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A reel expert can tackle anything.. even whilst sailing!

There are many fantastic opportunities whilst chartering in Antigua and one of the best ones has to be having the freedom to sail across the blue seas and go fishing! Just simply set your course, whether it be to another island or just along Antigua’s beautiful coast and cast your line. I’m going to fill you in on some secrets and let you know how the locals do it here in Antigua..

Firstly you’re probably wondering, where is best to fish in Antigua!? Surely you can fish anywhere in the Caribbean and catch something!, but where can you catch the big ones, the ones you can eat, the ones you have to fight for!? Antigua has a continental shelf about 5 miles West from the entrance of Jolly Harbor. This is the best place to catch the bigger fish as they swim along this shelf or ‘drop off’ looking for their next meal. Here you should be able to catch some Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Grouper, Barracuda or even a Tuna or two! If you are adventurists and are heading to explore a different island then this would be the best time to cast your lines! Between islands are where the bigger fish normally are, such as Marlin, Sailfish and the bigger Tunas so if you’re off to Guadeloupe, St. Kitts or even Barbuda don’t forget to cast your lines for some fresh dinner!

Mahi Mahi

There are several ways to catch these fish, however, as your on sailboat it’s probably best and easiest to trawl, so grab a trawling rod, reel and some lures and set your sails whilst you eagerly await your next meal! It’s always fun and games trying to reel in the fish but then what do you do with it once you’ve actually caught it?! How do you get it on board without it thrashing all over the cockpit? (at this point we hope you haven’t caught a swordfish). It’s probably best to travel with a net to pick it up with or if you are really keen fishermen and like a bit of violence and are sure you can eat it, then it’s also possible to use a gaff, however, if you’re more of a catch and release person then we would recommend using the net. Just be wary that not all fish are edible here in Antigua! Some don’t actually taste too good or they may even carry the Ciguatera disease (mostly found in fish caught between the shelf and the shore) We wouldn’t recommend eating either Barracuda, Jacks or King Mackerel. Once you know you can have the fish for dinner then there are two ways to stop the fish thrashing around. The first, more vicious way, would be to just hit it over the head with a blunt object or you can pour rum straight into the gills.

Eugene and his grouper caught off the continental shelf!

If you’re not wanting to bring any rods and reels with you on your trip then you’re probably wondering where it’s best to get all the equipment from here in Antigua. There are two stores that will sell everything you need! One of the stores is based right here in Jolly Harbor, it’s called Budget Marine and the other store is called Aquasports, which is located in Heritage Quay in St. Johns. As you’ll be chartering from Jolly Harbor, Budget Marine may be easiest for you as it’s just across the road from the marina!

All Antiguan’s have different ways of cooking their freshly caught fish but the best way would be to just grill it on your BBQ. Just season it with some lemon and pepper and enjoy the fresh taste of the fish itself, or you could also add a sauce. We would recommend a nice melted garlic butter with a few capers thrown in there. Don’t forget the tartar sauce! 
A successful landing!

It’s totally understandable if you’re on vacation with the family, who don’t want to see you spear a fish on your relaxing sail around Antigua, then there is another option you can choose. Come and give fly fishing a try! You can simply anchor off one of the best beaches in Antigua; Darkwood Beach and give Captain Nick a call who will take you to the pond opposite the beach to fish for some of the biggest Tarpons in Antigua. If this catches your fancy then visit www.antigua-flyfishing.com for more information or head to YouTube to watch some of his latest videos!

One of Nicks happy customers half way through reeling in his Tarpon

If you are now feeling lured into a sailing vacation here but it means missing your fishing trip then think again! Now you can combine both of these vacations into one, here in the blissful Caribbean island of Antigua, whilst on a sailing boat! What more could you want?…