Fishing in Bermuda

A quick guide to fishing in Bermuda

Although perhaps best known for its billfish and wahoo, Bermuda is home to all kinds of sportfish, including yellowfin and blackfin tuna, bonita, the surface-dwelling dolphinfish (sometimes called Mahi Mahi), barracuda, snapper, rainbow runner and amberjack, like the huge one caught in the Canaries, which I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

Many of Bermuda’s charter skippers like to troll with downriggers or chum but there is plenty of opportunity for bottom fishing or working a live bait down deep. The fish can be big: 70-pound wahoo, amberjack and yellowfin are not uncommon, while marlin regularly tip the 150 pound mark.

Marlin in Bermuda

Among game fishermen, Bermuda is revered for its blue marlin – one of the largest bony fish on the planet. Alongside their cousin, the white marlin, Bermuda’s blue marlin attract visitors from all over the world. Billfish tournaments take place regularly throughout the season and, although 150 pounds is not particularly large for the species, the fish tend to arrive here in large numbers. Each year much bigger marlin of 500 pounds or more are caught and sometimes you’ll here of a “grand” (a fish of 1000 pounds). The biggest blue marlin recorded in Bermuda was boated by Captain Allen DeSilva in 1995, weighing in at a monstrous 1,352 pounds. Fish of 2000 pounds plus have been reported in fish markets, but fish like that would be difficult to land on rod and line, not least because of the trend in that part of the world to fish with lighter line.

White Marlin

Wahoo

Wahoo can be caught in Bermuda all-year-round but, as it is a migratory species, some times of year are much more productive than others. The fish reach as far north as George’s Bank in the summer and winter in the warmer waters of the Bahamas and Caribbean to the south, passing Bermuda in both directions. For islanders and fishermen, this means there are two main wahoo seasons – one in the spring and another in the autumn. If you speak to the skippers, many seem to prefer the autumn, where single schools of wahoo can number in excess of one thousand fish. Not a great time of year to be a baitfish!

Where to fish in Bermuda

South West

One of the favourite spots for game fishing in Bermuda is just outside the reef to the south west of the island. Getting there involves a tricky passage through a rather narrow and winding channel, but once clear of the reef, fishermen will find themselves in deep, clear blue water, where the currents run strong and the fish run big. Wahoo tend to hug the edge of the reef, while marlin can be caught well out to sea.

South East

Other skippers prefer the southeast corner of Bermuda, fishing closer in to shore and well out to sea. The best bet is to talk to a few skippers when you arrive and try to work out what’s fishing well at the time.

Fishing tackle

For many of Bermuda’s sportfish, you’ll be fishing with tackle of between 20 and 50-pound test. If you like fishing with lighter tackle, it’s a good idea to take your own, as many of the island’s charter skippers like to fish heavy. Steel traces are essential.

When to fish

Peak season for Bermuda’s blue marlin is June through to August, while wahoo, as mentioned above, are more prolific in the spring or autumn. For a good chance of both, try late May or early September. Unfortunately the best fishing invariably coincides with hurricane season, so you’ll need to keep your fingers crossed and hope you’re not unlucky. Having said that, you should have ample warning of an approaching hurricane, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be caught unawares.

List of fishing charter boats in Bermuda

Albatross Fisheries and Charters

Captains: Peter and Hans Olander
Tel: 441 331 8089
Tel2: 441 334 9478
Email: albatross@ibl.bm
Web: www.fishwithalbatross.com

Bermuda Banger Charters

Captain: John Whiting
Tel: 441 534 8590
Tel2: 441 293 5740
Email: bermudabanger@gmail.com

Blue Chip

Captain: Eugene Barnes
Tel: 441 297 8015
Tel2: 441 335 1779

Challenger Sportfishing Charters

Captain: Allan Card
Tel: 441 234 0872
Tel2: 441 337 2109
Email: ajcard@northrock.bm
Web: www.bigfishbermuda.com

Ellen B

Captain: Michael Baxter
Tel: 441 234 2963
Tel2: 441 334 9722
Email: baxtersreef@northrock.bm

Equalizer Charters

Captain: Reggie Horseman
Tel: 441 296 9158
Tel2: 441 537 3474
Email: rshorseman@northrock.bm

Gringo Charters

Captain: Joey Dawson
Tel: 441 295 3500
Tel2: 441 504 3474

Jump ‘Dem Bones

Tel: 441 335 4633
Fax: 441 295 2290
Email: jhpfish@ibl.bm
Web: www.bermudabonefish.com

Knock Down

Tel: 441 236 3551
Tel2: 441 535 0792
Email: knockdown@ibl.bm

Ladybird

Tel: 441 234 2471
Tel2: 441 298 1958

Lobster Reef

Water Sports
Tel: 441 292 0518
Tel2: 441 235 1130

Lonestar Charters

Water Sports
Captain: Dean Jones
Tel: 441 799 0122
Tel2: 441 296 0110
Email: bdafish@northrock.bm

Mako Charters

Captain: Allen DeSilva
Tel: 441 295 0835
Tel2: 441 505 8626
Email: mako@ibl.bm
Web: www.fishbermuda.com

Mattanza Sportfishing

Captain: Brooks Rans
Tel: 441 232 4876
Tel2: 441 737 0265
Email: info@fishmattanza.com

Mega Bucks

Captain: Sinclair Lambe
Tel: 441 234 3081
Email: megabuckscharters@gmail.com
Web: www.megabucksfishing.com

Messaround

Captain: Willard Joe Kelly
Tel: 441 297 8093
Tel2: 441 334 8953
Email: joekelly@northrock.bm
Web: www.fishandfun.bm

Outcast Inshore Fishing

Captain: Peter Rans
Tel: 441 335 9850
Tel2: 441 238 5663

Overproof

Captain: Peter Rans
Tel: 441 238 5663
Tel2: 441 335 9850
Email: overproof@northrock.bm
Web: www.overprooffishing.com

Paradise One

Captain: Allan Bean
Tel: 441 735 6134
Email: snikisus@yahoo.com

Playmate

Captains: Keith Winter & Kevin Winter
Tel: 441 292 7131
Tel2: 441 799 8862
Fax: 441 292 9598
Email: playmate@ibl.bm
Web: www.playmatefishing.com

Reel Addiction

Captain: Cragin Curtis
Tel: 441 799 9927
Tel2: 441 799 9928
Email: info@reeladdictionbermuda.com
Web: www.reeladdictionbermuda.com

Reel Hot Charters

Water Sports
Captain: Nick New
Tel: 441 567 6040
Tel2: 441 297 2871
Email: reelhot@ibl.bm
Web: www.reelhotcharterfishing.com

Sanctuary Charters Bermuda

Captain: Arthur Jones
Tel: 441 334 9933
Email: Sea Scorpion Charters

Tel: 441 295 0140
Email:
info@seascorpioncharters.com
Web: www.seascorpioncharters.com

Shakedown

Captain: David Barnes
Tel: 441 297 3635
Tel2: 441 335 1779
Email: shakedowncharters@northrock.bm
Web: www.shakedowncharters.com

Tenacious Charters

Captain: Sloane
Tel: 441 735 9444
Email: atlanticspray@me.com

Troubador

Captain: Blake West
Tel: 441 293 0813

Wound Up

Captain: James Robinson
Tel: 441 737 9985
Web: www.woundupbermuda.com

For more information, visit www.gotobermuda.com/sportfishing

[White marlin photograph by Dominic Sherony]