It’s almost unfair. Perfect weather, beautiful beaches and some of the best fishing in the world? But it’s true. Home to a rich undersea ecosystem, the Caribbean boasts warm shallows, deep ocean and extensive coral reefs—it’s just right for world-class angling and an unforgettable vacation.
Known as much for its nightlife as its jaw-dropping beauty, Cabo’s a world-class destination by any measure. For anglers, it has extra appeal: Cabo is home to some of the best deep-sea fishing anywhere in the world. The waters off Cabo mark the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, on its own one of the most biodiverse seas on earth. The coming together makes for a stunning bounty of record-breaking fish. Blue and black marlin, crevalle jack, roosterfish, sailfish and more abound in the deep waters here. And with so much action coming and going, it’s always the right time to fish for something.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This gorgeous sliver of an island off the Yucatan Peninsula is just a short hop from Cancun, but the vibe couldn’t be more different. Sleepy and traditional where its opposite number is raucous and brash, Isla Mujeres is popular with touristas for day trips. For anglers, it’s a wonderfully low-key base for some world-class sport fishing. Marlin, grouper, wahoo and bonita are just a few of the big fish you’ll find. But it’s the run of sailfish—beginning in January and continuing all the way to June—that’s truly special.
Isla de Coiba, Panama
While it’s less heralded than some of its Central American neighbors, Panama should be on every angler’s radar. The rugged Pacific coast is rife with excellent sport fishing, excellent lodges and expert charter companies. You’ll need that expertise to fish Isla de Coiba. A former prison island in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Coiba today is like a tropical dream, with lush forests and powdery white sand beaches surrounded by turquoise water. The island and its environs—which include the massive undersea shelf known as Hannibal Bank—are home to an incredible variety of game fish. Black marlin, tuna and sailfish abound in deeper waters while explosive roosterfish and cubera snappers are found closer to shore.
Ambergis Caye, Belize
Belize is mild, sunny and easy on the eyes, with clear Caribbean water and miles of beaches. Considering that English is the national language and it’s only two hours by plane and from Miami, the only surprise is that it’s not more popular. Now, though, this tiny Central American nation is getting its due as a major stop for sport fishing. Home to the world’s second-longest barrier reef, the waters off Belize’s east coast are teeming with game fish (not to mention a world of other beautiful creatures if you dive or snorkel). Ambergis Caye is a gorgeous palm-fringed island well equipped to lodge anglers. With a surfeit of excellent local guides, it’s a perfect base for exploring the uninhabited Turneffe Islands to the south. Permit, bonefish and tarpon are the big prizes here. The summer spawning season sees bonefish and permit in eye-popping numbers. But the reef and the extensive coastal flats mean there’s never a bad time to fish here.