6 of the Hardest Fish to Catch in the World

These fish species are clever, nasty and tough. Reel tough.

Few things are more rewarding to ambitious anglers than hauling in that elusive trophy fish you've been after for years. And when you do, it's a rewarding feeling like no other.

Of course, some fish are harder to catch (or just more rare) than others.

Have you ever landed one of these hard-to-catch fish?

Goliath tigerfish

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This monster is so legendary among anglers, it's been called the greatest freshwater game fish on the planet. Only found in the turbulent waters of the Congo (itself another level of difficulty), this largest species of tigerfish will shred foot-long bait with those nasty teeth. And it has been known to attack humans! The largest ever caught was reportedly 5 feet long and 154 pounds. If you've ever seen the show River Monsters, you might have seen host Jeremy Wade posing with one. He has said their teeth can grow to be an inch long.

Blue marlin

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When you think of big game fishing, there's nothing more iconic than the blue marlin. Watching one of these 1,000-pound billfish leap out of the water is a heart-stopping experience in itself, let alone seeing one at the end of your line. A battle with one can take hours and still result in nothing but a backache and frustration. People lucky (and tenacious) enough to catch a blue marlin pose with it for a reason... it's a truly impressive feat, which is why some marlin-catching tournaments pay out in the millions.


Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/

Here we have the largest in the pike family and one of the longest living at 30 years. It's probably because they're so hard to catch. Muskies, as they're nicknamed, are known as the "Fish of 10,000 Casts" for their elusive nature and ability to follow a hook forever before biting it right off your line. They aren't known for having a lot of stamina, but the challenge is when they first bite and take off in a burst of energy that can knock you off your feet. Catching a 50-inch muskie will earn serious bragging rights, and the most likely place you can do it is in Wisconsin, where they're the state fish.

Bluefin tuna


Some will rank the bluefin tuna as a "10" on a 1-10 toughness scale. It feels like you've just caught a runaway bus at the end of your line when it bites. These fish are some of the world's fastest, are easily spooked and have great eyesight, which means they're apt to take off with your line before you know it. They do a circular "dance" when caught, which makes them particularly difficult to bring in. There's also the matter of finding these giants; the key is to look for baitfish on which they might be feeding.


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Its scientific name, Megalops, should tell you this is one huge fish. Affectionately nicknamed the "Silver King," these fish are found along the Atlantic from Virginia to Brazil and throughout the Caribbean, and are even known to travel up rivers. Tarpon can grow to eight feet and they're a prized catch because of their spectacular acrobatics and the fight they put up. The show they put on is like nothing you've ever seen. They're not meaty, so most get tossed back to live another day and challenge someone else.



Permit, along with tarpon and bonefish, make up the "big three" of flats fishing. These fish can get up to 60 pounds and while very common, are notoriously uncooperative. You'll need to cast your lure or bait right in front of them, or they'll meander right on past. They have incredible eyesight and hearing and are easily spooked, so good luck with this one... you'll need the patience of Job.

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