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Thread: Big Game Destinations

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    Hi, I'm after some advice on a venue for next year please.

    I've had a few goes for Marlin on holidays in various locations but never been successful, the most recent was Madeira last month but it seemed the season has already finished in August so it was only really whites and Big eye about and we only raised one white in two full days of fishing (the whole fleet blanked both days).

    At the moment I'm looking at Ascention, Madeira (with more time and earlier in the season) and Panama/CR. All offer a good shout of a 1000+ and some other species. Does anyone have any experience of these destinations or anywhere else?

    Thanks, Chris.

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    No experience myself but Ascension ticks all the boxes. Pricey but remote location that must be spot on for biggies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Match lake noddy View Post
    Hi, I'm after some advice on a venue for next year please.

    I've had a few goes for Marlin on holidays in various locations but never been successful, the most recent was Madeira last month but it seemed the season has already finished in August so it was only really whites and Big eye about and we only raised one white in two full days of fishing (the whole fleet blanked both days).

    At the moment I'm looking at Ascention, Madeira (with more time and earlier in the season) and Panama/CR. All offer a good shout of a 1000+ and some other species. Does anyone have any experience of these destinations or anywhere else?

    Thanks, Chris.
    If I had to put money on anywhere it would be ascension, I have someone looking to share a Marlin boat out there if you'd like to split costs?
    WWW.SFCTravel.com

    Looking for that special fishing trip anywhere in the world ?? PM me

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    Big ask a 1000lb marlin Chris! If it's a bit of fishing and a family holiday Ascension might not be great for the family. Cape Verde Islands always does good numbers of fish with the chance of a 500lb+. I was down there in April but not for the marlin. The locals told me they'd sold off the fishing rights to the Chinese in exchange for infrastructure investment. They said it's like a floating city of lights now so you'd need to find out the impact. Kenya from Malindi /Watamu down Kilifi to the Pemba Channel always good for a fish or two, especially the stripers around Pemba. Dar es Salem has boats but I've not been for over a decade. Mauritius always a great family destination does big fish I prefer it up Grand Baie area. But Le Morne, Black River, La Pirogue Flic en Flac all have boats. They are suffering from taking too many fish down the years in my opinion. Maldives also a great family destination and great fishing but not huge fish. Difficult to organise boats though because of distance and remoteness of resorts. Venezuela /Panama /Costa Rica like you say a good choice but can be rough. Loreto, Baja sea of Cortez would be a great shout, loads of fish but not many boats of a decent standard. Lastly if you really did set your stall out for a giant black it'd have to be for me Cairns /great barrier reef Australia. Never been unfortunately but will go one day.
    Out of interest what's the results like and cost in Maderia now? Used to fish it a fair bit in the early 90's had my pb out there with a skipper called Roddy Hayes. Last I heard of him he was in Midway I think but that was a while ago. Good luck.

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    New Zealand is worth a look for striped Marlin... Three Kings off the north east coast of the north island... It can be prolific, although the sizes are smaller with striped... 400lb+ would be a big one... And for a family holiday there are loads of things to do... Spectacular country... Incredible scenery... Not wanting to sound patronising but a lot of elements have to line up to catch big game fish - weather, location, time of year, the difficulty in landing what is basically an uncontrollable torpedo, being able to research and get onto a decent boat with a good skipper and crew, some would say moon phase, whether the fish are feeding etc etc etc... There's quite a bit of luck involved and for a grander even more luck... To take as much luck out of the equation as possible, get on a good boat with a top skipper and crew, at the peak season in that particular destination, and ideally get out for a few days...

    Jason, I've not forgotten you, still want to do a trip but unfortunately a couple of things are getting in the way at the moment... Had a go for tuna in Croatia this year, just for the day, but blanked due to the wind/drift being a touch too fast... (Luck!) I chatted all day with the IGFA captain of the Croatian game fishing team who took us out, and he had fished in world champs for Marlin and sailfish - even he was saying how much luck is involved and that it's about taking as much luck out of the equation as possible, trying to stack the odds in one's favour... We were lucky to get a booking on that boat, the best setup in Croatia, but then unlucky with the weather... Had we gone just two or three days later, the wind was dropping, it was peak season, and we'd have been in with a big shout of a hook up... Lots of factors need to align...

    Cheers, Toddy.

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    Very good and very true post Darth. I've a hook up to boating ratio of 5/1 with marlin, lost them to sharks bill wraps even been spooled in bad weather and rough seas. Let alone just hook pulls and line breakage. Biggest I've ever been connected to was 800lb plus in 25 years at it.
    Were you targeting Big bluefin in Croatia? I've heard they get up there to breed hence the odd great white kicking about. Might be wrong though.

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    That's unlucky with the hookup to boat ratio, but a good demonstration of just how difficult it can be! I've been out just twice for Marlin, once for the day off Cairns when we rose one fish but it spat the bait, and one five day trip in NZ where we had six bites and three to the boat... That trip took me a couple of months to research, a trip to Whangaroa big game fishing club to find out the best and most consistent boats/crew, a few phone calls, and then a month or so of patience waiting for a booking to become available during "peak" season... The effort paid off though, as I was fortunate enough to catch my first Marlin... (Bucket list angling!) What was crystal clear is that it's as technical as carp fishing, there is a lot of watercraft and knowledge involved, and there is far more to it than just towing plastic around the ocean... One of the fish to the boat was caught on a freelined live skipjack tuna... The deckhand was a lad from Brighton and I learnt bundles from him during the trip... It was a real eye opener...

    You're quite right with the tuna, they do head upto Croatia to breed... Although these days quite a few are caught via nets on their way into the Med... There are some politics and controversy involved in that happening, as Croatia forbids a tuna to be brought onto the boat, they are protected... We fished with Split Adria, Captain Boris and Captain Josko, they're a top outfit, and even though we didn't catch (the wind isn't under their control...) I would thoroughly recommend them...

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    Could be a useful link and website...

    http://www.sportfishingmag.com/10-to...-marlin#page-7

    For Costa Rica, this is a very useful map...

    https://www.anywherecostarica.com/maps/fishing

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    Cheers for the Croatia info Darth, spot on.
    New Zealand nearly happened for me years ago when a mate emigrated out there but his Mrs missed her family and he came back before the trip was sorted. It was funnily enough the same place you mention.
    I think my hook up to tag and release ratio is to do with the methods and locations. Although I lost a decent Black last Feb on the last day of a tournament that would have won me it, eventually finishing second. That bloody thing took a small squid jig and disappeared at a hell of a rate of knots openening the hooks! Used to fish a lot of slow trolled biggish live baits, Bonito and yellowfin upto 15kg''s. In order to avoid deep hooking and probable death of the fish I always go in early to set the hook. Plus a lot is in the warmer waters of the Indian ocean where the fish are definitely more acrobatic and those stripers go for it!
    Same as any angling when you don't know the venue well, time spent researching is invaluable. I've also found you need upto date records of skippers, lots suffer from burn out and results tale off.

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    What a superb post from Darth about prior planning and luck.

    Catching a decent Marlin is a big deal and catching a grander is off the scale. Go to the best places at the best times, fish on the best boat and then hope for the best.

    Also look at Central America. They seem to be catching more Marlin there these days but they aren't massive !

    Also Look carefully at restrictions on commercial fishing. If the commercials are banned then the rod and line potential rockets.....it works the other way too, if commercials move in big time, then the rod catch collapses.

    Ultimately you need to be realistic, a big Marlin anywhere is a very serious target to set.

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    To compare it to carp fishing, I'd equate a grander with catching a 50+ carp, so think about the considerations required to catch such a fish... The lake would be the equivalent to the destination, the skipper/crew/boat the equivalent to employing an experienced guide on said lake, and then choosing the right time of year (spring or autumn..?) would be starting to increase the chances... Even then, there may be 50-100 carp in the lake but only one or two 50+ carp... A grander is a big ask... Take a look at this link (superb photos) and the guy in question mentions spending six weeks fishing and this was his first 1000lb fish... http://www.marlinmag.com/Black-Marli...src=SOC&dom=fb

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    Madiera is a bit of a waste of time TBH. If you want a really good chance of hooking into a Black Marlin then Mauritius in Late Jan/Feb/early March would provide a strong chance. Nothing likely to be really big (300+) but decent numbers.

    Its fishing though so the best place in the world might not produce when you're there but a jolly up on a boat in Tenerife might!
    I spent much $$$ going to Maine and Gloucester Bay for a big Blue fin and caught a couple of 75-120s in about 10 days fishing. Then i was on holiday in Spain and went trolling off the straits of Gibralter and caught a 300+ blue, lost another monster, and caught a couple in the 60-100lb bracket. Plus some had some massive yellow fins.

    I've fished the Sea of Cortez, and off Cabo, Great Barrier Reef (best chance of a real unit), Madiera, Mauritius, Cape Verde, The Keys, Spain, North Atlantic etc and they're all Hit and Miss. Sea of Cortez is the place though! I'd also like to try Panama for the Sail Fish.

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    Mauritius is surprisingly competitive on price too...

    An article I read recently which some of you may enjoy, documenting some incredible fishing from the 1950's... http://www.sportfishingmag.com/great...has-ever-known

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    You get what you pay for in Mauritius Toddy. Lots of crews just go through the motions. One reason for the cheaper prices is they will take a marlin to the dock for profit so you need as always to sort out the tip for releasing a fish beforehand.
    Great article, I've read a bit about Cabo Blanco before, some tough angling back in the day. Cheers.

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    Interesting info for Mauritius, thank you. I've been looking at lots of destinations these last few weeks as I'm 40 this year, so want to take a holiday which has some good big game fishing along the way...

    I was all set on Asenscion but there's not much for the other half to do apart from the turtle sanctuary, and just the one place to eat... It's not really fair to take her there, and I do enjoy other things like walking up mountains, wildlife, culture etc...

    Then there's the Zika virus which seems to be taking over huge swathes of game fishing areas... The current shortlist is down to Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, La Gomera, Hawaii, and one or two other possibles including Mauritius... Ideally sometime between May and the end of August... It's proving a tricky (but very nice) conundrum where to go... Not too fussy about species but on my list are (at least one of) Tarpon, Sails, Tuna and GT's... If there are Marlin then it's a bonus but those other species are higher on the list as I've not caught them before...

    Any ideas???

    And yes, those Marlin from the 1950's are pretty spectacular... Especially given the technology and kit available at the time...

    Cheers,
    Toddy.

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    I hope I haven't put you and the good lady off Mauritius as that wasn't the intention. It's a fantastic island with some stunning places to visit. Great food friendly people with a french twist. Really easy to get around by hiring a car. Just find a good operation.
    The time of year you're looking at makes the east coast of Africa more tricky it's the low season due to the weather /water. Lots of boats out of the water at this time of the year for maintenance. Have you considered a two centre trip? Something like Cape Verde Islands with the florida keys? Take some organising but as an angler you'll know that's part of the journey. Used to fish in Tobago with a skipper called Frothy de Silva ran a couple of boats out of pigeon point/crown point area, good set up. Tarpon big yellowfin chance of a marlin etc. Great for the family and probably easy to get to florida, central/south America for a second destination, depending on the zika situation. Mauritius then over to South Africa/Mozambique would be a fantastic trip but I'd be wary of the time of year you're looking. Good luck whatever you do any spaces going!

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    Thank you for your help and suggestions, Munich. Central America was the runner up to Ascension (specifically Costa Rica) but the area is affected by zika. Tobago and Cape Verde the same... If you search a world map it's a real PITA the number of places it has spread to with regards to game fishing... The other half gets smashed by mozzies when we go abroad (in Borneo one bite was literally the size of a tennis ball) so it's not ideal... South Africa I have looked at but the season for tuna is pretty much now until May and by then the weather is just 16 degrees - prefer to have a bit of sun and fish in shorts and a t-shirt! It does look superb out there though with the other nature going off on the baitfish (whales, dolphins etc.)

    Looking at Mauritius, it would seem the best months are Dec-May, earlier in that period for Marlin and later for yellowfin...

    Another destination I've been looking at is The Gambia but there don't seem to be many charter boats advertised and the info online seems a bit sketchy... They seem to have tarpon and sails which would suit me down to the ground if there's a shot at both in the one trip... Finding a good boat and skipper there seems tricky... Senegal up the coast looks good too but a little dodgy for safety and security... I'm well travelled but don't like to look over my shoulder on holiday!

    I have looked at Florida Keys - that seems to be the opposite of west Africa with a plethora of boats, locations, species and possibly very busy (3m anglers visit per year apparently!)

    It's proving a tough but very nice conundrum...

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    I'd swerve The Gambia to be honest Toddy. Each to their own but Its one of the few places I'd never go back to. The reason I suspect info is sketchy is its not upto much with no decent safe operations I could find. I did a bit of sharking and had a few but much better places than Gambia around. Plus the local lads really do mither. Like the Essex boys of Africa the Gambians.

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    Thank you for confirming my suspicions there, Munich! I have read about the bumsters... Lack of info to me spells lack of good boats and skippers... I've found a single boat in Senegal that looks sensible but the safety factor for travelling there doesn't look that great... The other half has been asked by her work to use up some outstanding holidays by March or April, so I'm searching around again... Takes a lot of time to research but getting the planning right is def. the way forwards I think... South Africa (Cape Town or Durban) looks decent at that time of year...

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    Eh up Toddy, can recommend Boca Grande area in Florida for Tarpon, very busy during May-June for what is considered peak season, but I fished early August for my 40th couple of years back, didn't see another fishing boat all day and hooked 6 Tarpon in a morning..

    Obviously loads to do in Florida to keep the Mrs sweet also.. No Zika other than small pockets near Miami from memory..

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