What to Know About Fishing in the BVI

Man Fishing in the BVI

From top-notch secluded dive spots to a warm welcoming local bar scene, from dazzling turquoise waters to easy-breezy cruising conditions, the British Virgin Islands are brimming with top-ranked beaches, exquisite cuisine, and some of the best fishing you’ll ever encounter. 

It doesn’t matter what your experience level is or how you like to get your fishing fix, the BVI has it all, including bragging rights to multiple world records of game fishing. This place is a sailor’s paradise and a fisherman’s dream come true.

Types of Fishing in the BVI | What Fish Can You Catch in the BVI | Best Fishing Spots in the BVI | BVI Fishing License

If you want to reel in the biggest catch, get familiar with these ten simple, but significant, things before you go:

Types of Fishing in the BVI

Bonefishing in the BVI

Not surprisingly, the bonefishing in the British Virgin Islands is well above average, but Anegada, in particular, is the “mothership”. If you’ve got a hankering for hunting some feisty bonefish on the fly, then anywhere within range of Anegada’s reef-fringed flats should be on your radar.

Inshore Fishing

If you’re seeking seclusion from fickle weather and sea conditions, inshore fishing is ideal for catching small fish or larger fish lurking on their prey in shallow waters. A solid choice for those with children in their crew, inshore fishing focuses on cruising shallow flats regions, where the islands themselves offer protection.

Common inshore fish to catch and where they are typically found:

  • Barracuda – bays, banks, reefs, mangrove lagoons
  • Bonita – inshore, drop-offs
  • Hardnose – inshore
  • Jacks – inshore
  • Kingfish – reefs, drop-offs
  • Mackerel – inshore
  • Permit – bays, reefs, shallow seaweeds, flats
  • Yellowtail Snapper – reefs, banks
  • Tarpon – bays, harbors, mangrove lagoons

Please note: Barracuda may be poisonous and should always be released.

Offshore Fishing BVI

Weather and sea conditions permitting, offshore fishing in the BVI is bigger and better than almost anywhere else because of the distinguished list of trophy fish that inhabit those deep Caribbean waters.


  • Blackfin Tuna – shelf areas
  • Blue Marlin – North/South drops
  • Mahi Mahi – North/South drops, shelf areas
  • Sailfish – North/South drops
  • Wahoo – shelf areas
  • White Marlin – North/South drops
  • Yellowfin Tuna – North/South drops

Onshore Fishing BVI

Believe it or not, the British Virgin Islands even offer some decent onshore fishing. Even if you're just hanging out onshore, it’s possible to reel in photo-worthy kingfish, triggerfish, or yellowtail snapper after you drop a line.

Please note: There are three different kinds of triggerfish so you need to be able to tell them apart. Rule of thumb:

  1. black = poisonous
  2. dark = commercial use only
  3. yellow = rare breed/must release

Trolling Fishing

Trolling a line behind your yacht during your British Virgin Islands adventure can prove to be very worthwhile. Even at slow sailing speeds between 2 and 3 knots, trolling can still snag you decent catches of mackerel, jacks, barracuda, and yellowtail snapper, especially. Troll your way towards Anegada at about 5-7 knots and you could score Wahoo and Mahi Mahi.

BVI Fishing License

Before you can engage in any kind of fishing activity in the BVI, the Virgin Islands government requires every vessel to be registered with the Department of Conservation & Fisheries. In addition, each patron must purchase a 30-day fishing license ahead of time or upon arrival in Road Town, Tortola. Children under the age of 18 do not need to have a fishing license.

To obtain a fishing permit in the BVI, you need to submit an application to the Department of Conservation & Fisheries along with the following:

  • Payment (see the application for updated costs) 
  • A valid form of picture identification (passport or driver's license)

It's recommended to submit your documents at least two weeks in advance of your vacation.

Best Fishing Spots in the BVI

Beef Island Bridge

There is a small fishing hot spot located just off the west side of Beef Island Bridge that is a best-kept little secret in the BVI. This easily accessible area is ideal for dragging your line because of the fairly strong current, which will likely catch some surface feeders along the way – mackerel, kingfish, or tuna.

North Drop, BVI

Approximately 18 miles north of St. Thomas, the offshore shelf area ends and the depth drops from a couple of hundred feet to 1000’s of feet deep. This notable region is known as the North Drop, where Atlantic Blue Marlin spawns during the summer.

South Drop, BVI 

Just like its’ northern counterpart, there is another drop-off located about 6 miles out from the southern side of St. Thomas where the shelf area ends and the ocean depth increases dramatically. The South Drop is a famed fishing spot in the BVI because of its incredible trophy fish population and easily accessible location.

Go Fish in the BVI

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