Bermuda Fishing and Travel Guide
Isolated in the Atlantic Ocean nearly 650 miles off the U.S. mainland, Bermuda is a saltwater angler's dream come true. But despite the fact that it's one of the world's hotspots for big game fishing tournaments, Bermuda often flies under the radar of recreational anglers searching for a sunny, friendly place to take an epic fishing vacation.
So you don’t miss out, here's a taste of what's available for the adventurous angler on the hook-shaped island of Bermuda.
Deep sea blue water fishing is what put Bermuda on the sport fishing map. The small island, which is actually the exposed top of a massive seamount, is the only landmass within hundreds of miles and is only 12 miles away from two legendary banks — Challenger and Argus. Add in the Gulf Stream and you have what amounts to a beacon for ocean-roaming pelagic species, primarily blue marlin and yellowfin tuna.
The most popular sport fish in Bermuda is without a doubt the blue marlin. The area is known to produce some massive specimens, the largest of which was caught in 1995 weighing 1,352 pounds. Although record-worthy catches are few and far between, it's widely agreed that the blue marlin around Bermuda run larger than most.
Every year, blue marlin show up in full force along Bermuda's banks starting in June and hang around through the end of August. July is considered the peak time for catching blue marlin, but that's also when the marlin tournaments occur. Of course, you can still go out during that time, but you'll be sharing the water with many other boats.
If you want quieter seas and a more peaceful marlin fishing experience, book your trips later in August after the tournaments end. Don't worry — there will still be plenty of fish.
For visiting anglers who don't own a seaworthy vessel, there are many charter companies in Bermuda that specialize in blue marlin fishing. Do your research and read plenty of reviews before selecting a charter company. But when you find the right one, get ready for some of the most exciting fishing of your life!
Most of the marlin fishing in Bermuda is done by trolling spreads of artificial lures and live baits. You'll be moving along the banks, watching the horizon, then suddenly, you'll see a giant fish rise into the spread to crush a bait. You'll get strapped into a fighting harness with the rod, then it's time to work those biceps and back muscles as you pump and reel until the fight is won.
While blue marlin gets the most attention, there is also an abundance of yellowfin tuna swimming in Bermuda's waters. So if you're on a chartered marlin trip, don't be surprised if you end up hooking a few feisty yellowfins.
While some captains might consider yellowfins a distraction to marlin fishing, yellowfin tuna are worthy targets in their own right — especially when sashimi is on the menu. Many anglers like going after yellowfins because unlike marlins, the tactics used to catch tuna extend beyond trolling, adding a nice mix to a day's adventure. Techniques like chumming and chunking, jigging, and even casting poppers for explosive topwater action are all great methods for cashing in on the tuna bite.
Another popular offshore species is the wahoo — and like everything else in Bermuda, they run big, some pushing the 130-pound mark. Wahoo are often caught while chasing marlin or tuna, and you can always tell when the wahoo roll in as many of your baited hooks will get bit clean off — wahoo have extremely sharp teeth. So to capitalize on a swarm of wahoo and fill the coolers with delicious fillets, monofilament is swapped out for heavy, wahoo-proof wire leaders.
It's hard to look past the remarkable offshore fishing in Bermuda. But if you can, you'll be rewarded with seemingly endless shorelines of highly productive inshore and flats fishing.
In Bermuda, there are tremendous opportunities to simply grab a spinning rod and a few lures then head off down the beach to walk the flats. This opens up lots of option for anglers who want to take their families on vacation but can't manage to squeeze in a full day of chartered offshore fishing. Just make your way to the water and start casting!
Many anglers flying to Bermuda with plans of inshore fishing often bring their own rods and tackle. But if you don't want to go through the hassle, rods and reels can often be rented from the many tackle shops on the island. However, if you don't want to go the DIY-route, there are several guides and outfitters who specialize in the excellent flats fishing Bermuda has to offer.
When it comes to bait and lures for inshore and flats fishing in Bermuda, keep things simple. Shrimp, live crabs, and small baitfish are most effective and will catch just about anything that swims. Lures such as jigs and poppers can also be used inshore and on the flats, but you may want to check with local tackle shops to see what's working.
Here are a few of the fish you can chase on the Bermuda flats without any need for a boat...
Bonefish, perhaps the most iconic saltwater species of the flats, have a strong presence in Bermuda. While most anglers think of the Bahamas or the Florida Keys as bonefish locations, the bonefish in Bermuda are actually larger on average than many other areas that are more well-known — averaging 7 to 12 pounds.
One of the more interesting fish you'll encounter on the flats of Bermuda is a fish rarely ever found on flats in other parts of the world — the hogfish. Traditionally a reef fish found in deeper water, hogfish, for whatever reason, use the hard-bottomed flats of Bermuda as their primary hunting grounds.
You'll often find them rooting around in the sand for worms — just like a hog — with their tails sticking up out of the water. Casting a well-placed shrimp or live crab right in front of their face is all that's needed to get a hogfish to bite.
When you're fishing the flats or casting into any one of the coves and bays of Bermuda, there's always a chance you'll encounter the incredibly toothy barracuda. Wire leaders are recommended when targeting barracuda as their sharp teeth will slice through mono in an instant. But if you're well-equipped and the opportunity arises, throw a shrimp in front of a 'cuda and hang on tight!
Although on a map, Bermuda looks like it's way out in the middle of nowhere, getting there is surprisingly quick and easy. Most of the major airports on the east coast of the U.S. have direct daily flights to Bermuda. What's better is that it only takes approximately two hours and forty-five minutes to get from New York City to Bermuda.
Who knew a tropical saltwater fishing paradise was so close?
On the island, you'll find a wide range of accommodations from budget-friendly-but-nice to ultra-high-end and everything in between. But no matter where you stay on Bermuda, you can count on being close to incredible fishing opportunities whether you want to head offshore to chase giants or march off to stalk bonefish on the flats.