man holding a big fish to represent both deep sea fishing and big game fishing

The Best Spots for Big Game Fishing

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Have you always dreamed of fishing in some of the country’s best deep sea fishing spots but don’t know where to start? Well, you are in luck. 

We’ve rounded up the best big game fishing locations in the United States, including the best fishing techniques and nearby charter options, so you can finally take your dream deep fishing trip and have an absolute blast!

What Is Big Game Fishing?

Big game fishing, also called deep sea fishing or offshore fishing, requires a trip into the open waters. But unlike sea kayaking and other saltwater fishing types, you’ll be traveling at least fifteen miles away from the shore.

Plus, you’ll be fishing around areas where the water depth is between 650 and 6500 feet. You’ll likely reel in wahoo, sailfish, marlins, and bluefin tuna at these depths.

What Do You Catch When You Fish for Big Game?

When you go big game fishing, you’ll catch pelagic fish species that roam in the ocean’s epipelagic layer, roughly 650 feet deep. Light still penetrates through the water at this level, allowing plankton and algae to grow.

Since there is food, small foraging species like anchovies and sardines are a common sight along with predators like tunas and sharks. Larger coastal fish, including salmon, dolphinfish, and mackerel, are also present. Even ocean and southern fishes, two of the biggest fish in the world, roam the epipelagic zone.

What Are the Best Techniques to Catch Big Fish?

Given the depth level of where you’ll be fishing, you’ll need to deploy varous techniques for a higher probability of reeling in big fish species. These methods include trolling, bottom fishing, and kite fishing.

Trolling

Trolling is a fishing technique where a moving boat drags a hooked bait behind the boat at various depths. The boat’s movement creates a wake, attracting fish. And, since a bait or lure is trailing behind the boat, it can also entice them to strike. You can use as many lines to trick the fish that the hook is moving prey. Mackerel, salmon, barracuda, trout, and kingfish are some of the fish you can catch using this technique.

Kite Fishing

When kite fishing, you can keep your bait on the water’s surface as the mainline remains out of the water. The multiple release clips on the kite line also allow you to present baits at varying distances from the vessel.

In your search for charter boat fishing near me, you will likely notice that many charters like the Double Threat Fishing Charter offer kite fishing because this technique can cover vast surface areas. You can even fish in inaccessible waters.

Bottom Fishing

Compared to trolling and kite fishing, bottom fishing is more straightforward. You’ll use a saltwater fishing rod and lower the bait to the bottom or near the ocean floor. A knocker rig is often used in bottom fishing because it keeps the bait at the bottom, while its sinker, which is knocked around in the water, entices a bite.

Using this technique, some fish species you can catch include black sea bass, red snapper, halibut, and grouper.

Where to Go Big Game Fishing?

The water masses surrounding the United States offer endless opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Even better, you’ll find world-class fishing charters in numerous fishing spots to assist you in catching that big tuna. Here are 11 fishing destinations you should visit.

Destin, Florida

If you search for big game fishing online, Destin, Florida, often tops the list, and with good reason – it is the luckiest fishing village! Since this destination is close to the Gulf of Mexico and the East pass, it’s a prime fishing territory. You can even participate in Destin’s annual fishing tournament known as Fishing Rodeo.

For anglers searching for party boat fishing in Destin, Olin Marler’s Charter Fishing Service offers outstanding services for up to 40 passengers. You can enjoy trolling and bottom fishing on a full day or half-day trip for up to 30 miles.

Florida Keys, Florida

Another must-visit location for deep-sea fishing is the Florida Keys, one of the best fishing spots in North America.

Thanks to its tropical weather and clear coastal waters, the Florida Keys provides you with an experience like no other. Fishing activities happen throughout the year in the Keys. You can also catch various fish species, including amberjack, snook, bonefish, king mackerel, tarpon, permit, redfish, and yellowfin tuna. The best way to catch these species is to charter a boat. The Lightly Salted Adventures offers half-day fishing trips.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Both beginners and expert anglers flock to the beautiful and historic Cape Cod peninsula to catch different fish species, including bluefin tuna, bluefish, and striped bass. While on a charter trip, you can even get a chance to spot whales and porpoises.

Note that your catch depends on location and season, so you need a professional captain for guidance. Magellan Deep Sea Fishing Charters has knowledgeable captains who can ensure you have an enjoyable, safe, and productive trip in the Atlantic Ocean.

San Diego, California

San Diego is another popular fishing spot thanks to its temperate climate conditions and a handful of saltwater and freshwater spots just an hour away from the city. You can catch rockfish, halibut, bonefish, spotted bay bass, leopard sharks, mahi-mahi, albacore, bonito, corbina, perch, and giant tuna.

You can book a sportfishing trip with various tour providers and fishing charters. Coletta Sportfishing has private fishing charters that can accommodate up to six people for a five or six-hour exciting sport fishing trip. Alternatively, you can go for a full-day tour to hook and reel specific fish species.

Seattle, Washington

Aside from the iconic Space Needle, Seattle attracts many anglers to its premier fishing destination known as Puget Sound. Although salmon fishing is what draws in the crowd, you can also reel in halibut and lingcod. Another popular spot is the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

You can book All-Star Fishing Charters with licensed captains to ensure you enjoy your full or half-day trip.

Montauk, New York

If you want to catch a blue marlin or cod, head to Montauk, New York. In June, you can spot sharks in this deep-sea fishing spot with the primary targets, including blue, thresher, and mako. In July through September, you can catch dorado, wahoo, and marlin. You can go for half-day, full-day, twilight, extended, or even overnight trips using Montauk Fishing Charters.

Kona, Hawaii

Anglers will also love deep-sea fishing in Kona, Hawaii. Throughout Kona’s fishing season, you can catch blue marlin, striped marlin, short-billed spearfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado. Bite Me Sport-Fishing offers charters to private and shared groups who want to have an exceptional fishing experience in the deep seas.

Charlestown, South Carolina

Charlestown has a sub-tropical climate and is close to creeks, rivers, and the ocean. As a result, Charlestown offers deep-sea fishing opportunities where you can catch many fish species all year round.

You can head out into the gulf stream for about 45 to 60 miles and catch wahoo, sailfish, or mahi-mahi. If you are looking for fishing charters near me that offer half and full-day deep-sea fishing tours, check out Marsh View Fishing Charters. They have insured and licensed captains who can guide you in catching bait and pulling fish aboard.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Water streams from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean supply the Outer Banks with a wide array of fish. You can catch red drum, marlin, wahoo, king mackerel, and bluefin tuna. Although you can go big game fishing any time of the year, the ideal months are April to September. Sharky’s Charter Booking can offer you four to ten hours of deep-sea fishing experience in the Outer Banks.

Galveston, Texas

The reefs, jetties, piers, and beaches in Galveston provide numerous locations for anglers to fish. Since Galveston is close to the Gulf of Mexico, there is warm water and countless migrating fish. You can expect to catch black drum, cobia, flounder, speckled trout, redfish, and sheepshead.

If you want to try catching one of these species, you can book a charter from Wave Dancer Charters for a 40 to 80 miles fishing trip. This licensed fishing charter service provides bait, tackle, reels, and rods for the fishing trip. If luck is on your side, you can catch a giant kingfish.

Bristol Bay, Alaska

You might think Alaska is not suitable for deep-sea fishing, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you can catch king salmon, rainbow trout, halibut, and lingcod. You can book a charter boat from Action Alaska. Under the guidance of an experienced captain, you can catch the big game species.

Ready for Your Next Deep Sea Fishing Excursion?

Hopefully, our list of best big game fishing locations can make your dream fishing excursion a reality. Happy fishing!

This post originally appeared on Savoteur.

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