XTRATUF | MAR 02, 21
One of the great things about fishing is that you can make it as involved and adventurous as you want. You could fish with the family in a rowboat on a calm lake. Or, you could choose a deep-sea expedition with friends from college and even embark on extreme adventures. Napping on a riverbank with a pole in the water is still fishing, whether or not you catch anything.
And so is adventure fishing. Whether the challenge is the size of the catch, the danger of the situation, or the mind-boggling measures required to get there in the first place, some of us get a thrill out of fishing trips so wild other people are in awe of them.
If that’s you — or if you just want to hear about other people with a dedication to fishing that borders on insanity — check out these seven extreme fishing adventures, one for each continent of the world.
In northern Mongolia near the Russian border, the Eg-Uur River Basin is 450 miles from Ulaanbaatar’s capital and nestled amidst seemingly endless rolling plains. Visitors remark how remote it can feel at times, as though you’re fishing in the distant past.
A trip here has one goal: fly-fishing for the Mongolian Taiman, the largest trout species in the world. They frequently grow to 6 feet in length, with the largest weighing in at more than 200 pounds.
Fly into Ulaanbaatar to begin this fishing adventure. Your best bet is to hire a fishing charter or organized fishing camp from a reputable company. They will meet you at the airport with transportation for the rugged, day-long drive from the capital to the river.
Plan your trip for mid-July so you can catch the events of the Naadam "Three Manly Games" festival in Ulaanbaatar. Watch folk dancing, singing, and competitions in archery, wrestling, and horseback riding. If you’re lucky, you can throw back some Chingas beer with locals.
This fishing trip takes you into the middle of nowhere for the express purpose of fishing. It’s best considered a solo adventure or a journey with fellow enthusiasts. Your family will not have much to do while you’re doing your thing.
Mere mortals can come to this port in Tenerife, Spain, and fish from the shore or in pleasant charter boats they hire by the hour or the day. There’s nothing wrong with that for tourists. But you would travel to Puerto de la Cruz for a fishing adventure of a lifetime: catching fish from the rugged cliffs just outside of town.
It’s a dizzying, death-defying angling experience where you have to haul your gear up a rugged climb before casting your bait into the waters far below. It’s the most powerful way to catch snapper, moray, or amberjack on this side of the Atlantic.
Puerto de la Cruz is on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. You can get a flight from most airports in Spain to South-Reina Sofia local airport. Take the bus or a taxi from the airport to the other side of the island.
Reaching the cliffs is easy enough. You can plan your trip or hire one of many guides and charter companies to help you navigate the challenging hike up the cliffs.
This town hosts its celebration, named the Carnival, twice a year: once at the traditional time in February and again in August. Book to experience these colorful events, including their famed Men’s Marathon in High Heels event, along with your fishing extravaganza.
Puerto de la Cruz is a tourist mecca in a region of the world known for great vacations. Between trips, you can enjoy cultural and historical tours, horseback riding, road biking along the seaside, whale watching, surfing, and snorkeling. Extreme as your fishing experience may be, there’s plenty for the rest of the family to do.
Some define “extreme” by the relative danger inherent in the trip. Even reaching Timassinine’s Rivage in Morocco means driving through rugged, poorly maintained roads, then hiking across a mile or more of landscape so desolate you might mistake it for Mars.
Once you reach the seashore, you have to keep your eye out for sudden sneaker waves and rip tides, which seem personally motivated to drag fishers across sharp rocks and into the crashing surf.
All of that risk is bragging rights enough, but a successful expedition can also catch trophy-worthy specimens of perch, bonitos, sea beam, and the occasional barracuda.
You’ll want to take this trip with the help of a local guide, preferably from a reputable and established fishing trip company. Fly into Marrakech, and let the locals handle the travel from there. You’ll ride to the site in a jeep or similar vehicle and back when you’re finished.
Book extra time for a trip to Casablanca. Yes, that Casablanca. Book lunch or dinner at Rick’s Cafe, modeled after the famous nightspot in the movie. This trip’s all about the story afterward, so there’s no reason not to add this to the tale.
There’s nothing else to do on-site, so that part of the trip is for anglers only. If you want to bring non-fishers with you, leave them in Marrakech for the historical tours, shopping, and cultural events.
OK, Florida isn’t the most exotic location on this list. But fishing the Everglades puts you in the middle of wild swampland extending for miles in every direction while you sit in a shallow-keel boat surrounded by alligators. Most people just spot their hungry eyes checking boats out to see if they look like prey. But some anglers end up fighting one for their catch or even fending off an aggressive gator attempting to board.
The rewards are worth the risk. Successful expeditions catch snapper, sea trout, redfish, bass, and bluegill. Some people occasionally report freshwater sharks or seawater sharks who wandered into the swamp, but those are so rare they might just be fishing stories.
Fly into Orlando from almost anywhere in the world. After that, it’s a half-day drive to one of many small inland towns that make most of their living off swamp fishing charters.
Come in March to catch the Everglades Bluegrass Festival. It’s exactly what it sounds like and the perfect way to wind down in the evening after a successful day on the water.
The Everglades are famous for their wildlife and birding opportunities, as well as their Cajun and fusion food options. Alternatively, you can mount your fishing expedition on your own while the family enjoys theme parks and nightlife in Orlando.
Strobel Lake in Argentina is what North American fishers wish they had in the U.S. in places like Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana. It’s a remote area of the rugged landscape and serene environment still undiscovered by most.
The fish there aren’t unusual. They’re the same freshwater lake and river species you can find elsewhere in this hemisphere. It’s the experience that makes this extreme, both in terms of its unique, old-school vibe and what you must do to have it in the first place.
Start by flying into Buenos Aires, easy enough from any international airport in the world. From there, it’s a shorter regional flight to the Strobel Lake region, then a long drive via rented vehicle or hired guide up to Estancia Laguna Verde for your home base and jumping-off point.
No trip to Argentina is complete without a weekend in Buenos Aires, one of the world’s great cities. Take salsa or tango lessons, historical and cultural walking tours, and enjoy the nightlife and dining.
There’s plenty of hiking and wildlife viewing in the Strobel Lake region if your non-fishers are outdoorsy in other ways. Otherwise, they can stay in Buenos Aires for some more citified fun during your trip.
This tiny island along the Great Barrier Reef got its name from explorer Captain Cook, who observed lizards as the only fauna on the island. It’s a national park and research conservancy in the middle of the South Pacific’s blue waters.
Fish caught in this sun-drenched resort area includes giant dartfish, mackerel, mahi-mahi, sailfish, tuna, and trevally. But the real goal of any fisher coming to Lizard Island is the black marlin. Multiple specimens weighing more than 1,000 pounds are pulled out of the sea here each year. Most of the area’s sport fishing industry centers around charter trips to catch such a trophy.
Small flights leave from Cairns, Australia, to Lizard Island’s landing areas every 30 to 60 minutes for most of the fishing season. Most major international airports have flights to Cairns, or you can fly into Melbourne or Sidney and take a scenic train ride to Cairns.
Join the infamous Lizard Island Marlin Classic, a week-long tournament and festival of fishing attended by people from all over the world.
Lizard Island’s resort atmosphere offers plenty to do when you’re not fishing and for non-anglers in your family to stay occupied. Paddleboarding, sea kayaking, wildlife and bird viewing, nature walks, snorkeling, and scuba diving are just a few from the top of the list.
Fishing in the seventh continent is challenging. It’s highly regulated, and spots on the few authentic Antarctic fishing charters have years-long waiting lists.
The closest thing you can more easily manage is some deep-sea trips out of Tierra Del Fuego, which will bring you to the point that’s technically above the Antarctic plate and thus the continent itself. We say that counts, but it’s up to you.
Geology buffs will remember that the seven continents don’t represent all of the world’s tectonic plates. There are two under the Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean. Fishing that far from shore requires specialized equipment for a boat that can manage the distance and for fishing equipment to deal with the depths.
These trips aren’t for the faint of heart or the thin of wallet, but they offer opportunities to catch fish you wouldn’t see on land outside of an aquarium. Once you’ve conquered all the dry continents of the world, these trips can represent a final fishing frontier for the most intrepid anglers among us.
Daniel Stephen regularly fishes with his son and daughter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but he’s also gone on a major fishing expedition in Europe and South America.