If you are after catching a good slam, there are literally hundreds of good saltwater fishing spots to go to. However, if you would rather not venture beyond the Atlantic Ocean, there are about 11 fishing spots to visit. Only one of them is in Africa, but the rest, the other ten, are within North/Central America. This would mean not straying too far from your own backyard, right?
Key West, Florida
If you are looking for the best saltwater fishing spots in the USA, the angler-oriented sports fishing town of Key West, Florida is sure to come up one way or the other. Those who have never been here will be the only ones who would not know why. Situated in the middle of world-class fishing grounds, Key West also serves as the gateway to the Dry Tortugas.
Fishing enthusiasts are endlessly entranced by the flats, reefs, and blue waters of this fantastic fishing spot. As one of only a few communities in the world to cater to the specialized needs of fishers, Key West offers an unparalleled array of offshore charters and inshore guides. Moorage options abound as well.
What is even more enticing is the unlimited variety of seafood restaurants in the area, along with a complete range of accommodations. Bars with every kind of chow and cuisine populate the area so parties can readily happen nightly, especially on renowned Duval Street.
Delta, Southwest, and Air Tran provide flights into the Key West airport. Though winters can be rough, it is consistently a terrific time for outer reef sailing as well as tarpon fishing in the harbor the whole year round.
Panama is just a 2 ½-hour flight from Miami. Capture some big fish using poppers in the iconic seamounts of Hannibal Bank and Zane Grey Bank. Find schools of tuna frothing the surface and crashing bait, mixed in with schools of dolphin for sheer enjoyment. Around floating logs, you can find Wahoo and Mahi Mahi, which will fall for poppers.
You also get the assurance of the Pacific Coast being home to plentiful world-class fishing resorts. Despite the coast being extremely wet during the fall rainy season, fishing can be done the whole year round.
Capture that inshore slam off Belize. That said, it can be a huge challenge just pinpointing a good spot anywhere owing to the large numbers of easy-to-catch Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish. You may even need to release at least one per day due to the remarkably high numbers. Trophy-size Bonefish and other prize catches are better caught elsewhere.
Belize always makes a great bet in terms of numbers and action. The country’s extensive flats are vigilantly guarded, so they stay undisturbed. It is the only country in Central America where people use English as the primary language. That is aside from the fact that Belize is a mere 2 to 3 hours from the majority of southeastern US cities. Anglers can count on the services of fishing guides who are either veteran pros in quality flats skiffs or local pangeros.
A lot of lodges and resorts are around as well. If you only want to capture the bigger Tarpon, you should visit Belize to fish in midsummer to late fall, but year-round fishing is consistently productive.
Louisiana and Mississippi marshes
For some fabulous saltwater fly fishing, drop by the Louisiana and Mississippi marshes. Comprising the vast coastal marshes stretching from western Mississippi to Louisiana are boundless shallow water habitats that Red Drum prefers. For those who do not know, Red Drum is one of the planet’s most sought-after game fish for fly fishing, and the marshes here are teeming with a huge population of them. Great for sight-casting, too!
Besides, various other species are also available, so you will have much luck going after Black Drum and Seatrout as well. The fact that the fierce fighting Red Drum net anywhere between the 15- and 35-pound range, they are still the prime targets.
Getting to the Louisiana and Mississippi marshes is not a problem either. The marshes commence just an hour or two from New Orleans. Fishing is available all year round. The experience is more erratic in winter compared to April through December. Shoot for large billfish in the fall. Sight-casting operations are top notch during sunny days.
Montauk, New York
Using light tackle, you can go after a great range of fish off Montauk, New York. In spite of the fishing season here being quite short, when it gets going, it really goes rolling. Near the shore, Bass abound in the long tidal rips. Meanwhile, Stripers have their fill of the huge schools of bay anchovies, which are always a fantastic sight to behold.
Bass will literally boil off Montauk with their sheer numbers, with hundreds upon hundreds of predators packed together so tightly it would not be rare for them to be hitting boat hulls. There’s a massive frenzy of targets in the area, what with False Albacore (little tunny), big Bluefish, and Fluke, along with Weakfish in some years, and there’s a hodge-podge of easy targets for fly and light tackle anglers.
To complement all the intensive action, there are the coastal cliffs and the lighthouse that provide a panoramic background to everything. Montauk is not short on fish that fall for various plugs, small, metal jigs, and soft plastics. The prime fishing season begins September and runs through October. During some years, the fishing season might go as long as until November and even December. Your best bet for the best action is early fall.
Off Bermuda, there will be a monster Marlin just waiting for you. Having earned the distinction of winning the one-day, global World Cup Blue Marlin Championship not just twice but eight times for nearly three decades and counting, Bermuda also boasts the two largest fish ever to be captured on that occasion.
The sizes were 1,195 and 1,189 pounds. To date, the most gargantuan Blue ever captured on record was 1,352 pounds hefty. If Blues are not your thing, then get your fill of Wahoo, White Marlin, and Yellowfin Tuna.
What sweetens the deal further is the short 2 to 3-hour trip from the East Coast. This means you can hop off from any number of US gateway cities aboard US Air, Jet Blue, Delta, Continental, and American, among others.
Bermuda, although undoubtedly foreign, is a very civilized, clean, and safe country blessed with some fabulous diving, fantastic beaches, restaurants, golfing, and all manner of fishing holiday activities you can imagine. Go after the big ones from June through August.
Not far behind is the Bahamas. On the average, no other country as close to the USA as the Bahamas can equally boast a vast area of flats or as large Bonefish as what can be found off the shoreline around the islands. Great numbers of fish such as Tarpon, Permit, and Bones are in the shallows around Abaco, Andros, and Long Islands, as well as the flats on the Grand Bahamas.
Fly and spinning anglers will find the Bahamas flats as fertile a fishing ground from March through June. Work your way around hurricanes that mar late summer and early fall, though.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
For some seawater angling very close to land, head out to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Elsewhere, lines go in only after a run of 10 or 20 and even up to 40 miles, with conditions turning more demanding on rough days.
However, off Cabo San Lucas, a couple of miles is all you need to chance upon open-ocean fish varying from Marlin to Dorado, Sailfish, and Wahoo that can give you bragging rights in the fishing club. The area is just a short distance from shore, too.
The area offers good fishery options all year round. May through July, with the hottest weather, provide the hottest angling action. If you are into Blue, Black, And Striped Marlin, go there in October or November.
Prince Edward Island/Nova Scotia, Canada
Prince Edward Island/Nova Scotia, Canada was host to the all-tackle world-record bluefin tuna caught in 1979 at a whopping 1,496 pounds. With fish commonly more than 800 pounds, there is bound to be a battle of a lifetime for avid kite fishers using chunked, whole fish, or live bait. Although primarily a catch-and-release fishery, the area allows boats to keep 1 or 2 fish every season. It is best to visit from August through mid-October.
Graham and Langara Islands
The Graham and Langara Islands, otherwise known as Haida Gwaii or the Queen Charlotte Islands, offer productive fishing grounds in the North Pacific. During the major part of the season, the waters teem with schools of salmon. You may even nail trophy-weight chinook, smaller Pacific halibut, and coho of gigantic proportions. While being very seasonal, fishing here is best not earlier than mid- to late May through early September.
Malindi, Kenya is acknowledged as one of the best saltwater fishing locations in the world. You can target Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, and Shortbill Spearfish. For fantasy slams, aim to get some fishing in from January through February, which is summer in these parts.