Sportfishing is one of the most rewarding pastimes. What else can combine R&R with the thrill of adventure so perfectly? Whether you’re cruising to the perfect seaside spot aboard a chartered boat or you’re actively fighting a 1,000-pound behemoth at the end of your line, offshore fishing is a fantastic excuse to plan a vacation.
Fishing trips aren’t just for men, either. They’re a fantastic way for girlfriends, sisters, and mothers/daughters (like the Saltsy founders!) to bond as well. It doesn’t hurt that most sportfishing destinations also serve up a serious helping of raw beauty alongside the excitement. A deep sea fishing trip with your friends is a great way to spend some time on vacation — and an even better way to find your dinner!
If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting into sportfishing, you are in luck! Many fantastic ports around the world are ready and waiting for you to try your luck catching tuna, marlin, and more. Here are 12 of the top port destinations around the world for sportfishing:
1. The Florida Keys, Florida, United States
Deep-sea fishing, charter boats galore, and a great party scene at the end of the day? Truly what more could a girls’ trip ask for? Key West and the islands leading up to it are known for having some top-notch fishing destinations, with Islamorada frequently labeled as the sport fishing capital of the world. This is where saltwater fly fishing got its start, and there are plenty of fish species to keep you catching all year long. Enjoy great fishing for bonefish, red snapper, mahi mahi, or shark — or even go lobstering! At the end of the day, take your fresh catch to one of these local restaurants that will cook and serve it for you.
2. Panama, Central America
If you and your friends are looking for an exotic sportfishing trip, head to Bahia Pina. Here you will find one of the best fishing lodges, Tropic Star Lodge, an elite fishing resort that charters boats and some of the world’s best sportfishing guides. These guides will help you find marlin, tuna, shark, and more in the Pacific Ocean. The waters around Panama are also known to have large schools of tuna, as well as snapper and scores of other game fish, so there’s plenty to keep your line taut! At night, the lodge will house you in luxury bungalows surrounded by the Panamanian jungle.
3. Costa Rica, Central America
Costa Rica is a great place to sportfish, especially in the prime time between December and April. A two-hour drive from the San Jose International Airport is Bahia de la Herradura, which is widely known as being one of the best deep-sea sportfishing spots in the Pacific Ocean. Here you can book a local guide and go fishing for blue marlin, barracuda, yellowfin tuna, and sailfish. There is also the Rio Colorado, one of the most popular rivers in South America to fish. If you or anyone in your group wants to try tarpon fishing, this is the spot to do it. When you’re not on the water, enjoy looking for sloths and sipping cocktails on one of their countless gorgeous beaches.
4. Bermuda, North Atlantic Ocean
Bermuda is known as a hub for world record blue marlin. Some of the best deep-sea anglers in the world hail from Bermuda and have brought home the title of World Cup Blue Marlin Champion more times than any other county. You’ll also find yellowfin tuna and white marlin in these offshore waters. The best time of year to come to Bermuda for fishing is June through August. Bonus: On land, you will have no problem finding good restaurants, beautiful beaches, and golf clubs to make this a perfect place for everyone.
5. The Bahamas, West Indies
The Bahamas is known for its flats — shallow waters that bring in large quantities of fish that are just waiting to be caught by fly fisherman. The warm Bahamian waters also attract large trophy fish like yellowtail tuna and black grouper that are appealing for deep sea anglers, as well as many smaller species for reef fishing. Going on a trip to the Bahamas is a great way to dabble in some of these fishing pastimes, enjoy some water sports, and partake in some serious beach relaxation. This site makes planning a fishing trip in the Bahamas easy.
6. Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Looking for a saltwater fishing challenge? The bluefin tuna caught in the deep waters near Prince Edward Island are massive, with most weighing more than 800 pounds and many weighing more than 1,000 pounds. That’s a big fish! It is also a short trek to get to the fishing grounds, less than a mile or so from the shore. (If someone in your group gets a little seasick, this is a great perk.) Fishing off Prince Edward Island is catch and release only, so be sure to polish your storytelling skills at one of the local wineries so you can brag about the monster you reeled in!
7. Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you and your girls have your sights set on catching a massive marlin in a luxuriously remote location, there is no better place in the world than outside of Cairns, Australia. During Australia’s warmer months of September through December, female black marlin is plentiful near this northernmost point of the Great Barrier Reef. One of the most convenient (to the marlin fishing, at least) and gorgeous places to stay during this season is Lizard Island Resort. The resort offers world class diving, snorkeling, hiking, boating, spa, and of course deep-sea fishing experiences — their Executive Chef will be waiting to cook your fresh catch for dinner! You’re sure to have a great time.
8. Montauk, New York, United States
At the very end of Long Island lies the fishing town of Montauk. This is where you go when you want to experience bass fishing like no other. The peak time to visit is during fall, with the season sometimes going into early winter. During the fall, baitfish are all over this part of Long Island, bringing in predators like stripers, bluefish, and weakfish. You also don’t have to travel far into the Atlantic to have fish basically begging to get onto your lines. Montauk has become an increasingly popular weekend destination for New York’s elite. It won’t be as busy in the fall months, but the Montauk Point Lighthouse and cliff walk are always beautiful with fall foliage — you may even see a seal resting on the cliffs!
9. Pemba Island, Kenya, Africa
Tranquil, remote, and breathtaking — those are three very good reasons to visit this island in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel between Kenya and Tanzania promises to be one of the world’s best fishing spots, with large billfish, mako sharks, dorado, wahoo, and more. This is also one of the best-regarded places in the world for scuba diving. There are underwater cliffs that drop off more than 800-meters — great hiding spots for large fish. If you’re looking for a cultural experience, check out The Manta Resort, which offers beautiful accommodations and unique excursions, including lessons in local Ngalawa Hand Fishing and a pre- or post-stay safari.
10. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
You may have been to Los Cabos, but have you experienced this popular resort town from a fishing boat? A very popular vacation spot, Cabo San Lucas is between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Mexico. Many anglers travel here to experience a “grand slam,” or catching the five different species of billfish in one full day — blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, swordfish, and sailfish. This area is fishable year-round, with marlin being prime in the late fall months. After your fishing extravaganza, be sure to book a private cooking lesson at your villa with Gourmet Cabo Catering who can teach you how to serve your catch of the day and mix up a stellar cocktail!
11. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is full of busy streets, beautiful temples, incredible culinary treats, and a clubbing scene that would put anywhere else to shame. It is also home to prime waters for recreational fishing, where mahi mahi runs around with other large game fish like tuna and marlin. However, many people come here for the hard-fighting Giant Trevally. Staying up the road from Phuket in Khao Lak will take you a bit closer to the Trevally — and a bit further from the hustle and bustle of the city’s crowds. If you’re traveling with family, Avani+ Khao Lak Resort is a fun spot for kids and a great way to book various ocean excursions.
12. Canary Islands, Spain
Off the coast of Morocco are the Spanish Canary Islands. These islands are known for their beaches and stunning natural beauty. They also have a great climate year-round, so you can expect nice temperatures and sunny days no matter when you visit. From May through October, the Atlantic waters around the islands are full of a variety of fish, including yellowfin tuna and blue marlin. Many of the best charters and guides sail out of Tenerife and can show you the best spots to go. Off-season, you can still go sportfishing for amberjack and even partake in fishing for and eating a local specialty: moray eels!
Spending the day on a boat, reeling in something picture-worthy, and sharing memories (and maybe a few mimosas!) is just what we all need from time to time. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to book a trip and fall in love with the unforgettable experience of sportfishing.
Which of these sportfishing hotspots are on your bucket list?
Let us know in the comments!