The Dominican Republic is a great vacation spot for everyone. The beaches are some of the best in the world. The cuisine is fresh and delicious and the fishing is out of this world. If you are planning a fishing vacation on the island, you should know three main areas to drop your hook. Punta Cana is the premier spot that everyone has heard of but Puerto Plata,and Bayahibe/La Romana are also great spots. Punta Cana can be very crowded, and while the other might not have as many boats, they definitely have enough fish!
People travel to the Dominican Republic for many reasons, because there is so much to see and do there. The country shares the Island of Hispanola with Haiti, taking up almost 2/3 of the island. It is the second-largest island in the Caribbean next to Cuba and is as large as Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The country is located just west of Puerto Rico, separated by the Mona Passage. This is where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet, making an important shipping route. The country has lush tropical rainforests, mountains, caves, rich agriculture, the most beautiful beaches and it is surrounded, except for the border with Haiti, by crystal clear blue waters with extensive reef systems and shipwrecks. All of this makes the D.R. the most visited destination in the Caribbean.
The island has the contrasts of going from some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean,to one of the worlds deepest trenches, the Puerto Rico Trench at maximum depths of over 29,000 ft, deep. There are numerous national parks, each more beautiful than the next. You can hike trails deep into the mountains or right outside many towns, large and small. There are also lots of cave systems on the island. Some are just normal caves with stalactites and stalagmites, but there are others like the Los Tres Ojos with lakes inside or the Cave of Maravillass with over 500 Taino paintings and engravings. The country has many top-rated beaches with white sand and crystal clear turquoise water. Some are popular with tourists and locals while on others you may walk and never see anyone else. For adventure junkies, the D.R. has your fix. You can see parts of the island from Safari vehicles taking you to backcountry roads and places not seen without an off-road vehicle, or you can roar on the beach in dune buggies. There are many other activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, and there are many different zip lines throughout the island. One in Punta Cana starts in the highlands and ends right in the water on the beach. The island has colorful coral reefs and a few wrecks that make it a hot spot for divers. There are some unique water activities. Two are swimming with dolphins and for the more brave swimming with sharks and stingrays. But the ultimate water activity is not really in the water but getting close with nature whale watching in Samana Peninsula every year is not to be missed. For three months, people flood the peninsula to watch the Humpback whales as they come to breed and give birth in the warm waters offshore. But there is more action found in the waters here. Cabarete Beach is a surfer, windsurfer and kite surfer paradise. And the biggest adrenaline rush you can find on the island is the thrill of fighting a Giant Blue Marlin. And the waters here are abundant with these beasts and many other fish too.
To make all of your fishing dreams come true, you will need a guide and a boat. Whether you want to go to the flats, the reefs, or the deep blue, your best bet is to arrange one of the many experienced charters here on the island. There are plenty of these charters in all of the fishing areas with captains and crews that are experienced and knowledgeable of the waters and the fish. They will help you make your dreams come true.
Dominican Republic Flats/ Inshore Fishing
People do not know this, but there is excellent flats fishing in the Dominican Republic. Inshore the flats, mangroves, lagoons and rivers are home to four of the most fun fish; Permit, Snook, Bonefish and Tarpon. These four are all highly desirable fighting fish that put on shows as you try to reel them onto the boat. And I do mean try because all four are notorious escape artists. They are all tricky to land, from throwing hooks to cutting lines, but with two-foot leaps out of the water and mad dashes for freedom, you can’t have more fun inshore.
The big draw here in the D.R. is fishing offshore for giants, but out there, it is usually very choppy and not for the faint of heart or stomach. For much more relaxing but no less fun fishing, there is fantastic reef and bottom fishing. Here you can target Grouper and Snapper of many varieties, Giant Barracuda, Grunts, Amberjacks, Jack Crevalles, Bonito and more. Inshore it is much calmer, so you will not get seasick. It is a great outing for families. You do not need any experience, and for the kids, strength is not needed. One other great thing about reef fishing is that almost all of the fish caught are delicious.
Dominican Republic Offers World Class Offshore Fishing
Offshore is a whole different kind of fishing. The Mona Passage that shuttles the world’s shipping back and forth does the same for big pelagic fish. Here the waves are big, thanks to strong tradewinds, but the thrill is bigger. The Blue Marlin is the target fish that anglers around the globe come to catch. The waters are some of the biggest billfisheries in the world. Punta Cana is consistently in the top three. There are many of these beauties in the waters, but they are not the only ones. The other billfish, White Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish and Swordfish can all be found in these deep waters. Along with these billfish, there are also huge Wahoos, Bull Dorados (Mahi-Mahi), Royal Mackerel, and Yellowfin tuna. There are seasons for these fish, so you need to plan your trip carefully if you want to catch them. The Blue Marlin is in the waters in significant numbers in the summer and early fall months. They are in the waters throughout the year, but the best time to land a marlin is in these months. Starting in March, you will see numbers in White Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna and right after the Blue Marlin season is over, the sailfish season kicks in for the entire winter. This time of year is also the best time to catch Mahi, or as it is called in the D.R., Dorado and Wahoo but most of these fish are foune in these waters year round.
Why Dominican Republic Fishing is So Good
There are a few reasons that fishing here in the Dominican Republic is soo good. First, it is located right next to one of the deepest trenches in the world, The Puerto Rico Trench. This trench runs very deep and attracts pelagic fish throughout the Caribbean. An undercurrent pushes krill and plankton to the surface, which attracts baitfish, bringing the bigger fish to the area looking for a meal. Another reason is the use of FADs in the water. FAD stands for Fish Aggregating Device and is used by the local fisherman as a way to attract fish to the surface as well. In the Dominican Republic, this is a simple device of styrofoam with a coconut palm frond on top. They work like debris floating in the ocean, attracting baitfish under the shade, which again attracts bigger fish like Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado, and Tuna. The use of these devices has made it much easier for charters to get you hooked up. And finally the fish are not very far from shore. You do not have to spend a huge part of your charter getting out to the fishing grounds. They are literally right offshore. All of these factors makes fishing in the D.R. so much fun and so popular. Note: When fishing for billfish, you need to know that the island is a catch and release only. All other fish can be kept. Marlin and sailfish will be caught, tagged and released to be caught again and hopefully again and again.
Dominican Republic Billfish Tournaments
There are numerous big money billfish tournaments held throughout the island. Some are for the professionals, but some are for amateurs looking for their names in lights. A couple of the big ones are the Cap Cana Classic and the Casa de Campo Blue Marlin Tournament.