The 3 Best Fishing Destinations in Central America

By Jason Marshall , last updated February 3, 2012

When looking for the best fishing destinations in the world, be sure to explore the attractive fishing locations in Central America. Mostly known for its lush rainforests, sandy beaches, and pristine diving, Central America has long offered some of the best fishing in the world. The blue waters on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Central America are teeming with hundreds of species of fish and it isn’t uncommon for fishers to come home with trophy quality catches. Though there are dozens of world class fishing destinations in Central America, three stand out as the best of the bunch.

Coiba Island, Panama

It’s no surprise that the waters of Panama should boast some of the best fishing in Central America. It is thought that the word "Panama" is borrowed from the native Kuna Indians, meaning “abundance of fish, trees, and butterflies.” The name doesn’t disappoint despite centuries of fishing off of Panama’s coast. The waters are still packed with fish. Coiba Island in the Gulf of Chiriqui on the Pacific side of the isthmian nation, is a haven for big game fishing. Common catches include Dorado, Snapper, Sailfish, and Black Marlin. If you prefer freshwater angling to deep sea fishing (or if you enjoy both), Panama’s massive Lake Gatun is famous for its abundant peacock bass that seem to flock to fishermen’s baits.

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is another prime location for deep seas fishing. The Osa Peninsula juts into the Pacific and shelters the Golfo Dulce to the east. The waters in the Pacific and the gulf have great fishing opportunities. On your visit, you will have a great shot at catching Pacific Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Giant Dorados, and Wahoo. The waters are also populated by more than one type of marlin. You can snag a Blue, Black, or Stripped Marlin, adding a magnificent trophy to your collection. Another attractive feature about the Osa Peninsula is its sparse population and untouched environment. Less people about means less fishing, which allows the fish that populate the waters to grow to bigger sizes. This means you will have the chance to reel in a massive fish.

The Cayes, Belize

Belize is known for its spectacular diving to explore its massive reefs, the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. But diving isn’t the only ocean pursuit tourists flock to Belize to take part in. Fishing is an increasingly popular sport in this small, English-speaking Central American country. Unlike the other two locations, the Cayes is on the Caribbean side, but the variety of fish isn’t any less impressive. Fly fishing on the saltwater flats are especially popular. Fishers from around the world come to catch Permit and Tarpon, though Bonefish is the main draw of Belize’s waters. On the other side of the reef, anglers can snag barracuda, grouper, snapper, and other species. Deep seas fishers can venture out farther and, depending on the time of year and currents, can catch Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, Wahoo, and Marlin.

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