When it comes to big-game angling, few places in the world even come close to matching Guatemala’s amazing fishery. The region’s underwater topography and strong currents that flow west to east set the stage for a replenishing offshore bonanza. A significant canyon that comes as close as 15 miles from Guatemala’s shores serves a thoroughfare for a variety of big-game species. Meanwhile, the currents—after colliding with the jagged sea floor—create upwellings that send nutrient-rich, oxygenated waters toward the surface, attracting a diverse buffet of forage that draws scores of sailfish, marlin, tuna, dorado and more.

Pacific sailfish averaging 100 pounds in weight and eight feet in length are the main protagonists, as their abundance is such that top crews fishing Guatemalan waters report 20, 30 or more daily releases with some regularity and tally over 2,000 catches most years. Combined with the blue, black and striped marlin also present, the sheer numbers of billfish in Guatemala present fly fishers with an unusual situation filled with shots at fish and equally plentiful opportunities to quickly hone their skills, with tips and hands-on instruction from experienced captains and mates certain to shorten the learning curve.

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