Annually, Turks & Caicos Islands attract more than a million visitors who are no doubt enthralled by the tropical climate of these islands, their sandy beaches, and their historical sites. In addition to these attributes, Turks & Caicos has also made its mark as one of the most exciting fishing destinations in the Caribbean. In fact, Providenciales, the largest island in Turks & Caicos, is known for sport fishing and many competitions, including the annual Grand Turk Fishing Tournament and the international Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release, take place on these islands. These competitions are held over the course of several days and are a source of major excitement for fishing enthusiasts and spectators alike.
Since fishing in Turks & Caicos can make for quite the adventure, we’ll share everything you need to know before you set off on a fishing trip of your own in this territory. Expect to find details on the best fishing spots, deep-sea fishing, bonefishing, and what you’re most likely to catch (red snapper, lobster and sailfish included)!
Expert tip: Guests of Beaches Turks & Caicos can go on a reef fishing charter and have a chef at one of the restaurants at the resort prepare their catch of the day. The best news: all food and drinks at Beaches Resorts are always included, always unlimited.
In this article on the Beaches blog:
Ahead of your fishing trip in Turks & Caicos Islands, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, you’ll need to have a fishing license. There are some cases where you won’t need to apply for one, for instance, if you’ll be fishing with a tour operator as they would usually apply for one on your behalf. Outside of that, anyone who is more than 15 years of age should have a valid fishing license. Even if your tour operator has not applied for your fishing license, you can easily purchase one at a marina or at the Department for Environmental and Maritime Affairs (DEMA), which is housed at the National Environmental Centre in Providenciales.
When it comes to boat charters, there are some that will take you to any fishing spot you choose according to the type of fishing experience that you want. However, bear in mind that fishing is prohibited in certain areas, such as in national parks, to preserve the idyllic beauty of these islands. You’ll also be forbidden to catch lobster or conch in these areas. So, if you’re at any one of these parks and some fish catches your eye, just keep moving along. There’s much more fun to be had elsewhere. It is also illegal to fish at certain beaches, such as Bight Beach, Grace Bay Beach, Leeward Beach, and Turtle Cove. If you choose to venture to these beaches, be sure that the only activities you get into are water sports and sea bathing!
The Turks and Caicos Islands are well known for their great fishing opportunities! Whether you want to go deep-sea fishing, bonefishing, reef fishing, or any other type of fishing, you’ll likely find what you are looking for on these islands. Your catch while fishing in The Turks & Caicos will depend on the time of year, and, in different seasons, you can expect the amount and types of fish you catch to vary. We’ll start off with reef fishing, which is one of the most popular types of fishing in Turks & Caicos.
If you’ve never gone fishing before or you’re a bit anxious about your abilities, reef fishing in Turks & Caicos is the best way to get your feet wet! This activity is also known as bottom fishing or casting rods and fresh conch is often used as bait for the fish. No prior experience is required and fish can be caught fairly easily on the reef. Try it and you’ll understand just why reef fishing is a favorite in the islands!
Good to know: Even though reef fishing can be done from the shore, we recommend that it be done by boat to truly enhance the whole experience.
Reef fishing is so exciting because you can catch a variety of fish in large numbers in no time at all. You can sometimes get a catch of 12 to 50 fish that might weigh as much as 15 pounds! Your catch may include all types of snappers such as mangrove, red, mutton, and yellowtail snapper, as well as barracuda and bar jacks. Reef fishing at the Caicos Banks is bound to be a rewarding experience, and the barrier reef around the Caicos Islands is an excellent location as well.
The best thing about reef or bottom fishing is that just about anyone can do it. It is suitable for all ages, and it is actually a great activity that families can participate in together. Families who choose to go reef or bottom fishing can use it as a way to enjoy the outdoors and experience the beauty of the islands of Turks & Caicos.
Expert tip: All-inclusive group vacations in Turks & Caicos are an excellent choice because there’s something for everyone to do on these islands!
The Turks & Caicos is actually an archipelago that comprises 40 or so islands and cays found near a plateau with a depth of at least 40 feet. This unique topography makes the territory a prime spot for deep-sea fishing, and it only takes a few minutes to get to the best spots.
Deep-sea fishers love how the beauty and the depth of the ocean make this type of fishing an exciting challenge. Spectators also love the excitement and anticipation of hooking a fish and making that big pull to reel everything in. Seeing birds near the water is all part of the experience too, as they are a sure sign that the fish are near. Ultimately, deep-sea fishing in Turks & Caicos can be a very fun experience for everyone involved.
Deep-sea fishing can be very rewarding and results in catches that may include yellowfin and blackfin tuna, as well as great barracuda and wahoo. These are all fairly common catches throughout the year and the great barracuda, especially, is always plentiful in the islands. While deep-sea fishing in Turks & Caicos, it is also possible to catch mackerel, skipjack tuna, and dolphinfish (also called mahi-mahi). In these deep waters, you are sure to find lots of sailfish and possibly some white marlin as well.
Since deep-sea fishing can be a bit tricky, we suggest that first-time anglers book a tour with a trained captain that can take them to the right locations and provide guidance on the best way to catch fish. Also, it can be just as exciting to be a spectator and watch the action take place right in front of you. Be on the lookout for signals like birds flying about or the fish jumping across the waters.
Expert tip: Looking to go diving while in The Turks & Caicos? Keep Coral Gardens Turks & Caicos high on your list of places to explore!
Bonefishing patrons in Turks & Caicos will find no better place for their craft than the Caicos Banks. This area is home to an expansive but shallow bank and a nearby mangrove that attracts a wide variety of fish. Though bonefishing requires a bit of practice, it can be a rewarding experience with successful anglers finding just about every size of bonefish in Turks & Caicos Islands. Keep in mind that it tends to be windy out at the Caicos Banks, with winds of about 15-22 mph.
The great barracuda is plentiful in Turks & Caicos and is a popular catch for fishermen. Most bonefish that are caught will weigh from four pounds to as much as ten or eleven pounds. They can be found in clear or even muddy waters. Atlantic tarpon isn’t a common catch but can surely be an impressive one! Atlantic tarpons as big as 100 pounds have been known to be found in the Turks and Caicos.
Bonefishing is most enjoyable to those who are used to navigating strong winds. In some parts of Turks & Caicos, wind speeds can range from 15-22 mph. If you’re unsure of how well you’ll do, it’s best to book a tour with an experienced operator. Most tour operators and charters offer private bonefishing tours, and there are many that operate out of Providenciales (with a few in North and South Caicos also). Most boat captains seem to love the bonefishing locations in Providenciales, North Caicos, South Caicos, and Pine Cay.
Booking a fishing trip with a tour operator is usually the best way to go, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there is also the option to go fishing on your own. If you choose to go that route, make sure you have a good idea of how to go about doing it solo, and don’t forget to get your fishing license in advance. Y ou can purchase fishing equipment at several shops in town, and it’s a good idea to confirm that fishing season is on and that you aren’t venturing into a protected region, like a national park. Areas like Plandon Cay Cut in South Caicos or Juba Sound and Turtle Tail in Providenciales are great locations to start off with.
Expert tip: While visiting the islands for a fishing trip, you’ll find plenty of other exciting things to do in The Turks & Caicos, including exploring the Conch Bar Caves, taking a catamaran cruise, or even visiting the Columbus Landfall National Park!
There aren’t many spots for shore fishing in Providenciales considering that many areas such as Grace Bay and the Smith’s Reef are protected. Your best bet for shore fishing in Providenciales is to catch some snapper and jacks at Down Rock near Leeward. If you’re interested in bonefish, then stop by Cheshire Hall Creek where you are sure to get some barracuda.
We’ll be honest … unless you know your way around the island or you’re a skilled fisherman, we wouldn’t suggest that you try to fish by yourself in Turks & Caicos. By chartering a boat, you’ll get the benefit of a boat captain who knows all the best spots, the laws of the land, and who can take you to the locations that offer the most exciting experience. Basically, you can forget about all the logistics and fine details, so you can focus on enjoying the experience to the fullest! Doesn’t that sound like a good deal?
In the early history of the Caribbean, the indigenous Lucayans used to dive into the ocean to gather seafood such as spiny lobster and queen conch. This method, which began thousands of years ago, is still practiced to this day. In the past, a hooked pole and a bucket were used by the Lucayans during these diving expeditions, but now a snorkel mask and fins are used. Visitors and residents of the Turks and Caicos both enjoy this simple fishing exercise, and sometimes they may also go snorkeling for conch. Just be mindful of conch and lobster season (which we’ll discuss later!). After you’ve had a grand time obtaining your catch, it can be grilled right there on the beach for all to enjoy.
The Queen conch is a small sea animal that is found on many tropical islands, including the Turks and Caicos. It can be easily picked up on the ocean floor, then carried to shore. Spiny lobsters can also be collected if you’re lucky enough to find them during the early hours of the morning or night when they’re out hunting for their food. You may have to get up early to catch them, but these spiny lobsters are a delicious and worthy treat.
Before you go diving for conch and lobster, you need to know when the seasons are open (more on this later!). Since the exact dates can vary, it’s probably best to book a fishing trip with experienced personnel that can guide you, accordingly, take you to the best diving spots, and help you make the most out of the experience.
Expert tip: Will you be staying in or near Providenciales while fishing in The Turks & Caicos? Discover the best of Providenciales for an amazing vacation!
Lionfish are a carnivorous, invasive species of fish that are indigenous to the Pacific Ocean but have made their way into the Caribbean waters. While lionfish are considered a threat to Caribbean plant and animal life, this venomous fish can be quite a delicacy when prepared properly. Fishing for lionfish is popular in Turks & Caicos because it helps maintain the beautiful reefs and underwater ecosystem. In fact, these are the only fish that can legally be hunted with a spear. A pole spear is an effective tool that is often used for lionfish hunting.
In Turks & Caicos, the red lionfish is quite popular. Since this species is considered to be dangerous to reefs, anglers are allowed to capture it even at nature reserves. Other marine animals remain protected and off-limits in these areas. You should be especially careful when trying to capture this fish since a sting from any of its 18 venomous spines can result in lots of pain, sweating, and even fainting. Before you begin your hunt, ensure that you have taken all the necessary safety precautions.
Generally, in order to go fishing in Turks & Caicos Islands, anglers will need to have a valid fishing license. However, due to the risks associated with capturing a lionfish, it is especially important that you be properly trained before fishing for this species. It is also important to know what to do if you get stung to reduce your chances of pain and discomfort. If you’re interested in fishing for lionfish while in Turks & Caicos, check in with local authorities as early as possible to find out more about the rules and regulations.
While some fish should only be caught during certain seasons, mackerel, shark, tuna, and dolphinfish can be caught throughout the year. The conch season is typically open from mid-October to mid-July, and mid-August to April for lobster, while stingrays and flatfish can be caught from November to December. Remember that it is illegal to catch these sea creatures outside of the appropriate season. If you happen to catch any of them accidentally, just release them right away.
There are several boat charters and tours in Turks & Caicos that can help you enjoy the perfect fishing trip. Island Routes is one such company that makes it possible to pre-book your fishing tour. It is generally recommended that tours be booked in advance, so important details like obtaining a fishing license can be sorted out beforehand. Plus, booking with an established company means that the experts will be right there with you in the ocean. As an added convenience, many of these fishing tours can also be booked from your resort, particularly if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos like Beaches Resorts. You should definitely explore an all-inclusive option for a worry-free fishing trip!
Expert tip: Love exploring the ocean? Try staying at scuba diving resorts in Turks & Caicos to experience the magic of the undersea!
Chances are your fishing tour or charter will have all the equipment you need, as well as some light snacks. However, there are some other items you should carry with you, such as sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a hat to protect your body from the sun and insects. You’ll also want to pack a bathing suit, a change of clothes, a towel, and appropriate shoes for the boat and water. It’s best to leave behind any jewelry but be sure to carry some cash with you to buy snacks and any souvenirs that might catch your eye when you dock. Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget your water-resistant camera! This is a memorable experience that you definitely must capture.
Expert tip: Want to know more about Turks & Caicos before you head to the islands for your fishing trip? Start off by getting familiar with the delicious Turks & Caicos food you’ll want to try while you’re there!
The Turks & Caicos offers unique fishing experiences for novice fishermen, seasoned anglers, families, singles, and couples. Capture an amazing haul of snapper while reef fishing in the Caicos Banks. Take a photo with a huge great barracuda that you’ve caught while. Hone your bonefishing skills and relax with a day of catch and release. Book a full or half-day fishing tour with a licensed operator and enjoy the best fishing the islands have to offer!
Regardless of the type of fishing you’d like to do in Turks & Caicos, remember to be cautious, follow all the guidelines, and take care of your accommodation bookings in advance. Keep in mind that all-inclusive resorts in Turks & Caicos are the way to go for hassle-free and fun vacations!
At the end of the day, fishing is about relaxation and fun. Fishing in Turks & Caicos gives you all of that in a gorgeous Caribbean setting. What could be better?
Expert tip: Planning a trip to The Turks & Caicos? Find out the best time to visit Turks & Caicos, the amazing things Turks & Caicos is known for, and other important details that’ll help you plan an exciting getaway.