Five fish everyone wants to hook

You’re in the perfect fishing spot, in pursuit of your dream fish. Conditions are ideal. You sense today might be the day you bag your ultimate prize.

Then your rod tip quivers, your pulse quickens and you strike. The fight of your life begins…and then you wake up!

We all have a fish we dream of catching. Some of us have several dream fish we’d love to land. What gets your heart pounding and your fishing reel in a tangle? Here are our top five…

1. Salmon

salmon

Image source: Theron Trowbridge
The original king of the river.

It’s not the biggest or the fastest fish you can catch, but the unique combination of technical skill and watermanship, as well as cunning and guile required to bring to bank a specimen salmon makes this our favourite game fish, and definitely one for any angling must catch list.

And fly fishing for Atlantic salmon is about a lot more than just catching a fish – superb though that may be. Fishing the waters of one of the great salmon fishing estates of Scotland or Ireland is a true adventure of the old school. The majestic highland scenery is the backdrop for the practice of an art steeped in tradition. To take part is a joy and a privilege – and afterwards, it’s back to the bothie for a wee dram!

2. Bone fish

bonefish under water

Image source: Brian Gratwicke via Wikimedia
Super speedy and easily spooked.

For fly fishermen, or anyone who loves the thrill of a hard fighting fish on light tackle, few pleasures surpass the experience of fishing for bonefish in the shallow coastal flats of the Caribbean. Think stunning blue waters, tropical sunshine and one of the best sport fish on the planet. Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas – all are top holiday destinations with bonefishing to die for. But why all the fuss about a little silver fish?

Bonefishing is all about the hunt – finesse, stealth and a good guide are the prerequisites. Bonefish are tricksters – hunted by barracuda, they’re adapted to be super fast and easily spooked. Unlike big game fishing, there’s no gin palace under you, no thick spool of line, no cooler full of tinnies by your feet. It’s just you, your fly, or lure and the great outdoors. Bonefishing is wild game angling at its very best.

3. Giant trevally

Giant trevally head-on

Image source: Dr. Dwayne Meadows via Wikimedia
They weigh up to 80 kg!

If you like them big, they don’t come much bigger than this! Giant Trevally can grow up to 80 kg and 170 cm in length – but though it’s pretty rare to catch a specimen in this size range, any fish over 15 kgs will give you a fight to remember. Trevally occupy a range of habitats, from tropical flats to coral reefs throughout the Pacific. An apex predator, they’re very fast, extremely strong and super aggressive.

The most fun you can have fishing for giant trevally is probably with a topwater lure. Make sure all your gear is in perfect nick though, because any weakness and you might as well not bother trying. Trevally will bend a hook, snap a line and if the fish gets into the reef, you’re done.

4. Nile Perch

Nile Perch

Image source: Pete Stanley via This River Is Wild
You’d need some serious kit to reel this one in!

The tranquil waters of Egypt’s  Aswan dam offer treasures for the bucket list angler – tiger fish, Vundu and Bagras catfish to name but three of its inhabitants. But the Nile Perch is the real prize and what could be the biggest freshwater catch you’ll ever make.

Nile Perch can weigh in at over 400 lbs and grow to be a whopping 6ft in length. Silver flanked and with a bluish tinge, the fish is a beauty that’s renowned for hard fighting. To catch one, you’ll need a rod of at least a 4.5lb test curve and a reel capable of holding 250 metres of braid. You can hook a Nile Perch on live bait, but lures are favorite – try a depth raider or shad. Oh how nice it is to dream!

5. Tarpon

Tarpon

Image source: Sea Reed Charters
This is what you’re after!

Think of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or in the Pacific – Tahiti maybe? The shining shimmer of silver scales and a battle you’ll never forget. We’re talking tarpon, that prized saltwater game fish. A big one could come in at over 200 lbs – it’s not a catch you’re likely to forget in a hurry.

In July last year, dreams did come true for one lucky group of anglers. At the end of a successful day’s Fishing off the Florida coast, the captain gave the order to reel in. But one of the party didn’t hear and a few minutes later, when he finally began to wind in, he got the surprise of his life – he’d hooked a monster. An hour and a half later, fisherman, Jan Toubl brought his quarry alongside to be unhooked and released. The gargantuan tarpon measured in excess of 3m in length – which would put its weight easily in the 300 lb plus league!