man catches big fish

FIVE EXOTIC FISH TO CATCH BEFORE YOU DIE

All of us slightly serious anglers dream about catching exotic megafish. What isn’t there to love about the idea of chasing monster fish in far flung and hard to access location? An extensive list of fish species qualifies for inclusion among the ultimate megafish from around the globe. If you are ever looking for an excuse to go overseas on a fishing trip, the fish bucket list is always a good one. Just make sure you talk it up for a while before mentioning it to your significant other.

Here are 5 exotic fish I consider to be the best. That’s not to say they are the best. We all know each angler has their own preferences and you can always add your thoughts by sharing at the end of this piece. I’ve also added a video from Youtube so you can get a feel for what I am talking about.

ATLANTIC TARPON (Megalops atlanticus)

These fish are weapons. Big cousins to our rugged Indo-Pacific Tarpon, one could only imagine how hard these beasts go at the end of a line. Atlantic Tarpon are voracious predators that are built for speed, spectacular aerial acrobatics and unforgettable battles.

Max size: 250cm and 161kg.
Habitat: Coastal waters, bays, estuaries, mangrove-lined lagoons and rivers.
Locations: Atlantic Tarpon are found throughout the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Brazil in the west and Mauritania to Angola in the east. They are most prolific in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and that’s the usual destination for adventure anglers.

KING SALMON (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

King or Chinook Salmon are the trophy species of the Pacific Salmon kingdom. They reach phenomenal sizes, strike lures and flies, and they taste sensational smoked or grilled. A big King Salmon should definitely be on your bucket list.

Max size: 150cm and 61kg.
Habitat: Coastal waters, rivers, streams and lakes.
Locations: Arctic Pacific from Alaska to California, the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Introduced to several countries around the world and small specimens can be caught in a handful of lakes in Victoria. There is world-renowned sport fishing for huge King Salmon amid the stunning surrounds of Patagonia between December and April.

BLACK BASS (Lutjanus goldiei)

Imagine a Mangrove Jack on steroids. The fish would be an unstoppable beast that lurks in rivers and creeks, hides among structure, and only dashes out to destroy prey. Well, the species actually exists and it’s called the Papuan Black Bass.

These incredible specimens are among the toughest structure-oriented fish on the planet. They’ll have you stitched up or busted off on timber before you even realise you’ve had a bite. Chasing Papuan black bass is an adventure in itself. Expect to be blown away.

Size: 100cm and 19.2kg.
Habitat: Large freshwater streams, rivers and estuaries.
Locations: Southern Papua New Guinea between Port Moresby and the Fly River.

BONEFISH (Albula species)

There’s a reason why dedicated fly fishers travel the globe in search of the magical bonefish. Bonefish inhabit spectacular shallow sand flats and are the perfect species to stalk on foot or in a flats boat. Although they are of slender profile and possess a relatively small mouth, bonefish snaffle flies and lures with gusto and fight remarkably well in shallow water.

Size: 104cm and 10kg.
Habitat: Bonefish inhabit shallow coastal waters, estuaries, and bays over sand and mud bottoms. They are common on the sand flats and cays adjacent to tropical coral reefs and reef lagoons.
Locations: Bonefish are found in warm waters across the globe. Albula vulpes is the iconic species found from California to Peru in the Eastern Pacific and from North Carolina to Brazil in the Northwest Atlantic. Albula forsteri is also found in Australian waters.

ARAPAIMA (Arapaima gigas)

The Arapaima is arguably the world’s largest freshwater fish. It is a unique species with a distinct prehistoric appearance. It is also an obligate air breather. Due to overharvesting Arapaima are purportedly threatened, but there are sport fishing ventures that target stocked fish.

Size: 450cm and 200kg.
Habitat: Freshwater rivers, lakes, and backwaters.
Destinations: Arapaima are naturally found in the Amazon and Essequibo River basins but have been introduced to other waterways around the globe.

These 5 megafish are just a handful of the ultimate sport fish on the planet. Depending on your interests, location and experience, you’re likely to have a host of other suggestions. Whichever megafish you choose to target, you’re sure to have an adventure chasing it.

 


What fish do you want to catch before you die? Let us know and share with everyone else in the comments section below.

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Peter Hollingsworth
peterh@dinga.com.au

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.