Fishing in Barbados

From the casual angler to the seasoned fisherman, Barbados offers a diverse range of fishing experiences that cater to every skill level and interest.

In this guide, we’ll explore the world of fishing in Barbados. We’ll delve into the importance of the fishing industry to the island’s economy and give you an in-depth look at the various fishing opportunities available in Barbados, from deep-sea fishing to on-shore fishing from one of the beaches next to Villa Sunnyside.

We’ll also provide essential information about the best times of the year for different fishing experiences, with a fishing calendar tailored to the island’s seasons.

What are the local fish in Barbados?

Barbados has a variety of fish species that attract anglers from all over the world. Here are some of the notable local fish found in Barbadian waters:

  • Blue Marlin
    A prized catch for sport fishers, known for their size and strength.

  • Sailfish
    Another popular game fish, recognized for their distinctive sail-like dorsal fin.

  • Mahi Mahi (Dorado or Dolphin Fish)
    Known for their striking colors and excellent taste, Mahi Mahi is a favorite among recreational fishers.
Dolphin fillets (Mahi Mahi) on sale in MAssy supermarket in holetown barbados
Don’t panic when you see Dolphin in the supermarket, it is Mahi Mahi fish (not Flipper)
  • Wahoo
    A fast-swimming fish known for its speed and agility, making it a challenging and rewarding catch.

  • Yellowfin Tuna
    A sought-after species for both sport and commercial fishing due to its size and quality of meat.

  • Barracuda
    Often found in nearshore waters, these are known for their fierce appearance and are a common catch.

  • Flying Fish
    Iconic to Barbados and even featured on Barbados local currency, these fish are known for their ability to glide above the water’s surface. They are culturally significant for Barbados and they are the main ingredient for the Barbados national dish.

  • Tarpon
    Although not commonly eaten, tarpon are prized for sport fishing due to their large size and fighting spirit. You can find them swimming right tup to the shore in Holetown.

  • Red Snapper
    Popular for both its fighting ability and as a delicious tablefish.

  • These species provide a diverse fishing experience for anglers in Barbados, ranging from deep-sea fishing adventures to inshore fly fishing from some of Barbados best beaches.

The Importance of the Fishing Industry in Barbados

The fishing industry in Barbados is a vital component of the island’s economy. For generations, fishing has been a way of life that resonates with the island’s history and heritage. 

The economic contribution of the fishing industry to Barbados is significant. It provides direct employment to thousands of Barbadians, including fishers, boat builders, and vendors in local fish markets. The industry also supports indirect jobs in related sectors such as ice production, equipment maintenance, and the hospitality industry, where fresh local seafood is a key attraction for tourists.

The Barbadian government and local fishing communities are increasingly focused on sustainable fishing practices. This is crucial for preserving fish populations and marine ecosystems for future generations.

Barbados Deep Sea Fishing

Barbados offers some of the most exhilarating deep-sea fishing experiences in the world. 

The waters around Barbados are teeming with a diverse range of game fish, making it a premier destination for deep-sea fishing. Species such as Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi thrive in these waters.

The convergence of the Atlantic Ocean with the Caribbean Sea creates an ideal habitat for these species, particularly in areas where the sea floor drops off dramatically, creating the perfect conditions for deep-sea fishing.

While deep-sea fishing in Barbados can be enjoyed year-round, certain times of the year offer peak conditions for specific species. For instance, the best time to catch Blue Marlin is from July to November, while Wahoo and Tuna are more abundant during the winter months. Understanding these seasonal patterns is key to planning a successful deep-sea fishing trip.

Barbados Fishing Charters

Barbados is home to a wide range of fishing charters, catering to different preferences and budgets. From luxurious yachts equipped with state-of-the-art fishing gear to smaller, more intimate boats perfect for family trips. Many charters offer customizable packages, whether you’re seeking a full-day deep-sea fishing adventure or a few hours of inshore fishing.

Our two favourites are Bluefin Fishing and Therapy Charters, you can read more about these charters in our guide to Barbados boat trips.

One of the biggest advantages of opting for a fishing charter is the expertise offered by the crew. Skippers and guides on Barbadian charters are typically seasoned fishermen with extensive knowledge of the local waters. They know the best spots for various types of fish, the most effective bait and tackle for each species, and can provide invaluable tips and techniques.

Most fishing charters in Barbados offer all-inclusive services. This typically includes the fishing equipment, bait, and sometimes even food and beverages. For tourists and locals without their own gear, this makes for a convenient and hassle-free fishing experience. Additionally, some charters also provide transportation to and from hotels.

Spearfishing in Barbados

Spearfishing in Barbados is ideal for this adventurous sport. Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing that has been modernized over time. It involves diving underwater and snorkelling while using a spear or a specialized spearfishing gun to catch fish. 

This sport is appreciated for its sustainable approach, as it allows for selective fishing, targeting only specific species and sizes. Spearfishing requires skill, patience, and a deep understanding of marine environments.

You can experience Spearfishing in Barbados with a trip out via  Spearfishing Barbados. Alex is a seasoned spearfisher with 10 years of experience in guided spearfishing charters. Not only does Alex bring extensive knowledge of the local waters and fish behavior, but he also holds 11 Freediving Records for Barbados. His deepest breath-hold dive reached an impressive 92 meters (301 feet), and he is an AIDA Master Instructor.

Daytime tours are available on both weekdays and weekends, typically lasting between 2 to 5 hours.

tropical fish underwater in barbados

Fly Fishing in Barbados

Barbados is renowned for its deep-sea fishing more than its fly fishing. The island has one renowned spot for fly fishing enthusiasts, located off Worthing Beach. The fly fishing flat near Worthing Beach is situated on the left side of the beach, as you look out towards the water and near the popular Primo’s Restaurant. The shallow waters and the sandy bottom create an ideal habitat for bonefish and other shallow-water species. 

One of the key aspects of successful fly fishing at Worthing Beach is understanding the tides. When it comes to choosing the right flies for this spot, typical spawning shrimp patterns and standard bonefish flies are recommended by tourists that have fished these waters.

Barbados Fishing Calendar

The Barbados fishing calendar is structured around the migration patterns and spawning cycles of various fish species in the region. This calendar guides anglers on the best times to fish for specific species, enhancing their chances of a successful catch.

January to May
White Marlin: The peak season for White Marlin fishing is from December through April.
Barracuda: Available year-round, with the best catches typically from January through May.
Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish): Though they can be caught year-round, December through April is considered the prime season.
Yellowfin Tuna: The best time for Yellowfin Tuna is from March through April, with May also being a good month.

June to September
While this period is not the peak season for the previously mentioned species, it’s still possible to catch various fish, including smaller tuna and occasional Mahi Mahi.

October to December
Wahoo: This is the best time for Wahoo fishing, particularly from October through January.
White Marlin: The season starts winding down, but catches are still possible in early October.
Mahi Mahi: Continues to be available, as this fish can be caught year-round.

The Final Word on Fishing in Barbados

Barbados is a brilliant palace for fishing, offering a diverse range of fishing experiences. 

From the thrill of reeling in a mighty Blue Marlin during deep-sea fishing adventures to the serene focus required for fly fishing in the flats off Worthing Beach. 

What makes fishing in Barbados truly special is the respect for the marine environment that is evident in the sustainable practices and regulations in place. As you plan your fishing journey to Barbados, remember that each season brings its unique opportunities.

The Barbados fishing calendar is a handy guide, helping you choose the best times to target specific fish species. But no matter when you visit, the warm waters of this Caribbean haven are sure to provide unforgettable fishing experiences.

john, Lucy, Teddy & Margo at hunts gardenss
Lucy Bridge

I love to travel with my family. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves coming back to the magic of Sunset Crest. So much so, that we finally decided to take the plunge and buy Villa Sunnyside in 2022!