Want to know what fish should definitely be on your bucket list?
Is there any one fish considered the best catch by anglers worldwide? Is it the one that gives the most fight, the rarest to hook or the largest?
Of course there can’t be any one answer, but there are certain species that should be on every angler’s bucket list. If you’re ready to travel the world in search of them, make sure you brace yourself for a fight because none of these fish are giving it up easy. But catching these trophies will give you stories that last a lifetime and beyond.
Take a look at the 20 fish all fishermen should catch before their casting days end.
The beautiful and majestic sailfish with its high dorsal fin can be found in tropical and subtropical waters deeper than 30 feet. Saltwater anglers are in for a fight if they hook one of these speedsters as the fish have been known to reach speeds as fast as 80 miles per hour, the fastest of any aquatic organism.
Commonly known as the GT, this powerful fighter of warm Pacific waters is one of the toughest fish an angler can land with a rod and reel thanks to its size and stamina.
Tuna are simply die-hard fighters. Considered the king of all tuna, the bluefin are a match for even the most skilled anglers, thanks to their size, super speed and endless stamina.
These majestic monsters hold the highest stamina among the world’s gamefish. Found in temperate and tropical ocean shelf waters, the swordfish is considered one of the greatest achievements any angler can reel in.
One of the most sought-after gamefish in the word, the yellowfin tuna knows how to put on a fight with its incredible strength and stamina. Only anglers determined to fight to the finish will be successful in reeling in these monster catches found in warm temperate ocean waters.
After spawning in freshwater streams, the Atlantic salmon migrates to saltwater where it feeds heavily and grows to maturity. After two years at sea, the salmon can reach lengths of nearly three feet and weigh as much as 12 pounds. Although considered endangered in the United States, anglers can be licensed to fish the Atlantic salmon in Canada and Europe.
Also known as the dolphinfish or the mahi mahi, the dorado is one of the most sought-after gamefish on the planet. These beauties are quick swimmers and like to find their escape by ducking beneath floating objects such as logs, buoys and seaweed. Found in tropical and temperate waters, the mahi mahi is known to leap from the water when trying to escape a hook.
Crafted for speed, the wahoo can swim as fast as 50 miles per hour. It’s no wonder they’re often called torpedoes with wings. Once it grabs hold of your tackle, the wahoo can easily make a run for it and reel your line out several hundred yards in a matter of seconds. Found in tropical and warm temperate ocean waters, the wahoo can be hooked near the wrecks and reefs where smaller fish are found in abundance
The ray-finned barracuda is known for its large size and frightening appearance. Found in tropical and subtropical oceanic waters, the barracuda can grow to lengths up to seven feet. Anglers hoping to hook one should stick to shallow depths near coral reefs and sea grasses.
Native only to northern parts of North America, lake trout are the largest species of char, growing to lengths exceeding four feet and weighing as much as 100 pounds. Although they can live from 20 to 50 years, their populations have dwindled due to overfishing and the introduction of lamprey into their environments. They differ from other salmonoids in that they are restricted to still waters of lakes and reservoirs.
Native to North America, the freshwater muskie is the largest member of the pike family. Muskies don’t have a lot of stamina, but they can shock an angler with the initial power they present upon being hooked. Not a common fish to hook, the muskie has been called the “fish of ten thousand casts.”
A member of the salmon family, this freshwater fish is the state fish of Arizona, where it can be found inhabiting the clear, cool streams of the White Mountains. Although the fish is officially endangered, and many of the streams in which it swims are closed to fishing, catch-and-release opportunities exist in a limited number of areas.
This coldwater member of the salmon family is native to Alpine lakes, as well as Arctic and subarctic coastal waters. Although it breeds in freshwater, the Arctic char will migrate to sea if not landlocked. Reaching weights as heavy as 20 pounds, the Arctic char is found further north than any other species of freshwater fish.
Known for its frighteningly-large teeth, the Goliath tigerfish is found in Africa’s Congo River Basin. These highly-predatory swimmers can grow as long as five feet and weigh as much as 110 pounds. Anglers beware when targeting this monster, as it has been known to attack humans.
Head out to the temperate tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic to take a shot at reeling in one of these glistening beauties. Known for its aerial acrobatics, the tarpon is not only a challenge to hook, but a guaranteed battle to catch as it doggedly fights for freedom, sometimes leaping up to 10 feet in the air.
A member of the salmon family, the taimen is found in northern waters of Eurasia as well as Mongolia and Russia. More popular as a gamefish among fly fishermen, taimen anglers generally practice catch-and-release in order to aid the remaining population.
Native to South America’s Amazon and Essequibo Basins, the arapaima is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, reaching lengths of more than six feet. Sought after for food, the fish are generally caught in nets or through spearfishing. Since Brazil has banned commercial fishing of the species, it can only be legally caught in remote areas of the Amazon Basin.
This freshwater monster is found throughout African waters, including the Congo, Nile, Senegal, Niger, and Lake Chad, Volta, Lake Turkana and other river basins. One of the largest of all freshwater fish, Nile Perch can grow to lengths of six feet and weigh as much as 440 pounds.
Bonefishing, or fly fishing for bonefish, is a popular sport in southern Florida and the Bahamas. Since the fish tend to stay in shallow, off-shore waters, it’s common to hook them by wading into the sea or from a shallow-draft boat.
Considered the Holy Grail catch to most anglers, the blue marlin is one of the hardest fish to catch. Found in warm and tropical ocean waters, the marlin is not only a challenge to hook, but a serious contender when it comes to reeling him in. Little delights an angler more than fighting the monster as it thrusts its body into the air.