South Caicos, Turks & Caicos Islands
The Islands are composed of two groups of islands: the “Turks islands” (Grand Turk and Salt Cay), and “The Caicos islands” (Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, South Caicos, West Caicos). The groups are separated by the Turk Island Passage, a twenty-two mile wide, 7,000 feet deep channel. Of the forty islands and cays that make up this British colony, only eight are inhabited. The land mass, covering 193 square miles, is surrounded by a continuous coral reef; one of the largest in the world. The deep bodies of water and reefs create the ideal conditions for baitfish, making TCI a bluewater fishing haven. Blue marlin, wahoo, dorado, tuna and more ply these waters in their respective seasons.
Grand Turk, the capital, is the seat of government, and a scuba divers paradise, but this is not the main tourist island, and there is no good flats fishing here, although the bluewater fishing is very good. The architecture is reminiscent of Bermuda, and the town has a quaint colonial feel. The island is seven miles long by 1.5 miles wide, and the interior is laced with large creeks and lakes.
Providenciales, or “Provo” as everyone calls it, is the center of the TCI tourism industry, and in fact, Provo was created from scratch by developers in the 1980s, with Club Med being the first resort in 1981. Grace Bay Beach, a 12-mile long strip of perfect powdery white sand, is the center of resort development. The turquoise waters that lap the shore here rival any in the Caribbean for relaxed swimming, snorkeling, or pretty much any water sport you can name. Setting the idea of fishing aside, this is one of the best destinations in the Caribbean for an overall sand, sea, surf, golf (Provo Golf and Country Club) and tennis vacation for families and couples. It’s a great spot for a romantic getaway too with a variety of upscale accommodations, excellent restaurants, and miles of deserted beaches on nearby cays where you’ll never see another person.
Now toss in the fact that Provo and its neighboring cays are surrounded by bonefish flats, and you’ve got the ideal combination for anglers and non-anglers alike. If you rent a car you can fish all over the island on your own.
Also known as East Harbour, and The Big South, South Caicos is an eight square mile island of coral rock that has seen it all, from being the hideout for infamous pirates, to being part of the thriving turn-of-century salt business, to now being a quiet community of about twelve hundred people who make their living mostly from harvesting conch and lobster. Hurricane Ike devastated this island in Septebmer of 2008, but the islanders are working hard to restore the charming colonial style settlement. Today you will find some of the best scuba diving, blue water fishing, and bonefishing in the TCI’s. The hard white sand flats, ideal for wading, sprawl from Long Cay up to East Caicos hold high numbers of bonefish, and the nearby deep water drop-offs into Columbus Passage means lots of big bones too. All-inclusive bonefishing packages are available with Beyond the Blue Bonefish Charters. They take their anglers to the flats in a 24-foot 425 hp airboat that can literally skim across flats that are barely wet. This is some of the best wade fishing for bonefish anywhere, including Christmas Island or the Seychelles. This is a highly recommended trip. You can reach the island is via boat, or various puddle-jumpers from Provo.
This destination fishery is very “under-the-radar” and has some of the world’s finest bonefishing. Some have likened it to a Zane Grey destination… very remote and untapped. This fishing is all classic wade fishing for bonefish on white sand flats. The outfitter, Beyond the Blue, has solved the problem of reaching the interior of these extensive flats… they utilize air boats that can run in inches of water, or even wet, exposed sand. This allows them to place anglers in prime areas that would take precious fishing time away to reach on foot. And to add, there currently is no other outfitter/lodge operating in this area.
Next, the lodging is an apartment-like setup with a full service staff and cook. The rooms are setup as double occupancy (w/ private bath) and the boat dock is right in front of the complex. This is a full package program that includes all meals/beverages, ground transportation, fishing licenses, and guide/boat.
South Caicos is at the southernmost end of the Bahamas, east of the Inagua Islands, and part of the Turks and Caicos Island chain.
Location (21° 29′ 15″ N, 71° 31′ 38″ W)
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