters. You don’t generally need a license to fish from shore, although you do need a letter of approval if you’re planning on shore fishing in Jamaica’s marine parks.
How much is a fishing trip in Jamaica?
  • A half day offshore trip will normally cost around $700–$800 for a party of 6. Full days are a little cheaper by the hour, costing roughly $1,200–$1,300. Large party boats are also available for more money. Charters generally include beer, rum punch, and water. You can also add lunch for a small fee on most trips.

Jamaica: Fishing With Soul

A row of boats on a sunny day somewhere in Jamaica.

As you can see, fishing in Jamaica is one of the best ways to spend your Caribbean vacation. These deep blue waters are home to a variety of species that will put your angling skills to the test. And when you’re not on the water, enjoy the wonders of this stunning island with a truly unique culture. The food is delicious, the weather great, and the fishing outstanding. It’s one island we wouldn’t mind being stranded on, that’s for sure!

And what about you? Have you ever been to Jamaica, fishing or not? Any tips to share with our readers who may be interested in dropping by? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

The post Fishing in Jamaica: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Vuk
Title: Fishing in Jamaica: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/fishing-in-jamaica/
Published Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2023 13:04:00 +0000

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