35 Fishing Charters
Top Fishing Charters in San Juan
Fishing in San Juan
When it comes to diversity and abundance of species, it’s hard to find anything more attractive than San Juan fishing. Here, you never have to sacrifice one type of fishing in order to truly enjoy another. If you want to bow before the biggest Tarpon you have ever seen before battling a Blue Marlin or seeking out exotic Peacock Bass, this is the place for you. And because the majority of San Juan fishing charters start and finish with scenic views of the iconic Fort Morro, combining sportfishing with tourism has never been so easy.
Founded in 1521, San Juan is the second-oldest European-established capital city in the Americas. What drew these travelers to settle there? The city’s original name of ‘Ciudad de Puerto Rico’ (City of the Rich Port) should give you a clue.
Yes, San Juan’s waters are blessed with some of the richest marine life in the Atlantic Ocean. It is here that fish-filled waters from the Atlantic join the Yucatan current, drawing migratory fish into the Caribbean Sea and north towards the Gulf of Mexico. Just a couple of miles from Puerto Rico’s northern coastline, the ocean floor drops to a dramatic 600 ft. Go further offshore, and you will eventually be in waters that even the most sophisticated of fish-finding devices will not be able to scope: just 75 miles away from San Juan, the ocean floor reaches 28 000 ft. The Atlantic Ocean doesn’t get deeper than this.
If that’s enough to send a shiver down your spine, don’t worry. 5000 ft waters are plenty deep enough for incredible Billfish action - and lucky for you, this is just what you’ll find in San Juan’s ‘Marlin Alley,’ which is just a half hour boat ride from the shore.
What does that mean for anglers? Well, with this huge trench running parallel with the northern coastline, Puerto Rico fishing is your chance to come close to all the West Atlantic’s favorite sport fishing pelagics. As if that wasn’t enough to get you on the plane right away, the government’s recent installation of a series of Fish Aggregating Devices along the northern coastline is making the situation even better for anglers and fish alike. If you want to hook up on Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, and Wahoo, all within five miles from the coast, look no further.
But you don’t even need to leave the bay to catch a world-class fish in San Juan. The backwaters and lagoons in and around the city are home to one of the world’s most stable populations of the ‘Silver King.’ The San Jose, Torrecilla and Los Corozos lagoons all contain a consistent Tarpon fishery. And seeing as Tarpon fishing in Puerto Rico results in fish weighing anything from 15 - 150+ pounds, this is an experience you don’t want to pass up. Snook, Jack Crevalle, Mangrove Snapper, and Barracudas are also caught in the surprisingly quiet waters within the city limits.
One more thing: extend your stay and check out Lake Carraizo. Located just half an hour’s drive from the center of San Juan, this is a freshwater fishing mecca, with healthy populations of Peacock Bass, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Bass, Pacu, Oscars, Red Devils, African Chichlids, and more.
There's no need to travel to the exotics to have a rewarding day on the water - this is a place where Marlin, Tarpon, and Peacock Bass fishing trips can all be arranged from the comfort of an unincorporated territory of the United States.
Rules & Regulations
Your Puerto Rico fishing licenses will be covered as long as you are fishing aboard a registered charter boat.
Puerto Rico has received a number of awards for its conservation and sustainable sportfishing regulations - Tarpon and Billfish are strictly catch and release only in these waters.
Types of Fishing
While Puerto Rico is generally more of a bait fishery, San Juan fly fishing can be incredibly rewarding. With monster Tarpon stalking its shallow waters and lagoons, this is many a fly angler’s dream. Come equipped with a 10-12 weight rod and Gummy Minnows and enjoy!
That being said, the most common way of targeting Tarpon round here is with live bait (sardines, perch, herring and more make up the menu), while soft plastics are a good choice when the water is muddy. Fish the deep holes in the lagoons with dead bait and you could find a monster.
For a bit of fun, head into the San Juan Bay with light spinning tackle and live bait, and you could find yourself hooking Tarpon, Snook, Jacks, Mackerels, and more.
Most San Juan deep sea fishing revolves around trolling a spread of artificial lures and teasers, while dead bait is also popular.
San Juan Fishing Seasons
January is a popular time for vacationers escaping cold weather in the north. Anglers enjoy grappling with monster Tarpon in the backwaters and bays. Finish your day on the water at the vibrant San Sebastian street festival.
Peak tourist season continues in February, San Juan's dryest month. The great Tarpon bite continues, while offshore you will find relatively small Blue Marlin, as well as Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin Tuna.
Temperatures rise slightly, averaging from 72 to 82 degrees. Offshore, Tuna and Mahi Mahi are biting well around the FADs, while King Mackerel starts to invade the bay. Meanwhile, the Silver King is still on top form.
The peak tourism season starts to come to an end, although the weather is still very dry and pleasant. Temperatures remain about the same as they were in March. The White Marlin bite picks up.
Slower tourist season means smart anglers can find some good deals in local hotels. The Marlin bite is getting better and better, while King Mackerel, Tarpon, and Snook are all biting in the bay.
June in San Juan is hot, but there is plenty going on in town and in the seas to make it worth it. Marlin numbers are picking up: this is the best time to target White Marlin, while Blue is getting increasingly good.
In a fortuitous move for blue water anglers, peak Marlin fishing season coincides with low tourist season in San Juan in July. Focus on catching a Billfish slam without having to justify spending more than the odds on a hotel.
August is the hottest month of the year in San Juan. The weather is humid, but sea breezes can make you forget about that - especially if you have a Blue Marlin on the end of your line. Multiple hookups are the norm this month.
September in San Juan means one thing for international billfish enthusiasts: the International Billfish Tournament of Club Nautico de San Juan. One of the top billfish tournaments in the world, it really is not something you want to miss.
As the waters cool, the fishing scene changes up. Blue Marlin bites become less frequent, while Sailfish and Wahoo start to become the main focus. Smaller Tarpon are schooling in and around the bay.
November is San Juan's rainiest month, but don't let that put you off. This city is famous for its year-round fishery, after all. With Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, and Wahoo on the cards it is certainly worth a visit.
As rainy November moves into December, the days become sunnier and slightly cooler (we're talking average highs of 'only' 82ºF). Check out the FADs for Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, and Wahoo, with Yellowfin Tuna also showing up.