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25 Best Fishing Destinations for Reeling in the Big One

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is a gorgeous chain of islands that lends itself to everything from jetpacking to road trips, but the area is most famous for its fishing. Even in the off-season, the fishing here is better than other regions in their prime. The bounty of sport fish and game fish make it a fishers' paradise!

Walter F. George Lake

There are plenty of places for catfish aficionados to cast their lines. Game and Fish magazine lists 10 whole states in its "best catfishing locales" list. But if you're looking for a specific catfishing lake, it's hard to do better than this enormous one that sits on the Alabama-Georgia state line.

(Image via Flickr)

Christmas Island, Kiribati

Since Kiribati is so near the Equator, it's a prime fishing spot year-round. This atoll features sand flats with a ton of bonefish and trevally. Located 1,200 miles south of Hawai'i, the shallow water is gorgeous and affords you the chance to see what's going on in the water. 

(Image via Flickr)

Lizard Island, Australia

There are plenty of places in Australia for prime fishing, but Lizard Island is one of the best for a shot at the black marlin. People who don't want to wrestle a behemoth can find all sorts of other options around the reef, but if you're looking to break a record, trolling around this spot may well be your best shot.

Alaska

It's hard to go wrong in Alaska. Enormous shefish roam the Selawik Valley, but if you don't want to fly out to the middle of nowhere, there are still plenty of opportunities for fishing. Try for some silver and king salmon out on Prince of Wales Island.

(Image via Flickr)

Kamchatka, Russia

Russia's eastern peninsula is very close to Alaska, jutting into the Bering Sea just south of mainland Siberia. It's a legendary fly-fishing destination, particularly for rainbow trout. The Ozernaya and the two Yurt Rivers are among the best, and it's only a few hours trip by plane from Anchorage.

Massachusetts Bay

If you want to really prove your mettle against a beast, try fishing for mako sharks right off the East Coast. Sharks over 1,000 pounds have been known to wander near Boston. Just bear in mind that these creatures have been known to turn on fishers, and it could get ugly fast. 

Seychelles

Located east of the Tanzanian coast, Seychelles offers some of the best fly fishing around. Alphonse Island offers 10,000 acres of phenomenal white sand flats from which anglers can strive for bonefish, triggerfish, barracuda, snapper, grouper, trevally, and more.

Belize

If you're looking for sun, sand, and bonefish, then this is the place for you! It's hard to find anywhere else that has greater numbers of bonefish, permit, and tarpon. Or, if you're more into deepwater fishing, then you'll find anything from snook to grouper, while offshore you can find marlin and sailfish. Belize is also the only country in Central America where English is the primary language and is only a few hours from most southeastern U.S. cities.

Cairns, Australia

This is the top location for big-game fishers looking for a half ton pound black marlin. More giant black marlins (known as "granders") have been caught here than anywhere else in the world. If black marlins aren't your thing, then there are other opportunities to fish for coral trout, barracuda, grouper, permit, queenfish, and so many more.

Chesapeake Bay

Striped bass is the most popular game fish along the eastern coastline. Those looking to trophy hunt for these whoppers should hit up the Maryland area of the Chesapeake Bay. In the spring trophy season, striped bass weighing more than 50 pounds make their way here to spawn, making it the perfect time for you to take a trip and catch yourself a big one!

Malindi, Kenya

The waters off Kenya's central coast are one of the few places on the globe where you can find the largest variety of billfish around. It's not uncommon to hook blue or striped marlin, sailfish, swordfish, and spearfish all in the same day. Malindi has been a popular European fishing destination, and there are plenty of experienced, well-respected guides and charters for you to choose from.

Prince Edward Island, Canada

If you're looking to hook yourself a one-thousand plus pound bluefin tuna, then this is the place. The world's largest tuna was actually caught here in 1979, weighing a whopping 1,496 pounds. With plenty of charters to take you, you have your fill of options on how you want to fish (whether you want life, chunked, or whole fish as bait). The thing to keep in mind: this place is catch-and-release, but there are a few boats which are allowed to keep a few fish every season. If tuna isn't your thing? There are plenty of other deep-sea fishing or casual fishing opportunities!

Panama

Panama offers a rugged coastline that's littered with tuna, cubera snapper, roosterfish, bluefin trevally, large Sierra, and so many more game fish. Just two-and-a-half hours from Miami by plane, this tourist-friendly country gives you tons of excellent fishing resorts and opportunities.

Montauk, New York

Okay, so the downside is that the fishing season here is short, but if you go during the season you'll understand why it's so worth it. Hundreds upon hundreds of big game fish are packed so densely into this area it's pretty common for them to actually bump up against the boats. Bluefish, false albacore, fluke, bass, stripers, and the occasional weakfish create a frenzy of targets. Not to mention that the scenery is just gorgeous while you're there.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Nicknamed the "marine capital of the world," this place does not disappoint. Cabo San Lucas is fishable year-round and can be one of the cheaper trip options on this list. This place is known for its marlins, but it also gives you the opportunity to go for some sailfish, wahoo, and tons more. There is, however, a very strict catch-and-release policy.

Tierra del Fuego

At the southernmost tip of South America is Tierra del Fuego. This archipelago has just about everything from snowy mountains to glaciers to the waters of the Rio Grande. It is strictly catch-and-release territory, but it may also be the best trout fishing on the planet.  

(Image via Flickr)

Iztapa, Guatemala

If you're after Pacific sailfish and schools of yellowfin tuna, then this place should make the shortlist. During peak season (November through April) boats average between 20 to 30 releases a day! Even the offseason is rewarding with massive blue marlin milling about from April through June.

(Image via Instagram)

Great Abaco, Bahamas

Aside from just going for the gorgeous beaches and scenery that makes up the Bahamas, Great Abaco, white and blue marlin, as well as several other species call this place home. You have your pick of fishing in deeper waters, reefs, or the flats, and all of them have a plethora of game fish to choose from.

(Image via Flickr)

Brainerd, Minnesota

To Americana lovers, Brainerd is best known as the home of Paul Bunyan, but it's also the home of the world's largest charitable ice fishing contest. The event has been a tradition since January 1991, and it now raises over $150,000 for local charities every year. They even drill the holes for you!

(Image via Instagram)

Cancun, Mexico

Beach parties and resorts aren't the only things awaiting you in this gorgeous coastal city! Cancun is actually known for having some of the best opportunities for hunting for massive sailfish. Or, if sailfish aren't your thing, there are black-fin tuna, wahoo, bonefish, tarpon, and sea-trout that you can try your hand at catching.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Striped marlin is known for dominating the waters around these islands, but there is plenty of other game fish. Year-round fishing gives you the opportunity to fish for yellowfin tuna, marlins, dolphins (not the mammal), and wahoo. Though if you're set on the striped marlin run, the best time is February through mid-June.

Graham Island, Alaska

Graham and Langara Islands are located just south of Alaska and are considered some of the North Pacific's most productive fishing grounds. This trip would require you to fly in, but it'll all be worth it once you lay your eyes on the scores of salmon, massive chinooks, and Pacific halibut.

(Image via Flickr)

Salmon River, New York

If you're looking to do some more domestic salmon fishing, Salmon River is your place! This river is a major sportfishing location and is popular among competitive anglers in the fall, winter, and spring. You can even camp on the banks of Lake Ontario while you fish! It's also only about three hours from Lake Erie, which is home to steelhead, trout, and more salmon if you're interested.

(Image via Instagram)

Bermuda

Fun fact: Bermuda has won the one-day, global World Cup Blue Marlin Championship eight times in 27 years, more than anywhere else in the world. Bermuda also holds the record for the two largest fish ever caught during that event (1,195 pounds and 1,189 pounds). Blue Marlins are king here, but there are also white marlin, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna to satiate your appetite. In addition to the amazing fish, there's gorgeous scenery to explore whenever you're not out on the water.