14. Puerto Rico
The silver king fishing in PR is good enough for longtime guide Capt. Omar Orraca to guarantee at least a shot at tarpon every trip, all year (he claims 92 consecutive trips landing at least one tarpon). That said, spring and fall offer peak periods in local lagoons when 20 strikes on live baits during six hours of fishing is not unusual. Orraca says the tarpon run 15 to 40 pounds in the fall and 60 to 80 in the spring. A 10- or 15-minute boat ride from Old San Juan in the heart of the city puts anglers in tarpon-filled lagoons where waters are calm but acidic and dark; rather than sight-cast to individual targets, anglers throw into feeding frenzies that frequently erupt at the surface. PR tarpon have a fondness for root-beer D.O.A. TerrorEyz and big Clouser Minnow flies. Live anchovies, threadfin and sand perch all work. These lagoons hold plenty of snook also. Fly directly into San Juan; a plethora of fine hotels is just a short taxi ride from the Congrejos Yacht Club where Orraca docks. For more information, visit www.fishinginpuertorico.com/captlght.htm.
Photo: Mike Mazur