Fly fishing gear

For the ultimate vacation, book a luxury fishing charter

Are you born to fish but forced to work? Hunting game fish or even the evening meal requires a lot of time, knowledge, experience and equipment. For that reason alone, if you’re a fishing fanatic, it might be a good idea to consider making your next vacation a fishing trip.

To make it an epic event, consider booking a “bucket list” fishing charter. A charter trip differs from taking a fishing rod and a box of worms to the nearest pond the same way jumping on a trampoline differs from strapping onto a jetpack; more gear, better skills, and a ton of planning make for a wonderful and memorable experience.

So how do you choose where to go? There are a few driving forces, including the species of fish you’re chasing, the best place to find (and catch) them, and most certainly your budget. To qualify as a bucket list affair, it needs to focus on fish that you don’t normally encounter in your local waters, so look for an exotic location.

Rather than yet another theme park vacation, consider booking a big game fishing excursion to take in that view. (stephen momot/Unsplash)

While you can most likely take a bucket list fishing trip on your own, the chances of the trip being a smash hit increase when you use the services of a local guide. The odds continue to increase when this guide has the knowledge and equipment to put you in the right place at the right time to land your catch. The ultimate is to book a charter trip in which your accommodation, meals, guide, boat and all necessary gear awaits you upon arrival.

The good news is that fishing charters are available just about anywhere in the world where there is water and fish. The bad news is that there are so many amazing choices that it can be hard to choose, so maybe choose several, because there is no rule against making it a multi-year event . While saltwater destinations such as the Bahamas, the waters off Kona or the Great Australian Reef may attract more attention, there are also many phenomenal freshwater fishing destinations to choose from, such as the Kenai River in Alaska or the Amazon.

big, black, marlin, skyward
The waters off Australia are teeming with exotic fish such as black marlin, as well as experienced charter companies that can help you catch one and then release it. (Kelldallfall/Shutterstock)

Before locking down a destination, do some research to make sure it contains the species you’re looking for, and determine the best time to search for them. As an example, the peak season for king salmon in Alaska runs from May to September, while the Atlantic sailfish season runs from November to March.

The next two steps are to choose a guide and accommodation. In many cases, the two go hand in hand, as many charter operators either have accommodation or partner with local hotels. When choosing a guide, look for one that has references on its website. You’ll be spending a lot of time with the guide, so it’s essential that you do your due diligence to find out what previous guests have to say about him (there are plenty of female guides). It’s also a good idea to speak with the guide; schedule a phone call so you can get a feel for their style. Experienced anglers may be offended if a guide treats them like their last fishing trip was in a bathtub. It’s far better to find out you don’t get along with the guide until you’ve sent in a big deposit, or worse, been 35 miles offshore with them.

For the ultimate adventure, consider somewhere that offers a totally new and challenging fishing experience, like Mongolia. (SnapTPhotography/Shutterstock)

Those looking for a world-class, once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip might consider an all-inclusive fishing charter aboard Spirit. Operating in the waters above and around the Great Australian Reef, Spirit is a 115ft motor yacht with five guest cabins and a unique wave-piercing hull. Equipped with every luxury imaginable at sea and staffed by an experienced crew, Spirit can be accompanied by a variety of sport fishing vessels. Anglers spend the day in the open water hunting black marlin or working the reef for snapper and grouper. At the end of the day, they return to the tender to be celebrated by the crew, while the chef prepares the catch for dinner.

Spinning fishing lures for predator
Choosing a guide who has intimate knowledge of the local waters and fish takes the guesswork out of what gear to use, increasing the chances of a successful trip. (Panamsky/Shutterstock)

For a freshwater trip you’ll never forget, consider a trek to Mongolia to hunt a fish you’ve probably never heard of. Anglers looking for the ultimate freshwater challenge use fly fishing gear to attempt to land hucho taimen, also known as the river bass. These fish are voracious predators, feeding on other fish, ducks, and even prairie dogs. Growing up to five feet long, landing on one of these monsters is an exceptional feat. Fishermen stay in teepees set up just meters from the rivers that Genghis Khan crossed for a truly memorable adventure.

No matter where you are going or what fish you are looking for, it is always the best time to plan and take a trip that will change your life forever and make your heart beat with happiness.