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.
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Table of Contents
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.
- By the way, you can catch them at any Indian Ocean resort, not just in the Maldives. For example, in Zanzibar, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. Here is a useful article that compares the Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar, and the Maldives to help you decide which resort is best for your vacation.
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.
- An interesting article about the underwater world in the Maldives and who you can encounter while snorkeling and diving.
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.
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.
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.
Important: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.
- Read about other Maldivian activities in the article: Excursions in the Maldives.
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.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives
- Flight tickets and the best deals
- Hotels and guesthouses on any island: Booking
- Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
- Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual SIM card with internet package at the same price as in telecom store in Male