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What to expect from the fishing in Guatemala

Sailfish in the 70 to 90lb range are the norm off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. These are the same fish that are caught off Costa Rica or Mexico, although they seem to gather in higher concentrations and with more consistency off these shores. Fish up to and over 100lb’s are released on a very regular basis, with fish seeming to move through in proportionally sized waves.

Most of these sailfish have probably never seen a boat before, with there being very little fishing pressure of any sorts on them at all in this entire area. On any given day off Guatemala you will usually find only a small handful of boats working the bite.

It is only on the one or two tournament weekends each year that you’ll find more than just a couple boats fishing a single area. This is billfishing at its best. The charter boats in the area work together to find the bite and stay on the bite. Some of the world’s top captains have gone through the ranks here and working together is the name of the game in ensuring that each and every day the absolute best bite is enjoyed. What local’s call the “Pocket”, a deep underwater canyon some 15 miles wide and coming in 25 miles from the continental drop-off is what gives this area its defining structure and perhaps the predominate reason it holds the bait and conditions the sailfish so favor. At only 10 miles from home, one finds the “bottom of the pocket” with a steep drop-off from 350 meters to well over 1500 meters. This area regularly holds huge concentrations of sailfish, as well as blue marlin which patrol the bonito filled edge. This is however not your average charter fishery, catching large numbers of sailfish is what it’s all about in Guatemala and top skippers will make the run to wherever the bite is best and the most action filled day is to be had.

We have seen the bite hold for well over 2 weeks at no further than 4 miles from the port, with 20 plus release days being had at only a mile from the breakwater, but the average Guatemalan run is more like 20 miles when one considers the seasonal stat’s. The slightly bigger, faster boats, with good fish finding electronics, comfortable air conditioned layouts and superior rides are the boats that are best suited to take advantage of these bites and put anglers on these bites day after day.

Although Guatemala has been recognised as the sailfishing capital of the world, anglers are often rewarded with a blue marlin, large dorado or yellowfin tuna. Blue marlin anywhere form 250lb's to 400lb's are the norm in these waters with fish well over 800lb's having been released. Slammer dorado are often present and along with the yellowfin tuna which are associated with schools of spinner dolphins, keep anglers busy if it's a little variety they are after.

Seasons

The phenomenally rich waters off the Pacific coast of Guatemala offer an incredibly long sailfishing season. Our rainy season of July through September coincide with the slower sailfishing period, with October through to the middle of June being prime sailfishing months. Anglers seem to have long favored two peak periods, that of November/December, and then again in March/April, although this trend seems to be more as a result of past marketing than what statistics

would show. It is almost impossible to pinpoint just when the fishing may peak, as the big bites may come and go, and their frequency and timing changes a little year to year, but 40 plus sailfishing release days have been experienced in every month of the year.

Weather and Seas

Guatemala has to boast some of the world’s most consistently flat billfishing waters. Due in large part to the protective Guatemalan mountain ranges, its geographic location and tranquil tropical Pacific seas, these waters are calm and wind free on a year round basis, with late February through May almost guaranteeing flat seas. When larger cold fronts go through up north of Guatemala in Southern United States during the mid-winter months slightly rougher seas can be experienced, but nothing the slightly bigger 40ft boats can’t handle with ease. 

It is very rare that a day is ever blown out in these waters, this perhaps only happening once or twice during the average 200 days of fishing per year, which is something almost unheard of anywhere else in the billfishing world.

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