Fishing in the Caribbean
Getty Images: Ronald C. Modra

What Species Can You Catch Fishing in the Caribbean?

There's something all anglers should know. The fishing in the Caribbean is awesome!

Most people think of the Caribbean as a purely beach and cruise ship destination. But that's not giving it enough credit, because Caribbean fishing is some of the best in the world.

The great thing is there is literally a fishing style and species for everyone in this tropical paradise.

From deep sea fishing for marlin to fly fishing the flats for bonefish, here are just a few of the species you can target there.


Ernest Hemingway spent many years of his life in Cuba because he loved saltwater fishing for white, striped and blue marlin swordfish and sailfish in the clear blue waters that surround so many Caribbean Islands. It's what later inspired him to write "The Old Man and the Sea."

While the sea isn't home to any IGFA all-tackle world records anymore, it's still an awesome place to target billfish.

The United States has some new travel restrictions in place for Cuba again, so your best options for fishing charters are going to be on popular islands like Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados and St. Lucia where there are deeper waters.


The prehistoric-looking tarpon prefers warm waters, so it is little wonder they are found in abundance in the Caribbean. These fish grow to huge sizes and put up a huge fight when hooked. What's not to love?

While they can be found all over the fishery, they seem to be found in greater numbers along coast of Venezuela and Central America. Many anglers report excellent success with them around Trinidad and Tobago. Consider also the shallow lagoons of Puerto Rico, which offer excellent tarpon fishing all year-round.


While the Bahamas are often considered to be the bonefish capital of the world, they aren't technically part of the Caribbean since the islands are further out in the Atlantic Ocean. Not to worry. There are plenty of fishing spot where you can tackle large bonefish of up to 10 pounds or more scattered throughout the sea.

Try around the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico the Cayman Islands and St. Lucia for the best bonefishing.


Large, fast, great fighting and good on the dinner table? No wonder so many anglers love targeting wahoo.

This gorgeous fish sometimes falls under the umbrella term "kingfish." They can be found all over the Caribbean in good numbers. Fishing techniques for this species generally involve trolling and jigging.


Several different subspecies of tuna can be caught in the Caribbean including blackfin and yellowfin tuna. If you're looking for a huge fish and a tough fight, tuna in the Caribbean will deliver.

This is another fish that can be found all around the sea and many fishing charters are outfitted to target them. Depending on the island you visit, expect to pay anywhere from $500 for a half-day trip to $1,200 for a full day trip.


This beautiful game fish goes by many names. Mahi-mahi, dorado, dolphin. These fish are common all over the Caribbean and many fishing charters will not only take you out to catch them, but they'll often clean and cook your catch for your dinner that evening too.

If you're after a world class fish, the Caribbean is the place to find them. Plenty of line class records for mahi-mahi have been set here.


Sport fishing for snook can be done near many Caribbean islands, but the biggest ones seem to be found along the mainland of Central America. But Costa Rica seems to be one of the best fishing destinations. The country is home to the all-tackle world record for a common snook. That fish, a 53-pound, 10-ounce monster, was caught off Parismina in 1978.


Big, fast and a mouth full of sharp teeth. Wear a pair of gloves when unhooking them! Barracuda have an undeserved reputation for being dangerous. They are an extremely popular sportfish because they are as fun to fight as they are on the dinner table. And they hit anything.

Artificial lures or live bait, they don't care. Catching a 'Cuda is certain to make your fishing trip more memorable.


There are so many subspecies of snapper that we don't have the time to list them all here. All you really need to know is that some of the best fishing for snapper in the world is in the Caribbean.

Pretty much every fishing charter in the sea targets these fish. No doubt you'll probably end up eating at least one snapper dinner on your trip. Mangroves, yellowtails and red snapper are some of the more common varieties.


A common catch while inshore bottom and reef fishing, grouper don't grow to a particularly large size in the Caribbean, but there are plenty of them to go around! This is another fish where there are so many different subspecies common here, we simply don't have time to name them all.


This fish isn't the biggest, hardest fighting or the most exciting you can catch in the Caribbean, but it is one of the easiest. The great thing about angling for mackerel is you can catch them from a boat, pier or the shore on light tackle, making for an easy dinner.


Much like bonefish, this species is especially popular with fly fishermen sight fishing on flats. They can be caught offshore, but most anglers enjoy the challenge of spotting and then trying to target a specific fish.

They can be found in many places around the Caribbean, but the waters off Cancun, Mexico and Belize are two of the most popular spots to target them.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels