Top Three Winter Tropical Fishing Destinations
It’s an all too familiar sight for most of the country. Each January, the dog days of winter creep across the nation sending anglers anywhere north of Florida into a tailspin. Sure, you can gear-up and brave the wind chill (in most places) and the ice (in some places) to get your fishing fix, but the gnarliest of fish-heads will make a true run for the border to one of these three tropical fishing destinations.
1. Lake El Salto, Mexico
Even though bass fishing mecca Lake El Salto has a decades-long reputation for hosting monster bigmouths, the old girl is still living up to that reputation. Billy Chapman’s Angler’s Inn is the go-to for an El Salto experience. To get there, fly into Mazatlán’s General Rafael Buelno International Airport (you can sometimes get a hot deal on Aeromexico out of Miami or Los Angeles for less than $500), where Chapman’s crew will pick you up at the terminal. Base camp comes complete with palm trees, tiki huts and all of the largemouth bass your thumb can handle.
2. Piñas Bay, Panama
January and February in Piñas Bay mean marlin—black, blue and striped. Last year, the team at Panama’s Tropic Star Lodge released about 90 marlin in a twelve-day span between January 30th and February 13th, with the end of February welcoming a frenzy of yellowfin tuna. Wintertime temps in Panama average 83 degrees. And with sub-$700, non-stop flights from Detroit to Panama City available, Central America’s motherlode of epic saltwater action offers an affordable getaway for Midwesterners.
3. Bimini, Bahamas
The tiny island of Bimini sits just 50 miles due east of Miami. With a permanent population of just 300, Bimini is a perfect base camp for anglers looking for a quick getaway from the East Coast. Alice Town’s Bimini Big Game Club Resort offers offshore, reef and bonefishing excursions among unspoiled Caribbean flats. Four world record bonefish have been caught here, and word has it that the elusive permit can also be found patrolling the waters of Bimini. Small aircraft flights depart for Alice Town from Fort Lauderdale and Nassau, with two-hour ferry rides running from Miami.