With great inshore and offshore fishing that will challenge both beginners and experienced anglers, these 10 hot spots — listed in alphabetical order — are the best saltwater fishing destinations in America.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Anglers who watch Wicked Tuna on National Geographic Channel are already familiar with fishing in Cape Cod. In addition to giant bluefin, the peninsula offers fantastic inshore fishing for striped bass and bluefish. Offshore bottomfishing will produce hauls of sea bass, lingcod and cod.
Galveston lies between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, making it tough to choose between fishing for red snapper, wahoo and marlin in the Gulf or targeting reds, sea trout and tarpon closer to shore. One thing anglers don’t have to choose is when to go fishing — great action is available year-round.
Alaska is famous for bountiful seafood, and Homer is the center stage. Anglers can crank up giant halibut and battle trophy salmon in the shadow of snow-covered peaks and towering pines. Or watch burly bears patrol the rocky shoreline while bottomfishing for monster rockfish and ling.
Kona sits on the lee side of the big island of Hawai‘i, which means the weather is always nice and the fish are always close. With the dark blue Pacific lapping gently on the shore, marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and exotic bottomfish swim a short distance off the beach.
Flashy sport-fishing yachts and sparkling bay boats fit in perfectly with the glitz and glamour of the Miami skyline. Sailfish, tuna, dolphin and schools of reef fish swim only a few miles off the city’s famous white-sand beaches. In the backwaters, bonefish, tarpon and snook will test light-tackle anglers.
Panama City, Florida
Get away from it all and fish Florida’s Forgotten Coast. The crystal-clear Gulf waters host tarpon, reds, sea trout and flounder. Offshore, anglers can chase cobia, dolphin and king mackerel, or hit the area’s wrecks and reefs for red snapper, grouper and hard-pulling amberjack.
San Diego, California
Southern California’s surfer lifestyle carries over to fishing in San Diego. Laid-back anglers can catch spotted bay bass in San Diego Bay, while thrill seekers will want to head out on a multiple-day trip to distant offshore fishing grounds for giant tuna. Closer to shore, fishing is excellent for yellowtail, white sea bass and big sharks.
From the Seattle Space Needle, anglers can see world-famous fishing grounds in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. Anglers can target a dozen varieties of salmon by trolling, jigging or fly fishing, and bottomfishing is fantastic for halibut, lingcod and rockfish. Action is available year-round.
On the Mississippi River Delta, at the end of the road, lies Venice, Louisiana. While the town is far from city life, it is close to world-class fishing. The marshy bayous host huge numbers of trophy redfish, flounder and sea trout, while offshore canyons and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico attract wahoo, tuna, dolphin and marlin.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Located at the junction of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is a crossroads for northern and southern species of fish. Anglers heading offshore will find tuna, marlin and dolphin, as well as bottomfishing for grouper, tilefish and sea bass. Inshore, anglers chase flounder, red drum, sea trout, cobia and more. Each winter, huge schools of striped bass pass Virginia Beach on their return to spawning waters in Chesapeake Bay.