10 Best Fishing Spots in the World
Fishing close to home is always fun, but if you had your choice, which of the best fishing spots in the world would you visit first? Each of these international fishing destinations tends to produce good numbers of fish, a variety of species, and some of the most breathtaking views you'll find anywhere.
1. Melville Island, Australia
If you take a trip to this remote island at the top of the Northern Territory in Australia, you'll find that the river systems hold vast numbers of tarpon, saratoga, and barramundi while the island's offshore waters are known for spanish mackerel, queenfish, giant trevally, and coral trout. The stunning red cliffs along the island's coastline give way to sandy beaches, bay systems, rivers and coastal creeks. Melville Island is almost as much about the setting as it is about the fishing.
2. Aitutaki, Cook Islands
While Aitutaki is just a small coral atoll of less than seven square miles, the island offers big saltwater sportfishing opportunities in the waters of the South Pacific. Productive offshore fishing spots for species such as yellowfin tuna, dolphinfish, wahoo, and marlin are within a short boat ride. Although, the large bonefish that inhabit the sand flats of the Aitutaki lagoon are the main reason why you might want to pay a visit to this tropical fishing wonderland.
3. Nelson, New Zealand
You can visit the South Island to experience freshwater fly fishing for trophy brown trout in Nelson-area rivers such as the Motueka and Rai, but don't forget to consider a few days of saltwater fishing in Tasman Bay as well. Species such as red gurnard and blue cod are fairly easy to catch around most of the South Island coastline. High catch rates and stunning mountain backdrops come together to make the area surrounding Nelson one of the best fishing spots in the world.
4. Watamu, Africa
If you are a billfish fanatic, the waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya will serve up some of the best sailfish, black marlin, blue marlin, striped marlin, and broadbill swordfish action. In fact, it's one of very few places in the world where you have the opportunity to catch such a diverse number of different billfish species. Besides, where else can you break up your fishing adventures by taking a safari trip in between?
5. Big Pine Key, USA
The enticing turquoise blue inshore waters just off of Big Pine Key can provide you with the opportunity to catch sporty species such as tarpon, permit, and bonefish on the flats. Or, you can choose to go on an offshore trip in hopes of hooking up to sailfish, wahoo, and dolphinfish. Big Pine Key is also the home of Bahia Honda State Park, one of the Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots in America, which offers a variety of family-friendly amenities such as a beach, campsites, boat ramp, and shower facilities.
6. Punta Gorda, Belize
Located on the west coast of the Caribbean Sea in Southern Belize, Punta Gorda not only boasts some of the best fly fishing for permit that you'll find in the world, but also good chances of landing inshore game fish species like bonefish and tarpon. Although the action isn't just found inshore, you can also put your offshore fishing skills to the test by heading out on a deep sea charter in pursuit of blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, wahoo or dolphinfish. With the Maya Mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop, Punta Gorda is truly a special fishing destination.
7. Lake of the Woods, Canada
When it comes to fishing for a variety of freshwater species in one waterway, Lake of the Woods in Ontario is hard to beat. Muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, perch, lake trout, crappie, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass all inhabit the glacial waters of Lake of the Woods. With 65,000 miles of shoreline lined with towering pine trees, chances are slim that you'll ever have to compete for a prime fishing spot -- just don't forget to make those figure 8's if you're hoping for a big muskellunge.
8. Bristol Bay, Alaska.
This world-class salmon fishery can offer you a chance at catching all five species of Pacific salmon that are found in North America. Bristol Bay holds high numbers of king, sockeye, chum, pink and silver salmon -- all entirely wild. Aside from salmon, there are several other sport fish species that you can target on a trip to this region. If you want to mix up your targets, you can also try fishing for lake trout, rainbow trout, northern pike or arctic char.
9. Amazon Basin, Brazil
The Amazon Basin has the highest level of species diversity of any river basin on Earth, which earns it a place on this list of the "Best Fishing Spots in the World." If a speckled peacock bass or a prehistoric arapaima is at the top of your fishing bucket list, you'll have your best chance at scratching off both species here -- all while wetting a line in one of the most treasured rainforests on our planet.
10. Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Thousands of Pacific sailfish are released off of the coast of Puntarenas every year between January and April, and again between November and December. These incredible numbers make it one of the top fishing destinations in the world. Sailfish aren't the only reason anglers flock to Puntarenas though. Yellowfin tuna can also be caught year-round, with larger fish making an appearance during the months of January and February. Inshore, along rocky inshore islands and behind the surf line, you can target the photogenic roosterfish by using live baits and keeping an eye out for its very distinctive dorsal fin. The Puntarenas coastline contains an abundance of picturesque islands, inlets, and beaches, all which place it among the world's best spots.
The most important thing to remember before visiting these, or any new fishing destination, is to check the fishing regulations and purchase a license for spots within the United States before you go. Unless you know you will be fishing on a charter boat that already has a fishing license, you'll be required to have a license in order to take advantage of the one-in-a-lifetime experiences that await you at the best places to fish in the world.
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Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.