When we scout an angling destination, first and foremost on our minds is the opportunity to catch big fish, lots of fish, or fish we’ve never caught before. The accommodations, quality of the cuisine and non-angling attractions and activities don’t make it onto our radar screen very often. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t enjoyed some fine lodgings, fancy food and five-star service. These four spots have it all, and at least one of them should be on your Bucket List.
1. Sportsman’s Cove Lodge, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Larry “Capt. Mac” McQuarrie has owned and operated Sportsman’s Cove Lodge, at the far southeastern tip of Alaska, for more than a quarter-century and North American Fisherman-TV has filmed there on numerous occasions.
If on your Bucket List appears a desire to catch giant halibut, or massive king salmon, or silver salmon until your forearms go numb, this is a prime spot to fulfill those dreams. Not only is the fishing grand, the lodge, staff and service are outstanding.
Young deck- and dockhands attend every need, including cleaning, vacuum packing and flash-freezing your catch, while a well-trained and professional household and kitchen staff makes sure the accommodations and cuisine border on luxurious.
2. Anglers Inn International, Lake El Salto, Mexico
Anyone who calls himself a bass fisherman knows about Mexico’s famed Lake El Salto. And anyone who really is a bass fisherman needs to make his way to Anglers Inn International and this fishing paradise.
Few places on Earth offer such a good opportunity for a 100-fish day, plus the chance to catch a double-digit bass.
North American Fisherman-TV has visited Billy Chapman Jr.’s lodge on several occasions, and has never been disappointed. The accommodations are exceptional, the food delicious, the bar well stocked and the fishing extraordinary.
3. Tropic Star Lodge, Piñas Bay, Panama
North American Fisherman-TV host Tyler Kapela called it the “best saltwater destination in the world.” But that’s only if you enjoy getting mugged by giant cubera snapper, large and angry roosterfish, black and blue marlin, sailfish and a host of other predator fish.
Located 150 miles southeast of Panama City, Tropic Star Lodge is an oasis of luxury at the edge of the beautiful Darien Jungle. The facility and its accommodations are excellent, and there are many activities for non-anglers in your group.
Best of all, though, is that deep water runs close to the coast, which means you won’t need to run far for exceptional fishing action with a variety of aggressive saltwater gamefish.
4. Venice, Louisiana
This popular hotspot is known for its wealth of bull redfish—broad-shouldered, hard-running brutes that can peel line down to the last wraps in seconds without even working hard.
They are the main reason Venice, Louisiana, makes our list, but not the only one. Offshore fishing for yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dorado, amberjack and other species is excellent—and nearby because the continental shelf rests closer to shore here than elsewhere in the Gulf.
Watch the trailer from this year’s television show below, then check out Capt. Mike Frenette and The Redfish Lodge of Louisiana when planning your trip.