Most of the fish you hear about on Bonaire are the reef fish which snorkelers and scuba divers see regularly. But in the deeper water lurk the big game fish - Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna and more.
Fishermen, welcome to the waters of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire!
Local fisherman catch the "Fresh Fish of the Day" that you find in almost every restaurant. Usually the fish is Dorado (see image at left) or Wahoo. Dorado is also known as Mahi Mahi or dolphinfish (no relation at all to the porpoise family). You can try your skill and luck on one of the several sport fishing boats available for charter trips on Bonaire. You can view a listing of these boats at the InfoBonaire fishing page. Check prices carefully for fishing trips. A trip price may seem quite high because the price is for the whole boat not per person. If you have several interested friends, trips can be quite reasonable.
--> Fishing, as anywhere, starts in the wee hours before dawn. The fishermen catch bait fish with hand lines or small nets. The live bait fish are then used to try for the big game fish. A large range of fishing tackle and lures are available, so if the fish arenít biting you can try something new. The sport fishing boats may go out several miles in search of the game fish. Although catching a fish is never guaranteed, a pleasant day out to sea will be part of your fishing experience. Check out Piscatur for big game fishing.
Not all fishing is limited to big game. Several boats also offer reef fishing, where you try to hook snappers, jacks, and groupers. Reef fishing can easily be done in an afternoon outing. Children will love this fishing experience.
Ever try bonefishing in the Salinas or salt pans? Fly fishermen rave about this particular sport and even bring their own tackle to Bonaire to do this. Another fishing technique is taught to inexperienced fisherman to make the day more tangle free and enjoyable. Roll up your pants for this one because you will be getting your feet wet (see Piscatur for more information).
game fish and their local names: (click
for more Fish Names)
Fishing tournaments are held every couple of months usually around holidays. Check out the InfoBonaire Calendar for the latest schedule of events on Bonaire. Awards are given by weight and species.
Most fishing by visitors is sport fishing, with a Catch and Release policy. However if you have kitchen facilities you may want to keep one fish and enjoy your own catch of the day. Please note that Marlin fishing is catch and release only due to the shrinking fish stocks. And a fish that you release today will continue to reproduce for the future.
Note: Although you may keep your catch on most boats, confirm this with the boat captain prior to making your reservation. Also fresh fish, as like most meats, cannot be imported into many countries including Holland and the USA. It is also against Bonaire law for any non-resident to profit from fishing so you are not allowed to "sell" your catch either. Fishing licenses are not required for non-commercial fishing.