Maldives is known as one of the ‘fishiest’ places on earth, because of the variety and amount of aquatic life. Fishing provides the livelihood for many people in the Maldives; Fishing and fisheries are the second largest industry in the country after tourism.
If you have a fishing addiction there are literally thousands of species you can hook into, from reef fish, to barracuda, bonefish, bream, small grouper, snapper and jacks/trevally…
Maldives is also famous for being one of the best Big game fishing destination with abundant number of large species such as marlin, sailfish, as well as Tuna, Dorado, and Wahoo.
Maldives is a fishing tropical heaven, plenty of large and small fish, undisturbed and absolutely peaceful fishing in beautiful surroundings, friendly and relaxing after fishing activities and paradise for all the family as well.
Is fishing allowed everywhere? What are the different types of fishing? Where to fish? How much does it cost? What’s the best fishing season? This little guide will cover everything you need to know.
1/TYPES OF FISHING:
The most usual methods are live bait fishing, fly fishing and beach casting.Fishes being very strong in Maldives we recommend using strong braid line and wire for lure fishing. Don’t use expensive lures as they will get shattered or damaged on the coral.
Jigging & Popping
With shallow bottom filled with large species, jigging & popping are the main method of sport fishing in the country. You will fish comparable species as with shore fishing but with the addition of tuna, barracuda, red bass, amberjack and giant trevally . Heavy duty equipment is needed to hook and pull these fishes out.
This is the main technique used by beginners and tourists for reef fishing. Bottom fishing with live or cut bait will get you principally red snappers, groupers, jacks, scarlet and job fish. Breams, dog tooth, and yellow fin can also be frequent.
On board a traditional Maldivian vessel Dhoni, you will catch mainly emperors, snappers, squirrelfish, mackerel species, jacks and other reef fish.
Big Game fishing
For the big game savvy trawlers, the options for a good catch are limitless. There’s no better way to experience the thrills of big fish catch than deep sea big game. Expert trawlers will enjoy abundant number of large species such as marlin, sailfish, as well as Tuna, Dorado, and Wahoo.
2/WHERE TO FISH:
RESORTS ** 2/5
Resorts are not only expensive but also provide you with a very limited fishing experience.
Resorts want to protect their reef, and in order to protect it, shore fishing is absolutely forbidden. The only fishing allowed when staying in a resort is by booking “sunset/night fishing“or “big game fishing” excursion arranged by the hotel. The sunset/night fishing excursion is a Maldivian style experience using hand lines and raw fish as bait. This excursion usually last for 2-3 hours and cost around USD 50/ person.
Some resorts have boats who can take you for Big game fishing (check with the resort before arrival to make sure they can arrange Big game) . Unfortunately the equipment on these boats is usually in bad condition and the price usually pretty high ( Half day, 4 hours, USD 750 – Full day, 8 hours, USD 1300 )
LOCAL ISLANDS *** 3/5
Let the locals take you to spots with great abundance of fish ! By booking a guest house on a local island you will discover the real Maldivian culture and taste a bit of the Maldivian life. Most of the guest house arrange fishing trip just the like one proposed in resort. Rates are generally lower than resort price and the experience more authentic. You can also request your guest house to arrange tailor made fishing trip according to your wishes and depending on your fishing mood. Your fishing guide is generally someone from the island just as passionate as you about fishes.
We recommend you to bring your own equipment as the one used might be in bad conditions. Fishing from the reefs of inhabited islands can only be carried out after obtaining approval from the Island office of the particular inhabited island.
SAFARI BOAT ***** 5/5
Rent out your private cruise boat with friends or family and spend your entire vacations fishing! Boat captain will guide you and take you to the best fishing spots in Maldives ( inform your cruise travel agency that you want to go for fishing ); Crew will prepare your lunch or dinner with the catch of the day on an uninhabited island or on board the cruise boat. Fishing cruise is by far the best solution for all fishing addicts. Price are generally low, you are provided with a private boat with crew and fuel for you and your friends/relatives, 3 meals a day +cordials included, private cabins, alcoholic beverages available on board (extra), you will travel the country and visit some of the most beautiful places in Maldives, fishing in the most abundant and remote areas is guaranteed. We recommend you to bring your own equipment as the one used on the boat might be in bad conditions.
Fishing in Maldives is only practiced using traditional techniques. Pole and lines are used for catching fish as it is a sustainable and friendly method.
- Fishing from the reefs of inhabited islands can only be carried out after obtaining approval from the Island office of the particular inhabited island.
- If the distance from the beach to the reef edge of the inhabited island is greater than 1000m, fishing beyond 700m boundary of the reef is open to all.
- Fishing from the reefs of a tourist resort shall only be carried out after obtaining permission from the tourist resort ( request usually denied by resort see above where to fish )
- Fishing from individual reefs that are not part of an island, or sand bank or any other dry area is permitted.
The following activities are banned during fishing:
- Use of dynamite or any other explosive for fishing or killing of fishes
- Use of any kind of gun for fishing or killing of fishes.
- Use of any kind of poison for fishing or killing of fishes.
- Collecting of sea cucumber and lobster by using scuba diving gear.
- Use of nets to catch Mushimas (mackerel) schools that are found in the lagoons of inhabited islands
- Use of moxy nets to catch small reef fish
Species prohibited from catching, fishing, collecting or killing
- Female lobsters that have eggs under their stomach and lobster that have less than 35cm from head to tail
- Triton shell
- Giant clam
- Black coral
- Whale shark or any form of sharks for any purpose is prohibited in Maldives.
- Napoleon wrasse
- Sea turtle
- Sea turtle and eggs
Fishing is carried out throughout the year in Maldives and ther is no real off-season. However it is often considered that the best fishing period is from November to the end of May. The North-East Monsoon between January and April offer the best fishing conditions for Blue and Black Marlin, Sailfish, Yellow fin Tuna and Wahoo.
Maldives are highly recommended for novice and expert trawlers. The healthy reefs and the abundance of the Indian Ocean are a haven for all fishing enthusiasts. Fishing holidays allows you to catch a sight of the Maldives’ unique and picturesque landscape, and, with some luck you will be triumphant about your catch too. Our recommendation if you opt for the fishing cruise charter holidays is to book way ahead of your travel date. Most of the vessels are likely to be fully booked if wait too long before making your mind. Check out our boat listing to make sure you get the best deal.