Bermuda's proximity to the deep ocean makes it one of the best places in the world for deep-sea fishing. Many of the International Fishing Association's world-record catches were hauled in a few miles off the Bermuda coastline. July and August is marlin season, and anglers from all over the world come to the island in a bid to try to hook monster blue marlin in excess of 1,000 pounds. Deep-sea fishing is not just for the experts, though. Most charter companies are happy to teach amateurs how to hook and reel in a catch—whether it's tuna, wahoo, or even marlin. Some of the charter fishermen let you keep your catch, but they're not obliged to do so. Many of the fishermen rely on sales to restaurants to bolster their businesses, so unless it's a good day they might not give much away. And don't be surprised to find fish you pulled out of the ocean that day on the menu in one of Bermuda's many restaurants that evening. As well as deep-sea fishing, shore fishing is also popular, while some fishermen trawl inside the reefs. If you've got the cash, there's no substitute for the thrill of the open ocean. Scores of operators are on the island, about 20 of which are regularly out on the water. A full list is available at Prices vary depending on the size and quality of the boat.

Reef and Offshore Fishing

Three major reef bands lie at various distances from the island. The first is anywhere from ½ to 5 miles offshore. The second, the Challenger Bank, is about 12 miles offshore. The third, the Argus Bank, is about 30 miles offshore. As a rule, the farther out you go, the larger the fish—and the more expensive the charter.

Most charter-fishing captains go to the reefs and deep water to the southwest and northwest of the island, where the fishing is best. Catches over the reefs include snapper, amberjack, grouper, and barracuda. Of the most sought-after deepwater fish—marlin, tuna, wahoo, and dolphinfish—wahoo is the most common, dolphinfish the least. Trawling is the usual method of deepwater fishing, and charter-boat operators offer various tackle setups, with test-line weights ranging from 20 pounds to 130 pounds. The boats, which range from 31 feet to 55 feet long, are fitted with gear and electronics to track fish, including depth sounders, global-positioning systems, loran systems, video fish finders, radar, and computer scanners.

Half-day and full-day charters are offered by most operators, but full-day trips offer the best chance for a big catch because the boat has time to reach waters that are less often fished. Rates are about $900 per boat for half a day (four hours), $1,300 per day (eight hours). Request more information about chartering a fishing boat at Visitor Information Centres in Hamilton, Dockyard, or St. George's.

Atlantic Spray Charters. Half-day and full-day year-round charters are available on Atlantic's 40-foot Tenacious. Serious anglers can enjoy the challenge of reeling in sport fish like mahimahi, blue and white marlin, and yellowfin tuna. Rates include all the equipment you need, soda and water, and, most important, the knowledge of an experienced captain to help you catch the big fish. Charters are child friendly, and lunch can be provided at an extra cost. Chapel of Ease La., St. George’s, Saint George’s Parish, DD01. 441/735–9444. From $1,175.

Mako Charters. Allen DeSilva, one of Bermuda's most knowledgeable skippers, guarantees a fun day of fishing whether you're a complete beginner or a serious angler. His spacious 56-foot fully air-conditioned boat, Mako, based out of Mill's Creek near Hamilton, is one of the best for a safe, comfortable, and exciting cruise. A full, nine-hour charter costs $3,000 for up to four people, with an additional charge per head, up to eight people. Overnight fishing packages, complete with breakfast and lunch, are also available. Allen's website is a great source of information on local fishing competitions and includes lots of photos of past guests and their record-breaking catches. 11 Abri La., Spanish Point, Pembroke Parish, HM02. 441/295–0835; 441/505–8626;

Overproof. Skipper Peter Rans is a regular in the big-game classic and a master at hooking monster marlin. He navigates a fully equipped 42-foot vessel to the very best spots to help you reel in whatever game fish is in season. His rates include equipment, bait, and beverages. 136 Somerset Rd., Sandys Parish, MA 06. 441/238–5663; 441/335–9850; From $1,000 for half day to $1,400 for 8 hours.

Shore Fishing

The principal catches for shore fishers are pompano, bonefish, and snapper. Excellent sport for saltwater fly-fishing is the wily and strong bonefish, which hovers in coves, harbors, and bays. Among the more popular spots for bonefish are West Whale Bay and Spring Benny's Bay, which have large expanses of clear, shallow water protected by reefs close to shore. Good fishing holes are plentiful along the south shore, too. Fishing in the Great Sound and St. George's Harbour can be rewarding, but enclosed Harrington Sound is less promising. Ask at local tackle shops about the latest hot spots and the best baits. You can also make rental arrangements through your hotel or contact H2O Sports .