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The Maldives is the fishing capital for many. Marlin, tuna, sailfish, gilthead, barracuda and many other fish are caught here.

The underwater world of the Indian Ocean is rich and varied: what you need to know about fishing in the Maldives if you want to return with your catch?

Book hotels in the Maldives and go fishing!

Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

What kind of fish is caught in the Maldives

The Maldives consists of 26 atolls, and those, in turn, consist of almost 1200 coral islets. For a long time, the inhabitants of the archipelago survived thanks to fishing, because in the Maldives practically nothing grows except coconuts. The generous Indian Ocean is home to over 1,100 species of fish, from small reef fish to huge tuna. If you fish near the shore, you can catch colorful exotic fish. And fishing excursions deep into the ocean help to return with real trophies.

The fishing industry dominates the Maldives. Mainly tuna is caught. Until the 90s, when tourism came to the Maldives, it was fishing that was the main source of income. And now it is bread for 20% of the population. In the Maldives, there is a commercial fishing company that controls the processing and export of tuna, and also provides vessels for fishing.

Most often, amateur fishermen catch yellowfin tuna, barracuda, sea bass, wahoo, sailfish, some types of sharks, blue and black marlin, swordfish and other inhabitants of the underwater world.


Best time to go fishing Maldives

Many tourists come to the Maldives every year for sporting trophy fishing. Many people just want to go fishing for fun. There are two seasons in the Maldives: summer and winter. They differ in weather conditions: currents, visibility, temperature change. The best time for fishing is the dry season, from November to March. At this time, the ocean is calm and the sea is not stormy. In October, a lot of plankton appears, and then even large fish swim very close to the shore. Although now, due to global warming, it is becoming increasingly difficult to accurately determine the time of a successful fishing.

They fish in the Maldives all year round: it all depends on who the fishermen plan to catch in their nets.

  • In January-April, the northeastern monsoon comes and on the eastern atolls the water becomes more transparent: visibility is 30 m. Stronger currents come in February, but the sea surface is calm, and the temperature is more than + 30 °. Tuna is best caught from October to March. The sea is calm until March-April, and then the weather changes. A lot of plankton appears.
  • The southwest monsoon comes from May to November. Excellent visibility, but the water temperature drops slightly. It is best to fish on the eastern side of the atolls, at a distance of 10-20 km from the islands. However, the weather conditions are unpredictable: the sun is quickly replaced by rain and vice versa. This is the wettest period in the Maldives.

Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives

Fishing in the Maldives by months

  • January, February is the height of the dry season and the ideal time to hunt yellowfin tuna.
  • In March, it's time to barracuda and sailfish.
  • April is the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season.
  • May is suitable for catching barracuda. But big fish is more difficult to catch.
  • June - fishing on the reefs on the giant carax. Fish are caught with poppers and jig baits.
  • July is the time of heavy storms. Fishermen are only offered safe fishing on the reef.
  • August, September. If you're lucky, you can catch tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo.
  • October ends the rainy season. At this time, it is better to catch mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, barracuda.
  • November and December are ideal months to catch a marlin and take a photo with it.

Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Types of fishing in the Maldives

Fishing in the Maldives is varied. Here you can fish with spinning, you can go trolling, hunt sailfish, use poppers and sliders to catch a giant carapace. Fly fishing enthusiasts will give their souls: tours are arranged for them in shallow water, where there is a lot of albula.

  • Fishing from a boat in the Maldives. Small traditional boats are perfect for morning and evening fishing near the coastal zone. This is the most accessible type of fishing: rather, a group excursion, provided by the hotel. Suitable for those who want to fish, but, at the same time, are too lazy to spend the whole day fishing. Ideal for non-professional fishermen and anyone who wants to diversify their leisure time. Such fishing is easy to order at any hotel. But at the same time, you should not count on a large catch: as a rule, small fish are caught. From the tackle, use a fishing line, weight, a hook with bait from fish and squid.
  • Night fishing is popular. It is often chosen by travelers, so night fishing is often called "women's". After all, there is so much romance on a night expedition! It's not just about catching nocturnal predators such as the emperor, barracuda or grouper. There are even sharks and moray eels that go fishing at night. It is difficult to get large fish out of the water at night. In any case, the crew will come to your aid. The fish will be prepared by local chefs. But everything that they could not eat, let go into the ocean.
  • Deep Sea Fishing or Big Game Fishing. Fishing will melt the heart of any. Deep sea trolling from an equipped vessel is why professionals go to the Maldives. It is possible to catch a large marine predator. Of course, this activity is for more experienced professional anglers. Such fishing is not cheap. A good trolling boat is not easy to find: not all hotels have one. The boat must be specially equipped for trolling. It goes far into the Indian Ocean. Check the possibility of deep-sea fishing immediately when booking a hotel. They catch sailfish, wahoo, swordfish, barracuda, black marlin, hammerhead, yellowfin tuna and other predators. The best option is to go fishing in the early morning. Fishing takes place outside the atoll.
  • Spinning. You can try your luck with large marine predators on a popper or a surface wobbler. A boat on the outside of the reefs is sufficient for this. They use powerful heavy tackle that can handle large fish. This justifies itself: large predators are often caught, for example, the giant carapace.
  • Fly fishing. This is fishing in shallow waters, only allowed on uninhabited islands: such fishing is taboo on the coastal territory of hotels. Therefore, it is necessary to order a boat that will take you to a desert island. Some hotels provide such services to their guests, you need to pay for the rental of the boat. Each hotel has its own cost. It is best to bring equipment and tackle for this type of fishing with you or immediately check with the hotel the possibility of renting.
  • Fishing for tuna. The tuna catch is the main fishery in the Maldives. It is caught for export. The most common way of fishing is longline fishing, 90% of fish are caught this way. To do this, use bamboo or plastic rods. Small forage fish or bait serves as bait. So they get fish weighing up to 20 kg.

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Fishing types

  • Casting fishing with poppers and sliders. This method is used to catch a giant carapace. Its average weight is 20 kg, but there are individuals under 40 kg.
  • Vertical fishing on the jig. Get ready for a fierce m fighting with yellowfin tuna. The average weight of such predators is 10-40 kg.
  • Predators swim to the edge of the reef because they are attracted by the small fish that live along the edge. For example, a sailboat, marlin, barracuda, tuna may appear . You can catch several fish with an average weight of 30-50 kg!      

Kuredu Resort & Spa
Kuredu Resort & Spa


Maldives use unusual baits. For example, marlin is caught with wooden spoons imitating the flight of a fish. To make the bait really attract a predator, a towing technique is used. Multi-colored, realistic lures in the form of small fish or shellfish have also become popular. Artificial bait is used when the fish is not visible. But if the fish has already shown itself, it is better to use live bait. Fish bite on natural food for it, for example, mackerel or horse mackerel. Therefore, the main thing is to find the fish itself in order to attract it with a treat. By the way, many boats are equipped with echo sounders, so finding fishing spots is not difficult. It is worth throwing an edible bait on the fish and you can assume that the catch is already in the boat. For predators like sailboat, marlin or swordfish, squid is thrown as bait.

Equipment and boats in the Maldives

Everything you need for fishing is easy to rent in the Maldives. It is not obligatory to take fishing equipment with you to exotic islands, unless you have exclusive tackle.

  • It is better to use not trolling, but sea spinning: this way fishing will be more productive. The main thing is to toss the bait so that it is right in front of the fish.
  • For fishing, the Maldives offers modern speed boats. They have powerful motors that help to quickly pick up speed, as well as quickly extinguish it. As we mentioned, modern boats use echo sounders. When a marlin, sailfish, swordfish or other noteworthy specimen appears nearby, the captain of the ship will inform you about it.
  • On the central racks and on the sides, 5-7 rods are installed. They are thrown in different directions along the course of the vessel in order to completely cover the entire movement area of ​​the boat. H and the board have safety belts for rods. The equipment is suitable for fishing up to 150 kg.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa
Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Fish handling rules

To prevent the tackle from being lost in the Indian Ocean, it is worth remembering simple rules. Fish in the ocean are strong and will easily win back the rod. She can simply snatch fishing equipment out of her hands. Therefore, you need to hold the coil loosely, only slightly holding it. This will allow the fish to swim for a few seconds with the bait in its mouth. And as soon as the speed of the predator increases, the fish needs to be hooked. Swordfish don't give up. As soon as the marlin realizes that the matter is unclean, he begins to rush from side to side at great speed. A sailfish makes amazing dances for life on the crest of a wave, swinging a huge fin. Therefore, many are more interested in the process of fishing itself than catching fish. As a rule, fish that are armed with a "sword" are immediately released. When fishing, barbless hooks are used so as not to injure the fish. And if the bait touches it, the fish is raised to inspect the damage.

And by the way: everything that cannot be eaten at dinner must be released back into the ocean.


Fishing spots in the Maldives

  • Starting point of a fishing adventure. The capital of the Maldives, Male, is the most accessible atoll. Fish can be caught in the surrounding waters or travel to nearby less populated islands.
  • It is the easternmost inhabited island in the Maldives. You can stay in one of the resorts on the island or simply come here for a day fishing by ferry from Male. Night fishing, sea fishing for big fish and coastal fishing: everything is available on the island.
  • If you're looking for a budget option, try Keyodhoo Island. It is a small fishing village where most of the locals make their living by fishing. There are inexpensive guesthouses and fishermen's houses for guests. Local captains are happy to take tourists on a fishing trip both to the reef and to the sea.
  • A great option for budget anglers. As with most of the island , there are beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and great fishing. Stop at a fishing lodge or one of the guesthouses and spend a few days looking for big fish and fishing and on the reefs.

Maldives fish records

  • Black marlin - 707.61 kg
  • Atlantic marlin - 581.51 kg
  • Pacific marlin - 624.14 kg
  • Pacific sailboat - 100.24 kg
  • Swordfish - 536.15 kg


Fishing rules and prohibitions in the Maldives

The Maldivian authorities have set their own fishing limits.

  • You cannot fish in the coastal area and near corals.
  • Fishing is prohibited in nature reserves.
  • Do not use traumatic hooks and harpoons for fishing, as well as tackle that can injure the caught fish.
  • Fishing in the Maldives has a sporty and trophy character. The caught fish should be released, and only such a catch that you can eat at dinner should be left for yourself.
  • Spearfishing is prohibited, as is the use of power grids, explosives and poisonous substances.
  • Catching dolphins and whale sharks is prohibited.
  • It is forbidden to use nets for catching fry, as well as reef fish in the lagoons of local islands.
  • Fishing in the lagoon is allowed only with the permission of the hotel administration itself.
  • If the distance from the beach to the edge of the reef on a local island is more than 1000 km, then fishing is allowed at a distance of 700 m from the edge of the reef.
  • Fishing is permitted on reefs that are not part of an inhabited island or hotel. It is forbidden to fish less than 200 m from the coral reefs. The fine is $ 5,000.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Fishing tips

  • It is best not to use expensive baits, because the catch can spoil them with its powerful jaws. Also, the bait can easily catch on to the coral.
  • There are charter fishing tours in the Maldives. Fishing enthusiasts from Male are taken to other atolls, where their vacation will be associated with fishing.
  • The most accessible for fishing is Male Atoll.
  • Keep in mind that the Indian Ocean can surprise with waves even in calm weather. And during strong waves, it is not advised to go out into the open ocean.
  • Don't forget your motion sickness medication if you're having trouble rolling.
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives

Fishing cost in Maldives

  • Traditional Maldivian fishing on a dhoni boat costs about $ 15 per person. These are group excursions and take 10-12 tourists on board. And the time spent at sea is 2-3 hours.
  • To go fishing for large fish, you will need special tackle and a boat. For 4 hours of fishing, you will have to pay $ 300, for 6 hours - at least $ 500. It is optimal to divide this boat rental fee among several people.
  • The cost of morning fishing is about $ 45 per person, the minimum group is 5 people. They go to the ocean before sunrise to catch big fish. All the necessary gear is supplied on site.
  • Night fishing on a dhoni boat will give you the opportunity to watch the sunset in the Indian Ocean, and prepare a barbecue from the caught fish. Night fishing is $ 25 per person and the minimum group is 8 people.
  • Fishing for large, non-industrial fish lasts 4 hours. Two people are enough. They go fishing early in the morning, you can catch blue and black marlin, wahoo, barracuda, yellowfin tuna, hammerhead fish and other inhabitants of the ocean. Cost - from $ 70 per person.

Fishing in the Maldives is varied, as the Indian Ocean is full of life. Each angler will win his trophy and get the most vivid impressions of the time spent on the paradise islands.

Book a villa in a hotel you like and feel free to plan at least one day for fishing. Vivid impressions are guaranteed!

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi


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