Sailfish in the 70 to the 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, comfortably 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 recognized as the sailfish capital of the world, anglers are often rewarded with a blue marlin, large dorado or yellowfin tuna. Blue marlin anywhere from 250lb’s to 400lb’s is the norm in these waters with fish well over 800lb’s having been released. Slammer dorado is 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.