Newsletter Area Specialist Fishing Reports

Fishing Information

Lay of the Land

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are a British Overseas Territory, under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands. Located 50 miles southeast to the closest Bahamian Island, Mayaguana, it is approximately 550 miles from Miami. Eight of the 30 islands are inhabited, combining to make a total land area over 200 square miles consisting of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps, surrounded by a continuous coral reef. For almost 700 years, the Taino and Lucayan Indians were the sole residents, settling mainly in Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. Shortly after Columbus arrived in 1492, the Lucayan civilization disappeared leaving the islands sparsely populated for 30 years.  Modern day residents known as “Belongers” are descendants of slaves brought from Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Loyalists after the American Revolution to rake salt ponds, giving birth to an important industry. Sovereignty was passed around for many years starting in 1706 when the French and the Spanish briefly captured TCI, four years later the British reclaimed the islands for Bermuda, with Britain ultimately retaining them, placing them under the Bahamian government umbrella by the end of the century. Attempts to integrate these two communities failed, and after “The Great Bahamas Hurricane” in 1874, the Turks and Caicos Islands became dependencies of British Colony, Jamaica!  When Jamaica won independence in 1962, TCI became a British Colony on its own, which it is today. Tourism, commercial fishing and benefits realized as a zero tax jurisdiction are the primary means to boost a fairly steady economy.  Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766 is found on Grand Turk.Turks Island Passage also known as the Columbus Passage is a 22 mile wide, 7,000 foot deep channel that separates the Turk Islands and the Caicos, where our focus will be; specifically Providenciales or Provo, North and Middle Caicos. This country of Island’s motto, “Beautiful by Nature,” has a total population of about 40,000 with half residing in Provo, the hub of TCI tourism. Developed in the 1980’s, upscale Provo offers all the modern conveniences, including luxury hotels and villas, a wide variety of restaurants, well supplied grocery stores, shopping and golf.  Named the worlds leading beach four years running is the stunning 12-mile long Grace Bay Beach found on the north shore. The US dollar is the official currency; most hotels, restaurants and taxis accept credit cards, the country code is 649, Banks, ATMs, Internet and cell phone coverage are widely available.  Provo is also home to a modern medical facility, medical and dental clinics and an international airport. Highways serving Providenciales are generally in good shape, but exploring that dirt road you just have to see can get a little rough with major potholes that never seem to get filled in!  Collectively called “The Family Islands,” the farmer in the family is North Caicos 41 square miles of lush beauty, known for tall trees and small farms of corn, cassava, beans and okra. Located 12 miles northeast of Provo and home to 1,400, a 20-minute ferry ride from Provo will get you to the Sandy Point dock where most residents live. Whitby and Bottle Creek are the other two main settlements, with all three towns offering taxi service, car and bike rentals.  Middle Caicos is the most ecologically oriented of the brood and the largest of the Islands, at 48 square miles.  The three settlements, Conch Bar, Bambarra and Lorimers boast a total population of 300.  Limestone cliffs with long sandy beaches are found in the north contrasted by swampland and tidal flats in the south.  Green and ideal for agriculture, Middle Caicos is home to the largest cave network in the Bahamian Archipelago. Both islands have small grocery stores; nurse staffed medical clinics, gas stations, a few casual restaurants, car rentals and accommodation from basic to luxury.  Count on using cash for most transactions outside of Provo.

Target Species

The major species here is bonefish. Just be aware that they are on the hefty side, averaging four to six pounds. There is a good chance of casting to fish here that weigh more than eight pounds when fishing flats next to drop offs and deep water. The spring tides provide a little better chance of seeing the larger fish on the flats, though the neap tides provide for longer quality fishing time.

Where to Fish

Sandy Point Ocean Side flat
– The ferry lands at Sandy Point and as you enter the cove, you can’t help but wonder if there are bonefish around.  The answer is yes.  Just north of the ferry landing is the community of Sandy Point, surrounded by a beautiful beach, with great walking flats sprinkled throughout.  At times the entire area can be good, just depends on the wind direction.  When calm, fish at low tide starting at the point and make your way northeast, walking the entire shore.  This is an ideal spot to bring the family for a day of water sports.

Parrot Cay Channel – Some caution and understanding of the Nature Reserve is required before fishing this area.  The mangrove system south of the ferry dock is called Dick Hill Creek and is within the boundaries of the Dick Hill Creek and Bellefield Landing Pond Nature Reserve.  The channel and flats on the outside are in Parrot Cay Channel and are outside the reserve.  Fishing the flats here is excellent as the fish stage outside in the channel in preparation to enter the creek on the flood tide.  To get there from Sandy Point take the right hand turn at the “T” and head toward the settlement of Kew, turn right at the small sign to Wade’s Green Plantation and right again at next stop sign.  Then pass Wade’s Plantation on your way to Bellefield Landing.  Park at the dock and walk the shoreline to the north.  At the mouth of Dick Hill Creek, the channel is fairly deep but can be crossed at low tide.  This is a low tide fishery since the fish will enter the creek as the tide rises.

Bottle Creek – Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful flats and creek systems I have ever fished.  It’s so large a group of guys could fish it for a week.  A channel follows the western shore of Bottle Creek for its entire length making it necessary to have kayaks to reach the flats.  Fortunately there are many places to put-in from Major Hill Road south through the settlement of Bottle Creek. It’s an easy paddle from shore, due east for one mile, where you can anchor the kayak and walk for the rest of the day.   Be advised that the northern mouth of Bottle Creek and the eastern cays lie within the boundaries of East Bay Island National Park.

Bottle Creek, south – Once past the settlement of Bottle Creek and before the sharp right hand turn heading to the causeway, you will find an excellent lagoon and shoreline to fish.  Park the car at the top of the hill and find the rough road/trail to the water.  Pass through the mangroves and out into a small lagoon.  The best fishing is in the larger lagoon to the right.

Bottom of Hill Bay – After the sharp right hand turn south of Bottle Creek settlement, the road heads down hill toward the causeway.  As it flattens out there is a large mangrove creek on the left and a view of open water.  This is a small but excellent bay that connects to Bottle Creek.  To get there continue to drive toward the causeway and just as the road straightens you will see a small canal on the north.  Park here and walk up the left (west) side until you reach the bay.  Once you reach the point, fish to the west, toward the mangroves.

Causeway  – If you have fishing in your blood, it’s impossible to cross the causeway to Middle Caicos without scanning the water for fish.  There are flats both north and south of the causeway where you can often see fish tailing and feeding. If you park on either the west or east ends of the causeway there is a full days fishing to the south. Be aware of the Nature Reserve boundary located approximately one mile south.  On the northeast corner of the causeway is a dirt road ending at a boat launch.  This is an excellent place to put in kayaks to paddle north and fish toward the large ocean opening known as Crossing Place Channel.

Lorimers, Middle Caicos – There is a massive creek system on Middle Caicos that can be effectively fished by launching a kayak at Lorimers.  It is five miles long, has great tidal flow in its southern section and could be as good as Bottle Creek.  It can also be reached by turning left on the dirt road just before the “Welcome To Lorimers” sign then follow it until you reach the small roundabout.  Take the road to the right and follow it through the deserted real estate development, parking at the end.  Continue walking for .5 mile until reaching the canal, connecting the ocean and creek system.  From here either walk or kayak up the creek or fish the ocean flats out front.

What to Bring

The easily accessible DIY flats on the south shore of Middle Caicos receive pressure and the fish can be spooky, so fly anglers here should plan on using 12- to 14-foot leaders with flourocarbon tippets and smaller sized flies. As for specific patterns, there are no secret flies here. For the in-close, spooky fish, bring light flies that don’t “plop” when they hit. Flies with rubber legs to add a little movement are a good bet. The key here on spooky fish is to use short strips only to get their attention, then let your fly sit until they pick it up. Don’t make long or fast strips. One fast or unexpected movement of your fly may be all it takes to make your intended quarry disappear. Traditional bonefish flies like Gotcha’s and Charlie’s work well, color to match the bottom and weight to match the depth. I usually tie half of my Gotcha’s with rubber legs to add movement. Not everyone is a fly fishermen, of course. Here are some suggestions on spin tackle to bring along on a trip to TCI:

Bonefish: Your rod will need to be multi-piece, of course, because of airline restrictions. A lot of modern spinning rods come in three sections, some in four. Assembled rods ought to be seven feet minimum. Depending on fish and lures to be used, consider rods that’ll handle eight- to 12-pound-test line. Reels should have 150-yard minimum line capacity. Nylon mono, fluorocarbon, or braid will work. The go-to original lure for bonefish are Phillips/Gaines Wiggle Jigs. They are still sold, but there are many look-alikes now. Aside from jigs, plastic shrimp imitations by DOA and others are excellent. Depending on what they’re eating, bonefish will also grab small minnow-imitative spoons. As for weight, 1/8-ounce jigs are the standard. Deeper muds and flats call for ¼-pounce lure weight. Bonefish have keen scenting ability. Jigs and various plastics can be tipped with sections of natural bait. Shrimp are the gold standard bait but bonefish like pieces of conch, even clams. Shrimp are normally rigged on a size one or two hook. Pinch off the tail and thread the hook up into the body where the tail was. A small split shot goes on the line just ahead of the hook. Other baits can be rigged as small strips or bits.

Barracuda: If you are going for barracuda on spinning gear, you will need heavier gear than for bonefish. Consider 15- to 20-pound-test line, and a reel that has 200-yard capacity. The rod (again seven feet or more) needs to be medium to medium/heavy to handle 3/8- to one-ounce lures. The most popular lure is green, orange, or red surgical tubing rigged with internal wire, hook, and weight ahead. These are readily available through tackle shops, or via mail order. Barracuda are great fun on plugs, too, ones that swim just beneath the surface. Obviously, wire needed.

Permit, other species: Other usual target species for spin tackle include the various jacks, snappers, and permit. The bonefish rig is fine for dock snappers, but medium-size snappers and jacks and permit are best fished with rods that’ll handle 12- to 15-pound-test line. Reel needs to hold 200 yards of line. Natural bait bits are best for dock snappers, while larger snappers such as the mutton or mangrove, will also eat small lures, typically what you’d throw at bonefish. And, of course, they’ll eat natural bait, too. A live crab hooked at the pointy side shell edge is tops for permit. Hook should be large enough to accommodate the crab without fouling. Permit like live shrimp, too.

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Copied from Predecessor Site DIY Bonefishing

Lay Of The Land

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are a British Overseas Territory, under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands. Located 50 miles southeast to the closest Bahamian Island, Mayaguana, it is approximately 550 miles from Miami. Eight of the 30 islands are inhabited, combining to make a total land area over 200 square miles consisting of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps, surrounded by a continuous coral reef. For almost 700 years, the Taino and Lucayan Indians were the sole residents, settling mainly in Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. Shortly after Columbus arrived in 1492, the Lucayan civilization disappeared leaving the islands sparsely populated for 30 years.  Modern day residents known as “Belongers” are descendants of slaves brought from Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Loyalists after the American Revolution to rake salt ponds, giving birth to an important industry. Sovereignty was passed around for many years starting in 1706 when the French and the Spanish briefly captured TCI, four years later the British reclaimed the islands for Bermuda, with Britain ultimately retaining them, placing them under the Bahamian government umbrella by the end of the century. Attempts to integrate these two communities failed, and after “The Great Bahamas Hurricane” in 1874, the Turks and Caicos Islands became dependencies of British Colony, Jamaica!  When Jamaica won independence in 1962, TCI became a British Colony on its own, which it is today. Tourism, commercial fishing and benefits realized as a zero tax jurisdiction are the primary means to boost a fairly steady economy.  Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766 is found on Grand Turk.

Turks Island Passage also known as the Columbus Passage is a 22 mile wide, 7,000 foot deep channel that separates the Turk Islands and the Caicos, where our focus will be; specifically Providenciales or Provo, North and Middle Caicos. This country of Island’s motto, “Beautiful by Nature,” has a total population of about 40,000 with half residing in Provo, the hub of TCI tourism. Developed in the 1980’s, upscale Provo offers all the modern conveniences, including luxury hotels and villas, a wide variety of restaurants, well supplied grocery stores, shopping and golf.  Named the worlds leading beach four years running is the stunning 12-mile long Grace Bay Beach found on the north shore. The US dollar is the official currency; most hotels, restaurants and taxis accept credit cards, the country code is 649, Banks, ATMs, Internet and cell phone coverage are widely available.  Provo is also home to a modern medical facility, medical and dental clinics and an international airport. Highways serving Providenciales are generally in good shape, but exploring that dirt road you just have to see can get a little rough with major potholes that never seem to get filled in!  Collectively called “The Family Islands,” the farmer in the family is North Caicos 41 square miles of lush beauty, known for tall trees and small farms of corn, cassava, beans and okra. Located 12 miles northeast of Provo and home to 1,400, a 20-minute ferry ride from Provo will get you to the Sandy Point dock where most residents live. Whitby and Bottle Creek are the other two main settlements, with all three towns offering taxi service, car and bike rentals.  Middle Caicos is the most ecologically oriented of the brood and the largest of the Islands, at 48 square miles.  The three settlements, Conch Bar, Bambarra and Lorimers boast a total population of 300.  Limestone cliffs with long sandy beaches are found in the north contrasted by swampland and tidal flats in the south.  Green and ideal for agriculture, Middle Caicos is home to the largest cave network in the Bahamian Archipelago. Both islands have small grocery stores; nurse staffed medical clinics, gas stations, a few casual restaurants, car rentals and accommodation from basic to luxury.  Count on using cash for most transactions outside of Provo.

Where To Fish

Of the 30 islands that make up TCI, I’ve fished and explored Providenciales, North and Middle Caicos.  Take note that at the time of this writing it was illegal to sport fish within the boundaries of any National Park or Nature Reserve in TCI.   Which means that well-known locations like Bonefish Point and Silly Creek on Providenciales are closed to fishing.  Virtually the entire south shore of North & Middle Caicos falls within the boundaries of the North Middle and East Caicos Nature Reserve and are closed to fishing.  Bottle Creek itself is open to fishing but the cays of Bottle Creek are in the East Bay Islands National Park. The boundaries can be found on the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources website at: http://www.environment.tc/Protected-Areas-Division.html

North and Middle Caicos

Sandy Point Ocean Side flat – The ferry lands at Sandy Point and as you enter the cove, you can’t help but wonder if there are bonefish around.  The answer is yes.  Just north of the ferry landing is the community of Sandy Point, surrounded by a beautiful beach, with great walking flats sprinkled throughout.  At times the entire area can be good, just depends on the wind direction.  When calm, fish at low tide starting at the point and make your way northeast, walking the entire shore.  This is an ideal spot to bring the family for a day of water sports.

Parrot Cay Channel – Some caution and understanding of the Nature Reserve is required before fishing this area.  The mangrove system south of the ferry dock is called Dick Hill Creek and is within the boundaries of the Dick Hill Creek and Bellefield Landing Pond Nature Reserve.  The channel and flats on the outside are in Parrot Cay Channel and are outside the reserve.  Fishing the flats here is excellent as the fish stage outside in the channel in preparation to enter the creek on the flood tide.  To get there from Sandy Point take the right hand turn at the “T” and head toward the settlement of Kew, turn right at the small sign to Wade’s Green Plantation and right again at next stop sign.  Then pass Wade’s Plantation on your way to Bellefield Landing.  Park at the dock and walk the shoreline to the north.  At the mouth of Dick Hill Creek, the channel is fairly deep but can be crossed at low tide.  This is a low tide fishery since the fish will enter the creek as the tide rises.

Bottle Creek – Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful flats and creek systems I have ever fished.  It’s so large a group of guys could fish it for a week.  A channel follows the western shore of Bottle Creek for its entire length making it necessary to have kayaks to reach the flats.  Fortunately there are many places to put-in from Major Hill Road south through the settlement of Bottle Creek. It’s an easy paddle from shore, due east for one mile, where you can anchor the kayak and walk for the rest of the day.   Be advised that the northern mouth of Bottle Creek and the eastern cays lie within the boundaries of East Bay Island National Park.

Bottle Creek, south – Once past the settlement of Bottle Creek and before the sharp right hand turn heading to the causeway, you will find an excellent lagoon and shoreline to fish.  Park the car at the top of the hill and find the rough road/trail to the water.  Pass through the mangroves and out into a small lagoon.  The best fishing is in the larger lagoon to the right.

Bottom of Hill Bay – After the sharp right hand turn south of Bottle Creek settlement, the road heads down hill toward the causeway.  As it flattens out there is a large mangrove creek on the left and a view of open water.  This is a small but excellent bay that connects to Bottle Creek.  To get there continue to drive toward the causeway and just as the road straightens you will see a small canal on the north.  Park here and walk up the left (west) side until you reach the bay.  Once you reach the point, fish to the west, toward the mangroves.

Causeway  – If you have fishing in your blood, it’s impossible to cross the causeway to Middle Caicos without scanning the water for fish.  There are flats both north and south of the causeway where you can often see fish tailing and feeding. If you park on either the west or east ends of the causeway there is a full days fishing to the south. Be aware of the Nature Reserve boundary located approximately one mile south.  On the northeast corner of the causeway is a dirt road ending at a boat launch.  This is an excellent place to put in kayaks to paddle north and fish toward the large ocean opening known as Crossing Place Channel.

Lorimers, Middle Caicos – There is a massive creek system on Middle Caicos that can be effectively fished by launching a kayak at Lorimers.  It is five miles long, has great tidal flow in its southern section and could be as good as Bottle Creek.  It can also be reached by turning left on the dirt road just before the “Welcome To Lorimers” sign then follow it until you reach the small roundabout.  Take the road to the right and follow it through the deserted real estate development, parking at the end.  Continue walking for .5 mile until reaching the canal, connecting the ocean and creek system.  From here either walk or kayak up the creek or fish the ocean flats out front.

Getting Around

It doesn’t get easier! The Providenciales International Airport is able to handle the largest passenger planes, with major carriers flying daily from Miami, New York, Boston and Dallas.

American Airlines: www.aa.com

US Airways: www.usairways.com

Delta Airlines: www.delta.com

JetBlue: www.jetblue.com

Air Canada: www.aircanada.com

Westjet: www.westjet.com

Bahamas Air: www.bahamasair.com

Most major rental companies are active on Provo and easy to book on-line.  A couple of the local companies are:

Scooter Bob’s: www.provo.net/scooter

Caicos Wheels: http://www.caicoswheels.com

Rental cars are available on North Caicos and will meet you at the ferry.

Pelican Car Rentals: 946-7122

Al’s Rent-A-Car: 331-1947

Taxi service is very good on Provo and plenty of them are available at the airport and Grace Bay.  There are also several taxis on North Caicos if you need to be picked up at the ferry.

TCI Ferry Service departs regularly from the Walkin Marina, Leeward, Provo to Sandy Point, North Caicos.  The 25-minute ferry runs multiple times daily and public holidays.  www.tciferry.com

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