The fish are biting…and they are in Jamaica! If you are planning a Jamaican vacation, make sure that you plan time for fishing as well. In Jamaica, you can catch wahoo, white and blue marlin, sailfish, mahi mahi, tarpon, barracuda, and bonito.
Fishing is best done in the northern waters of Jamaica. If you are fishing from shore, you will catch bonefish, which include tarpon, wahoo, and barracuda. These fish are common in shallower waters. If offshore fishing isn’t in your budget, you can still enjoy catching these fish from shore. You can rent tackle and buy bait for shore fishing.
If you are more interested in fishing offshore, you have two options: rent a private boat or take a charter. Many resorts have boat rentals available, and there are also many private boat rental companies as well. The rental fees vary, depending on the size of the boat and the length of time you will have it out.
There are also many deep sea fishing charters available through many of the resorts, as well as private companies. These charters can be expensive, ranging anywhere from $350 to $700 for half a day for sport fishing charters, and up to $1200 for a full day. The captain, crew, bait, and tackle are usually included. Again, this is for big game sport fishing, not for ‘regular’ deep sea fishing, which is typically much cheaper, but usually has more passengers on the boat.
While deep sea fishing, you can catch marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi, and sailfish. Reef fishing can also be done, but it isn’t as common in Jamaica. While Reef fishing, you may catch mutton snapper, grouper, yellowtail snapper, and jack crevalle.
Depending on your catch, and the deep sea fishing charter you’ve chosen, the charter company may be able to help in getting your catch home. Otherwise, you will be doing ‘catch and release’ style fishing.
Note that there are two annual fishing tournaments held in Jamaica each year. These are international tournaments, meaning that fishermen from around the world attend. The two tournaments are the Jamaica International Fishing Tournament and the Jamaica International Blue Marlin Team Tournament. If you will not be participating in the tournaments, but you want to get some fishing in, don’t visit Jamaica during September or October.
Also, beware of charter scams and inexperienced captains. If you are booking a charter through a company other than your resort, check the company out through your resorts concierge. Also, go with a known company, such as Jamaica Deep Sea Adventures in Port Antonio, Pier One Marina in Montego Bay, or Salty Angler Fishing Charters, also in Montego Bay.
A reputable charter will have safety equipment on board, and will require you to follow all water/boat safety procedures. They should be licensed, insured, and bonded as well.
Some of the better fishing resorts include:
St. James: Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Royal Decameron Montego Beach Resort.
Montego Bay: Sandals Inn, Half Moon Montego Bay, Breezes Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort & Country Club.
Negril: Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Beaches Sandy Bay, Couples Negril, Hedonism II, Travellers Beach Resort, Rockhouse Hotel, Caves, Sunset at the Palms Resort & Spa, Hotel Riu Tropical Bay.
Ocho Rios: Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa, Sandals Dunn’s River Golf Resort & Spa, Silver Seas.