Top 5 Fishing Destinations
Countless miles, innumerable fish, and yet the lure of big game fishing still pulls strongly. I have been fortunate enough (or worked hard enough) in my life to be able to experience some of the best the sportfishing world has to offer. Though I am not usually a big fan of lists, I am a big fan of a list that encourages others to throw in their two cents (though you better remember that mine is worth 3 cents!).
Top 5 Fishing Destinations
San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador
Big striped marlin (up to world record size) on the troll and lots of them. A typical day will see double digit strikes and several fish brought to the boat. A good day will have several dozen strikes and double digits brought to the boat. Plenty of monster black marlin and blue marlin (500lbs+ and up) for those willing to spend a day to get only a handful of shots at these fish. The absolute BEST yellowfin tuna topwater plugging bite on the planet. Fish up to 150lbs have been taken on spinning tackle and the average size is typically well over 70lbs. There are also plenty of wahoo, amberjack, pargo, and other toothy gamefish. See video and photos here
Best charter operation: Sportfish Galapagos
Prince Edward Island, Canada
The greatest giant bluefin tuna bite on the planet. Fish average 750lbs+ and 1000lb+ fish are caught regularly. If you think you are tough enough to handle these monsters on stand-up, do it! For everyone else, this the fighting chair or gunwale holder is still a blast. This fishery is carefully managed by the Canadians and is 100% catch and release. At certain times during the season, you can actually hand-feed your bait to these fish at boatside. This is the greatest tuna success story on the planet. This is hard-core fishing, be prepared to be tested to your limits! See video here
Best charter operation: Bruce Brothers
Block Island, Rhode Island, USA
This beautiful island is located 16 miles east of Montauk, NY and has one of the best striped bass bites in the world. The fish range up to world-record size and targeting them with eels on light spinning tackle is challenging and rewarding. The island also supports exceptional fisheries for fluke, sea bass, porgies, sharks, tuna, and blackfish (tautog). In comparison to Montauk, there is loads more bottom and a lot less fishing pressure. If you can’t catch decent fish here, sell your boat and take up golf or cycling. See destinations, species, and video here
Best charter operation: Capt Rich Tenreiro
Venice Louisiana, USA
Visit this location at the right time and you will be hand-feeding big yellowfin tuna at boatside to avoid hooking ravenous blackfin tuna and monster bonito. This bite typically happens behind the shrimpers when they pull up their nets. If the shrimpers are not the ticket, one of the countless oil rigs will certainly produce fish. There is also a very respectable wahoo and sailfish bite. Easy travel, some of the fastest charter boats in the world, and incredibly talented captains make this a great winter destination. These trips can be a bit pricey, but when the bite is right it is worth every dollar. See video here
Best charter operation: Mexican Gulf Fishing Company
This is the first choice if you want to battle biggest pacific sailfish (many over 100lbs) on 12-20lb tackle. A typical day will see at least double digits and on some days the action is continuous. The biggest attraction is pitching baits back to teased fish and hooking the fish. It can be challenging, but it is very entertaining. The usually calm conditions make this a fun trip for groups that also include some less experienced anglers. There are also small-medium yellowfin tuna and an occasional big blue marlin.
The entire state of Florida, USA
That’s right, the ENTIRE state of Florida. Countless inshore and offshore destinations for nearly every bucket-list species including tarpon, snook, bonefish, permit, sailfish, swordfish, snappers, groupers, and more. I suspect it would take a lifetime to explore all the fishing opportunities in this state.
Montauk, New York, USA
Montauk would certainly be in my top 5 if not for the existence of Block Island. Though there is greater fishing pressure and less bottom, it is certainly easier to get to (which is why there is so much fishing pressure). Loads of charter operations, open boats, ramps, boat slips, and tackle shops.
Best tackle shop and marina: Gone Fishing Marina
Cape May, New Jersey
Though there are many fishable New Jersey destinations, but most of the those bites can also be found somewhere else. However, Cape May has a bucket-list spring black drum bite and an incredible summer deep-water fluke fishery.
Best Charter Operation: Stalker Charters
Despite a somewhat over-hyped offshore fishery, the sailfish bite and inshore fishery (especially Tarpon) are quite good (even amazing). Anglers need to be careful and do some homework before booking a trip. There are countless locations and not all of them are equal. Just because there is great fishing in some areas does not mean it is good everywhere. The camps are all quite good, but some of the local charter operations can be very sketchy.
Disappointing Over-Hyped Destinations
Pinas Bay, Panama
This is a great place if you just want to say you caught a big black marlin. Experienced anglers should stay away. Basically you drag a live bonito behind the boat until Mr. Black appears. After a very brief fight on over-sized tackle with the boat furiously backing down, and an equally quick revival and release, you’re done. It is done this way to protect these amazing fish, but there is no challenge and at times it just seems senseless. You need to be quick with your camera, or you may not get a shot. Decent trip for the aging angler and his trophy wife to say he fought a marlin.
This is a big place that has too many great fishing destinations to count. I simply have not traveled there, but the stories and photos suggest greatness.
Another big place that has too many fishing destinations to count. I have not been there yet, but eventually I will get there.
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