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Fishing in Indonesia

Indonesia is at the top of many travelers’ to-visit list. It’s a beautiful country, offering visitors so much to do, see, explore, and eat. The locals are welcoming and the trip won’t be too much of a strain on the wallet. Indonesia also offers anglers a variety of fishing opportunities out amongst their numerous islands.

Indonesia is the world’s largest collection of islands, and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Although these waters were overfished in the past, stricter regulations in recent years have changed the way anglers fish.This in turn has made for excellent opportunities for visiting anglers.

You have two main options when fishing in Indonesia – hop on a Balinese “jukung” (a traditional Indonesian fishing boat) and fish like a local, or head offshore in a larger boat for bigger fish. Whichever style you choose, you’ll be hooked on Indonesian fishing!

Fish Like a Local

A traditional jukung can usually have up to 3 anglers on board. It’s long but slender, with long outriggers (or handles) coming off the sides of the boat. This helps keep it steady, meaning even when you’re in the middle of a fight with a big fish, the boat won’t unbalance and you’ll still be able to reel your prey in. Fishing from a jukung will get you way closer to your prey than fishing from a center console. These boats are also covered, offering shade to everyone on board.  

Traditional fishing trips are popular around Bali, in places such as Bunutan and Amed. While most trips focus on trolling and bottom fishing, you can also try jigging if you're up for a challenge.

As well as conventional fishing methods, you might also use a “berbulu” to fish. This is a line with a dozen hooks on, which are themselves surrounded by animal hairs. This gives the hooks perfect camouflage and will see you hooking up Mackerel in no time. For bigger fish, like Mahi Mahi, you can also use a berbulu line with a single hook at a time.

Offshore Sport Fishing

Still in Bali, but in the south out of Denpasar, you can do some serious offshore fishing. This is more suited to experienced anglers who can fight larger prey, but also for families with kids who need a safer and larger boat. You’ll need a minimum of a 6 hour trip to head out and target Marlin, Sailfish, and Mahi Mahi. You can also go on 4 hour trips bottom fishing for Barracuda, and Amberjack.

Captains in Indonesia offler anglers a lot of flexibility with their trip, and can usually accommodate your needs. So if you have an urge to go snorkel the reefs, just let them know beforehand.

Head to the east of Indonesia, in West Papua, for awesome year-round offshore fishing. Here, you can target Blue and Black Marlin, Dogtooth and Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, huge Giant Trevally, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo. Overnight trips are popular here, as you can head out further to catch even bigger fish.

How to Prepare

Drinks are provided on most trips, and you’ll usually need to bring your own snacks. Fishing gear and tackle is usually provided, and most captains are happy for you to keep enough fish for your dinner. If you’re interested in snorkeling or spearfishing, but let your captain know before the trip so they can prepare the equipment. You won’t need to buy a fishing license in Indonesia.

Expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone with some traditional Indonesian fishing. Or, go for a trophy catch off one of the nation’s many islands. Whatever you choose, fishing in Indonesia has to be on your bucket list.

Indonesia Fishing Seasons

January

Head to Mengwi to see a traditional “spear” fight between two groups of villagers – blunt wooden sticks are now used. Temperatures average at 26°C (79°F).

February

February 27 is the anniversary of Denpasar. Expect parades, competitions, and performances. The weather is consistent in February and very similar to the weather in January.

March

People from all over come to Bali for the week long Spirit Festival. You can dance, do yoga, attend seminars, eat vegan food, and much more. There’s a children's activity zone too.

April

Head into Ubud for the Food Festival, celebrating the different cultures in Indonesia through delicious food. Temperatures are beginning to rise and can reach 32°C (90°F).

May

Share in the culture and traditions of North Bali at the Buleleng Art Festival. Temperatures can reach 33°C (91°F) as the wet seasons end and the temperatures reach their highest point.

June

National identity is a big part of Indonesian life. This can be seen in the Bali Art Festival. Join in the parades and see what’s showing in the exhibitions.

July

Head to the Tulamben Festival to watch the traditional jukung boats race! Temperatures can hit  31°C (88°F) but average at 27°C (80°F).

August

You can’t miss the Kuta SeaSandLand beach festival! Food, art, music, and competitions all combine for this 5-day event. This month also has the Bali Kite Festival to go to.

September

The Ujung Water Palace Festival lasts 3 days. Relax at the water palace and watch the performances. Lovina also has a festival on the beach this month.

October

The Writers and Readers Festival is in Ubud this month. Although temperatures average at 27°C (81°F), it can reach highs of 31°C (88°F).

November

It might be November, but you can still head to a festival on the beach! Head to the Legian Beach Festival for a great day and night out. Temperatures are still high but rain is likely.

December

Head to south Balin to the Denpasar Festival this month. There’s a new theme each year and a dance parade that cannot be missed! The wet season has begun, although it’s still warm out here.

Indonesia Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Indonesia

Fishing Bali Style
William S. fished with Black Pearl – Jimbaran Bay on November 27, 2019
Just enjoy the day - it’s the ocean so you never know what you will catch!
Half day trip with Captain Jack
Josh S. fished with Black Pearl – Jimbaran Bay on July 29, 2019
See the guys at Black Pearl ! They’ll do their best to give you a great day . traditional boat is the way to go ??
Good time, but terrible weather!
Chad H. fished with Fishing Charters Bali on April 19, 2019
The waters were beautiful, but I had bad luck, as it was terribly rough on my trip. Turns out, we almost had a tropical storm form. Typically, the waters are calm. Just hope for good weather!
Half trip with black pearl
Tarrant L. fished with Black Pearl – Jimbaran Bay on January 7, 2019
The area is beautiful but has been destroyed by foreign commercial fishermen. You still have a great chance at catching fish but! Just remember fishing is about fishing otherwise itd be called catching.

Top Fishing Techniques in Indonesia

Top Targeted Species in Indonesia