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Top Fishing Charters in Puerto Rico

Fishing in Puerto Rico

With its sandy beaches, warm waters, and passport-free travel, the Island of Enchantment sure does earn its name. There’s a lot more to the island than bars and resorts, though. Puerto Rico fishing charters open up a whole new side to the island and can get you on record-breaking fish in the process. Whether you’re exploring shallow mangroves for 100 lb Tarpon or heading offshore for Blue Marlin five times that size, fishing in Puerto Rico is not something you will forget in a hurry.

Types of Fishing

Wet a line just about anywhere in Puerto Rico and you’ll be fighting to keep hold of the rod. The island sits on some of the deepest waters in the Caribbean and is right on the path of major pelagic fish migrations. It also has awesome flats, mangroves, and freshwater fisheries. While you can never be sure of what you’ll hook, here’s a run-down of what you can expect from Puerto Rico fishing trips.
 

Offshore

The deep sea fishing Puerto Rico has access to is epic. There’s no other word for it. From Blue and White Marlin to Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin Tuna, you can find big fish all around the island every month of the year. Blue Marlin are the star of the show, with monsters weighing 500-700 lbs caught here every year. Everyone’s waiting for the island’s first rod-and-reel grander to show up. Are you up to the challenge?
 
The island is surrounded by bluewater fishing grounds. To the north, you have the Puerto Rico Trench, the darkest depths of the Caribbean Sea. Head east, and you hit the Grappler and Little Banks, known for their unbeatable Wahoo bite. The south has much bigger Mahi Mahi than anywhere else, which show up alongside a mix of Billfish March-May.
 
But it’s the west of the island that really takes the cake when it comes to the Marlin fishing Puerto Rico is so good at. Here, the Mona Channel funnels fish through canyons and ridges over 500 fathoms deep. Double-digit catches of Blue Marlin are common in high season, as are Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Tuna. All this without ever losing sight of shore.
 

Inshore

The shallow waters around Puerto Rico are home to Tarpon, Snook, Barracuda, Snappers, Ladyfish, and Jack Crevalle. Even on a half-day trip, you can expect fights it would take days to find elsewhere. Some of the best Tarpon fishing Puerto Rico has to offer is in the murky mangroves and backwaters of San Juan Bay. Imagine taking on six-foot Tarpon just a mile from the busy streets of San Juan!
 
But what if you’re more into Snook or Bonefish? Many local anglers prefer the flats in the south as they have a lot less fishing pressure. La Parguera is a particularly good spot for Snook. It may be as far from San Juan as you can go without getting your feet wet, but it’s worth the journey.
 

Freshwater

There’s one fish we haven’t talked about nearly enough yet: Bass! Puerto Rico Peacock Bass fishing is as good as anything Florida has to offer and is a heck of a lot easier to get to than the Amazon. Peacock Bass were first introduced here in the ‘60s and have been a hit ever since. These days, you can often catch 50 fish in a day when the bite is hot. You can also combine your trip with Tarpon fishing to really get the most out of your time on the water.

Fishing techniques

Most of Puerto Rico’s deep sea action focuses on trolling, using 30-80 lb IGFA-compliant tackle in the hopes of landing a record-breaker. If you’re set on Blue Marlin, you will be following feeding fish and birds, either slow-trolling Ballyhoo or fast-trolling lures to cover more ground. Wahoo are normally caught trolling with downriggers over sea humps, while Mahi Mahi are caught near the surface around weedlines.
 
If you fancy fly fishing Puerto Rico’s briny shallows or freshwaters, you definitely won’t regret it. Big Silver Kings will put even the most skilled fly anglers to the test and the schools of smaller Tarpon are always great fun. Peacock Bass are incredible on the fly and several freshwater specialists stock quality fly gear if that’s your style of fishing.

Need to Know

You don’t need a license when fishing aboard registered Puerto Rico fishing charters. If you’re fishing from shore or in freshwater, you theoretically do need a license. These cost $5 for a week and can be bought from the DNR’s regional offices and some approved vendors, which can be surprisingly difficult to track down on the ground. If you don’t fancy spending your vacation trying to buy a license, head out on a charter and spend your day battling fish rather than bureaucracy.
 
Puerto Rico suffered heavily at the hands of Hurricane Maria. It will take a long time for the island to fully recover but that is no reason to avoid traveling here. If anything, the fishing has been even better since the storm battered the region. Tournaments are still running, hotels and charters are open for business, and the island itself is still stunningly beautiful. So head on down to the Island of Enchantment and find out how it got the name!
Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico Fishing Seasons

Visit the San Sebastian Street Festival for an explosion of color and music, or hit the water to battle huge fish. With Sailfish and Wahoo offshore and monster Tarpon inshore, you won’t be short of action.

Celebrate Puerto Rico’s take on Mardi Gras at the Carnival Ponceño in Ponce. Otherwise, head to the Casals Festival, San Juan’s most important cultural event. Either way, expect great live music.

Snook, Snapper, and Tarpon pack into the shallows, as Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, and Sailfish demolish baits and dent lures offshore. This is some of the best sport fishing Puerto Rico sees all year.

If you’re in the mood for a flavor overload, check out the annual Saborea! Food Festival to try local delicacies and traditional treats. Otherwise, hit the reefs for tasty Snappers and Groupers. You won’t go hungry here.

San Juan’s annual Jazz Festival is one of the largest events of its type in the Caribbean. It’s well worth a visit, if you can tear yourself away from monster Tarpon, Blue and White Marlin, and Peacock Bass.

White Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna are at their peak, and Blue Marlin are biting hard, too. In the freshwater fisheries, Peacock Bass just gets better and better as the water heats up.

Whether you’re a dancefloor diva or have two left feet, you can’t miss the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress. This spectacle is held in San Juan in July, and is enough even to rival Marlin and Bass for pure excitement.

Big game anglers hit the western coast to take on the island’s second wave of Blue Marlin. The heat may be intense, but the bite is even more so. Bass continue to fight hard as summer wears on.

September is peak rainy season, and intense storms can make fishing difficult. They don’t put out the fire in the Blue Marlin bite, though. Head to the west of the island to battle these beasts in the Mona Passage.

The San Juan International Billfish Tournament has been running since the ‘50s, and is still one of the top events in the region. Whether you’re taking part or just checking out the weigh-in, this event is well worth visiting.

Get your dose of local rhythms at the Festival of Puerto Rican Music in San Juan. Otherwise, hit the water for Barracuda, Jacks, Bonefish, Kingfish, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, and more!

The Hatillo Masks Festival has been running each year since 1823, telling the story of King Herod in a flurry of outlandish costumes, and colorful parades. Need even more excitement? Sailfish are on fire offshore!

Puerto Rico Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Puerto Rico

"3/4 day trip, very happy"

David Pass fished with Double Hook Charters on August 14, 2018

The water there is very choppy so take your dramamine! We had some on board that have been fishing for years in the Atlantic that got seasick.

"Half Day with Capt Clery"

Chris Carroll fished with Backwater II Tarpon Fishing PR on August 3, 2018

Water, Sunscreen, a hat and do your homework on what the fish you intend to catch are biting.

"Good but no fish"

Jacque Gerth fished with Double Hook Charters on July 30, 2018

Not good fishing out in the gulf. July and August are not the best time to fish.

"Half Day! Amazing"

Ozvaldo Galindo fished with Double Hook Charters on May 26, 2018

Yes, Captain Was Amazing, kind, caring, and could put us on BIG GAME!!!!!

Top Fishing Techniques in Puerto Rico

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Puerto Rico

Tarpon

Jack Crevalle

Snook

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Top Puerto Rico Destinations