Hooked on Paradise: Fishing in the British Virgin Islands
Whether you’re wading in some roaring river hoping to catch yourself some catfish or perhaps patiently waiting for a tug from your rowboat in your favorite lake, the sport isn’t so much a casual way to pass the time for most as it is a way of life. Enthusiasts will get serious about everything from their gear to weather reports to tide schedules and more to land the big one that didn’t get away. If you’re one of these very serious types of fishermen, you’ll be very happy with what you find in the British Virgin Islands.
For sports fishermen and fisherwomen, the British Virgin Islands is truly a dream come true. Some of the largest game fish in the world make their home here and are sure to give even the most seasoned a run for their money! But before you start baiting your line, you are going to want to know a few facts so you can have your fun worry-free. While the sea around the islands is open to the sport, there are important local rules to follow that are there for very good reasons. In any case, between the seasoned captains you find here and the full-service equipment rentals, you will be in very good hands. Read on to be prepared with the basic info you will need before you arrive.
Before you even travel to the BVI, you will need to know some basic facts about the rules the authorities have set up here. First of all, you will need a recreational fishing permit in order to legally cast your lines in these waters. They are very simple to obtain, and everyone from the age of eighteen and older is required to obtain one. The process is inexpensive and can be done online through the official BVI website. Give yourself two weeks for the application to safely go through. Keep in mind: You are not allowed to remove any living organisms from the waters here without the permit. Enforcement is robust and the penalties are substantial, so best to stick to the rules!
All of this is done so you can enjoy the fishing. The object of the British Virgin Island’s rules are to ensure you have a steady supply of fish to catch. After all, the sport wouldn’t even exist if the seas were stripped clean of its bounty. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the area ensures you will always be able to find the adventure you seek. Here are a few of the most important regulations to keep in mind. Most of the big game fish are strictly only for catch and release. Billfish like marlin and sailfish are among that list. If you do catch edible fish that you’re allowed to keep, the limit is 30 pounds per boat. And it’s all strictly for personal use, no selling of the catch.
Inshore and Offshore Options
Inshore fishing means sticking close to the shore, which is an ideal option for those seeking a relaxed approach. In these situations, boats are less affected by factors like choppy seas and poor weather. The fish here tend to be smaller and are for the most part inedible. Many of the species caught inshore contain a natural toxin, so keep it safe and stick to catch and release. If you’re on a charter, there will be identification charts in case you want to bring something safe to eat at home for dinner. Inshore fishing is great for those with kids in tow as conditions tend to be less challenging and hooking some catch is a lot easier.
For those seeking more of a thrill, offshore fishing is the way to go. This is where the big fish dwell, from marlin to tuna and yellowfin. This assortment of trophy species is exactly what the more serious fishing crowd is looking for: photo-worthy catches that require hours of hard work and patience to land. It’s a holy grail for those who love the sport enough to travel the globe seeking the very best fishing experience they can find. The best fishing spots to seek out for this sort of action are the North Drop and South Drop, where depths drop precipitously a few miles offshore. Have fun and good luck!