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Fishing in Tortola

Fishing in Tortola, of course, was, before the introduction of wide scale tourism, the only means by which many of the impoverished locals made their living. 


The abundant seas around the island still make it a vital part of the economy but now, as well as providing food for the locals and visitors in the restaurants, fishing is one of the many activities you can try on your Tortola vacation. For the fisherman, a Tortola fishing vacation will conjure up the picture of varied fishing experiences in idyllic settings.  Whether it is fishing in the shallow waters of one of the beautiful bays, chasing blue marlin on a half day charter or simply dragging a line behind your sailing ship to catch some surface feeding fish.  The choice is yours.

Fishing permits in Tortola

It is important to appreciate that anyone wishing to enjoy some recreational fishing whilst on holiday in Tortola needs to obtain a one month fishing permit from the BVI Department of Natural Resources and Labour, in Road Town.  This only costs $10 and is a straightforward process – you can contact them directly at 2844943701. 

Part of the reason for this permit is to ensure that Vacationers are fully aware that spear fishing is completely banned in the BVI; that SCUBA divers cannot capture or remove any marine animal or coral; that fishing inside any marine park is not allowed; and that the fisherman is aware of the presence of the serious disease of ciguatera amongst many of the reef fish and the ‘catch and release’ policy that is encouraged because of it.

All that having been said – and it is important that the reasons behind these regulations are seen to be protective of the natural environment of the island – there is still a plethora of fishing activities available here and many companies renting out equipment.

For example, the famous North Drop, above Tortola, claims the highest number of Blue Marlin strikes per day anywhere in the world – and what an adventure that can be.  Add to these the multitudes of wahoo, dolphin fish, black and yellowfin tuna, sailfish, white marlin, kingfish and many others that you can catch in the open waters around the island.  You can hire yourself a day charter, join a group of others on a boat or even get yourself a Term Charter so that you can do as much fishing as you like, when you like.

There’s some first-class inshore and reef fishing in the waters here.  Saltwater fly-fishing can enable you to catch permit and tarpon – you can hire yourself a local guide, to help you learn the Tortola tricks of the trade, if you wish.  There is, in addition, excellent bone fishing around Tortola. Bonefish can weigh up to 10 pounds, but this elusive, silver fish is an incredible fighter and can really test your skill and perseverance.   Fly fishing from sea kayaks has become increasingly popular recently.  Around the reefs you’ll encounter barracuda, grouper, snapper, jacks, puffer fish and parrot fish.

If you’re sailing around Tortola, you can drag a line behind you to try to catch the surface feeders such as Spanish mackerel, kingfish or many others. Then, when you’re anchored, you can drop a line for yellowtail snapper or triggerfish – watch out here, though.  There are three types of triggerfish – the black is poisonous, the yellow rare and has to be released and then the dark one, which you can eat!

Fishing in Tortola, then can mean simply dropping a line from your boat, sitting in a fighting chair struggling with a blue marlin or attempting the aristocratic skill of fly fishing.

The one thing they all have in common, though, is the great weather, the pristine waters and the relaxed atmosphere that Tortola excels in.

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