Top 5 Species That Should Be On Your Bucket List

September 11, 2020

men holding wahoo, Newport

A day at your local fishing hole is usually a great day of bent rods and reeling in fish. It’s definitely better than any day spent in the office, that’s for sure. But sometimes you dream of faraway places and catching “the big one”.

Each angler has a bucket list of fish species that they would like to one day catch. Sometimes it’s the location that’s calling the angler, but usually, it’s a certain type of gamefish that gets us excited for a new adventure. The scenery is just an added bonus when you’re focusing on reeling in the prized trophy.

In no particular order, here are five species that should be added to every angler’s bucket list, if not already there.

5 Wahoo

Wahoo is known as a fast fish, and that’s what makes catching them so much fun! Known in Hawaii as “ono” – these long silver and blue fish offer some of the best fishing around. While you may be used to trolling, there’s nothing quite like trolling for wahoo. For those new to the sport, trolling is a technique used by driving the boat with four to six lines in the water. The captain will set the speed of the boat for the best chances of getting something on the hook. Average speeds when trolling offshore are typically 6 knots; when trolling for wahoo, you’re more likely to see 14 to 18 knots – now that’s fast!

Wahoo are found throughout the world in subtropical waters, from Hawaii to Florida. They are long fish with vibrant silver and blue vertical stripes along the body and razor-sharp teeth. Wahoo can grow to over 8 feet long and weigh as much as 180 pounds. Though the photo op and drag screaming fight are enough to entice any angler, wahoo fillets are where the prize is really at. The quality and taste of a freshly caught wahoo are comparable to sashimi-grade ahi tuna, so if you’re lucky enough to land this pelagic predator, prepare to break out the soy sauce! Whether you’re fishing in the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico, or off the coast of Hawaii, it’s an exciting day when you’ve got a wahoo on the line.

4 Bluefin Tuna

While there are a few different tuna species, usually when someone says “tuna” a bluefin tuna is what they’re talking about. It’s the most popular in the United States, and one of the most prized fish in the sea. And getting one on the hook means bragging rights for life. Bringing one home, especially one over 500 pounds, earns you legendary status on the dock (and a few thousand bucks in your pocket, too!).

Bluefin tuna are found throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Even though they grow to be some of the largest species in the deep blue waters, they are still incredibly fast. They are known for targeting schools of herring, mackerel, and dolphin (also known as mahi mahi) as they migrate through the waters. Once again, trolling is the go-to technique for reeling in these trophies. If you’re looking to catch one, head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the winter months. A professional charter captain will have the gear and experience to make this bucket-list adventure a dream come true.

3 Giant Trevally

Ever heard of giant trevally? You may recognize it by another name, it has a few: Ulua, lowly trevally, barrier trevally, giant kingfish, or simply “GTs”. It’s a Pacific Ocean fish species popular near Hawaii, Japan, and Australia. They are part of the Jack family and can average a size of 50 pounds. The real standout catches weigh in over 150 pounds. Challenge your own strength when fishing for these big fish.

When in Hawaii, fishing for giant trevally, or Ulua as it’s known locally, is best from May to September. We recommend hiring a local guide that will have all the gear you need and will know all the tricks of the trade. Some anglers will fish from the shore with long rods and heavy tackle to bring these nearshore fish in. If you’re fishing from a vessel, check the nearby reefs and watch the lines near the rocks. It’s a rare find when you get a Giant Trevally on the hook, and definitely a bucket list adventure!

2 Roosterfish

We are big fans of roosterfish – they are unique looking and fun to catch. And even better, you get to travel to Costa Rica or some other tropical country to hunt for these exotic, hard-fighting species. Found along the west coast of Mexico and other Central American countries, this inshore Pacific Ocean species makes for an adrenaline-pumping day of fishing. Bonus points: not many of your friends will be able to tout reeling in a roosterfish!

The dorsal fin is what sets the roosterfish apart. They are tall and spiky, almost like the rooster itself, hence the name. The roosterfish can grow as long as 5 feet and more than 100 pounds, but those are the above-average catches. Typically anglers will reel in a 10 to 20-pound roosterfish. But the size is not what matters here, it’s the celebrity of the species and the location remoteness for most of the world. It’s a badge of honor when you say that you’ve caught a roosterfish.

1 Marlin

There are four different kinds of marlin, and each one of them is an adventure to reel in. All types of marlin are known for their acrobatic stunts as they attempt to toss the hook. Marlin are part of the billfish family, with a distinct bill that sets them apart. They are found throughout the world in subtropical waters. While each species is different, marlin can still grow quite large and aggressive. It’s the challenge of the fight that brings anglers back for more each and every time!

Anglers can fish in the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic for a marlin adventure. For a Grand Slam (catching three different marlins in one trip) head to the Pacific waters of Costa Rica, where peak season runs from November to February. Heck, even MJ is getting in on the action, recently catching a 400+ marlin with his team in a North Carolina tournament! Is it too early to say “Be Like Mike” and go fishing for marlin?!

Fishing Your Bucket List Species

You may have a bucket list species of your own, or you’ve just added a few more from this list. Either way, we recommend hiring a local charter captain when fishing for any new species. Every location and species are different and you’ll increase success rates when fishing with a professional. Find your next bucket list charter today with FishAnywhere.com, where you can reserve your trip with a deposit.

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