Fly Fishing St. Croix - The Caribbean's Hidden Gem
Three Things I Love About Fly Fishing St. Croix – By Andres Gil
When most fly fishing anglers talk about fishing the Caribbean, they’re likely to bring up the Bahamas, Belize or the Florida Keys. But what if I told you there is another unique fishery, located in the US Virgin Islands – the island of St. Croix. The largest of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix is the lesser-known sister island to St. Thomas & St. John. I’ve had the pleasure of fishing there several times and it has quickly become one of my favorite inshore fishing destinations! Here are my top 3 reasons why:
St. Croix is one of the few places in the Caribbean where you have a real chance to complete an IGFA Inshore Slam as the US territory is home to Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Snook and Cubera. The list doesn’t stop there though as Crevalle, Barracuda, Mutton Snapper, Grouper, Jacks, Lemon Sharks, Trunkfish and even Pelagics can be caught on any given day. The reason for such a breadth of species stems from the fact that St. Croix has a wide range of different habitats from Grass Flats and Deepwater Cliffs to Mangrove Lagoons and Coral Reefs. You can truly spend a lifetime visiting the island and there will still be new species to catch and habitats to explore!
2. Lack of Pressure
Flying into St. Croix, you quickly realize the Island is much different from most West Indian islands as many of its hillsides and beaches remain untouched by development. The same can be said about its inshore fishery. While there is a healthy commercial fishing industry on St. Croix, there are very few recreational fishermen and even fewer fly fishermen. As such, St. Croix is truly one of the least pressured inshore fisheries in the United States. Most of these fish have never seen a fly, so even the weariest of bonefish and permit are much more forgiving here than their Bahamian or Floridian cousins which get year-round pressure. Additionally recent regulations have greatly reduced Bonefish & Tarpon mortality, meaning that the gamefish on St. Croix often grow quite large, with Bonefish averaging nearly 5lbs per fish. And while fishing here will still test you to make that perfect cast and presentation, St. Croix is a place where both novices and veterans can find success— especially when you hire a local guide to give you the inside scoop!
3. U.S. Territory
The final reason why St. Croix is one of my favorite saltwater destinations is because it is still in the United States. This means you don’t have to worry about renewing a passport, getting a travel visa, navigating customs at the airport, or having to get an international phone plan. It’s as easy as booking a flight and getting on the plane. With non-stop flights from South Florida, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Puerto Rico, you can often find great deals for a fraction of the cost of more exotic destinations.
If you or someone you know is looking for a memorable saltwater fly fishing experience, St. Croix is a must! Whether it’s a screaming bonefish, a high-flying tarpon, or a feisty barracuda, you are sure to have an incredible experience on this hidden gem of an island!
About the Author:
Andres Gil is an avid fly-fisherman who got his start fishing the North Georgia mountains for trophy trout before getting involved in the Striper fishing scene on world famous Lake Lanier. As an advisor to Silver Kings, Andres is passionate about showcasing the fly fishing opportunities on St. Croix and continues to fine tune our line up of fly fishing gear and flies.