Because you can’t drop a hook in every lake, river, bayou and ocean you stumble upon, how will you know what’s an awesome fishery rather than just a body of water with a few fish in it? Don’t worry, we’ve talked to some of the best anglers in the business – guys who have been there, done that, won the trophy and shot the TV show – and they shared some of their favorite spots and a few facts that make those spots great.
As weird as this sounds, I’ve fished my entire life on some of the best bodies of water on Earth, but EVERY single time I fish Lake St. Clair in Detroit, Michigan, it blows me away. It’s stunning that one of the most incredible lakes in the country is right next to a major metropolitan area. The last time I taped with my boys the day started incredible and the fish just got bigger and bigger throughout the day. That seems to happen EVERY time I launch my boat there! – Mark Zona, Host of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show
Baja Sur, Mexico, has some coastlines that are as remote as any place I have been. Most of the time with this remoteness you will find epic fishing opportunities. A couple of my favorite places are Punta Abriojos, the grouper capital of the world, and Magdalena Bay in the fall with more striped marlin than you could ever imagine. I am fortunate to have a great friend, Julio Mesa, who has been fishing these waters since he was a boy. The relationships that he has made in some of these remote towns have made it possible for us to experience these unique fisheries while living with the locals. Giant grouper – some are fish of a lifetime – or days of seeing hundreds of marlin are just part of it. It’s the total experience that I get off on; the adventure and challenges that we face along the way. – Carter Andrews, Host of The Obsession of Carter Andrews
Southeast Florida. Variety is the name of the game here across Dade/Broward/Palm Beach counties, with a wide array of species available across a vast network of nearshore reefs, sloping plains, sharp drop offs and, of course, the relentless Gulf Stream. Snook to swordfish and everything in between call these waters home at some point in the year with our biggest challenge often being deciding what particular species to target and at which particular venue. Southeast Florida also offers the advantage of year-round fishing with peak seasons for various species occurring throughout the entire calendar year. Pictured are trophy golden tilefish accompanied by a quality bull dolphin, all taken just minutes from shore. From countless land-based opportunities to its proximity to the rich Bahamas, the southeast coast of Florida has to rank at the top of anyone's "Must Fish" list! – Mike Genoun, Florida Sport Fishing
My pick for the best place to fish in the world would have to be Lake Michigan, at the tip of Door County in Wisconsin, during the month of August for walleyes! The scenery is unreal … from the sleepy little town of Ellison to the offshore islands like Chambers, Washington and St. Martens. That’s the time of year that is sunny, warm and just plain ripe for exploration. The days fly by with a new area and adventure around every corner! Bring your spinning gear and Moonshine Shiver Minnows as it’s not uncommon to catch half a dozen walleyes over 8 pounds in one day, with the possibility of a 13-pounder on your next cast! You can find accommodations easily by going online with many bed-and-breakfast and VRBO properties available. If you want adventure, giant walleyes, and truckloads of fun, this is the place! – Gary Parsons, Host of The Next Bite
I've numerous favorite fishing destinations, but one I keep returning to is Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. I love chasing dolphin (mahi mahi) here, along the rips and weed lines and under floating debris and diving birds. They migrate heaviest April through June, but late fall can yield exceptional fishing, even for the big ones, minus the crowds (slow tourism period). And if I must reveal my favorite place to stay as well as dock the boat, it's Pines & Palms Resort and World Wide Sportsman, respectfully. – George Poveromo, Host of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is loaded with yellowfin tuna, striped marlin and blue marlin … and just off the beach, you have roosterfish and snook. It’s a fisherman’s paradise! It’s the perfect place to hone your skills when it comes to learning how to drop back a bait to a billfish due to the abundance of marlin. My very first attempt at trying for a marlin on fly was successful due to the fact that there is such a huge biomass of marlin … providing you with lots of opportunities! This makes Cabo San Lucas my favorite spot to CATCH, not just fish. – Peter Miller, Host of Uncharted Waters
One of my favorite fishing spots is Gulf Shores, Ala. I've caught huge fish there, including the largest tripletail of my life. It's a funny story because I dropped off our camera person at the dock for lunch and all I had in the boat was a small GoPro camera. I did a video selfie of the entire event and I captured the cast, the hookset, the fight, and landing the fish all by myself. It was a 20-pound tripletail and a really unique and fun day! – Barry Stokes, Host of Let's Fish with Barry Stokes
So there you have it, seven expert opinions offering seven world-class fisheries to put on your bucket list. From the Great Lakes to South Florida to the tip of Baja California, these gems keep esteemed professionals coming back year after year. There’s no guarantee you’ll reel in a trophy largemouth or half a dozen blue marlin, of course, but the possibility is certainly there. Then again, maybe you’ve already found your own personal favorite spot. And for you, it might actually be the best fishery on the planet.