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Fishing the Waters Off St Maarten/St Martin Island in the Caribbean


Those who are looking for fun things to do on their St Maarten vacation (that is, if relaxing in the sun, snorkeling, sailing, shopping, and enjoying world-class food and drink are not enough) may want to seriously consider hiring a boat and taking to the ocean for some deep-sea fishing. Those in the know report that sport fishing off the coast of this placid Caribbean wonderland is easily some of the best to be found in this part of the world, and there are plenty of charter services that can get you all set up with the right gear, and offer you your best chance of hauling in a real trophy.

Just off the coast of the St. Maarten/St Martin island is the famous St Maarten and St Barths Drop-Off. The depth of the water goes from 134 feet to 1000 feet in just a short distance. Thanks to the island’s placement near “The Ledge”, some of the sea’s biggest game—such as Mahi-Mahi, Kingfish, Marlin, Sailfish, Snappers, Black fin Tuna, and yes, even Shark are present and able to be fished.

To get out to where these monsters are patrolling the waters, you’ll need to hire an experienced and professional charter boat and crew who know where the fish are, how to catch them, and can get you all rigged up and ready for action. The cost of the license is generally included in the charter fee, so no need to concern yourself about that detail. Also, most of the charters will provide light snacks, water, and other drinks while you are on board. All you need to do is get properly dressed and SPF-ed up for a day in the sun and get ready for an adventure you won’t soon forget. And don’t forget your camera so you can capture a memory shot of the big one that “didn’t get away.”

Of course, if you’re looking for other fish, or have children along and don’t want to overwhelm them with the “monsters,” this little island faces both the Caribbean and the Atlantic Oceans where a full range of smaller and more easily landed fish are available as well.

Pricing for these trips depends on whether you go out for half a day (four hours) or for a whole-day trip (six – eight hours), and the number of people on the trip. As far as what you are allowed to do with your catch, it is important to note that for some species such as sailfish and marlin, a strict catch and release policy is in effect, and on many boats, the fish that aren’t released are usually considered the property of the charter company. If you think you might want to keep any of your fish, you can and should discuss it beforehand with your guides so there will be no surprises. In most cases, the captain will, at the very least, filet your catch and send you off with enough food for a great dinner.

Of course, if you’re looking for other fish, or have children along and don’t want to overwhelm them with the “monsters,” this little island faces both the Caribbean and the Atlantic Oceans where a full range of smaller and more easily landed fish are available as well. Some families will rent small boats, or even fish from piers or go fly fishing along the shore or inland waters to see what they can land.

Finally, for those who have rented an ocean front villa, you might be able to fish from the patio, on the beach or off the rocks near your villa. You would have to bring your own equipment in this case, but you wouldn’t have to share any of your catch with a boat captain.

For those who prefer not to fish, there is a wonderful fish market in Simpson Bay that sells the daily catch from local fishermen. The market in Marigot also has fresh fish for sale.

With year-round sunny weather (not counting the occasional rain squall) fishing, whether deep sea, from a pier or small boat near shore, or from your patio, fishing is just one more adventure to be had on your St Maarten vacation. Be sure to check with the hosts or concierge services at your St Martin resort or villa. They usually have some excellent recommendations.

For the ultimate tropical island vacation, author Stephen Daniels recommends St. Maarten vacation rentals available from the Villa Lady. All these villas are oceanfront, reasonably priced and luxuriously equipped with everything you will need for a fabulous laid back and enjoyable Caribbean vacation. Help with finding your way around and booking activities is available as well.