Great Catch!Trolling

Trolling a line behind a yacht while sailing the virgin islands can be very productive. Rigged ballyhoo with or without plastic skirts always seems to be a good choice. Feather jigs in either a blue and white or green and yellow color seem to work well. Silver spoons have their place too. Bibbed lures like rapala’s work well on days when the wind has you sailing along at a slow pace.

Locations and speed as well as current weather conditions have a large impact on what type of fish are caught.

Trolling at slow speeds (2 or 3 knots) around headlands close to the rocky outcrops could bag you mackerel, jacks, larger yellow tail snapper and barracuda.

Look at your charts or ask your charter captain to take you over bottom features like tow rock, or if you are sailing back from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke, go over the wreck of the Chikuzen, or maybe past the pinnacles off Brewers Bay. Any type of bottom structure is worth trolling over. Remember 99% of the fish are in 1% of the ocean!

Out in the open water, out of the channel, larger game fish are more likely. In the open water a higher trolling speed is recommended. Somewhere between 5 and 7 knots. Trolling on the way to Anegada can score you Mackerel, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi.

Tarpon Fishing!



For the more adventurous, you could head out to either the South Drop or North Drop for Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, Sailfish and Marlin.

When the weather conditions get up, there always seems to be a better chance of snagging larger fish in the channel.

During bad weather, I have had Mahi Mahi as far in as around the Indians / Pelican island area. Black fin Tuna inside of Peter island. Wahoo between St John and West End.

Bonito tuna are always around and will take small feathers or chrome slugs that are the same size as silversides, and that are moving at high-speed, skipping the surface. You can always locate the schools by the bird activity.
Popular places are north and west of Guana island or just outside Steele point heading towards Jost.

Be prepared when you go to the islands. For trolling, especially from a sail boat while actually sailing, you will need heavy gear. At least 35 pounds.

While sailing you cannot always stop the boat straight away. If you hook a large fish you will need gear heavy enough that you can actually tow the fish along while you are attempting to slow the boat down.
If you are motoring then it’s not a big deal as you can simply stop at any time. We would often troll 15 pound gear while motoring.

Take a selection of lures, hooks, trace wire and ball bearing swivels with you. Do get ball bearing ones for trolling. They are much more expensive than the regular swivels, however they still work while under load. While trolling, the lure or bait is constantly pulling on the swivel, regular ones will not turn, this means that if your lure is spinning it will put hundreds if not thousands of twists in your line.

You will not notice this at first while still trolling, but the moment you go to reel in your line and any slack is placed on the line, it will twist up badly.

If you do get twisted line, to get the twists out just carefully reel in all the twisted line, being very cautious to not let the line get any slack while its going on the reel.

When it’s fully wound in cut of any gear you have on the end and then, slowly let the bare line back out again while still sailing, making sure to not any twisted up patches of line go overboard.

Let out a bit more line than you had out when it got twisted. With nothing on the end of the line and the water moving along the line, the twists will all remove themselves in a couple of minutes.


Fishing Charters.

Fishing license requirements in the Virgin Islands

Our page on bottom fishing in the Virgin Islands.

Our page on tarpon fishing in the Virgin Islands.

Eating your fish in the Virgin Islands.

List of ciguatera risk fish in the Virgin Islands.

If you have any interest in either chartering a yacht and doing some fishing or going on a serious fishing charter then please use our experience to your advantage.


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