The capital city of Portland Parish, Port Antonio, is a true fisherman’s destination if they want to hook a Blue Marlin. The Cayman Trench, the third deepest trench in the world, is located right off the coast. The topography of the trench makes for a rich environment for large fish like the Blue Marlin that are caught in these deep waters, up to 6000 ft. deep, and average around 300 lbs. Because the area has not been overfished, there is an abundance of these feisty fish. This brings anglers from all over the globe hoping to reel in a “big one.” The largest Blue caught was almost 600 lbs. While these are not the same size as some of the monsters in Hawaii and Costa Rica, they are still huge. There is nothing like the thrill of seeing your Marlin jumping out of the water and finally getting it in the boat after that long fight. The hunt for the big ones and the sheer numbers of Marlin in the area is why Port Antonio, Jamaica hosts one of the oldest tournaments on the island, The Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament. Here anglers vie to be the top prize winner, but the cash is not what they are after. Winners of the tournament are invited to attend the World Championship of Marlin Fishing in Quepos, Costa Rica. Anglers come from as far as Canada to compete.
Blue Marlin and many others like White Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi (also called Dorado and Dolphin), Yellowfin Tuna, Blackfin Tuna and King Mackerel are found in the waters off the coast year-round. There are seasons when the odds are better for catching them, but you can drop your line any time of year and catch any of these trophy fish. Port Antonio is the choice to go fishing in Jamaica for a few reasons. Because it is a smaller town than, say, Montego Bay, there are not as many charters, so there is not as much competition for spots. Second, the deep water is only 10 minutes away from shore, which means you can drop line fast and spend more time on the water. There is also decent inshore fishing on the reefs for fish like Grouper, Snapper, Jacks, Barracudas and more, but most anglers come to Port Antonio to battle beasts, and the waters off the coast are the perfect battlefield. Port Antonio has a state-of-the-art marina, The Errol Flynn Marina, also known as Port Antonio Marina. This is the home of most of the charter boats. It is also the only marina in the Caribbean that can dock 600′ mega yachts. The Marina is also a great place to go hang out at night. This is a local haunt and a place where the fishing captains come to relax after a day on the water.Have a gourmet dinner at Norma’s at the Marina or just sit at the local bar and watch the sun set over the horizon.
Port Antonio’s surroundings were described by the late great actor and avid boatsman and fisher Errol Flynn as “more beautiful than the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on.” And he is not wrong. With the crystal clear blue waters on one side and the verdant green hills leading to the Blue Mountains on the other, Port Antonio is a hidden gem. Portland Parish is home to beautiful waterfalls, calm rivers and breathtaking beaches, all of which are minutes or a short drive from the city. One of the must-sees is The Blue Lagoon which was made famous by the eponymous film starring Brooke Shields. The other thing that the lagoon is known for is its deep, 200 ft. deep, everchanging colored waters. Cobalt blues turn sapphire, aquamarine, emerald green and all colors in between depending on how the sun shines on the water. Legend says that a dragon lives in the depth of this big hole, but while you won’t see any mythical sea creatures, you can swim with sea turtles or snorkel, scuba dive or for the really adventurous free-dive. Another great excursion is a relaxing ride down the Rio Grande on a river raft. You are slowly poled down the calm waters through tropical forests with your guide talking of the area’s history, flora and fauna and, if lucky, entertaining you with some reggae.
Port Antonio has a few must-see beaches. Frenchmans Cove is just outside of town. This beach is said to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, and when you see the swaying palm trees, azure water and golden beach, you can definitely see why. James Bond Beach, aptly named because Dr. No, the first James Bond movie filmed here, is a small beach with beauty and charm. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, lived on and loved the island. Boston Beach is another must-see, not so much for its beauty but because it is the home of Jerk, the food that Jamaica is famous for and is the premier surf spot in Jamaica. You can hang ten and then grab a cold Red Stripe and eat some of the best Jerk in the world.
A Shangri-la nestled at the base of the Blue Mountains. Port Antonio does not have the glitz and glamour of the other tourist cities on the island. The atmosphere is relaxed. This was once the playground of Hollywood, and Hollywood does come back from time to time. There are still a few luxurious hotels attracting the chic, but now the town, thanks to its location, is the perfect place for backpackers, active travelers. Because Port Antonio has some of the best deep-sea fishing on the island, it is also the place to go for anglers. You will fall in love with this small town with really big fish.