Turks and Caicos are two groups of islands located Southeast of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean. The Turk Islands have two main islands, Grand Turk and Salt Cay and the Caicos Islands with South Caicos, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, Providenciales, Parrot Cay and Pine Cay. There are also many more uninhabited islands in both groups.
For those looking for fun, there are many choices. You can kayak, paddleboard, kitesurf, windsurf and jet ski on the water. Under the sea are some of the most incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. These waters are teeming with fish of all sizes and kinds. This makes Turks and Caicos a fisherman’s dream location.
There is excellent fishing here. World-class reef, bottom and deep-sea fishing can be found on all of the islands. The best way to experience all of the excitement is to hire a fishing charter with an experienced and knowledgeable captain and crew that know how to get you on the fish. But there is a problem. Few charters are located in the islands except for Providenciales in the Caicos chain and Grand Turk in the Turk chain. North and Middle Caicos do not have any charters, and South Caicos has minimal charter service. But all three of these islands have first-class fishing you do not want to miss. Grand Turk does have charter services that take advantage of the 6000 ft. deep Turk Island Passage, a prime spot for action-filled deep-sea fishing. But it is in Providenciales where you find two harbors filled with charter boats waiting to take you out on the water. Here you can arrange private and shared trips. It is only a short ride to the reefs, shoals, and deep blue water from the marinas.
At the reefs and shoals, we can bottom and reef fish for various snapper species, a few types of grouper, yellowfin, parrotfish, jacks and other reef fish. Bottom and reef fishing trips are the perfect family excursion as most of the time, strength or experience does not matter.
Deep-sea fishing or blue water fishing is a different story. Here the boats are out in the deep water trying to hook the big trophy fish like one of the billfish; blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish or tuna; yellowfin, blackfin, bigeye, skipjack and the other hard hitters like mahi-mahi, wahoo and mackerel. When one of these monsters hit, you could be in for a fight that can last hours.
Another reason fishermen travel to Turks and Caicos is the amazing bonefishing. There are hundreds of miles of shallow flats and mangroves on all of the main islands except for Grand Turk. Fishing guides and small skiffs are the best way to fish here. There is nothing like the hard-hitting, fast-moving bonefish, especially on a fly rod. While fishing, you might encounter tarpon, barracuda and sharks.
There is an intrusive and voracious fish in all of these waters called the lionfish. This fish eats all kinds of smaller reef fish and is a real danger to the ecosystem of the reefs. For this reason, many are diving and fishing for these menaces using either a speargun or pole spear. There are two great things about fishing for lionfish. First, you are removing this unwanted fish, and second, they are delicious. One note: spearfishing in any way is only allowed hunting lionfish. All other fish it is illegal.
There is also lobster and conch diving. To do this, you have to take a breath and go down and grab what you can from the bottom. While snorkeling and free diving are legal, it is illegal to scuba dive for these delicious creatures.
Turks and Caicos host many Billfishing Tournaments throughout the year. There is the Caicos Classic IFGA Billfish Release and Grand Turk Fishing Tournament and a number of smaller reef competitions.
These islands are a tropical paradise for everyone, no matter what your tastes are. There is a rich history with many old plantations, some still intact and some decaying and other historical landmarks for history buffs. These islands have beautiful white sandy beaches. Grace Bay Beach is the most trendy with tourists, but there are many more popular and some desolate beaches throughout the archipelago. The islands also have diverse flora and fauna, many that are only found on the islands. The two most popular animals on the island are the feral wild donkeys and the flamingos. The donkeys were used as workers for the salt mining and bat guano trades and then just let to run free. Flamingo Pond Overlook in North Caicos is where thousands of these awkward but beautiful birds gather together.
These islands are filled with fun and sun. It is a perfect vacation to relax on the beaches or test your prowess on the boat with a marlin. Either way, you will have a memorable time, but it will be more memorable on the water!!