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Top Fishing Charters in Guatemala

Fishing in Guatemala

Guatemala fishing has a long-standing reputation for fantastic bluewater action. After all, this is the Sailfish capital of the World we’re talking about! Once an integral part of the Mayan Empire, this Latin American country is home to some of the best offshore fishing around. An explorer’s paradise on both land and sea, it’s a treat for anyone who likes to go off the beaten path.

Known For

The local sailfishing records are far from being tall tales or once-in-a-lifetime events. Guatemala is an angler’s dream throughout the year. Probably best known for having a single boat catch and release 166 Sailfish during three days of fishing back in 1997, these waters make legendary hook-ups an everyday thing.

Tourism greatly contributes to the local economy, which makes sense considering the number of Mayan archeological sites open to sightseeing. Guatemala also boasts breathtaking natural sights, the most famous one being Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America.

Pacific Coast

While the Guatemalan Pacific coastline stretches for approx.250 miles, the local fishing scene has two main points of interest – Puerto de Iztapa and the Port of San Jose. Sure, local anglers will be spread throughout the coast, but this is where international anglers flock every year to witness the best sailfishing money can buy. One of the main reasons for this is the absolute abundance of baitfish in deeper waters. It goes a long way towards ensuring that fishing is viable throughout the year.

Some would say the real treat of Guatemala sailfishing is the fact you can do it using fly fishing gear. Targeting a 100 lb fish with a 16 wt rod is not your standard fly fishing experience, which is what makes it so attractive for more experienced anglers. Of course, a standard trolling trip is always a good option, and something you’ll have no trouble finding a charter for. Most local captains have years of Sailfishing experience, and know how to get the job done.

As you can see, Sailfish hog the spotlight but there are definitely more fish in the sea. These include species like Marlin, Mahi Mahi, and Yellowfin Tuna. Those in the market for a quick inshore trip can also look forward to great Roosterfish action year-round. San Jose is one of those places where you’ll be hooked on fish within 20 minutes of casting off on a good day.

The best time to go fishing here is anywhere from the middle of October until the end of May because of the lack of rain when compared to other parts of the year. It can also get quite hot during the summer, with temperatures reaching the high 90s. Another point in favor of winter fishing in Guatemala is that the calm seas make fishing on light tackle easier.

Caribbean Coast

You might not be able to tell by looking at a globe, but Guatemala also has access to the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to the small stretch of land on the northeast end of the country, it shares Amatique Bay with southern Belize. Puerto Barrios is the main port on this side of the country, and the place where you can easily find someone to take you fishing.

Inshore fishing is king here, as everybody who wanted to go offshore is having a blast in the Pacific. With plenty of Bonefish and Permit to go around, it’s a great option for a more relaxed experience. The kind where you can enjoy the sights with your family and have a couple of tamales along the way.

Need to know

Regulations

Going out with a licensed charter service is not only the safest option, but that way you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth. They can also help arrange lodging for you, as many of them have decades of experience with anglers hailing from the US to go after Billfish. Getting an individual fishing license, while possible, involves a lot of time and bureaucracy which is not something you want to deal with when going on a relaxing trip. This makes charter trips the most hassle-free option.

Budget

Guatemalan charter captains have a wide and varied offer of fishing experiences they can offer to potential guests. You can choose from quick inshore trips for about $50 an hour, to multi-day trips that can cost as much as several thousand dollars per day for a single person (with lodging included).

The biggest thing that can make or break the bank here is the lodging for longer stays, so be sure to check out several charters while looking for the best deal.

Getting There

The Pan-American Highway goes through Guatemala, so a scenic car trip is always on the cards. Most US anglers, however, prefer to take a plane down to Guatemala City and get transport to Iztapa from there. Whenever you need to use a taxi, make sure it’s radio-dispatched like Taxi Amarillo so you avoid any unpleasantries.

Guatemala is a dream come true for any angler who’s the least bit interested in going after Billfish. As long as you use common sense and stay safe, it will be one of the most rewarding places you’ve ever been to.

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Guatemala Fishing Seasons

It’s a strong start of the year as far as fishing is concerned. Great time to go on a longer trip and find a bunch of Sailfish in the waters of the Pacific.

Fishing in winter is a great idea because the waters are calm and well-suited for light tackle casting and fly fishing. Expect plenty of Bonefish and Permit in the north.

March is still a great time to be fishing both inshore and offshore. Whether it’s Tuna, Marlin, or Sailfish you’re interested in, get ready to have your hands full.

If you’ve never been fly fishing for big sportfish, this is definitely the time and place to do so. Scoring a Sailfish using fly equipment is an impressive feat.

You’ve got until the end of the month to experience the high season of Guatemalan fishing. If you can spare a couple of days for a longer trip, all the better!

High season is coming to a close, but that’s not to say people will go home and call it a year. If you’re fine with hot weather, it’s still world-class angling for Billfish.

July is a time to be merry, and the Cobán Festival will show you how it’s done in Guatemala. Fishing tends to be sparser due to the weather.

Just one of the many things anglers love about Guatemala are the double-digit Sailfish trips. This time of year is no exception, so go for it!

September 15 is when Guatemalans celebrate Independence Day, feel free to join in on the fun. You can also celebrate great fishing as high season is about roll in!

Looking to break a personal record? Now’s the time to do it! Mid-October marks the start of high season in Guatemala, the time when legends are forged.

The Sailfish Capital of the World shows its true colors come winter. Anyone feeling confident in their fly fishing skills should test their skills against a proper Sailfish.

The year might be about to end, but the fishing in Guatemala is just about to kick into high gear. Welcome to the country where four Sailfish hooked marks a very slow day!

Guatemala Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Guatemala

"Best Captain in Guatemala"

fished with Makina Sportfishing on December 9, 2017

Multiple Sails a day with an occasional Marlin. Unreal action!

Top Targeted Species in Guatemala

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Marlin (Blue)

Sailfish

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Top Guatemala Destinations