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31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for somwhere to go on holiday, and I would like it to be somewhere I am literally GUARANTEED to catch lots of fish. While a 100lbs sailfish would be nice, I would be more than happy catching loads of barracuda, jacks and assorted reef fish. I would be travelling as one of a pair, so hiring a huge boat for £800 a day is not really an option, so it would have to be somewhere where we could either hire a small boat, or join a larger party. Any ideas?

Please bear in mind, I ma not a specimen hunter, I just want LOADS of reasonably sized fish on tackle light enough to make it slightly sporting ;)


2,394 Posts
I am looking for somwhere to go on holiday, and I would like it to be somewhere I am literally GUARANTEED to catch lots of fish. While a 100lbs sailfish would be nice, I would be more than happy catching loads of barracuda, jacks and assorted reef fish. I would be travelling as one of a pair, so hiring a huge boat for £800 a day is not really an option, so it would have to be somewhere where we could either hire a small boat, or join a larger party. Any ideas?

Please bear in mind, I ma not a specimen hunter, I just want LOADS of reasonably sized fish on tackle light enough to make it slightly sporting ;)

As a starting point you might want to consider Florida. Exchanges rates are very much in our favour at the moment and either a package or DIY holiday shouldn't be too expensive.

I guess, if it were me, I'd either opt for the 'Keys, below Miami, on on the Atlantic coast. In terms of the 'Keys, at one level, you'd find what they call 'Head Boats' operating out of places like Islamorada, Marathon and Key West. They're big boats catering for 20 plus anglers and charges are reasonable. (Try a Google search to build up a picture.) They tend to go out to the reef edge and target things like Snapper, small Grouper and Yellowtail. But some will run out on overnighters, on one day a week, and the fishing can be much better.

Then you can go out on a guide inshore skiff where, for the two of you, the daily rate would work out to around 400/450$US. Target species would be Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish or Shark all in shallow water. Some skippers also run evening trips (4 hours) for around 300$, mainly for Tarpon.

Then, leaving aside the bigger cruisers, there are the offshore skiffs in the 26' range powered by beefy outboards. Working in the Gulf they can run 40 or 50 miles offshore and what you catch would be based very much on season. But running Atlantic side I've caught Sailfish from them. Most of that tends to be light tackle fishing and rates seem to be around the 650/700$ range.

Supplementing all of this though you'll find that you can hire boats, certainly at places like Islamorada.

One of the things I haven't mentioned is tipping. You'll find the norm, for good service, is to tip between 10 and 15% of the charter fee.

Where else though? You'll find in the European forum loads of references to self drive boats in Norway. That may well be worth considering. Or Mexico from a panga is another possibility. Again there some interesting threads in the Central American forum.

Or if you desperately wanted to catch a Marlin then I'd suggest somewhere like Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands. There you can charter boats for as little as 600/650 Euros a day. Whilst, in Marlin terms, it can be 'quick fire' action, on occasions up to 10 strikes a day (you don't release them all), that may not fit in with your idea of 'LOADS of reasonable sized fish'. Other days of course it could be NARDA!

Well there's a starting point. I'm sure lots of other forum members will have differing views.

2,514 Posts
Hullo matey
First up, like easy games in world football, there are no guarantees in fishing these days. It might be a good idea to give us an idea of budget, where you've been before and enjoyed, and what you like to do when you're not fishing. Also, whether you'd like to go shore fishing or fly fishing while you're there as well. The international section on WSF is full of tips, advice, and recommendations, and also gives you an idea when places start going off the boil.

IMHO, for hardcore boat fishing with some shore action, I'd choose Baja California in May-June. Offshore, marlin (stripers of 150lb stay year round and are the area's bread and butter), sails, big dorado and big tuna; inshore roosterfish, jacks, snapper, amberjacks, sand bass, dorado, tunas ... It's off the beaten track but boat charters are reasonable out there - US$250-300 for 6hrs on a skiff

For dIY with big fish from the shore, fly fishing and limited boat action, Cayo Guillermo, Cuba, in April to June. Also comparatively cheap.

For no shore fishing at all (it's illegal) but supposedly good boat fishing, consider the Maldives. It's supposed to be good ... I'll tell you more in a fortnight, when I get back! Tobago's another good all-rounder, with some nice hotels.

Mexico's Yucatan coast for sails and white marlin in May-June, generally good reef fishing, plus good shore fishing and fly fishing. Lots of good hotels, fairly cheap.

For once-in-a-lifetime, one of the Seychelles out islands - Denis, Bird or Desroches. Or Rangiroa or Manihi in French Polynesia.

I've heard Kenya is good on the boat front, and not too expensive to get too; not tried it. Other supposedly good fishing destinations now emerging on the UK holiday market include Costa Rica, Cape Verde Islands, Oman and Gambia (of these I've only fished Oman).

Places that have disappointed me recently (this is very much MHO, based on experience; please don't start bleating, anyone) ... on boat and shore: Jamaica, Phuket, Mauritius, Eilat in Israel, Sabah in Malaysia, St Lucia (boat only).

Hmmm ... not much overlap with Dave (Panama Jack) there. Confused? Let us know a bit more of what you want...
All the best

14 Posts
sitting here absolutley stunned by the amount of knowledge
you have on resorts and the fish in them, wish i'd spoke to you before going to some so called hot places for game fishing.

2,394 Posts
Hi Darren
And firstly welcome to the forum!

As both Mark and I mentioned there are literally a wealth of places to go in large part, unfortunately, driven by budget. But I have to say the 'Keys are one of my favourite venues. It brings back so many memories of some great trips.

I know the company you're going with talk about offshore for Billfish and Sharks. Yes there are some big sharks there, mind you a lot of those - mainly Bulls - you'll see around the fish docks when they're cleaning fish. And there are the runs of Sailfish, normally in the Winter months but occasionally in the Spring. - the only place I'm aware of that produces them with any consistency is the 'Wall' 29 miles off Key West.

Also they mention Flats fishing. Given the shallowness and complexity of the water, particularly the areas you need to target for Bonefish and Permit though, that may prove difficult in the boat they're providing.

But despair not! As a light tackle venue it's a place par excellence!

When exactly are you going? And do you know where the accommodation is?
PS Do they provide tackle on the boat, and a sounder?

14 Posts
Hi Dave,

Pre booked for november, but i'm waiting for a deffo as there a few people there at the time, who might want an exstension to their trip.

Flat/waterside villa is in the central keys, so not sure excatly, seemed a nice little package, so thought i'd fit it in before going back to lanzarote.


ps just this second phoned christine to get some more info, but she's not in the office so hopefully will find out tomrrow.

2,394 Posts
Or if you desperately wanted to catch a Marlin then I'd suggest somewhere like Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands. There you can charter boats for as little as 600/650 Euros a day. Whilst, in Marlin terms, it can be 'quick fire' action, on occasions up to 10 strikes a day (you don't release them all), that may not fit in with your idea of 'LOADS of reasonable sized fish'. Other days of course it could be NADA!
Um....perhaps the 10 strikes a day was a bit of an under estimation? But of course, the 'health warning', you can still end up blanking.

This is a post I picked up from another forum from one of our German Club members desperate to get fishing out there - it's his comment about the '4 days'

The last 2 days the fishing still was red hot 2 boats fishing
18 may Bebiche with David fishing caught 14 blues out off 27 bites in 9 hours fishing,Zak caught 8 out off 28 bites with UK chris and Roger fishing. On the 19 Bebiche was 4 Blues out off 9 bites and Zak was 7 out off 17 bites the 3 biggest fish 700,750 ,750 from this 2 boats.
only 4 days to wait until we start fishing.
Here's the thread -

You may want to keep tabs on it. The wife of 'David' (from Italy) that they referred to is an excellent photographer and hopefully, over the next week or so, there should be some excellent photographs posted. (Any SCBI members reading the thread will remember that impressive picture on the bumper, 2006, edition of the Club magazine.) Any one else reading the thread will probably recognise 'Roger' as none other than this site one and only Ravelling Tangler. Well done Roger!

2,394 Posts
Um....a bit of a strange title? Well, yes......but read on, all will be revealed.

You'll find it's actually all about Marlin fishing in the Cape Verde Islands and links to the thread's original post - Where should I go to guarantee results? Well, in fishing, there's never any certainty. But 57 releases out of 126 strikes in 10 days fishing is about as close as you'll get to guaranteeing results whilst marlin fishing!

Any rate I've copied the report from another forum. It's written by an Italian angler, David. (SCBI members reading the post will perhaps remember it's a shot of one of David's fish from the 2006 season that appears on the front cover of our year book.)

Our internatonal flight from Italy to Sal landed very gently. Me, my friend Gianni and my wife Sabrina had only to wait a few hours for the 50 minutes local flight to Sao Vicente island.

Unusual low winds and low visibility worried us . In fact the local air company delayed our final flight more and more due to the desert sand in the air ( this wind coming from Africa is called Harmattan) very dangerous for the airplane engines.

We were just thinking about one night at Sal when sky opened up. Take off finally!
After 55 minutes we landed at Sao Vicente airport. Our Captain, the German skipper Peter Dobler was waiting for us. Smiles and bearhugs , we all remembered the fantastic last year fishing where we caught 15 blues from 28 bites in seven days. Best week of 2006 season for the captain.

We all knew this season was started as the best ever in Capo Verde. Peter told me he had already caught 92 blues in seven weeks with a fantastic day with 14 releases in mid april.

Things were a bit different at the moment though. Fishing was slow, at least for capeverde standards , with average of just 4 to 6 strikes per day with very poor strike ratios.

We were not worried. We had 13 days to fish , some slow days were predictable and acceptable.

After one very relaxing first night in our apartement we woke up early in the morning and went to the docks.

We found our old fishing boat, the forty five years old 31bertram Bebiche like last year. Perfect new engines but very very poor fishing equipment. Four broomsticks as rods, four old shimano tiagra 80 with poor and scratch 130 line on it.
Reels had low gear speed broken , the clicker working just sometimes………
Only a bunch of Moldcraft Wide Range as lures with dull hooks.
We were prepared to this sight but I remember last year for the first time we were very very worried
Not this year. We all smiled to see this.
We knew Bebiche was a really Marlin Magnet. Nobody knows why. No other charter boat dare fishing side by side to Bebiche.

Anyway , As soon as we reached the deck of our boat we opened our fishing bags and……voila’…..
New bucket harness, new fluo 130 line, jobu hookrigs super sharpened, leaders, accessories and two dozens of the best lures on the market. (thanks again Capt Bart Miller)

Our locat mates Zezito and Branco were so excited, they remembered our last year performance with these lures so their eyes blinkened.

Almost all the charter fishing boats here are used to troll just four widerange every day in every sea conditions.without any idea about the fine art of lure positioning It is normal that after some time with wild bite the following days marlins become more suspectous playing lures with their bill instead opening their mouth, hence the poor strike ratio.

We all decided to spend the first three fishing days exploring surrounding areas trying to find a good bite somewhere.

We fished the Santo Antao island waters the first day, then we moved east to San Nicolao island where we spent the night, we tried two spots over there for a few hours then we decided to move back to west where the charter fleet had found marlin in a spot called San Pedro Bank.

In those three days we had 6 strikes catching 3 fish (150-250-350) plus a 40 pound wahoo.

But most important, in those days we learned our spread on different sea and wind conditions.

We found some hot holes in the spread , we tested almost all the lures , some of them worked good some not.

We forced the crew to fish closer to the transom, they used to set their spread too far even in good sea condition . Sometimes it seemed to troll five stingers.

We found magic short and long corner spot in the spread and we wanted our lures there.

Mates worked hard pulling in and out lures, longer and shorter distance from the stern,

Finally we had our loops to attach the tag line clip on mail line at the right distances. Perfect. We were satisfied about our hard work, most of the lures worked fine, rpm setting were ok, new lines on every reel.

We were ready.

On Sunday 13 of May it all started.

We left the Mindelo Harbour at 6.30 in the morning.
After a 40 minute ride we reached the bank and we set the spread for our start.
Ten minutes later a nice 20 pound dorado caught steel. Dinner for everybody. Smiles.
One hour later first marlin strike on Roddy Hays Enky but no hookup, 30 minutes later our first blue, a nice acrobatic 200 pounder on BB Marlin Candy short corner.
From then on , we had marlin strikes every 30 minutes , including a double header and a triple header. (we caught one each)
We ended the day with an impressive 4 from 11 not bad but we experienced some poor ratio in evening bites on our short lures that left us a bit wild.
On the way back home we had a nice 40 pound wahoo.
In the same day Capt. Zac on his wonderful 35 Bertram Amelia had a nice 3 from 9 and Capt Simon on Happy Hooker II did the best of the day with a fantastic 7 from 11, Berno on Happy Hooker had bad luck 0 from 7.
It seemed to everybody fishing was going off again in the next days.

Second day

We started at 7.45 . the winds were stronger and the sea from moderate to heavy.
We decided to fish the same spot as yesterday and we did well.
Total of the day 5 from 9 with a double header. Nice fish in the average weight for capeverde waters, 200-350 pounder.

The others: Simon 4 from 11, Berno nada again , Zac a fantastic 7 from 19 with a potential grander released and a spearfish.
With these numbers who could complain???
We spent the evening dinner together with Zac , mate Marty Bates and their nice german clients in a lovely local restaurant. Lots of beer……lots of wine…..even for my wife Sabrina.

Third day

We had a very windy night, a bit worried about the sea forecast.
Sabrina decided to stay at home. Good decision.
Boring and slow day at least for us.
We ended with a sad 1 from 7 ( a nice 350 pounder) with Roddy Hays Andromeda on long corner.
We tried also the drop off on the east side as too many boats fished just on the bank. We found lots of bird and tons of baitfish everywhere but no marlin . We kept this info for us. We wanted to try again next days.
The others Berno finally caught one, local Skipper Calu 2 /3 Zac did best again 4/10

Fourth day

We started at 7.30 a bit worried as wind was blowing very hard.
The lee side of the island saved us and the sea was like yesterday and settled down during the day.
Our old bebiche did best today with a great 6/9 with a final quadruple header (caught 2)
Nice fish today: 450, 400, 350. 250,250,200 pounders.
We set a nice spread with Marlin Candy and Andromeda on shorts and Hawaiian Breakfast and Pakula lumo sprocket on riggers they all did well.
Marlin were very aggressive and crashed on our lure catching steel of our fantastic stiff Jobu hookrigs.
The others Zac 5/10 Calu 4/9 Simon 2/5
Our Best day until now.
We had dinner again with Zac and Marty, the german clients had their last days.
Tomorrow we will fish the bank without Zac and his boat.
Their next English gentleman clients Chris Flower (aka UKCHRIS ) and Roger Bradbury (aka RAVELLING TANGLER) will arrive the next day and we all were waiting for them.
We were going to have a five days friendly challenge between Italian and England fishing team.

Fifht day

Alone on the bank. No other charter boat had clients. Unbelievable.
We started at 7.00
In the morning we experienced only bites on riggers, late in the day marlin stroke the shorts as well.
We used the same spread as yesterday but we put a BB Abaco prowler on long rigger instead of hawaian breakfast.
We had an before only dreamed 8/16. Weight on average 200 to 350 pounds.
We backed to Mindelo one hour before as we had to change oil. We wanted to be ready for the next day, the very important first day competition.

Sixth day (comp day number one)

Chris and Roger arrived regularly.
We decided lines in 8.30 and lines out at 4.00 pm
Nobody could know what it was waiting for us that day…………

Only three boats on the bank. Calu ended with a 1/9
For Zac, Marty, Chris and Roger have been the best day in their fishing life.
They caught 8 from 19.
Who could make better? Bebiche and the Italian team of course
With a fantastic 14/31 we did the best of our life too.
We lost three lures, five hookrigs, two lines broken, We had a nice 500+ , at the very start of the day we had a quadruple header and we caught three and broke the fourh….what a mess.
I have caught my share of marlin in my life but what happened this day goes beyond my imagination.
I just remember that from the start of the competition till 11.30 we had no time to rest for a second………..
When all was over in the dock nobody could realize what happened yet.But biiiig smiles from everybody.
Sorry Zac and England team but we lead 1 day to 0.

Seventh day (second day of the comp)

Today we found marlin in great numbers but a lot less aggressive than the day before.
Shy strikes, we did some mistakes also , maybe due to our tiredness and our nervosism aboard.
We ended with a decent 3/10
Zac did better then us 6/12. Hat off to them. They deserved the victory. 1 to 1
We noticed that marlin were becoming less aggressive, and our stiff hookrigs did not so good, we changed , and we switch to a swinging back hook trying to wrap it around the bill.
My capt had an idea. He wanted to leave the bank the next day.
He said to me that if we stayed there we would have worst strike ratio day by day.
We had to find new fish more aggressive not already hooked and released.
I was very worried about this decision, leaving this bank it was a risky business for me but I trusted my captain and said Yes.

Eight day (third day of comp)

We tried the bank just few hours in the morning, we had only fool strikes with no hookups 0/5 the same happened to Zac.
Then the decision. Zac stayed on the bank and we moved to the east , out of the bank , trolling on the 200 metres drop off where we found baitfish but no marlin the days before.
Finally we found them.
After the initial 0 from five we got a fantastic 4 from 5 with my jobu hookrigs.
Zac ended with a not enough 3 from 14
Still on the lead. 2 days to 1
Highlight of the day a nice 600+
Best lures as usual : Marlin Candy, pakula Sprocket
My friend Gianni Saved our victory catching the fourth fish with a broken reel . Well done .

Nine day (fourth day of comp)

A very windy day.
Sabrina liked to stay at home.
We all started one hour later to make gasoline.
So today line in 9.30 and lines out 4.00 pm as usual

We moved quickly to the east without a try on the bank.
As usual the first 5 strikes in the morning did not catch steel. But when we reached the far east things changed.
We had two double header and we caught all . we ended with a 7/13
My last fish was a 700+ that force me a very dirty down fight.
After a 50 minute hard fight our first mate Zezito got the leader. Fish caught. The seventh of the day.
We went home. We did not know anything about Zac. No radio contact.
When in the harbour we looked at their release flags…one…two..three….that is all. We won again. 3 days to 1. Only one day left, Impossible for the England beat us. The comp was over.

Tenth and last day (fifth day of the comp)

We suggested Zac to go east too and leave the bank and he did. But he did not enough.
We ended with a 5/11 and zac only 2 /4
We destroyed them.
Our trip was over , Chris and Roger had still one day to fish.
We all were so happy, the winners the losers, all of us.
Great final dinner altogether. See you next year guys. A special hug to my old captain Peter Dobler that in his last fishing season did the best of his life. I am so proud to be his favourite angler.
Next year Bebiche is going to be captained by Ferdinand Worst. We became friends this year, he was at the helm sometimes during those days while Peter catnapped.

We ended our 13 days with 60 marlin caught from 132 strikes
The last ten days 57 releases from 126 strikes
I don’t know what to do know. Nothing will be the same for me.
Thanks again to everybody .
A special Thanks again To Capt. Bart Miller.
Thanks to his fine lures all this was possible, without them no chances.

Just for curious anglers

Top lures of the trip

1- Black Bart Marlin Candy
2- Pakula lumo strocket
3- Black Bart Abaco Prowler
4- Black Bart Hawaian Breakfast
5- Pakula Mouse
6- Roddy Hays Enky
7- Apollo Evil
8- Moldcraft wide range

Colours: Lumo, Black and red, green and red, green and yellow.

2,394 Posts
In case it's of interest, just adding to that last post. Zak, the skipper whom the Ravelling Tangler fished with, has recently set up his own web site - If you want to keep tabs on the fishing you do get brief, very brief, updates on the site - top right of home page.

Of the other skippers mentioned, Berno (who speak excellent English) and Simon (who is English), this is their web site - Their boats - the appropriately named Happy Hooker fleet, are somewhat cheaper to charter than Zak's boat.

430 Posts
not sure if the auther of this thread still gives a damn but i would recommend carribean coast of Colombia. i spent a day off the shore, Jack Crevalle, Barracude, Yellow Snapper. all fish came within 20mins of spinning!

jumped in a local fishing boat for £10 for a couple hours and caught a lot of small grouper only. a bit disappointing but for that complaints!

Santa Marta, Colombia in the Tayrona national park. Cheap fishing boats in Taganga nr Santa Marta
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