Guatemala – It just simply can’t be ignored any further. Report after report, now late into the season, is pointing towards one of the finest on record. Like any ranking, be it sport or otherwise, calling something the “best ever” can be a bold statement. In fishing we seem to want to do it all the time. Fact is, there is no one source that keeps accurate records to define what is the best season ever. Many individual captains have kept their own logs, but there is no true aggregator of all this data (The Billfish Report certainly tries, but can’t get them all). So when some of the most respected Captains are calling this season in Guatemala the best they have ever experienced, we ALL better listen.
We have been naming the Top 10 Billfisheries of the Year since 2009. This is based 100% on our data, but with over 11,000 reports we feel confident we have a good sampling. Since 2009, Guatemala has never fallen our of our Top 10, with four (4) Top 5 finishes. Frankly with the way our grading and point systems work, Guatemala is bringing a knife to gun fight given how much weight we give species variety and size. Yet, every year they are there and for good reason. Spectacular fishing!
So we decided to go back and look at the numbers we have as additional data “back-up” as to what the boots on the ground are saying. By comparison, the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 were average years in Guatemala on Sailfish numbers by their standards.
- 2011-12 had some exceptional catches, like 91 Sailfish on Decisive or 30 Sailfish on Fly on the Stalker, but we did not see the same consistent bite as we are seeing in the 2015-16 season.
- 2013-14 season was likewise good with a number of boats releasing 40+ Sailfish in a day, with the best day coming off the Sirena with 48, but again, achieving 40+ Sailfish in a day was the best day of the season on the top boats.
- 2014-15 season was slightly better than the 13-14 season with a few more boats getting 40+ fish and we had at least three boats with 50+ (Decisive, Stalker, Allure II) with Allure II having the best day going 58-80.
These were all good years, but when you compare them to 2015-16 they pale in comparison. While we are deep into this season we have already seen forty (40) boats record 30+ Sailfish releases, twenty-seven (27) boats reporting 40+ releases, sixteen (16) with 50+ releases, seven (7) with 60+ releases, two (2) with 70+ releases and two (2) with 80+ releases. Even when compared to the 14-15 season, we are talking a nine times (9X) as many days over fifty (50) Sailfish released in a day. As a self admitted billfish addicts, I am pretty sure we can’t imagine releasing 50+ Sailfish in a day, yet on twenty-seven (27) different occasions it has happened this season.
Top 5 Days
Rum Line – 89-120 on Sailfish
Decisive – 84-107 on Sailfish
Decisive – 78-89 on Sailfish
Decisive – 70-94 on Sailfish
Allure II – 69-102 on Sailfish
This does not even factor in the Blue Marlin fishing, which has likewise been well above average. We can not say for certain that this is the best year on record, but we would love to know what season was.