The question I’m asked more than any other is where can I go fishing when I’m on my vacation? My clients would love to book me every day of their vacation (I’d like that too!). Unfortunately travel budgets and staying married usually prohibits daily guided fishing trips. So now you’ve got to figure out where you can go fishing on your own. Chances are you will be doing some Caribbean Shore Fishing, and on some of the larger islands there is a ton of shoreline.
So where do you start Caribbean Shore Fishing? What in the world are you going to use for lures? AND What kind of fish can you look forward to catching?
The one thing besides great weather that the Caribbean has in abundance is beaches. Not only are these great places to swim and lounge in the sun, they are also some of the best Caribbean shore fishing areas. They are easy to find, you don’t have to follow some cryptic directions and get lost for an hour. There are a number of different species that can be found on beaches throughout the Caribbean.
Caribbean Shore Fishing – Here’s a List of Major fish species
found on beaches throughout the Caribbean
and the best lures and flies to catch them
This is one of the staple fish for beach anglers. They range in size from 8″- 14″ inches and really fight on a light spinning tackle. They are kind of like mini-permit, they tend to bite all day long, and always seem to be no more than 15 feet from the shore.
These are great kids fish, just rig them up with a small spinner or a small jig and bobber and they can have fun all day.
For fly fisherman, all you need are some #6 or #8 clouser minnows and you’re all set.
These are the most overlooked fish in the Caribbean. Often referred to as the poor mans Tarpon, these are one of my favorite fish. They fight like a trout on steroids, great jumps and some drag burning runs like a bonefish. It has been my experience that while we don’t have large numbers of Ladyfish, the one we do have are huge. It’s not un-common to catch fish that average 3 pounds, and for Ladyfish those are giants.
Once again fly anglers will want to use clouser minnows, just increase the fly size to a #4.
Spin fisherman can do well with spinners like the Panther Martin or Roostertail. I’ve also had good luck with 2″ crank baits like a small Rapala.
The trick to catching Ladyfish is to get on the water at first light, since on most days the bite is over by 8:00 am. They are very light sensitive and the clear water found on most beaches will send them deep as the sun gets on the water. If you happen to find a beach with good incoming rollers that have dirtied up the water and you could catch fish all day long. Ladyfish love to ambush prey on a watercolor break and they will stack up in these areas to ambush bait.
Most beaches have a resident population of Tarpon that hunt them on a nightly basis. The best beaches will be those that have a source of artificial light. The light attracts the baitfish and the Tarpon follow the bait. The best time to fish is from 9:00 pm until about 11:00 pm. It takes a while for the fish to settle down after dark and by 11:00 pm they have been feeding for a couple of hours and are entering a digest and rest mode.
Light tackle fisherman can have excellent success with a medium heavy 7 foot casting rod and a reel loaded with 20lb mono. Any good crank bait will work, and don’t forget to try some of the new plastic swim baits.
Fly fisherman can get some great action using big black flies 4/0 or 5/0 with lots of dressing. You need to get the Tarpons attention at night since it’s harder for them to see your fly. You will want to use an 11 or 12 wt fly rod, since you must stand your ground and battle these fish toe to toe. You need all the rod you can handle to get them in. It is a great time, especially when the fish are close to shore and you can sight cast to them.