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7 Best Fishing Destinations for Marlin and Sailfish

Last Updated: 23.09.23


Any staunch billfish angler would love to take a fishing holiday in some of the best Marlin fishing locations in the world. Just pack up your bags and book a flight into any one of these Marlin and Sailfish fishing destinations.

  1. Panama

The Republic of Panama offers some of the widely recognized fishing destinations in North/Central America. Served daily by nonstop flights from various cities in the southern US, Panama is just a hop away from Newark, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, and much more. Anglers typically spend overnight after getting to Panama City before going on a 4-hour ground transfer to Cebaco or 5 hours to Pedasi.

Aside from the acknowledged fisherman’s hotel, the Wyndham Grand Veneto Hotel and Casino, fishing tourists can also stay at the Marriott, Trump Tower, Sheraton, and Miramar Intercontinental. Although an increasing number of fishers decide to take a half day in nearby Gatun Lake fishing the occasional tarpon and snook as well as peacock bass, Panama remains one of the best Marlin fishing spots in the world.

The ever famous Tropic Star Lodge in Piñas Bay consistently provides black marlin fishing, with Captains fishing live bait to target Black, Striped, and Blue Marlins along the famed Zane Grey Reef. Anglers are guaranteed to experience a grand slam with lures and dead bait spread out wide as well.

If you’re a hardcore billfish angler, you will surely delight in deep jigging and popping around the same Tuna Coast hangouts that also entice Marlins.

The western section of the coast all the way to Cebaco Island remains pristine and is a top notch inshore fishing location. Panama is known for its competitive, aggressive game fish that can wreck poppers or even test your strength with a buttoned-down drag.

Marking the end of the Tuna Coast Marlin Chain is Aguja Reef, located 5 miles due west of Roncador. Although this spot is barely larger than a football field, it offers a larger Marlin catch compared to others on the Tuna Coast.

There will be times when as many as ten black marlins have to be released in a day, that’s how big the catch can be. It is common to find multiple hookups. The spot easily rivals both Hannibal Bank and Piñas Bay in productivity. You will, of course, want to bring along a limitless number of baitfish. Blue water and good current are also critical for success.

Another great spot is Islote Roncador, with its distinct Rock of Gibraltar shape. Although it is an acclaimed cubera snapper and wahoo spot, Roncador also proves to be productive for sailfish and black marlin.

Just off Punta Mariato is an exceptional marlin hole where black marlin is consistently produced as well. You can do some butterfly jigging and casting and be rewarded handsomely with a catch of a lifetime.

Morro de Puercos, where schools of bait tend to cluster on the flats, is another marlin fishing spot. To get a marlin bite going, blue water is a must.

Other billfish fishing spots worth visiting include Frailes Del Sur; Volcan; Media Luna; and Isla Iguana.

Inshore anglers in pursuit of the smaller game have been surprised how black marlin can turn up just about anywhere. On the Pacific side of Panama, regardless which point is fished, sailfish are also bountiful. Seasoned marlin fishers have proven for themselves that where the tuna are plentiful, it is common to find big black marlin as well. The use of Zwings or downriggers will greatly improve your tuna and marlin catch rate.


  1. Guatemala

Guatemala also has some of the best sailfish spots this side of the planet. It has gained international fame as offering one of the most elevated billfish concentrations the whole year round, specifically Pacific Sailfish. Marlins are released in astounding numbers, which adds to the prolific sailfish angling each month every year. There are also enormous populations of yellowfin tuna, dorado, roosterfish, and a variety of inshore species.

Both the conventional and fly fishing records are held by Guatemala, with the largest number of sailfish released in one day. Simply put, the Pacific Coast of Guatemala is a proven billfish haven.

If you study its topography, Guatemala’s coast has a structure that forms a giant bay. East to west, strong currents come from the Mexican coast and turn back after they hit the El Salvador coast. The currents then create a huge, natural occurring eddy with plentiful bait along with pelagic fish. There are also large numbers of billfish and countless other sport fishing species.  

The enormous number of sailfish along the Guatemalan coast has been studied by scientists, who have concluded that it may be the world’s largest breeding ground for Pacific Sailfish. You can make sailfish catches the whole year round although the prime season is in November through May. The practice of using circle hooks and doing catch-and-release protect the country’s fishery.

Aside from the perpetually bountiful billfish population, anglers can also optimize the opportunity to have their share of catches of tuna, Black, Blue, and Striped marlin, and dorado. Furthermore, Guatemala also boasts productive inshore fishing for snapper, jack crevalle, roosterfish, and many others. The key elements include clear water and high tide.

In terms of fishing pressure, Guatemala presents none at all. Unlike a lot of other bluewater destinations, the fleet for sports fishing in Guatemala is diminutive.

Year round, sailfish can be taken, with sizes varying from 80 to 120 pounds. Sailfish peak time is from November to April. A good number of sailfish is produced during the summer months. The rainy season here is May to September. However, it only rains typically for an hour or two at night without downgrading the fishing experience. In Guatemala, the summer season is better compared to what many other bluewater destinations offer at peak seasons.

Pacific Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin can be caught the whole year round, with sizes ranging from 200 to 500 pounds. Those are aside from dorado, yellowfin tuna, jacks, roosterfish, and others.

  1. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

The Pacific Coast of Mexico has long been acknowledged for providing great sport fishing spots. However, doubtlessly, the angler’s jackpot is the scenic Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, where you can catch the big fish. As the Mexican Pacific Coast’s very well-kept secret, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is a dual destination acclaimed by fishermen ‘in the know.’ For countless decades, it has been recognized as one of the prime places for the big game fish on the planet. The success levels of anglers here are higher than anywhere else.

For the major part of the year, the primary game, sailfish, can weigh up to 175 pounds and an average from 75 to 100 pounds. Blue and Black Marlin can weigh anywhere from 250 to 500 pounds.  Anglers ought to toughen up for a fierce, protracted fight.


  1. Cabo San Lucas

When you cast a lure or fly into the Cabo San Lucas waters, you might bag anything from a Sierra mackerel to a hefty Blue Marlin. This spot has been featured and acclaimed as the greatest fish trap on the plane, and it has always been so. On a realistic note, it would be an exaggeration to say that all species are there every day for the catching. However, keeping things interesting is precisely what the approximately 20 species of blue water fighters are doing, from skipjack to yellowfin tuna, bonito to marlin, ladyfish, and jack crevalle.


  1. Miami

Making marlin fishing an exhilarating experience, Miami and Miami Beach have been known as premium fishing spots in the world. You can catch Marlin even if you do not target them specifically and are just casting for sailfish, sharks, and other South Florida fish.

One of the toughest to battle at sea is the Blue Marlin. Although they are not a usual catch off the coast of South Florida, they can be caught in the waters of Miami, especially in the summer. Marlin can be sighted and captured in the fall and spring. Marlins are known fighters but fishing them is truly exhilarating. The size range for Blue Marlin is from 250 to 1,000 pounds. It is the northeast wind and the cold fronts that provide prime conditions for Sailfish in Miami.


  1. Fiji

Billfish have many seasons, and the oceanic waters around Kadavu Island promote the production of the species, particularly Blue Marlin. These can be caught year-round. Where the tuna fish is, the blues will be there too.

Around October and November, fishing for Blue Marlin can be relatively quiet at times. That said, this would depend on when the warm summer current comes in as the yellowfin tuna do their summer run.

For Blue Marlin fishing with heavy offshore tackle, the best weather is in the summer months of December to May. In March, Black Marlin can be caught despite the best months being August and September. Briefly, in August and September, Striped Marlin make brief appearances when the water temperatures go below 25 degrees. The occasional juvenile Striped Marlin are caught in April and May.

Large Pacific sailfish cluster up around the reefs from May to October so they can be targeted with light tackle gear. Most of them weigh approximately 50 to 80 pounds. Blue Marlin can be captured with skip baits, trolling lures, or live bait and they range in size between 150 to 1,000 pounds. January to March is when the big Blue Marlins can be targeted.


  1. New Zealand

In terms of the huge numbers of fish, New Zealand might not be well-recognized like other fishing spots. However, what the destination can’t boast in numbers, it certainly can boast in size. It is not surprising to see 300 pounders regularly. Truly the spot for trophy Striped Marlin, New Zealand offers the occasional game weighing over 400 pounds.

It’s the country’s geographical nature that sets apart the fishery in New Zealand. The country has a very long, narrow landmass, which is more pronounced in the North Island area. That is where most of the fishery happens. A lee side usually exists so both coasts of New Zealand can be fished.

This is critical here since the weather can be unpredictable in the same manner as the fishing can be volatile. Due to those easily evolving factors, most fishers prefer to be in small trailer boats, which enables them to fish one side of the coast one day and the other side the next day.




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