Fishing in the Maldives
Paradise beach holidays are not the only form of leisure in the Maldives. The Republic which is located on the islands, offers various types of water entertainment for all tastes and colors. Most male tourists necessarily go on Maldivian fishing, which can be arranged in any village or hotel. Despite severe environmental constraints, the country offers many types of oceanic fishing with 100% guaranteed catch. Fishing in the Maldives is a combination of pleasant and useful: enhance yourskills, breathe the sea air and enjoy the sun, meet the breathtaking Maldivian sunset, and then arrange a hearty fish dinner in a hotel restaurant on the beach or right on the beach.
The table of contents:
- Fishing from the boat. Traditional and the cheapest fishing at sunrise (from 5:30) or sunset. It takes place near the reefs from the dhoni boat, the national Maldivian water transport. Dhoni is a small boat made of rowing wood or equipped with slanting sails. Historically, this vessel dates back to the Arab merchant ships for cabotage. Today such boats are often equipped with motors for convenience. In fact, such fishing is a group excursion for 10 people, which can be ordered in any hotel, combining the trip with the ability to pick up some small fish on the rod.
- Safari. This type of fishing is organized on high-speed boats and expensive yachts for the sake of very large fish (for example, big or giant caranx). In fact, it is a yacht tour, which can last an entire week and involves working with heavy-duty gear.
- Night fishing. Very popular type of fishing, as it guarantees a large and rare catches. It is carried out under the guidance of one instructor or the whole crew, so that it is possible to drag the fish (often more than 5 kg) on board. Fishing is organized at dusk, guiding and mooring traditional boats between corals and atolls.
- Trolling. In the Maldives, this kind of professional bottom fishing is called Big Game Fishing, and it takes place in certain weather conditions. This is a great option for extreme rest, as the fish are caught from a moving boat. Big Game is held on fishing charters, and in fact it is a one-day tour.
- Deep-sea fishing. This type of activity requires prior preparation and certain skills, so it is better to order fishing at a depth if you are not already a beginner. This is an interesting fishing on large predators, which is conducted from a special boat.
- Popping and jigging. Popping is a type of sport fishing that involves catching fish from the surface of a reservoir to a special popper bait. With the help of such a gear organize the capture of predators from the outside of the reef. Jigging is a kind of spinning fishing (including vertical) in the bottom part of the reservoir, where there are predatory fish.
For each species of fish use different equipment, which is rented at the hotel or received on the spot. Often on high-speed boats installed 7-8 rods, thrown in different directions in the course of the vessel. Day fishing has simple and minimalistic basic gear: line, cargo, hook with bait. The most industrial type of fishing on the reefs is bottom fishing use live bait or jigs.
You can use sea spinning, live bait and fly-fishing from the shore. Fly-fishing is practiced in shallow waters, and it is better to bring gear with you. This kind of activity is prohibited on hotel’s territory, but the boat will take you to a desert island for a small fee. Expensive baits, by the way, for coastal fishing is better not to use: strong fish will destroy them with their jaws, and they can also just get stuck in the corals. For the same reason, the basis for good Maldivian fishing are strong lines, braided cords and leashes. As for baits, indigenous people in the Maldives generally make them quite unusual. Marlins, for example, are caught in a wooden spit that imitates the flight of fish. But in a hotel or a specialized center, of course, you will not be offered such curiosities. However, there are a lot of realistic and colored baits on the islands: they look like both fish and octopus. If the fish is found, they use live bait, common in Indian waters: mackerel, horse mackerel, etc. You can throw squid into the water column for feeding, bait on top or let it into the upper layers of water: everything depends on who you are hunting.
- Fishing in bays (in the coastal zone) and underwater hunting are prohibited by law, so you should always use a boat;
- It’s forbidden to hunt dolphins and whale sharks;
- Do not use nets and explosives, poisons and firearms, and do not use gear and tools that injure fish, such as harpoons and sharp hooks;
- Fishing closer than 700 meters from the coral reef border, stretched for a kilometer and more from the beach, it is impossible to fish: a fine of $500 (for poachers and nature reserves this amount is $2000);
- The legislation does not allow fishing in protected areas;
- It is possible to fish on aboriginally inhabited islands, uninhabited areas away from home hotel reefs, and sandbanks and reefs that are not part of the atolls;
- The caught fish becomes the property of the fisherman, and it is cooked for free in the evening in the hotel where the tourist stays, or makes a beach barbecue. By the way, the barbecue in the Maldives is bred on split coconuts, so that the fish gets additional unique taste and aroma.
The underwater world of the Republic of Maldives is remarkable for its diversity and rarity: over a thousand species of fish of all shapes and shades can be found at different levels of the Indian Ocean. Of course, the larger the fish, the more attractive (and more belligerent) the process of catching it looks.
- Striped, white, Atlantic marlin, sailfish and swordfish are caught by sea spinning during morning fishing;
- The reef, tiger, blue and Mako shark can be caught with a popper;
- During jig-spinning, they catch groupers and tuna;
- Trolling and the use of the lure guarantee the capture of large barracudas, yellowfin tuna and black or blue marlin;
- Fishing from the boat on the shore to spinning will help with reef and red perch, emperor, lucianus;
- Deep-sea fishing is a way to catch a catfish and a wahoo;
- Night fishing is used to catch hammers, rainbow runners, coryphaena, giant tuna, sea bass and squirrelfish;
- Fly-fishing will help to catch the albula and various kinds of caranx.
In large numbers, in the Maldives people catche bonefish, sea bream, snappers, amberjacks, trevally, dogtooth tuna and bigeye tuna, mahi-mahi, reef perch, mackerel, scomber, dorado, etc. You can also catch such amazing and strange fish as the Moonfish, the Humphead wrasse and sawfish.
By the way, not every catch is cooked in the Maldives: some fish species are marked with pink marks and released back for free navigation. These are, for example, the marlins and sailfish already mentioned. You should also let go of the swordfish, making sure that you have not caused it any injuries.
The International Association of Recreational Fisheries reports that the Maldives has a weight record of more than 700 kg by catching black marlin, 535 kg for swordfish and 100 kg for spearfish. So fishermen are very rarely left without big prey in the Republic.
So there’s no way to catch fish everywhere in the Maldives. Some places, usually whole islands and atolls are especially famous for their amazing fish.
- Bandos island in North Male’ is ideal for night fishing, as the fish come in bulk to feed on the reef. Picnicking on the beach at dawn, tourists are entertained by authentic drumming dancing;
- Raa Atoll is the best place to go for a coastal safari with fish species such as reef sharks, tuna and perch;
- Furanafushi island (North Male’) is famous for its Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resorts, which has recently established a major trolling fishing centre. It also rents a boat with an echosounderdar for commercial exploration;
- Atoll Gaafu Alifu (Huadu) boasts distance from yachting routes, minimum protected areas, the largest fish factory in the country and unscared underwater world.
You can come to the Maldives all year round and every time you enjoy a successful fishing trip. Nevertheless, the dry season is popular due to the lack of ocean storms and strong winds. So if you want to go fishing by boat, come in winter, when the currents go through the atolls from east to west, visibility improves and the fish concentrate on the reefs.
Those who are not afraid of storm clouds, it makes sense to go fishing in early spring or autumn, when the land is nailed to a lot of plankton, attracting fish. A large catch in this case is guaranteed half a kilometer from the shore. In general, you can go to the islands to get fishing already in September and stay until May. In November and March trolling and wahoo or tuna hunting are beneficial, but spearfish is more active from August to October.
In summer, when the southwest monsoon reigns, you can catch yellowfin tuna on the west side of the atolls. You can also do this on the eastern side, but a sudden heavy rainfall can last for 3-4 days. Popping becomes the most effective in this period of the year, as the fish is near the water surface.
The cheapest fishing in the Maldives is the one that only requires a boat rental, and you bring gear with you. Practice shows that renting a dhoni boat for a couple of hours or three costs a person $35-60 (if there are other 4-10 participants), but a speedboat for spinning and sport fishing costs from $300, so it is more suitable for one-time rental companies.
Night fishing on wooden boats costs, on average, $25-40 per person, but if you spend all dark time on dhoni, the whole trip will be $500. The advantage is that the price of night fishing already includes equipment, and if the vessel is modern, you will get a separate cabin with a bathroom (you can sleep or just relax in a quiet period).
Deep-sea fishing is cheaper within the framework of fishing tours organized at resorts – from $150 per hour. If you take advantage of hotel offers, make sure that the fishing was really deep-sea and not turned into trolling with a motorboat at a depth of 15 meters and under the guidance of a diving instructor, this happens too.
If you want to fish with maximum comfort, you can rent an equipped boat with trawl and spinning for $300-350 for four hours or $500 for six hours (for 4-6 fishermen). Cooler vessels cost $1000 already. The trip can last even a whole day if you are hunting for big fish in the open ocean.
In general, in the Maldives, you can order a day or hour fishing or a whole fishing tour. The second option implies that you will be taken to the right place, placed in a fishing lodge or hotel room on the island, as well as provides additional food, excursions and entertainment such as snorkeling or diving.