The World’s Best Fishing Destinations
Your Chance To Vote on Your Favourite Bucket List Angling Destinations on the Planet
Top angling website Total-Fishing.com is under-taking the biggest ever survey of the most desired angling destinations in the world. We’ve gone only for wild fishing here, trying to find out what is on your bucket list of international angling travel… or what you would like to be on that list.
You have until the end of December 2018 to cast your votes. The winning destinations will be announced in early 2019 and one person who votes will receive a free Sakura travel lure rod and 10% off the price of a holiday at one of the top fishing destinations offered by a leading supplier of international destination fishing holidays. Three runner’s up will also receive 10% off vouchers.
Most anglers had not heard of the incredible fishing along the parched beaches of the Namibian Skeleton Coast, until John Wilson brought it boldly into our living rooms. The fishing remains spectacular, casting into angry, fast ripping surf with the prospect of a hooking into a giant bigger than you looming large. The bronze shark, which can grow to 200kg plus, is a key target, but also on the agenda are gully shark, Kob and other species. Bronzies are known to sometimes jump when hooked and be warned, fights on the custom-made beach tackle can last SEVERAL HOURS! It has to be some of the most exciting shore fishing on the planet.
If it’s the biggest freshwater bass of them all you are after, then enter the brutal, bulldog PNG Bass, a relative newcomer on the international angling must-do list. The world record PNG bass stands at just under 50lb, and there are a couple of tour operators who have taken the plunge and are now offering the chance for anglers to have a go at them in the South West Pacific state of Papua New Guinea. The best fishing is on the Kerema River and its surrounding waters. Tackle wise you need to fish as if you were on saltwater (you may be fishing estuarine waterways) as this is a fish the will straighten weak hooks as if they weren’t there.
Another place and species brought into the psyche of many by Jeremy Wade, the Goliath Tiger Fish is perhaps the most iconic freshwater fish of all. It’s a dangerous a part of the world to go and fish for them (Jeremy Wade had body guards as well as a camera crew with him) but that’s probably why they still exist there. You can’t practically go to where he fished unless you have months to spare, want to risk your life and can afford a small army of body guards. But we felt we had to place it on the list, simply because that catch of Jeremy Wade’s is for us at www.Total-Fishing.com , the most unforgettable of them all. But we were able to uncover one operation offering Goliath Tiger fishing trips to Maipili and Kinshasha
The heydays of great Nile perch fishing in Egypt’s Lake Nasser are a distant memory, but Uganda’s Murchison Falls still offers unforgettable fishing for this regal predator and a superb set up for anglers and families. Fishing is largely done from the bank on rocky outcrops that may put you in mind of John Wilson’s and Jeremy Wade’s exploits there. And landing an 80lb-plus fish in such a situation can be a challenge, to say the least, especially as Nile Perch are wily creatures that know how to use the rocks to win. All while you are being watched by some fabulous African game park wildlife. They have been caught to well over 200lb here and certainly over the official IGFA Nile Perch world record of 230lb. If you want the best chance of catching a 100lb-plis Nile Perch, head to Murchison.
The Comizo barbel is the biggest of many species of barbel, and when fish from Portugal starting appearing in the angling press of fish weighing well over 30lb, the British record was then around 20lb and it was bound to attract the attention of barbel specialists. The Comizo can grow to 40lb plus, and these beauties, while not at all easy to catch, can be realistically targeted in the Guadiana river which forms a border between Spain and Portugal. The cooler months are the best time to fish for the elusive Comizo, which prefers the lower, slower parts of the river and the reservoirs of the system. The bigger fish are night feeders, and as well as baits like worms and sweetcorn, they can also be successfully targeted with deadbaits and jigging tactics from a boat.
Brutal, brutal, hard core fishing for some of the hardest fighting fish on the planet, including huge Giant Trevally and ferocious Dogtooth Tuna. The boat fishing is done vertical jigging style and you can expect to need a back massage after every day of doing this. Over the underwater reefs that rise high from ocean depths around these colourful islands, the GT’s can be targeted on surface poppers – one of the most exciting ways of sea fishing there is. October to May is the time and you can also go for sailfish, amberjack, huge barracuda, king mackerel, marlin, grouper and tuna at a destination that is on the bucket list for any saltwater boat angler.
If your target is a 100lb freshwater catfish and Guyana is beyond your means, the place to head for is the River Ebro, Spain’s longest river at around 400 miles. The Wels was introduced here in the 1970s and soon gained a foothold, feasting on the glorious abundance of carp, roach and barbel. A number of operations offer catfish trips, with 30lb plus river carp, 3lb roach and big zander also on the menu. Mequinenza sits at the gateway to the very best fishing. This is where the catfish were originally introduced and it allows you to fish two excellent tributaries, the Cinca and the Segre. The area produces enormous fish every year. The River Po in Italy holds the world record Wels of nearly 300lb and probably gives a greater chance of a 200lb catfish.
For multiple chances of giant and exotic catfish, again we recommend the wilds of Guyana and the Essequibo River. The daddy of them all is the Paraiba, and this fish, known locally as the Lau, has been caught to well over 400lb here, way over the official IGFA all tackle record. But there are so many more species, including the Jau, a real dirty fighter, redtail, surubim, flat whiskered, leopards and many more. This is a destination for the adventure angler who is not looking for all mod cons. Over 95% of Guyana is rainforest and after flying by float plane into the jungle you are fishing the best waters from a self-sufficient mobile camp with native local guides who have to know the river inside out, because they live off it.
If it’s a big, bold and beautiful striped peacock bass you are after, there is no better guide than Steve Townson, aka The Fishfinder. Steve has travelled to fish the rivers of the Amazon Basin over two hundred times, and every year he takes groups out from Europe, USA and Japan to enjoy the exceptional predator fishing deep in the rainforest. For peacock bass Steve picks out just one destination for us… the Cabaceiras floating river camp on the Rio Negro and Rio Branco watersheds in Brazil. September to March is the time to fish this super destination, which year after year continues to produce the goods in terms of producing big peacock bass into double figures, along with a whole host of other species.
Quite a new arrival on the scene, the Tanzanian tiger fish are a different species than the tigers through much of Africa and grow bigger. Although they are not as big as the Goliath Tiger fish of the Congo, Tanzania is a much, much safer destination. If tiger fish are on your bucket list, the Mnyera and Rudhudji are the waterways to head for. These rivers have completely moved the goalposts when it comes to tiger fish. Whereas five years ago the accepted ‘trophy’ target for a tigerfish was 10lb, the AVERAGE fish on these rivers is just under 8lb and anglers have a realistic chance of a 20-pounder. There’s over 120km of fishing to go at on rivers that have received minimal fishing pressure. All along on these rivers you are going to experience African wildlife that will live with you forever.
Ever since Capt. George Bransford the pioneer of Australian marlin fishing, landed the first 1,000-pound black marlin off Australia in 1966, boats operating out of the north east Australian port of Cairns in Queensland have accounted for more big marlin than any other spot in the world. The area is of course also world famous for the magnificent Great Barrier Reel, and it been estimated that more than 800 ‘granders’ (marlin weighing over 1,000lb) have been caught here. The only thing missing is the world black marlin record, which at 1560lb was caught off Peru, in 1953. The IGFA says that 70% of granders caught anywhere in the world have been taken along the 150 mile stretch of the reef between Cairns and Lizard Island.
Sadly the Indian government has been reluctant to protect this beautiful fish, which you could perhaps describe as a predatory carp, as it takers lures and baits. The halcyon days when big fish over 50lb drew anglers from all over the world to the River Cauvery are gone. But there are still areas which have not been over-fished, and specialist operators that will find the fish for you. Locally the word mahseer means ‘The Big Mouth’. It’s a species that is closely related to the European carp and barbel and is renowned as one of the toughest fighting of all freshwater fish, aided by the fast flowing water it likes to live in.
The USA has protected its coastal angling for many years probably better than anywhere else in the world, and for this they reap great rewards. The Florida Keys offers spectacular sport year round from both boat and shore and the trophy fish is the tarpon. Like a giant silver herring, these fish can be caught day or night with a 100lb fish a genuine target for the committed angler. The best time of year for them is Spring but they can be caught year-round. They can be target with lures, flies or bait – free-lining crab for them in the tide is a skilled and very effective way to target them. Flats fishing for bonefish; shallow water shark fishing for lemon, bull and black tips; reef fishing for grouper and snapper; trolling for tuna, wahoo, sailfish and kingfish…
The almost mystical Taimen of the Mongolian wilderness is a freshwater game fish that was brought into the psyche of many through Jeremy Wade’s adventures. The remoteness of this destination and the elusiveness of this fish make it a ‘must-do’ for many an angling rolling stone. A worthy adversary in fast flowing water, the world record taimen is a fish that weighed an incredible 92.5lb and Mongolia has the world’s healthiest population of them. This largest member of the salmon family spends its entire life in freshwater and can live for nearly half a century.
Seasoned globetrotting salmon aficionados in the know regard the Kola Peninsula as the greatest salmon fishing of them all. Here in this remote part of northern Russian the area is protected fiercely by the military, and the landscape remains pure, harsh and magical. There’s world class salmon and trout fishing too, but it’s the salmon, which go to over 50lb and which regularly reach 25lb that draw anglers here from all over the world. Despite its wilderness location inside the Arctic Circle, the fishing set-up is second to none in places like the Kharlovka Atlantic Salmon Reserve, and the stocks are carefully looked after, to say the least. It’s not cheap to fish for salmon in the Kola Peninsula, but for those salmon anglers with plenty of money, it’s on the ‘must do’ bucket list.
The beautiful Back Country mountains of New Zealand are the home of much of the Lord of the Rings back-drops, and mighty, wild rainbow trout. This is magical too, and very visual. You are fishing casting dry flies, wet flies or nymphs to great shadows in crystal clear, fast-running mounting streams and rivers including the beautifully named Waimakiriri, Rakaia, Rangitata river catchments…. and hoping to watch that shadow turn, follow and take in an explosion of aggression. The central North Island is primarily rainbow trout territory for which the country is the most famed, while the top of the South Island has built a reputation as the prime brown trout fishery.
The Fraser River in the South West of Canada is the world’s most famous destination for the biggest ‘freshwater’ beast of them all… and the most consistent with a catch success rate of almost 100%. Most sturgeon hooked here are in the 3-6ft long range but there are plenty of beasts caught every year and the fish in this amazing river can exceed 11-12 feet – that’s about 1200lb! These fish are exceptional fighters and despite their size they often got airborne. The fishing is high tech, with the lodges sometimes able to use satellite technology to identify where the fish are holding up. Wow! The fishing is available year round, but the best months are February to November.
This was pretty tight between Norway and Alaska we’ve gone for the latter because if you go for them you are very unlikely not to catch them there. Norway can certainly produce enormous halibut for sure. But if this king of flatfish is your target fish and you want your best chance of ticking it off the list, head to Alaska. Alaskan halibut are known as ‘barn doors’, with fish over 200lb a real possibility – the biggest caught there on rod and line weighed over 450lb. Homer is regarded as Alaska’s capital halibut city with fishing less than an hour out of harbour. Here limit two-fish catches are the norm. If it’s halibut from the shore that you want, look towards Bodo in Northern Norway inside the Arctic Circle.
One of the most stunning and hard fighting predatory freshwater fish of all, the golden dorado grows to over 50lb and hits and hurts lures like a barracuda. This stunning fish, often called the River Tiger, is rapidly becoming one of the most prized freshwater sport fish in the world. Every year the biggest fish congregate at a dam on the border between Argentina and Uruguay at La Zona, a custom-made angling destination that has produced numerous fish over the IGFA all tackle best. One Amazon-Angler client caught one in 2013 that bottomed out 60lb scales! This is lure fishing at its best, when the next cast really could produce that fish of a lifetime, and even a new world record. And don’t they make for the most stunning catch photos too! The main problem is that the limited places book out like tickets for a Stone Roses concert!
A cod over 100lb seems the stuff of fiction to most sea anglers, yet they are a reality if you fish inside the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. Anglers who catch the fishing right regularly boat 60lb plus fish along with huge coalfish, and 30lb plus cod are regularly caught from the shore. In some areas of Northern Norway you are likely to come across whales while you fish – Vesteralen is locally known as ‘the kingdom of the whales’. The stuff of dreams for committed sea anglers, especially British ones who usually know only struggles and disappointments when it comes to cod fishing around their own shoreline.