The Billfish Report is kicking off its second annual Billfisheries of the Year countdown. Though we report on notable billfish catches every day, this is our year-end pullup on which fisheries can boast the best numbers, size, and variety over the course of the entire year.
Recall last year was a huge year for billfish around the world – and 2009’s top 10 were as follows…
1 – Great Barrier Reef
2 – Cape Verde
3 – St. Thomas
4 – Madeira
5 – Kona
6 – Panama
7 – U.S. East Coast
8 – Guatemala
9 – Canaries
10 – Costa Rica
This year we’ve examined the body of work from all the top fisheries, and over the next six weeks will be offering up our top 10. However we start with honorable mentions…
Kona. It says something about this extraordinary fishery that one of its worst years on recent memory still sees it with an honorable mention on this list. June and July – usually prime time in Kona – were pretty barren, and though August still didn’t see the typical runs of fish it did see a large number – 36 – fish caught over 500 pounds.
Costa Rica. Plenty of good days in this great fishery – one of the best places in the world to get a slam, with perhaps more slams here than anywhere. Loads of sails around, more than its fair share of blacks, stripeys, and blues as well.
Bermuda. Not a great year for numbers in Bermuda, a world class blue marlin fishery, but a span in July where a number of huge fish were caught, including three granders, propels this fishery to honorable mention status. Watch out for next year, as this fishery doesn’t stay down long.
Azores. A two-month season here each year, August and September, and this year’s September was terrific – 20 500+ fish caught, including several pushing the mark. All this without a huge number of boats out. Large blue marlin a-plenty.
Cabo. Really nice to see this fishery come back in the latter part of the year, with a strong run on blacks, a fantastic Bisbee’s, and some good waves of stripeys making up for what was a long first seven or eight months of the year, where fish weren’t showing up in numbers, size, or variety.
Mozambique. At Billfish Report we’re convinced this fishery is untapped – just looking at the number of boats (no more than two or three at a time) seeing typically several 500+ blacks per month, and the occasional grander. We’re calling this one out with an honorable mention in spite of the lack of boats out – but on the boats that are out the fishing’s pretty extraordinary.
And those are the honorable mentions. Watch for #10, coming this week!