International Billfish Tournament, EFR
- Deep-sea to Skiff Fishing
- By: QP
To get the most out of deep-sea fishing, you need to have the right equipment and be in the right place at the right time.
If you brought your own boat to participate in one of the island’s prestigious billfish tournaments held at this time of year, you will find major marinas in San Juan, Fajardo and Ponce. If you plan to charter a boat for deep-sea fishing, keep in mind most charters offer either half-day or full-day outings and take one-to-six passengers. Cost is based on the length of the outing, and the charter normally provides all the necessary fishing gear and crew. Some charters provide food and drinks, but not all, so be sure to ask.
Most charters operate out of San Juan, Fajardo and Arecibo, which lie mere minutes from the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic. Nicknamed Blue Marlin Alley, this location is renowned for the size and numbers of blue marlin found in its waters. Today, most caught marlin are tagged and released back into the ocean: the fishing enthusiast experiences the challenge of the catch; the scientist gets migratory data; and the fish lives, a win-win situation.
Other regions around Puerto Rico also provide excellent fishing. The deep waters off Humacao hold large numbers of wahoo, and boats docked in Rincón, Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo and La Parguera on the western and southwestern coasts head out to the traditional tuna grounds of Mona Passage.
As for the right time, different fish run at different times of the year. August and September are best for catching blue marlin. Other local fish – yellow and blackfin tuna, mahi mahi, sailfish, wahoo, and bonito – have their own seasons. Based on when and where you will be in Puerto Rico, the local operators can tell you what to expect on your excursion.
Skiff-fishing for Tarpon
A flat-bottomed boat, a rod and mangrove-fringed waters are all you need for a memorable day of salt-water fly or reel fishing. This is most accessible in the San Juan metro area, among the mangrove lagoons of Piñones and San Juan Bay. The excellent tarpon fishing found in Puerto Rico is a recent discovery that has received wide coverage in sport-fishing magazines.