Dominica Living - Fishing Dominica - Red Snapper & Grouper
  Fishing Dominica

Red Snapper
& Grouper




Above, Tony and friend Monason, display the largest of a good day's catch from nearly 300 lbs of snapper and, two large grouper, one that weighed nearly 100 pounds.

Fishing for this variety of red snapper and grouper on Dominica is a challenging experience.  These fish frequent depths between 500-1000 feet and are most often caught between 800-1000 feet.


As with tuna and marlin, local fishermen use only hand lines in pursuit of these deep dwelling fish.  The line rigging is not complex.  At the very bottom of the main line a sinker weight is attached, perhaps a piece of 5/8 rebar a foot in length.  It is attached by a very light piece of string.  This way, if the weight gets snagged on rocks, the fisherman can give a good tug, leaving the sinker behind and saving the line.  Above the weight 10 to 20 hooks are tied to 16-24 inch pieces of line. These short lines are then arranged approximately three feet apart along the main line just above the sinker.  The bulk of the main line is wrapped around a piece of board or other item good for containing a large length of line. 


To start fishing, the weight and hook portion of the line (the bottom 30-40 feet) is unwound and positioned along the gunwale of the boat; several hundred feet of the main line is then unwound onto the water surface as the boat moves forward at slow speed.  This results in the line spreading well behind the boat.


The hooks are then baited with thumb sized pieces of salted bonito tuna.  Next, the weight is dropped into the sea, the baited hooks zipping overboard behind it, the sinker pulling all toward the bottom. 


Finally, a buoy is tied at the top of the line and tossed overboard, allowing the line to drift with the current.  By the time the second line is baited and deployed it is time to pull up the first. 


Hand over hand over hand, mere feet at time, the fisherman pulls the line back into the boat, all of it piling at and on top of his feet. It is a time consuming process, one that wears on the muscles. Then, if  snappers or a grouper have taken the bait, when the hooks are around 400 feet the pressure change from the 900 foot depth affects the fish by blowing its air sack from every orifice causing the fish and the line to float to the top.  The fisherman keeps winding in the line often seeing the fish appear from below with many yards of line yet to be pulledd.... The fish are then removed from the line, the hooks baited, the weight dropped overboard, the line in the bottom of the boat following. When the line is below it is now time for the fisherman to retrieve the other set. The process then repeats itself throughout the day and into the night, nearly non stop.


Those who have done this can say they have seriously fished....  pulling 900+ feet of line, hand over hand,  from sunup to well past sun down.