The Very Best Locations For An Exceptional Fishing Trip In Jamaica

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Jamaica is one of the best places in the Caribbean for a fishing trip. Bottom fishing, reef fishing, deep-sea fishing… these are all possible on this island. Whether you stay in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, or Port Antonio, you’ll be able to find a suitable place to go fishing. Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay is a great option as is Pedro Bank if you want to go bottom fishing or reef fishing in Jamaica.

On this island, anglers can expect to reel in a variety of fish including mahi-mahi, blue marlin, grouper, and snapper. In addition, Jamaica hosts a number of fishing events each year. If you’ve got your sights set on a fishing experience on this island, read on for everything you need to know including how to reserve a fishing charter. We’ve also included some suggestions on how to make the most of your Jamaica getaway!

The best fishing in Jamaica: Where to catch the best fish

Deep-sea fishing


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Want some deep-sea fishing action? Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica is great for sprawling out and relaxing, as well as heading out on a deep-sea fishing adventure. Near the shoreline of this beach, there’s a drop of more than 2,000ft where anglers can catch a variety of fish species including marlin. When deep-sea fishing in this area, catches can include wahoo, mahi-mahi, sailfish, blue and white marlin, tuna, and barracuda.

Ocho Rios is also ideal for deep-sea fishing. The warm waters off the northern coast present a perfect opportunity for anglers and catches like snapper, kingfish, jackfish, and blue marlin are possible. If you decide to go out on a deep-sea fishing charter in this area, you'll likely head out from the Ocho Rios Marina.

Negril, a resort town, is a good deep-sea fishing spot as well. Anglers will just need to venture a few minutes from shore to catch yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and blue marlin. For a wider variety of fish, it's worth heading out about eight miles into the open waters. Fishing in Negril can be exciting, especially when done with friends and other anglers.

Port Antonio is on the list of the best places in Jamaica to go deep sea fishing too. This part of Jamaica is perfect if you’re looking for a more private fishing experience. Port Antonio is a quaint seaside town that isn’t necessarily a tourist hot spot. Fewer people and less fishing overall mean your chances of making a good catch are higher. The best time to go fishing in Port Antonio is during the months of September and October. The annual Marlin Tournament is held around this time and attracts anglers from all over the world. Prizes are awarded for the biggest marlin.

Good to know: Take a boat trip to Cayman Trench while in Jamaica for a thrilling fishing experience.

Reef fishing


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Reef fishing is also a possibility in Jamaica. This type of fishing is commonly done near or on coral reefs. As Jamaica has been affected by overfishing over the years, reef fishing can only be done in certain areas. These regulations are in place as efforts continue to be made to protect the sustainability of coral reef ecosystems and the fish population.

If you want to go reef fishing in Jamaica, you can head out with a local angler who can help you find the best spots. Negril is a possibility for a reef fishing adventure. While fishing in Negril, be on the lookout for grouper, barracuda, amberjack, wahoo, and bonefish.

Expert tip: Fish like grouper and bonefish are popular ingredients in Jamaican cuisine. Stamp and Go, Run-Down, and Fish Tea are just a few of the fish dishes you might want to try while in Jamaica.

Bottom fishing


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Bottom fishing, also called legering, can be done both in freshwater and in the ocean. This type of fishing entails using bait and a hook to attract the fish. In Jamaica, it is possible to go bottom fishing in boats or along the coasts. If you’re new to fishing, this is a good way to start. Bottom fishing does not require as much skill as other types of fishing and is a fun and affordable activity to do with family or friends.

In Jamaica, anglers can enjoy bottom fishing off the south coast of the island, along the Pedro Bank. Some of the island’s best-preserved reefs can be found here, as well as seagrass and rocks along the seafloor and lots of fish and coral. Anglers can catch grouper, mutton snapper, yellow tail snapper, and red tail snapper here.

Buckner Bank, which is just off the coast of Montego Bay, is home to a wide variety of fish that can appeal to anglers as well. These include blue marlin, grouper, tilefish, amberjack, and almost all types of snapper. You may even be able to reel in some jacks and barracuda at Buckner Bank.

Fishing seasons: The best time to fish in Jamaica


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The best time to fish in Jamaica really depends on the type of fish you want to catch and even the type of fishing trip you plan on going on. If you know the type of fish you would like to catch and the season where you’re most likely to find it, this can help you to plan your fishing trip at the right time.

The months of August and October are the best times to catch blue marlin in Jamaica. At this time of year, this species tends to be plentiful. Fishing for grouper is possible all year round but their peak season is from May to October. Anglers should definitely visit Jamaica during the winter months, particularly during February, if they want to catch mahi-mahi, snapper, barracuda, tuna, and mackerel. Amberjack does not have a peak season, so anglers can catch this species at any time of the year.

Expert tip: While lobster is not a fish, catching and consuming lobster in Jamaica is also seasonal. If you want to dine on lobster during your fishing getaway, you can learn more about the lobster season in Jamaica before you travel.

Booking a charter for your Jamaica fishing trip


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After planning the best time to go to Jamaica for a fishing trip, the next step will be finding a suitable fishing charter. Companies offering private fishing charters are plentiful across the island. Many of these offer tours for deep-sea, reef, and bottom fishing. No matter what part of Jamaica you decide to spend your vacation in, you can get a fishing charter that will help you to have the experience that you want.

Private fishing charters are best because they take you to the best fishing spots. Ahead of your Jamaica fishing charter, you’ll have the option to choose between a half-day and full-day tour. The captains of these charters usually know just where to go for the best catches no matter the time of year. Prices vary depending on the type of fishing and the length of your excursion.

Private charters usually include licenses and equipment, which means if you select this option you won’t need to worry about sorting all of that out on your own. Refreshments are usually included as well, which is an added bonus to the tour. Island Routes offers fun fishing tours in Jamaica including Deep-sea Sport Fishing in Ocho Rios and other parts of the island.

Getting a fishing license in Jamaica


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Before you can even begin to fish in Jamaica, you should know that you need a license to practice. If you have booked a private charter, chances are that the license will be included in the cost of your tour. It is still best to find out from your desired tour company first. Fishing licenses are required when fishing from a boat. In addition, there is a catch and release policy for visitors fishing in Jamaica, which is a way of protecting the fish population from overfishing.

For shore fishing in Jamaica, you will not require a fishing license. You will however need a license for deep-sea fishing. Anglers should also be aware of protected areas where fishing is not allowed in Jamaica such as in the Montego Bay Marine Park. Spearfishing is prohibited in this area. For spot fishing (using a hook and line), written permission is needed to fish in the Montego Bay Marine Park.

Insider tip: Thinking of where to stay? In Jamaica, you’ll have the options of all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, all-inclusive resorts in Negril, and all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios. To find the right resort you’ll first need to decide the type of vacation you want. Find out which Sandals resort is best for you ahead of your Jamaica getaway.

Other must-dos while in Jamaica

Hike Dunn’s River Falls (Ocho Rios)

Dunn's River Falls is one of the most famous attractions in Jamaica. Millions of people visit this location annually to experience the wonders of this 180-ft. waterfall. In addition to the main attraction, Dunn’s River Falls also features small natural pools and the waters of this waterfall flow into the Caribbean Sea.

Visitors can enjoy a hike up Dunn’s River Falls with a tour guide who will tell you all about the island, the falls, and everything they both have to offer. The hike, which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes long, gives visitors a perfect view of the lush vegetation and natural pools of the falls. It is also possible to climb Dunn’s River Falls, right through the water, hand-in-hand with other brave visitors. Small children and people with certain health conditions are not advised to climb the falls. Visitors are encouraged to bring a pair of water shoes, a change of clothes, and drinking water for the hike.

Though hiking the falls is one of the main attractions, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied at Dunn’s River Falls. At the nearby Central Gardens, children can enjoy the waterslide and then have some ice cream and pizza for snacks. The craft market has plenty of souvenirs and the cafeteria sells local Jamaican cuisine that you will surely enjoy.

Snorkel at Doctor’s Cave Beach (Montego Bay)


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Situated along the north coast of Jamaica is Doctor’s Cave Beach. This beach stretches along five miles with white sand and calm, clear waters that are rumored to have healing properties. This rumor began when Sir Herbert Baker, a British doctor, wrote about its healing attributes.

Whether the rumors are true or not, Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of Jamaica’s most popular beaches… and for good reason. The calm waters make it perfect for snorkeling, especially for beginners who will enjoy swimming among tropical fish like butterfly fish, grunts, stingrays, and blue tangs that live among the coral reef. Water sports are available too!

Doctor’s Cave Beach is a convenient location for a beach day because you can get food and drink from the bar and restaurant nearby. There are also lifeguards on duty as well as restrooms and changing rooms available for beachgoers. However, Doctor’s Cave is not a public beach, and there is an entrance fee of $6 USD.

Expert tip: If you love diving, here’s what you need to know about snorkeling in Montego Bay.

Explore Booby Cay Island (Negril)


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Booby Cay Island is located just offshore of Negril and is accessible by ferry. This small island gets its name from the booby bird that lays its eggs there. Peaceful and picturesque, Booby Cay Island is perfect for picnics and relaxing on the beach. The coral reefs around Booby Cay Island are part of the appeal for scuba divers and snorkelers.

Bird watchers and photographers will also enjoy the sightings and scenery of Booby Cay Island. During a day trip there, you’ll be able to explore the trails, barbecue, and spend some time in the ocean. Booby Cay Island is open to the public and after spending the day here you can simply take a ferry back to the mainland.

Reel in a big one on your Jamaican fishing adventure


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There you have it, fishing in Jamaica in a nutshell. By now you probably have a fairly good idea of the best time to visit Jamaica for a fishing trip and where to go for the best fishing experience. Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Negril are all popular fishing locations on this island whether you want to go deep sea fishing, reef fishing, bottom fishing, or go on any other type of fishing adventure offered in Jamaica.

When planning a fishing trip in Jamaica if you decide the kind of experience you want, it’ll be easy to choose the right time to go. Once that's decided, the next step will be accommodation. After a fun-filled day fishing off the coast of Jamaica in a fishing boat or from shore, you can retreat to one of the luxurious Sandals all-inclusive resorts. With multiple gourmet restaurants, stylish accommodations, and all-you-can-drink cocktails on the beach!

Expert tip: At some all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, you’ll easily be able to book your fishing tours from your resort. You can also schedule other tours and excursions and explore the wonderful things to do in Jamaica!

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.