Region: Turks and Caicos
General Info: Located some 550 miles southeast of Miami and just south of the Bahamas chain, the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. 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).Providenciales or “Provo” is the center of the TCI tourism industry and is surrounded by bonefish flats. Most DIY bonefisherman will concentrate their efforts on the south shore flats of Provo.
“Providenciales, covers an area of 38 miles and is the most developed island in the Turks and Caicos. It is here where most international flights arrive at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS). Surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, Provo has been ranked “Best Beach” by Conde’ Nast magazine and by the World Travel Awards for several years running. Found on the western end of the island chain, Provo offers all modern conveniences, including luxurious hotels, villas and condos, numerous restaurants, spas and shopping facilities, a championship caliber golf course, and full service grocery store. Although Provo is the most developed of the islands, it is still a destination for those who want to escape their busy schedules and relax.” Turks and Caicos official tourism web site
TCI can be expensive but there are some good values to be found if you hunt around the internet. Overall TCI provides the best opportunity for a combination DIY bonefish trip and fun for the spouse/family.
Fishing Areas: The majority of DIY bonefishing on TCI is located on the south shore of Provo. A convenient place to stay is at the Harbour Club Villa’s where you can fish for bonefish right out your back door in Flamingo Lake and close by in Turtle Lake.Other places that can be easily reached by DIY fisherman are, Jim Hill Bight, Long Bay, Bonefish Point, Taylor Bay, Silly Creek, Osprey Rock, Southwest Bluff, south side of Turtle Tail, south of Five Cays and West Harbour Bay.
If you rent a skiff there are miles of flats to explore from the Leeward Marina all the way to Parrot Cay. Try Windsurfing Provo and talk with the owner Mike Rosati about renting a boat and where to go. If you are comfortable navigating a boat on your own, renting a boat at or around Leeward Marina is the way to go. There are an amazing number of flats, creeks and mangrove shores to fish between the marina to North Caicos.
See Bonefish Map
Fishing Information: The fish are good sized in the TCI and average four to six pounds. There is a good chance of casting to fish that are more than eight pounds when fishing flats next to drop offs and deep water. The spring tides provide a little better chance of seeing the larger fish on the flats though the neap tides provide for longer quality fishing time.The easy to get to DIY flats on the south shore receive pressure and the fish can be spooky so start with 12-14 foot leaders with flourocarbon tippets and smaller sized flies. You will find in those areas you access with a rental boat or kayak that the fish are far less spooky and you don’t have to be as cautious.
A word on kayaks. We always travel with our inflatable kayaks and they often get us to flats not fished by the casual DIY fisherman. You normally do not need to go far to reach areas that cannot be targeted by the casual DIY fisherman. Often the kayak gets you across a deep cut or channel to the next flat or by paddling 1/2 from the end of the road you can access flats that are only fished by those with boats. We don’t buy cheap kayaks, our lessons have been learned. Buy a kayak that will travel well, hold up under extensive use in the sun, inflates easily and can be patched. You will be using it around rocks, shells, coral and mangroves.
No secret flies here, for the in close spooky fish, light flies that don’t “plop” when they hit with some rubber legs to add a little movement. Remember with the spooky fish no long or fast strips, a little strip to get their attention then let it sit until they pick it up. Fast or unexpected movements and they are gone………..Traditional bonefish flies like Gotcha’s and Charlie’s work well, color to match the bottom and weight to match the depth. I usually tie half of my Gotcha’s with rubber legs to add movement.
As for everywhere we travel I would recommend you hire a local guide for a day or two. Be prepared for the price as it is more expensive than the Bahamas but you will be glad you did.
Getting Around: On American Airlines for the winter season there are 3 daily flights from Miami, and one a day from New York’s JFK. Direct flights are also available from Boston on Saturdays.Delta offers 6-times a week service from Atlanta (no Tuesday flight), plus a second flight on Saturdays.
US Airways offers daily flights from Charlotte, and will add a second daily flight from that city in February. Direct flights are also available from Boston and Philadelphia on Saturdays and Sundays.
Air Canada has direct flights from Toronto on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from Montreal on Thursdays and Ottawa on Mondays.
The Turks and Caicos Islands currently have 2 full service international airports, Providenciales and Grand Turk, and limited entry facilities in North and South Caicos. All other islands have domestic airports except for East and West Caicos, which are uninhabited (an airstrip is currently under construction on West Caicos to serve the Ritz Carlton resort being developed there).
Most visitors fly into Providenciales upon entry to the islands and then can easily take a commuter flight to the other islands.
Visitors from the US are reminded that effective January 8, 2007 all US citizens visiting the Caribbean must be in possession of a valid US passport.
All visitors arriving via international flights and connecting to any of our other islands through Providenciales must first clear immigration and customs and claim baggage at PLS before making the connection through the domestic departure area at the Provo Airport.
You will need to rent a car to get around to the various flats and there are plenty of options at and around the airport. Driving in the TCI is easy and a great way to explore Provo.
Where to stay:
DIY Spouse Rating: 9
Miscellaneous Information: The TCI are located so far south that cold fronts rarely reach them making it an ideal location for December and January when cold fronts may hit the more northern Bahamian islands.Beautiful, 12 mile long, Grace Bay Beach is the center of the TCI tourism industry and you will find everything here that you are looking for in a tropical vacation. From Grace Bay you can access every conceivable water activity, golf, tennis, all levels of accommodation and a variety of dining options.
The U.S dollar is the primary currency and credit cards are widely accepted.
If you are looking for the best place to combine some DIY bonefishing with a tropical holiday with your spouse/family, then Provo is what you are looking for.