Fishing in Roatan is arguably the oldest industry in Roatan. There are world class fishing charters & anglers in Roatan, but It is not uncommon to find local fishermen just a few yards away from the shoreline fishing on a string. Many local fishers take out wooden canoes carved out of tree trunks. Armed with only fishing string, hooks, and bait, fishers lower fishing string down with live bait and begin pulling at the string to lure in the fish. As soon as a fish bit, a tug of way ensues, and the reeling in is done by hand. Fish are pulled in by hand the old fashion way.
Fishing Species & Tournaments
GAME FISHING ASSOCIATION (GFA)
Roatan Fishing is globally recognized. Roatan belongs to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), and it holds its annual fishing tournament at the same time each year, on September 15th. Honduras celebrates its independence day on September 15th, so being in Roatan during this week is especially rewarding as visitors enjoy both the fishing tournament and the carnival that come with the national holiday. Next to spring break, this week is arguably one of the most popular weeks to visit Roatan.
ANNUAL FISHING TOURNAMENT
The annual fishing tournament in Roatan has grown in popularity in recent years because of a new "catch and release" policy. The Roatan Fishing Tournament is a 100% and catch and release tournament. Reports indicate that catches are getting more plentiful and larger each year. The waters of Roatan are believed to be a nesting ground for the coveted Blue Marlin and every year, on September 15th, the hunt is on for bragging rights.
FISHING SPECIMENS AROUND ROATAN
Common catching includes Tuna, Bill Fish, Barracuda, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, Grouper, Tarpon, and of course, the Blue Marlin. There are many more species, to be sure, but these vary according to the season. The northern side of the island is usually less choppy than the south. And the East End is less trafficked. So depending on how much time you have, you might want to get over the east side of Roatan and fish along the northern coast.
CAYOS COCHINOS FISHING TRIPS
Another popular trip to make is to Cayos Cochinos. These are small keys south of Roatan, between the Bay Islands and La Ceiba, Honduras. Fishing trips to Cayos Cochinos are a full day affair. The captain will troll and fish the waters between Roatan and Cayos Cochinos. And if you catch anything on your way towards Cayos Cochinos, you can count on local Garifuna people to prepare your catch for lunch.
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Fishing tips for Roatan
Sea-Sickness not an issue
Many boat captains choose to fish along the shoreline. The fishing is good, and customers are never too far from firm land in case they start to get sea-sick. It only takes minutes to get to the fishing zone and the blue waters of Roatan. The water around the barrier reef is deep. In fact, "Honduras" literally means "Deep Ends." Captains will normally put a lure in the water only minutes after leaving the dock.
Roatan has taken a leadership role in protecting the fish populations and habitats around the islands. And neighboring communities in Guanaja and Utila also have adopted these practices, making fishing in Roatan a real treat. Fishing techniques vary from captain to captain depending on the season, the time of day, and the boat. Below we'll explore a few of the fishing techniques used around the island of Roatan:
- TROLLING is bay far the most common form of fishing around Roatan. Captains normally bait the water with live bait and then drop synthetic top, mid, and deep lures into the water at various depths. Top Lures are the most exciting and usually get hit the most by top water feeders like Barracuda and Sailfish. Tuna have a tendency to hit lures just below the surface at 10 or 25 feet.
- BOTTOM FISHING for Grouper and Shark is also practiced in Roatan. But this is less frequent because of reef conservation practices and because the more coveted game fishing species are top feeders.
- SPEARFISHING is only allowed under strict guidelines and with the appropriate permits. But since the invasion of the Lion Fish, anglers have taken to spearfishing to help keep Lion Fish population under control. Lion Fish have a tendency to stay still as they are a predator that uses stealth to ambush their pray. Spear fishermen either skin dive or strap on SCUBA gear to drop down and fish for Lion Fish. Lion Fish can be dangerous as they are a venomous fish that delivers a nasty sting by way of thorns hidden away along the spinal and dorsal fins.
- KITE FISHING is rare but new on Roatan. Larger fishing boats rigged with out-riggers can fly kits above a fishing line. Kites keep live bait swimming just below the surface making it almost irresistible for top water feeders.