Given the dependence of Cayman’s earliest inhabitants on the sea for food, it is hardly surprising that fishing is still considered the unofficial national sport of the Cayman Islands. Visiting anglers will find plenty of options on all three islands from deep sea and sports fishing to reef fishing and light tackle fishing in the coastal flats. There are also a number of fishing tournaments held throughout the year. For details and dates visit www.fishcayman.com.
The joy of sports fishing in Cayman is that the drop off is so close to shore that game fish can be caught as little as a quarter of a mile offshore from all three islands. For those booking a fishing charter this means less time getting to the site and more time fishing. Game fish commonly caught in the waters around the Cayman Islands include wahoo, tuna, blue marlin, mahi mahi (dolphin fish) and barracuda. As water temperatures change very little, the baitfish are present year round, and therefore so are the game fish and large pelagics. However, some months will see a greater concentration of certain species: wahoo season runs from November to March and tuna from March to June; marlin and mahi mahi numbers vary little throughout the year.
Light tackle and fly fishing
There are various areas on Grand Cayman where keen anglers can test their skill with fighting fish in the shallows. Be sure to check the marine park regulations as there are restricted areas. A guide will be able to take you to the right spots to fish for tarpon, permit and bonefish. Guides encourage a catch and release practice with light tackle fishing, to ensure plenty of fish and fun remain for the next customer.
Little Cayman is particularly renowned for light tackle fishing. Tarpon weighing up to 20lb have been caught in the landlocked lake, unsurprisingly known as Tarpon Lake. The best time to take on these notorious fighters is sunrise and sunset.
Bone fishing in the flats of the southern shore is very exciting and guides can take you on a full or half day trip. Bonefish caught in this area typically weigh 3-8lb, while permit weighing as much as 35lb school off the southeastern end of the island.
Bottom fishing and reef fishing
Reef fishing is a relaxing activity that is fun for the whole family. Book a private full or half day charter and you may well be able to combine snorkeling stops with some reef fishing. Some charter boats also offer night fishing trips, which include dinner onboard.
While visitors are welcome to enjoy the various fishing activities available in the Cayman Islands, they should be aware of certain restrictions, size limits and fishing seasons: