Posted by: socalsalty | August 3, 2011

Fishing Vacations, Part 1

Vagabond getting ready to go out at Point Loma

I know what you’re saying…fishing vacation?  Really Salty?  You haven’t even posted your trip report from yesterday’s salmon/steelhead trip on the Columbia River!  Believe me, I feel very lucky to live where I do and fish as much as I do.  But hey…who doesn’t dream of exotic fishing vacations?  I’ve been doing homework on this idea for awhile.  I really want to go fish a long range trip.  I haven’t gone more than 2 days at this point.  I was trying to go on a 5 day in June on the Vagabond, the same boat where Mike Livingston made history and caught the world record yellowfin tuna, but the timing wasn’t working out for me.  The cost of the trip was going to be $1495 with meals included.  I checked some of the other top long range boats and the Vagabond was a on the low end of the cost spectrum.  Other boats went up to @ $1800 for a 5 day trip.  If fishing is your primary goal, and especially if you can go with good friends, that’s a great deal.  You know I love to fish, that’s a given, but I also like to get into the food and experience the destination a bit.  I also know (having previously been married) that for a lot of you, taking time away from the family for 5 days while you go on a fishing vacation isn’t going to play too well with your other half.  So I wanted to look at combo vacations where the fishing would be awesome, but also with opportunities for family or couple fun.

The Goal

Find an awesome fishing destination where I can get into some great fishing, that also had opportunities for other activities (sightseeing, beach, spa, dining etc.), all for around the same price as a 5 day long range trip.  I want to be somewhere warm.  There’s a reason I moved from the Pacific NW here to SoCal…I’m not a fan of cold weather.  Timing would be sometime toward the end of the year. 


I looked at Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America.  I quickly removed Hawaii, as I heard the practice there is to not let you take all your catch.  I don’t plan to take it all back with me, but I do want to take enough to enjoy my freshly caught fish cooked to order back at my hotel.  And if by chance you could get your fish processed, it would be nice to bring some back home.  I’d at least want that option.  I’ve gone to Mexico and fished before (Cabo and Acapulco), and I ended up giving the bulk of my catch to the captain/crew at the end of the day, but I don’t like that practice mandated to me.  I’d love to go further afield, but didn’t want to waste too much of the allotted timeframe on just the travel, so Central America was as far as seemed feasible.

The Candidates

Tropic Star Lodge – Pinas Bay, Panama

This place is rated the #1 saltwater fishing resort in the world.  An incredible diversity of fish can be caught here…black marlin, pacific blue marlin, sailfish, roosterfish,  dorado, tuna, even tarpon can all be caught here.  Home to hundreds of IGFA world records.  Fishing + resort…this place pretty much defines the category.

Crocodile Bay Sports Fishing – Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Geographically located just north of the Panamanian border, Crocodile Bay offers many of the same fishing opportunities with the benefit of a 4 star resort…complete with the eco-tourism opportunities that Costa Rica is famous for originating.

Panamax Sailfishing Vacations – Marina Pez Vela, Guatemala

Not a lodge like the other two, but top notch fishing with fabulous luxury hotel accommodations nearby.  Fishing out of the modern Pez Vela Marina in Guatemala, I like these sort of mix and match opportunities.  They make all the arrangements and Panamax seems to have everything I could want.  This area is considered the sailfish capital of the world (a yet to be caught species for me) with the usual cast of fishy characters I’ve already mentioned…marlin, dorado, wahoo, tuna etc.

Palmas de Cortez – East Cape of Baja Mexico

Closer to home, Palmas de Cortez is part of the Van Wormer resort family on the East Cape of Baja.  The Sea of Cortez is world famous for the fantastic exotic fishing opportunities and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the setup down there.

Next Up: Getting There


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