If fishing in the Maldives is your dream, or even a goal, and you want to catch something other than perch or pike, then the Maldives is the perfect place for it. I’ll tell you how to fish, where to fish, where to cook your catch, and much more useful information that will give you a complete picture.

It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Maldives without these websites

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Flight tickets

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eSIM internet

maldives top hotels

Fish in the Maldives: general information

The waters around the Maldives are very rich in fish. To give you an idea of how much, here are a few facts:

  • Fishing and exporting fish and fish products is the country’s most profitable industry after tourism.
  • Tourism and fishing account for over 60% of the country’s GDP, with all other industries not even coming close in terms of employment and income generated for the country.
  • The main commercial fish in the Maldives is tuna. It is caught everywhere and by everyone. Tuna is the main exported fish and the main ingredient in the national cuisine. To give you an idea, tuna is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is used to make soups, main dishes, and even desserts. It is also dried, smoked, and canned.
    • Tuna is king here!
  • In addition to tuna, there are also around 4-5 other commercial fish. Some of them are of interest to tourists as trophies – such as marlin and sailfish.
fishing in the Maldives what you can catch
Here’s my usual fishing trip in the Maldives. This is a catch for 2 people in 2-3 hours. This is a standard catch.

There are also typical ocean and local species of fish, such as grouper, sea bass, barracuda, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and a vast amount of reef fish that can be found on any island’s reef, with good examples weighing several kilograms.

In summary:

There are many fish in the Maldives, and huge specimens can be found right in the harbor of any island. Local residents who are not involved in tourism also enjoy fishing.

Fishing in the Maldives: species, features, prices

Fishing in the Maldives is represented by three main types. I’ll tell you about each one, where to find it, how much it costs, and what you need for it.

  • Big game or Big game fishing is deep-sea fishing in the open ocean on a prepared boat, with a team and professional gear. This type of fishing is not for beginners.
    • The main goal of such fishing is large specimens (50-70 kg and above) of marlin, sharks, and sailfish.
    • You can find this type of fishing in any excursion agency, diving center, or simply in the harbor of any island.
    • Prices vary depending on the boat, gear, atoll, season, and so on. But the standard price for a full day is $1000.
    • You and your family will be the only ones on the boat/yacht. This is a completely private activity.

And now I’ll tell you about fishing that is accessible to enthusiasts and beginners like us.

  • Fishing in the Maldives with a regular fishing rod or spinning reel. It can be done from the shore or from a boat. There are many options. From the shore, it’s free, but the main thing is to find a place where the depth begins immediately, usually to the left or right of any island’s harbor.
  • Night fishing. It’s only possible to do this on a boat for a fee. Usually, after sunset, 5-10 people are taken to one of the outer reefs and mostly fish with a simple fishing line and bait. They lower it to a depth of 20 meters and pull it up and down. But sometimes they also catch using a regular spinning reel. Barracuda are particularly active at night. Learn more about the Maldives at night.
fishing in the Maldives
Here’s me catching a sailfish while big game fishing. This actually happened in Zanzibar, but it’s all the same waters as the Maldives. I’m the one on the right. The weight of the fish was just under 80kg.

All about paid fishing for beginners/amateurs:

It’s simple to find this type of fishing at any diving center. Here are the main points you need to know about it:

  • Usually lasts for two hours.
  • All equipment, bait, and anything else needed is provided.
  • If using a spinning rod, there will be three to four people on the boat.
  • If simply dropping a line with weights and hooks to the bottom, there may be ten to twelve people. This type of fishing is cheaper.
  • Programs vary, with some including lunch and barbecue, while others do not.
  • The standard price for this activity is $20-$50. Snacks and lunch are often included for $40-$50.

Good to know:

You can take all the fish you catch. The question is what you’ll do with it, but you’re allowed to take it. The problem in the Maldives is that there’s an abundance of fish, and it’s almost impossible to come back from a fishing trip empty-handed. I’ve been fishing more than 10 times, and we’ve always caught dozens of kilograms of fish in just a couple of hours.
fishing in the Maldives price
On a night fishing trip in the Maldives, these pencils (barracudas) are biting on the spinning reel. Literally, you’ll get 3 bites in just 10 casts.

What to do with your catch or where to cook fish

Now, here’s the interesting part. Let me outline the steps and what you need to know. You will be given the fish you catch, but what’s next?

  • In your room, the maximum you’ll have is a refrigerator for drinks that only chills, but does not freeze. A refrigerator with a freezer is extremely rare. Learn about the features of Maldivian accommodation and rooms in hotels and guesthouses.
  • In 99% of cases, there is no kitchen in Maldivian accommodation! You won’t be able to cook the fish yourself.
  • Often, there are barbecues on the islands near the beach. You can ask for charcoal at the store. If it’s not available in the store, ask at any restaurant/cafe, they will definitely have some. Learn about the stores in the Maldives.
  • If you don’t plan to cook the fish on the grill yourself, there is only one option left for you: to make arrangements with any restaurant in advance.
  • Come to any restaurant before fishing, the smaller the better, as large ones may refuse, tell them you’re going fishing, and if you catch anything, ask if they can cook it. Promise to buy drinks and a side dish from them.
  • The language of communication is English, which most people know to some extent. To guarantee a positive attitude towards you from the locals, learn a few words in Maldivian. Learn about the language in the Maldives for tourists.
  • Usually, if grilled fish in the Maldives is on the menu for $10-15, they will cook your catch for $5, and you will additionally pay for the side dish. The savings are not significant, but the concept that it is fresh fish caught by you is not about money. Those who worry about every dollar do not go to the Maldives.
fishing in the Maldives catch
And here is the catch from the latest fishing trip in the Maldives, which took us far away from the island for the entire day. There’s no less than 3kg of fish.


First, find a grill, charcoal, or make arrangements with a restaurant, and only then go fishing in the Maldives. That’s the right order.

Remember, your catch will most likely be much more than you can eat. Take two fish that they will cook for you for dinner, and leave the rest to the boat owner. As you can see from the photos in this article, the catch is always plentiful.

what fish can i catch in the maldives
Usually, my wife and I take two fish of this size from fishing in the Maldives, and they cook it for us in a small restaurant. Here’s what it looks like.
fish species maldives
Fishing in the Maldives is all about catching tuna like this. And they almost never use nets here, only fishing rods.

In conclusion, fishing in the Maldives is a very exciting activity, even for those who don’t like it. Where else can you catch a couple of kilos of tuna in just two hours? And if your dream is a 150kg sailfish, then the Maldivian waters won’t disappoint you. The marlin and sailfish season in these waters is in the winter months: December-February.

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions: Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.