Whether it’s battling black marlin, pinning down piranha or mooning for mahseer, an angling trip promises both holiday fun and local insight, along with scrumptious, fresh dinners if you are lucky. Here are some of the world's top fishing hotspots.
Best for: Giant black marlin
Prime time: Early September to late December
Why go: On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, anyone with a snorkelling mask can find Nemo. But it takes a tough cookie to land a legend. The giant black marlin is one of the most coveted catches on the planet. Weighing up to 750 kg and able to swim up to 130 km per hour, it has the ability to turn hardened game fishers (and, after several hours in battle, their wrists) to jelly. The stunning 250 km stretch between Cairns and Lizard Island is the best place on earth to hook one.
Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego
Best for: Brown trout
Prime time: December to mid-April
Why go: The archipelago boasts the world’s best sea-run brown trout angling, boasting a population of some 70,000, and their minimum average weight is 4 kg. Being at the end of the earth, Tierra del Fuego can be hard to get to, but Rio Grande’s mammoth trout statue will let you know you’ve arrived. Remember, catch-and-release firmly applies despite the abundance of trout.
Best for: Mahseer
Prime time: March to May and October
Why go: In this remote location on the India-Nepal border, where the Kali and Saryu rivers converge, you’ll find crystal clear waters teeming with mahseer and promising an unforgettable fishing experience. The largest catch at this beat is 65 lbs.
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Best for: Salmon
Prime time: July and August
Why go: Silver salmon aren’t easy to catch because of their energetic high-speed runs and spectacular jumping ability, so they offer serious anglers quite a challenge. Motor mooching and trolling with conventional gear are the favoured techniques. Make sure you bring along clothing for any type of weather—it can be warm one hour and cool and rainy the next.
Best for: Blue Marlin
Prime time: May to October
Why go: When the waters off the lee coast of the largest island in the Pacific begin to warm in late April or early May, pelagic Pacific blue marlin arrive, joining the fish that reside here year-round. These blue marlin range in size from about 100 pounds to well over 1,000, and as many as eight blue marlin have been tagged and released by one angler in a single day of sport fishing off Kona. In the same waters, yellowfin tuna, black marlin, striped marlin, shortbill spearfish and other species are also available.
Eg-Uur River Basin, Mongolia
Best for: Taimen
Prime time: June to November
Why go: Think Mongolia, and the steppes are more likely to come to mind than streams. But this remote central Asian outpost is one of the last remaining havens for the world’s largest trout species—the taimen. A fierce, cannibalistic monster, taimen can grow up to 2 m and smash the scales at 90 kg, so they aren’t meant for the faint of heart or the feeble of arm. Catch-and-release policy is strictly enforced here.
Best for: Ice-fishing
Prime time: January
Why go: Do you like to dig holes in ice and stare into them for a long time? Then the central Minnesota town of Brainerd is your dream destination. The annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting more than 12,000 hopefuls keen on the cold and on hooking themselves a cool $150,000 worth of prizes. Organisers pre-drill 20,000 holes into the thankfully very well-frozen Gull Lake, from which (d)anglers pull up walleye, perch and bass.
Amazon Basin, Brazil
Best for: Piranha
Prime time: July to October
Why go: If you want bragging rights, this one is pretty unbeatable. Head to Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonia, and join one of the many tours that offer piranha fishing, and in some cases, eating. A hunk of meat lands them by the dozen but don’t forget to exercise caution in your excitement: Their razor teeth can cut through steel hooks as well as fingers.