BVI FISHING
A bountiful paradise
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World class blue marlin and other deep-sea fishing flourishes in places like Anegada's North Drop, where undersea canyons "drop" off the plateau undergirding the islands (photo: Marlin Magazine).

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Blue Marlin 'Tailwalking'

In explaining the "mystique" of this sportfishing, pursued by such notables as Zane Grey and Ernest Hemmingway, one captain notes that the blue marlin can

"tailwalk across the water at seventy miles a hour screaming drag off an 80W Shamino Tiagra or Penn International with a thirty pound strike drag and fill the air with sights and sounds that only a marlin hook-up could; the smell of black diesel smoke from roaring engines setting the hook, the hot pungent smell of the reels drags beginning to melt, as hundreds of yards of line is dumped into a cobalt blue sea highlighted in white foam in only a few seconds, followed by excited screams from shocked anglers bearing witness to the most powerful game fish in the sea, the man in the blue suit. (Atlantic Blue Marlin.)" See article as well as another account.

In Fat Lady's Marlin, the discovery of Virgin Gorda's Sound Drop is chronicled:

Without exception, all nine vessels fishing the South Drop of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands caught more blue marlin than ever, anywhere.

The boats would approach the marina with multiple marlin flags strung up on their antennas. . . .
. . . The nine sportfishermen waved a total of 87 blue marlin during the Biras Creek International Team Fishing Tournament held in September, 1988.  . . . The winning boat, the "Escape", caught and released seven blues on day one alone and looked like a Christmas tree with its flag display as it approached the Biras Creek marina that afternoon.

Other deepsea gamefish include wahoo, white marlin, sailfish, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, dolphin (dorado) and kingfish. See Island Sun 8-Year Old Boy Catches 365 Pound Marlin.

Inshore and Reef Fishing

Bonefishing. Weighing up to ten pounds, the slender, silvery and surprisingly elusive bonefish makes an incredible fighting fish.  Excellent bonefishing can be had in the BVI, especially on the reef-ringed island of Anegada: "The fishing community on this isolated island is reminiscent of Hemingway’s Bimini in the 1930s." See BVI on the Fly.

Other BVI locations are not so vast as Anegada's miles of reef. The North Sound has locations such as Colquhoun Reef and Eustatia Reef near Oil Nut Bay (see map). A small but accessible spot is west of the Beef Island bridge in its channel.

Flyfishing. As well as bonefishing, saltwater flyfishing is popular for permit and tarpon also. Increasingly popular is flyfishing from sea kayaks.

Fishing While Sailing. Simply drag a line from the rear when sailing to catch surface feeding fish such as Spanish mackerel, kingfish (also called king mackerel) tuna or even dolphin (not a porpoise). Return barracuda, which stink and may be poisonous.

 


Rice Girl catches a Kingfish in the BVI

Ciguatera. Taking the fish to table requires local knowledge to avoid tropical food poisoning (ciguatera), found in predatory fish around reefs such as barracuda, grouper, snapper and jacks as well as puffer fish and parrot fish, especially in sizes greater than 6 pounds (see CDC article).

Favorite Table Fish. When anchored or from the shore, drop in a line for yellowtail snapper or triggerfish, favorite table fish along with kingfish (king mackerel). These delicious fish are commonly caught by local fishermen using fishing traps. Be sure to get advice on distinguishing the yellowtail snapper from grunts, which they resemble.

Also the triggerfish has three types: the black one is poisonous, the dark one is used commercially and the yellow one is the rare and exotic queen triggerfish (old wife) which should be released. While quite distinct to knowledgeable eyes, the triggerfish has a lot of "cousins" from filefish, trunkfish, boxfish--all with odd shapes that characterize these fascinating fish, some of whom are very poisonous.

Traditional Island Fishermen. Prior to the tourist economy, BVIslanders traditionally made a living from the sea. See Traditional Life in the BVI as well as a painting of an old wooden fishing boat.

Fishing Trips/Charters

The Bitter End (284-494-2746) has deep sea fishing in a 26' speedboat.
Pelican Charters (496-7386) with Captain Tim Fish and First Mate Sue offer deep sea charters on the Whopper (pick ups generally and off charter boats).
Princess (495-7248), a 31' Bertram, offers sportfishing trips with Captain Dale out of Biras Creek.
Big Ting, a Bentram 42, offers world-class sport fishing with Captain Donnell (photo: Big Ting).
Caribbean Fly Fishing (499-1590 email) does fly fishing and bonefishing.
Sea It All (email 495-7558), a 30 ft. Mappy Bertram, can be chartered for deep sea fishing (pick ups anywhere).
Cadie's Fishing Trips (496-5403 beeper, 499-3853 cellular, email) has 17' Boston Whaler and 20' Mako for all kinds of fishing trips.
Certain Crewed Charters emphasize fishing.
Fishing equipment is available from Little Denmark and Richardson's Rigging (494-2739, rental also) both in Road Town.
Fishing permits are required. Information is available from the Fisheries Division (494-3429).

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