For the ultimate man-versus-nature experience, not much can compare to spearfishing. The adrenaline rush you get from diving straight into the ocean and spearing a monster fish can be addicting. Combine that with beautiful surroundings, warm weather, and the tranquility of the ocean, and you have an exciting activity to add to your bucket list. Check out a few of the best places to spearfish in the world and start making your travel plans.
Boca Brava, Panama
When it comes to trophy fish, no area in the world beats the fertile fishing grounds of Boca Brava, an island off Panama’s Pacific coast. The warm waters are home to the biggest and best fighting fish, such as marlin, yellowfin tuna, and snapper. The underwater terrain, warm water, and massive schools of baitfish create a unique ecosystem that serves as prime hunting grounds for the large predators swimming around.
Take in the tropical paradise that is Thailand and pet some elephants before heading out to sea. Most of the coastline is shallow—only 130 feet at the deepest point—which makes this spot perfect for beginners. There are gorgeous, undisturbed reefs up and down the coast, and the locals are serious about keeping them that way—make sure you don’t dive in a restricted area to avoid trouble. Here you’ll find grouper, golden snapper, mangrove jacks, and too many other species of fish to list.
San Diego, California
San Diego is home to some of the largest fisheries in the U.S. The area is also home to a large range of fish, and there’s usually something to catch year-round. A large number of fish species means the waters are good for all levels of fishermen. Beginners can catch Calico bass or spiny lobster, while the experienced angler can try to spear a massive Pacific halibut. The further out you get, the larger the fish get. For the real adventurers, the outer banks are where you can find gigantic yellowfin tuna and sharks.
The Azores is an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Atlantic and an autonomous region of Portugal. The area has always been a prized spearfishing area for the Portuguese. Five years ago, a local fisherman caught a world-record 240-lb. bigeye tuna, putting the Azores on the world spearfishing map—now spearfishers are flooding there from around the globe. This location has mahi-mahi, barracudas, and amberjacks, but the tuna is king in these parts. Local guides can take you 30 miles out to the hunting grounds where bluefin and yellowfin tuna prefer to hang out.
The jaw-dropping natural beauty of Hawaii isn’t limited to the beaches, volcanoes, and forests: the ancient people of Hawaii spearfished for centuries for survival, and the island is still suited for underwater fishing adventures. You’ll find your catch in the beautiful coral reefs off the shoreline; here live blacktail snapper, the odd-looking giant trevally, and the blue-spotted grouper, which is an invasive species.