Five Of The World’s Wildest Fishing Trips
Fly fishing on Cesar Lake in Chile. Photograph courtesy of Rio Palena Lodge
“He came out unendingly and water poured from his sides… His sword was as long as a baseball bat and tapered like a rapier and he rose his full length from the water and then re-entered it smoothly, like a diver,” wrote Mr Ernest Hemingway in his 1952 book The Old Man And The Sea. Born 120 years ago, the legendary writer was an audacious fisherman, and his tales of hooking creatures of the deep continue to inspire.
Sitting by a quiet lake for hours on end may be meditative, but is distinctly lacking the adrenaline jolts you get from more daring angling expeditions such as hauling big game sailfish out of the sea in Mexico or barramundi from the remote waters around Darwin, Australia. Here are five wild fishing trips that will challenge your strength, smarts and endurance, and will be worth building an entire holiday around.
01. Chase marlin off Cuba
Deep-sea fishing off Havana. Photograph courtesy of Cuba Private Travel
Mr Hemingway wrote The Old Man And The Sea when living near Havana. With the help of Wild Cuba (a new spin-off of Mr Johnny Considine’s Cuba Private Travel), you can charter a boat and set off in search of your own big fish in the blue of the Caribbean. They can even arrange for Ms Valerie Hemingway, the writer’s former PA and daughter-in-law, to come on board “for a spot of storytelling”. In a cool box full of dressed lobster and crab, you’ll also find iced mojitos and Cristal beer for you to get suitably sozzled while waiting to reel in your own monster marlin or tarpon (the “silver king”).
02. Land giant halibut and cod in Norway
Halibut and cod fishing in Mefjord, Norway. Photograph courtesy of Sportquest
With the help of Sportquest, intrepid fishermen can reap the bounty found in the icy waters around Mefjord, on the island of Senja. This old Norwegian fishing village is at the mouth of a fjord near the Arctic Circle, and is an ideal jumping-off point for catching giant halibut and skrei cod in the North Sea. By drifting over shoals, fish-shaped lures known as “shads” are used to attract the fish to the surface where they will, hopefully, swallow your hook – if you are lucky, you could land a cod weighing as much as 40kg. But be prepared for a fight.
03. Catch golden dorado in the Amazon
Catching dorado in the Amazon at Tsimane Lodge in Bolivia. Photograph by Mr Val Atkinson, courtesy of Tsimane Lodge
Set in the heart of the Bolivian jungle, Tsimane Lodge acts as a stepping stone for catching the world’s biggest golden dorado fish, which have razor-sharp teeth. Black Tomato can arrange a 10-day tour that encompasses Lake Titicaca, the Bolivian salt flats and the Atacama desert, culminating with fishing in the Amazon at Tsimane. Once ensconced, you will be able to wade into crystal-clear mountain streams to “sight fish” for your prey. It’s recommended to go running in the weeks before to build up strength. And you need to watch out for stingrays.
04. Go helicopter fly fishing in Chile
Fly fishing on Cesar Lake in Chile with Rio Palena Lodge. Photograph courtesy of Rio Palena Lodge
Eleven Experience’s Rio Palena Lodge is located on the banks of its namesake river in Chile, where wild trout swim in abundance. As well as having an outpost on the Futaleufú River and the option to head to Lake Yelcho for dragonfly fishing, Eleven can arrange for a helicopter to take guests to pristine spots where innocent “big browns” don’t know a fly when they see one. Here, you can use streamers (larger feather lures) and fish dries, which float on the surface like insects, to push your fly-fishing technique to the max.
05. Hook giant trevally in Mozambique
Fishing for trevally off Benguerra Island, Mozambique with Azura Retreats. Photograph courtesy of Azura Retreats
In Mozambique, Azura Retreats can organise responsible angling excursions for both novices and experts, during which they can attempt to haul in giant trevally, which can weigh up to 50kg, from the Indian Ocean. (If you have watched Blue Planet II, you will know that these beasts sometimes leap out of the water to catch birds, so watch your hands.) To minimise the impact on local biodiversity, the company has a strict catch-and-release policy, so protected fish have to be put back in the sea alive. Guests stay on the Azura Quilalea Private Island, where there are nine villas.