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Jamaica Sport Fishing

Lured to Sport Fishing? Jamaica Hooks More Than Your Attention

By []Matt Helm

Deep and productive waters only 15 minutes from shore, well-equipped sport fishing boats and scenic views add up to a quality fishing experience in Jamaica. Visiting anglers have a chance at landing blue and white marlin, wahoo, tuna and dolphin (dorado) in deep water that drops to thousands of feet beyond the reefs. Blue marlin is the most prized big game fish and catching your first marlin in Jamaica is well within reach.

Cayman Trench

Fishing in Jamaica is world-class due in part to the presence of the Cayman Trench that extends from the Windward Passage at the southeastern tip of Cuba toward Guatemala. At about half a mile off the coast of Montego Bay, the drop off begins, starting at about 400 feet and gradually sloping down to 3000 feet further offshore. The relatively narrow trough trends east-northeast to west-southwest and has a maximum depth of 25,216 feet (7,686 m), the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea. This area is teeming with sea life as nutrients are carried up the wall from the abyss to make the waters uncommonly rich for tropical seas.

The Cayman Trench creates conditions of one to two knots of consistent current whichhelps clump together seaweed to form "weed lines"- these are every offshore angler’s dream. Heavy rainfall also erodes riverbanks causing trees and other debris to drift out to sea. This floating matter attracts baitfish and tripletail sea bass seeking shelter from the sun, which in turn attracts bigger fish. Entire ecosystems exist under these weed lines which can spread out for miles and contain all manner of sea life, including large numbers of game fish. During the summer months when the wind is fairly calm and the sea is relatively flat the weed lines get bigger, which therefore means more marine activity beneath the surface.


On the south coast there are quite a number of banks and cays where you can find a great number of bottom fish, namely snapper and grouper. The largest bank along the south coast is the Pedro Bank. This bank is home to a variety of fish such as yellowtail, mutton and red tail snapper as well as grouper and shellfish. Fishing for wahoo and kingfish is excellent along the south coast due to the presence of these banks. The North coast also has quite a few banks and the three main banks located off the coast of Port Antonio are Henry Holmes, Grappler and Shipwreck. There is also a popular bank located 15 miles off the coast of Montego Bay called the Buckner bank.


Strictly speaking there are certain periods of the year when different species of fish are more common. The dolphin (dorado) season runs from January through April, the black fin and yellow fin tuna season run from April to August and the core marlin season runs from August to December. Despite this, you will find that it is quite common for any of these species to be caught in Jamaica’s waters year-round.


So if you are in Jamaica right now, it’s a great time to go fishing. Charter boats can be booked for full-day or half-day trips in most resort areas (see listings in Jam-boree’s golocal pages). Prices vary little but be sure to enquire about whether beverages are included and who keeps the catch. Mounting of prize fish is available and some boats will arrange to have a fish cleaned and even cooked to order.

A day of fishing in Jamaica is about more than just lines, bait and fighting marlin. It is a unique opportunity to experience the island’s topographical beauty and coastline from offshore aboard a comfortable sportfisher with a professional crew that will ensure that whether you catch the "bigone" or not you have a wonderful experience. Listen to some music, enjoy some refreshments and keep an eye out for porpoises and sea turtles that frequent Jamaica’s coastal waters.

Fly fishing and light tackle fishing

The river estuaries, flats, lagoons inshore sea grass beds and mangrove forests of Jamaica are home to many popular species of game fish including tarpon, snook and barracuda. Opportunities abound for exciting fly and light tackle fishing charters led by experienced guides. Most fish species are available all year.

Salty Vic provides fishing charters to several areas of the island including river, inshore and deepsea habitats, as well as technical fly-fishing lessons for adults and children. Contact Salty Vic at (876) 863-1599 for information and bookings.


Several annual blue marlin tournaments are held in Jamaica, attracting world-wide anglers. The Port Antonio International Billfish Tournament, usually held in October, is one of the most celebrated and prestigious in the Caribbean. Each year this event attracts up to 50 boats, including anglers from the U.S.A. and neighboring Caribbean islands. Other tournaments are held in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Discovery Bay and Treasure Beach. for more information

Jam-boree, Jamaica's Visitor Newspaper

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For information on other outdoor adventure activities in Jamaica, visit our other Jamaica Pages

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Last modified: April 15, 2009