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While the peak fishing season in Bermuda is from May to November, you can actually go for fishing in Bermuda year round. May to June is the spring run and you will get plenty of yellow-fin tuna and wahoo compared to the other types of fish in the deep sea.
And June onwards as the summer temperature grows, anglers more often catch blue or white marlins, mahi mahi dolphin fish, great barracudas, sharks of different species and amberjacks, particularly off the shore. In the fall run, you get Wahoos and Yellow-fin Tunas.
Even in winter time when the temperature is close to 60 degrees (°F), you will still be able to catch medium size bonefish on a sunny day from the shore. Wahoos and Tunas are still available. The other types of fish that you get in the Atlantic surrounding Bermuda includes black-fin tuna, groupers, rainbow runner, rockfish and snappers. Although all varieties are not always available, there are actually more than 27 different types of game Fish in Bermuda waters.
Bermuda has many experienced and skilled fishing veterans who offer their boats and also provide guidance for the best fishing areas & techniques. While there is never a guarantee of a catch, your chances are always better with such guidance from veteran skippers. Remember that fishing had always been a serious livelihood in Bermuda.
In the past whenever the crops were poor, islanders depended on fishing. During World War-II when import restrictions and rationing were strictly imposed in Bermuda, there was a man from St. David's Island (of St. George's Parish) named Geary Pitcher who kept supplying fish to the British Army stationed here during the war. He thus made enough money to build his own house.
Shore Fishing: Shore fishing in Bermuda does not require any kind of permit. Some typical catch while fishing from shore includes Bonefish, Grey snapper, pompano and Barracuda.
Reef Fishing: There are coral reefs surrounding Bermuda which are often excellent spots for fishing. Reef Fishing in Bermuda can produce catches like Barracuda, little tunny, yellow tail snapper, Grey snapper, lane snapper and Bermuda chub.
Deep Sea Fishing: Here you go beyond the reef line and into the deep sea, feel the real swell of the ocean and hope to catch rainbow runner, marlin, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, shark or dolphins.
Spearfishing in Bermuda: Bermuda waters is home to largest rock fishes in the world. So if you are game to free dive (without any gears) and catch the large fish with poles, then Bermuda waters is ideally suited for you.
For both Reef fishing and Deep Sea fishing you are covered by the license of the boat captain. So you don't need a separate license. The best way is to take a fishing charter boat. Although you can join a group fishing tour at a much cheaper rate (some $100 per day), a charter fishing in the deep sea or from the reefs is a special experience. You can ask the boat captain to take you to a water or reef area where you get the fish type and size you are looking for.
Two volcanic sea mounts - Challenger and Argus Banks located several miles offshore are the two main deep sea water areas where a fleet of fishing boats leave for every morning.
There are more than 20 charter fishing operations in Bermuda. Some of these boats also offer regularly scheduled group fishing trips on certain days of the week. They leave from Kings Wharf Dockyard at the western end, Hamilton or from the eastern end like St. George's. Check out Bermuda Fishing Charters to know about the main Fishing Charters in Bermuda and also their offerings on group fishing tours.
Bermuda Fishing Guidelines
Note that there are some guidelines imposed on fishing in Bermuda although there is no permit or license required. For example, one can not catch and take lobsters along unless one has commercial fishing license. It's 100% release. There are similar such guidelines for few other types of fish as well.
There is a restriction that you can not collect sea turtles, whales, dolphins, or corals. You can not take conch and many other types of shells available in the waters. While fishing, you are always encouraged to release the fish unless you want to eat it. However you can get a certificate from the captain recording the type and weight of your catch. If you are taking a charter boat for fishing, I would recommend that you consult the skipper of the boat to know about all the fishing regulations in Bermuda.
Note that marine turtles in Bermuda are protected species. Recreational fishing has been a threat to these turtles. Unwanted fishing lines and hooks thrown into the waters have caused many turtles having fish hooks embedded in their mouth, throat and even stomach resulting in serious injuries and even death. There are several turtles that had been admitted to the BAMZ Rehabilitation Center for treatment over the past decades.
Bermuda National Trust has recently installed several monofilament recycling bins at popular fishing spots around the Island. These bins are made of 6-inch PVC pipes and serve as waste receptacles for unwanted fishing lines. If you find any dead or injured sea turtles, please report to BAMZ at 441/293-2727. You can also get some basic fishing information from Bermuda Game Fishing Association located in Hamilton (Phone: 441/292-7131). Another great place to get all the fishing tips and advice in Bermuda is from Fly Bridge Tackle on Church Street, Hamilton City (opposite the City Hall). You can also buy fishing equipment from here.
UPDATE July 2011: A new hotline number 705-FISH (3474) has been introduced in Bermuda so that members of public can report any illegal fishing activities. You can also call up the number and directly talk to the Marine Resource Staff or Fisheries Wardens to know about current fishing regulations in Bermuda.
Bermuda Fishing Events and Competitions
There are a number of fishing tournaments that are held in Bermuda every year. Here are the most popular ones:
Bermuda Billfish Release Cup: Bermuda Billfish Release Cup is an offshore fun-filled open fishing event participated by anglers with their full families.
Bermuda Billfish Blast: Bermuda Billfish Blast is an open event and a fishing competition held in the island every year. It's held in concert with Blue Marlin World Cup championship and is the first leg of Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship.
Bermuda Big Game Classic: Held every year, Bermuda Big Game Classic is the largest and one of the most popular open fishing events in the island. It also serves as the second leg of Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship.
Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament: Sea Horse Anglers Club Championship is the oldest fishing event in Bermuda. It is also the 3rd and the last leg of Triple Crown Series.
Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship: Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish championship is an open fishing tournament having three legs. The boat accumulating maximum points out of all the three legs becomes the winner.
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By Raj Bhattacharya
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