Undiscovered Billfish Destinations

Four veterans weigh in on their favorite destinations

July 24, 2018
man smiling wearing hat

Capt. Eddie Bairez

Puerto San Jose, Guatemala Capt. Eddie Bairez

The Andaman Basin in the Indian Ocean is going to be one. Deja Blue is the only boat consistently fishing there right now. One of my five-day trips included 10 marlin from 13 bites, three of them being blues, and the rest were blacks. On another trip, we caught 10 from 23 bites; three of them were blues and seven blacks, and five of those blues were raised on a single small seamount. Due to the monsoons, the fishing season typically runs between January and April. With virtually no commercial pressure, the Andaman Islands have endless potential as an emerging billfish destination.

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Capt. Andy Moyes

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Capt. Andy Moyes

Angola, Africa, has all the signs of a healthy fishery even though it remains largely unexplored. January through March produces a substantial number of huge Atlantic sailfish just off the coast of Luanda. The blue marlin fishing is equally impressive, with two peak seasons: The first is March through May, when the blues forage on the large numbers of dorado living in the weed and debris lines formed by the fast-moving river outflows. The second peak can vary, but it typically runs from October through December. Angola sees very little sport-fishing pressure, and I am looking forward to seeing it for myself soon.

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Capt. Jason “Tiny” Walcott

West Palm Beach, Florida Capt. Jason “Tiny” Walcott

My pick would be the Federated States of Micronesia, a group of volcanic islands and atolls encompassing about 270 square miles in the northern Pacific. I was there on French Look in the spring of 2000, fishing around the weed lines that formed where three currents converged. You could see the mahi hiding from the blue marlin that would stack themselves under the weeds like wahoo. Fishing with live bait, we caught many small blues that season, and although sight-fishing for them was unconventional, the hookups were almost immediate. With so little sport-fishing pressure, Micronesia could easily support a marlin fishery for a very long time.

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Capt. Rufus Wakeman

Jensen Beach, Florida Capt. Rufus Wakeman

Exmouth, Australia’s remote billfishery is one of the best in the numbers game. Averaging 100 pounds, the black marlin are frequently caught on fly, and all the Pacific billfish species can be found just offshore.

We visit Exmouth, Australia, in this feature

Blue marlin are targeted in the Aussie summertime, with black marlin and sailfish being caught year-round. Larger sails can be found along the Ningaloo Reef from August through November, while the smaller sails push into the Gulf of Exmouth. Lying within 5 miles of the continental shelf, Exmouth remains at the top of my list as an all-around billfish destination for species diversity and size.


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