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Fishing in Maldives
In the Maldives, fishing is more than just a popular pastime--it is the second largest industry in the country, surpassed only by tourism. Countless species of fish play an integral role in both these markets. They are the reason why visitors from all over the world choose these waters for scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and marine research. The colorful and enchanting fish of the Maldives will never cease to inspire visitors. You might even reel in a new discovery!
Fishing in the Maldives can be as modest or as extravagant as you would like. Trips are offered on a variety of vessels, from mega yachts and cabin cruisers to dhonis (a traditional boat). Choosing the right Maldives fishing charter is about more than the fish: are you looking for a luxury getaway, or an authentic experience guided by local fishermen? Once you answer this question for yourself, there is no shortage of opportunities.
While fishing the Maldives, anglers will delight in exceptional sport fishing conditions and unique opportunities. Local fisheries have retained their natural abundance due to the traditional methods used by commercial fishermen. Rather than casting nets, they rely on pole and line fishing to target their catch one-by-one. Some charters allow visitors to partake in this method, giving you a chance to experience local fishing first hand. The best time to fish in the Maldives is August through March, when the weather is pleasant and all the big game fish are biting.
Giant Trevally is at the heart of Maldivian sport fishing. This bad boy is biting all year long, often in the company of other impressive species such as Bluefin Trevally, Yellowfin Tuna, large Barracuda, and Red Bass. While chasing GT farther from shore, you can reel in big game fish like Wahoo, Dorado, Sailfish, and Marlin. Dedicated anglers will often book a week-long Maldives liveaboard trip so they can focus all their effort on capturing the majestic GT. If you are hoping to turn this experience into something especially magnificent, you can even book a Maldives yacht charter. These often include scuba diving, onboard spas, and other activities that your non-fishing companion can enjoy.
Excellent reef fishing adventures are also to be had among thousands of coral islands surrounding the atolls of the Maldives. The most colorful and extoic creatures inhabit these spots, never failing to surprise and delight the angler who manages to reel one in. Bottom fishing near the reefs allows you to target Groupers, Red Snapper, Sweetlip Emperor, Jobfish, Bream, and even Dogtooth or Yellowfin Tuna. For a truly unique sport fishing experience and a chance to encounter the most exotic species, look for a Maldives boat charter which offers night fishing. While casting lines under the moonlight you can reel in Squirrelfish, Sweetlip Emperor, Mackerel, Jacks, Snappers, and many other reef fish.
Rules & Regulations
Strict fishing regulations apply to specific areas and types of fishing. In some cases, there are protected areas where you cannot fish at all. Always be aware of local regulations. The best way to adhere to the law is to book your trip with a professional Maldives fishing charter operator.
In general, fishing inhabited and uninhabited islands is allowed. If the distance from the beach to the reef edge of an inhabited island is greater than 1,000m (3280.84 ft), you may fish beyond the 700m (2296.59 feet) boundary of the reef. You may fish from individual reefs that are not part of an island, or sand bank, or any other dry area.
Reef fishing is prohibited on reserves. Offenders may be faced with a penalty ranging from $500-$2,000. Refrain from reef or shore fishing at resorts unless explicitly permitted by the resort management.
Types of Fishing
Maldivian recreational fishing is generally categorized into big game fishing and reef fishing. Big game fishing includes heavy duty trolling, jigging, and popping. Trolling is used to target Sailfish, Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Wahoo. Jigging and popping are preferred for Giant Trevally, Red Bass, Barracuda, Amberjack, and more. These species can also be targeted from shore, mainly by beach casting, live bait fishing, and fly fishing. Strong braided line is recommended, as these fish will put up a strong fight!
While typically reserved for commercial fishing, Tuna may also be targeted by the traditional pole and line technique. Commercial fishermen use 10-15’ bamboo poles fitted with a fishing line on one end and a barbless hook and feather on the other. After luring Tuna to the dhoni with live bait, these fishermen cast their poles and target the fish one-by-one.
Bottom fishing with hand lines is the typical method for reef fishing in the Maldives, traditionally aboard a smaller vessel called a bokkuraa. Depending on the species, techniques may include deep drop jigging, live bait fishing, or fishing with cut bait. Feathered hooks with no bait may be preferred for catching Green Jobfish. While fishing the reefs you can catch Red Snapper, Coral Trout, Grouper, Bream, Jobfish, Sweetlip Emperor, and other reef fish. You can catch many of the same species while night fishing, with the addition of Squirrelfish, Mackerel, and more.
A Maldives fishing charter gives you the chance to try your hand at any of these techniques. Whether you are in the market for an authentic hands-on experience or a decadent vacation on the waves, your next adventure is waiting here!
Maldives Fishing Calendar
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