April 20, 2012
Once a guarded secret, known only to drug smugglers and pirates, The Turks and Caicos long remained out of reach of all but the most hardcore fishermen.
No longer. Providenciales, or Provo as it's known amongst locals, is the Island's main hub. Charters departing from the main marina, Turtle Cove, reach top fishing spots within 15 minutes, where depths plunge from 50 feet to 7500 feet in a matter of moments.
A bit of a local speciality, ‘Da Bones'—bonefish that inhabit these waters year-round, are easier to tail in the winter, when the fatter ones (up to 13 pounds) seem to make more of an appearance.
From winter through spring, while the temperature is cooler, that'll raise your chances of hooking sailfish and white marlin. Wahoo, tuna (yellow & black fin), and mahi mahi are also regulars.
I caught my 120-pound yellowfin on an afternoon charter in December. Five reels whizzed away at the same time, hooking in to a big school as we battled against the giant mako sharks that were eating away at them one by one. That same day we hooked onto a blue marlin—rare in the winter—no wonder these Islands are becoming more frequently known as one of the top 20 billfishing hotspots in the world.
Mako, tiger and hammerhead sharks follow the humpback whales here as they migrate in winter, but can also be found year-round.
If it's not the sharks munching on your dinner, it's larger wahoo who devour even their own kind. An IGFA official for the island weighed a wahoo's head at 71 pounds after the body had been eaten whole just before it was landed. If the body had still been attached it would've been a world record-breaker at over 200 pounds. It's still a mystery as to who the predator was that day.
Where to stay:
Being a high-end destination, there are ample places to stay boasting 5-star ratings, with prices to blow the budget; but here's a list of a few well-recommended places that'll hopefully cater to most budgets; all situated on the main island of Providenciales.
Located across the road from the world famous Grace Bay Beach. Equipped with pool and restaurant.
Grace Bay Club
Perched on 11 acres of immaculate beachfront, the Grace Bay Club was the first luxury, all-suite hotel in Turks & Caicos. Amenities include ocean front dining, spa, leisure and tennis facilities.
The Regent Palms Hotel
Steps from Grace Bay Beach, The Palms' world-class amenities include a 25,000 square foot spa and two signature restaurants.
Turtle Watch B&B
Turtle Watch Cottage and Guest House are conveniently located on the canal at Turtle Cove; minutes walk to the beach, Turtle Cove Marina and several restaurants.
1-hour flights from Miami International Airport (3 flights daily)
2.5-hour flights from New York JFK Airport (1 flight daily)
Delta 6-times a week service from Atlanta
US Airways offers daily flights from Charlotte, and will add a second daily flight from hat city in February. Direct flights are also available from Boston and Philadelphia on Saturdays and Sundays.
Air Canada has direct flights from Toronto on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and from Montreal on Thursdays.
The two largest marinas are:
Caicos Marina & Shipyard
Their fixed dock accommodates any length boat, while their floating boat slips are for boats up to 30'. Also offers: engine sales and servicing/repairs/maintenance/boat storage.
Turtle Cove Marina
100 Boat Slips - 65 of which are deep-water slips
Can accommodate boat size of up to 145 ft max with 7.5 ft draft
More centrally located than Caicos marina, making it a more popular choice for its atmosphere and proximity to bars and restaurants.