Fish Tales: Deep Sea Fishing in San Juan

Update Dec. 1st, 2017- Post Maria- They are going out fishing!

Blue Marlin

The water around Puerto Rico is deep, rich, and full of some of the world’s best big game fishing. The Puerto Rico trench runs just beyond the north shore of the island. In this deep water swim loads of big fish, such as mahi-mahi , wahoo, tuna, white marlin, and blue marlin. If you want to try your luck and see if you can reel in a big one, take a deep sea fishing charter.

Personally, we don’t fish, but some of our guests recently went out deep sea fishing. The following is an overview of their experience, as told over drinks.

After trying Mahi-Mahi for the first time, they thought they would like to try their hand at catching their own.

Planning the Trip

After doing some research on the internet, it appears that the best deep sea fishing is off the San Juan coast, so they decided to go with Mike Benitez Fishing Charters out of the Club Nautico marina just outside of Old San Juan (this company no longer runs tours, but it will give you an idea). They called for reservations and the bi-lingual receptionist took their reservation. There are a number of trips to choose from, including 4-hour and day trips. It seems like as long as you have 2 or more people in your party, you qualify for a split charter, meaning it is charged per person, not for the cost of the whole boat (which holds 6 fishermen).

They decided on the 8:00am – 12:00 noon trip, so they would have the rest of the day to play in San Juan area. They decided to leave our place (in Rio Grande) early, about 6:00am, in order to avoid most of the rush-hour traffic. It took them about 1.25 hours to drive to the marina.

The Thrill of the Hunt

They found Club Nautico easily, and they told the guard at the gate that they were going out fishing with Benitez and he let them in. There is free parking right at Club Nautico by the marina.

They went in to the office, did the paperwork and away they went. On time – very impressive!


The boat was nice and large, about 45 feet. It had a nice air conditioned carpeted inside cabin and bathroom. That should make it comfortable for rough deep sea waters. They take out a maximum of 6 passengers for the trips, so there is plenty of room.

Soon after leaving the harbor, the mate started setting up all the equipment. They supply everything, the poles and bait, and they do all the work. All you have to do is man your pole and have a great time hanging around telling fish stories! This is deep sea fishing – the boat trolls slowly the whole time. Our friends thought it was rough seas, but the captain assured them it was not that bad – only 4 foot swells. Sometimes it can be 8 foot swells! If you are at all prone to sea-sickness, take precautions ahead of time!

There was a cooler full of water and cold sodas for everyone’s enjoyment, and to keep you refreshed. About halfway through, they changed lures, to see if new bait would attract anything. Unfortunately on this trip, Lady Luck was not with anyone on the boat. But it still was an enjoyable trip.

The rate for the Half Day Charter is around $600.00. The rate for the Full Day Charter is $900.00. There are usually Split Charter available. Rates usually include the captain, mate, fishing equipment, bait, and a cooler stocked with soft drinks and bottled water. Charters may be booked on a full boat or on an individual/share basis.

The Half Day Charters are about 4 hours, and depart at around 7- 8:00am and again in pm around 1:00pm. The Full Day Charters are 7-8 hours

Other Options

Here is some info on other fishing charters available in the San Juan area

  • Extreme Fishing Puerto Rico – 787-528-0715 or email:
  • Caribbean Outfitters – Captain Omar Orraca 787.396.8346 Facebook page
  • Puerto Rico Angling – 787.724.2079, 787.234.8849 or 787.209.6926 –
  • Castillo Tours – 787-791-6195 –
  • If you want to leave out of Fajardo, look up

    There are also trips for light-tackle fly-fishing that go after Tarpon and snook in the Puerto Rican back country lagoons. These trips are perfect for fisherman who can’t take the rough open water of deep sea fishing. These are smaller boats, so there is usually a maximum of 3 fishermen on board, and the trips are usually less expensive than deep sea.

    For light-tackle trips from San Juan area contact

    We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ... assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

    Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

    There are 6 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

    Thanks- I added you to the page!

    Comment by Gwenn on 22 Jan 2017

    Hello Gwen !! Great work and to let you know that we are here in San Juan as well. We are Go Tarpon PR we do light Tackle fishing charters for Tarpon, Snooks, Jacks & more in San Jose And Torrecilla Lagoons. For more information you could visit or call 787-376-1697. More than happy to help. Thanks

    Comment by Capt. Rafael Vega on 19 Jan 2017

    Hi, great review on fishing in puerto rico! Good job Gwenn! I would like to add our Backwater Tarpon Fishing company to your list! My name is Capt. Felix Cuadrado and we run a tarpon fishing charter in San Juan Bay. We have multiple boats and vast experience! I invite you to come try us out! You can see our website at or call 787-415-3030

    Comment by Felix Cuadrado on 19 May 2016

    Well, technically you need a permit to fish in PR. But I don't think it is really enforced. For tourists I don't think it is a big deal, but since you live here now, you may want to look into it.,%202008/127%20presentaciones/PR%20Fishing%20Regs%20-%20good%20one.pdf

    Comment by Gwenn on 10 Oct 2015

    Hello, thanks for the tips about fishing in San Juan. But I always wonder about fishing from shores. I just recently moved in Old San Juan and I love eating fish! But I never see anybody fishing from the shore.. is it against the law to fish like that? I know Walmart sells fishing equipment for reasonable price, and I would love to try fishing by my own from the shore. If you hear anything about it, let me know!

    Comment by H.M on 09 Oct 2015

    I'm a fly fisherman at heart, but I like to keep an eye on what my fellow brethren get up to in other areas of our sport. I've never been deep sea fishing before but my wife & I along with a couple of friends are spending a week in San Juan this summer. Your article made the whole experience sound so great we've decided to contact Mike Benitez to book a trip - should I mention your site? Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Ray on 01 May 2008

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