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The magnificent seven

by Boston Whaler 7 Sep 10:56 UTC
Join professional angler Henry Waszczuk on a tour of the Earth's greatest fishing destinations. © Boston Whaler

Over the last 35 years, celebrity angler Henry Waszczuk has traveled extensively to visit the world's leading fishing destinations, resorts and lodges. He has produced and hosted more than 1,500 sport fishing TV episodes. Henry's formula for outdoor success is a unique blend of education, entertainment and conservation. He owns two Boston Whalers for his fishing adventures: a 240 Dauntless in Canada and a 330 Outrage in Florida.

My professional fishing career has taken me to more than 30 different countries in search of fish. I've been fortunate to experience the best of the best while producing TV shows for networks in Canada and the U.S. I often get asked, "Henry, what's your favorite fishing adventure?" And man, that's a tough one to answer. There are just so many that have touched my soul. But I've thought back through my travels and have chosen a select few to tease your fishing palate.

Remember, there are many aspects that determine a great fishing destination: the adventure itself, the quantity and quality of the fish, the accommodations, the fun and so much more. The following seven magnificent locations rate highly on all counts. If you have the chance to visit any (or all!) of them, I strongly recommend it!

1- The islands of the Bahamas

Most people have an idea of what The Bahamas are like — white sand beaches, colorful architecture, pristine turquoise seas... paradise, basically. Similarly, every angler knows what fishing in The Bahamas is all about. It's a flats angler's idyll, where every one of the islands seems to be surrounded by shallow waters teeming with bonefish, tarpon and permit.

Andros, Bimini, The Abacos, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Acklins, Crooked Island... Wherever you choose to cast your line, you're never more than a few feet from fish. I have filmed dozens of fishing TV episodes in the islands of The Bahamas and every adventure has been unique and memorable.

2- Christmas Island

Christmas Island, or Kiritimati (pronounced kee-rees-mass), is the world's largest coral atoll and a virtual paradise for stalking bonefish. I visited this remote spot in the Pacific for the first time almost 20 years ago. As part of the Kiribati Republic, it remains one of the best destinations for novice and advanced saltwater anglers alike. The reasons for this are many: First, the island's vast, hard sand flats enable anglers to wade fish in relative solitude. Second, the flats hold great numbers of bonefish that cruise in shallow water, providing anglers with all-day fishing challenges.

Keep in mind that there are, of course, numerous other fish species — like the exotic milk fish, barracuda, triggerfish, and of course the giant trevally. The atoll's proximity to the equator (less than 200 miles) has blessed Christmas Island with consistently good weather, which enables quality fishing year-round.

3- Belize

My first trip to Belize was one that convinced me to return over and over again. As the second largest barrier reef, there are so many islands with a huge, diversified fishing population. From bonefish to barracuda, snapper to snook, permit to tarpon, the opportunities for great fishing abound.

Your contact point is Belize City, and from there, the options are endless. My group flew from Belize City on a jumper to Ambergris Caye and then began our 80-mile trip south by water, visiting more than ten islands to fish. On our last day, we boated to the city of Dandriga to take a flight back to Belize City and then home. Belize has a number of incredible fishing lodges that are definitely worth a visit.

4- Guatemala

Guatemala is without question the sailfishing capital of the world. I heard the stories of boats catching 100 sailfish in a day, so this location was always on my bucket list. (I've been fortunate to visit three times so far.) Guatemalan fishing boats typically average 20+ sailfish bites per day, year-round, and it's not unusual to raise 50 or more sailfish in a single day.

Whether you prefer conventional gear or fly cast to a chasing sailfish, this saltwater experience is second to none. What's more, this incredible fishing takes place only 10 to 20 miles offshore, so a Boston Whaler is certainly qualified for the trip. And fishing in Guatemala is about more than just sailfish. Marlin, dorado (mahi-mahi) and yellowfin tuna are the most common offshore species in the region, and roosterfish are taken inshore.

5- Costa Rica

Located in Central America, Costa Rica has coasts on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. I've been to both on the hunt for big fish, but it's a place called Guanacaste, in the country's far northwest corner on the Gulf of Papagayo, that draws me back time and time again. I have caught more big fish here than any other destination, even scoring some IGFA World Records. My Costa Rican catches include roosterfish of almost 100 pounds, monster cubera snapper, record-sized almaco jack, marlin, sailfish and more.

6- Canada

O Canada! What can I say about the fishing opportunities here — they are simply amazing. Having visited more than 100 fishing lodges from coast to coast, narrowing things down to a favorite spot is pretty much impossible. I have way too many favorites!

However, there is one fishing experience that is hard to beat, and that's a heli-fishing trip. The adventure itself is the real unknown. Here you are in a jet ranger, flying thousands of feet above a virgin watershed that is loaded with numerous species of salmon, schools in the hundreds. And knowing that in a few minutes you'll land on a gravel bank and be the only person making a cast to these fish, which have traveled miles and miles from the ocean to spawn in these waters... It's priceless.

From salmon to steelhead, even various trout species, the fishing is truly amazing. I'll never forget my first trip, slowly maneuvering above a river loaded with schools of fish, and how grateful I felt to be there.

7- Amazing Amazon

Most well-traveled anglers head to the Amazon for the thrill of tackling with the peacock bass. That colorful ?sh was certainly on my list, but there were others, too, from the slightly weird to the outright bizarre-looking ?sh, many of which you've probably never heard of and won't find anywhere else.

For example, there's the saber-toothed payara, with two large fangs disappearing into its skull — crazy! Then there's the pacu, which loves to eat the ripe berries that drop from the trees into the river. And countless others, like the piranha with its infamously vicious bite. I traveled to this exotic river destination more than 20 years ago and, as with all of the other spots on this list, am so glad I did.

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